What is a P.E.A. brain? It is not a tiny pea brain. An important difference. You experience a P.E.A. brain if you have an intense infatuation with another human being. You are constantly thinking about that person, wondering what that person is doing, anxiously excited to see and be with him/her. You become obsessed with that person. You feel swept away “in love”. What a phenomenal feeling!
P.E.A. is the acronym for the biochemical phenylethylamine. P.E.A. is similar to an amphetamine, a powerful stimulant, causing a natural “high”. It feels so good, you want to keep it forever. But, alas, it does not last. The body builds up a tolerance for it. It takes more and more of it to produce that special kick. It wears off completely, anywhere from eighteen months to four years max. Thus, the end of the passionate feeling you have for the other person.
Some relationships have been built mostly around the P.E.A. explosion between two people, or at least one person had it. Unfortunately, too often when the P.E.A. diminishes, so, too, does the relationship. There is nothing else to build on or to sustain it.
Do you know about, or have you experienced “attraction junkies”. These folks crave the intoxication of “falling in love” so much that they move frantically from one relationship to another. The adrenaline rush of the “chase” or “catch”, coupled with the P.E.A. stimulation, is challenging and exciting. Committed and enduring relationships are not their style. Beware of these “chemical crazies” for they will charm you and then desert you.
So, what keeps a relationship going? You can be with a loving partner for the next stretch run if the next set of chemicals kick in. These chemicals are endorphins (similar to morphine) and, unlike the rush of P.E.A., these endorphins are soothing, giving the lovers a sense of security, connection, and contentment. This leads to a deeper intimate attachment. P.E.A. is more individualistic, more selfish. Dr. Mark Goulston of UCLA describes it this way: “Early love is when you love the way the other person makes you feel. Mature love is when you love the person as he or she is”.
The essence of this message is to alert you to be aware of a P.E.A. driven relationship and to be in one that has the potential to reach one loaded with refilling endorphins. The former may well flame out because it dries up or is a poor fit. Be sure to be in one that has the ability to move to an enduring committed relationship. Because of this chemical complexity, and other vital components for a good marriage, it is important to get professional help from someone who understands before you enter into your vows or blow the relationship that you now have.
As the song says, “love makes the world go round”. Just be sure it is truly love, not a P.E.A. driven high.