We don’t see it coming. The unexpected rush of sensations that happen when you connect with someone, I mean really connect. Perhaps it’s the first encounter, perhaps it’s after sitting in class with them for one, two semesters. Perhaps it’s a lucky swipe that led to interesting conversations and events that drove your curiosity. You wanted to learn more and more.
And as you start learning more. You see the signs. Some are good – smart, ambitious, successful. And some are red flags: smart, but arrogant, ambitious to a fault, successful against a measure that makes us both unhappy. You stick to the generalizations because the dopamine has already taken a hold of your brain.
Dopamine, like that first glass of smokey old fashioned that you can smell from the other side of the room. Your water glands start tasting the orange and the alcohol wrapped in wooden fire. You are carried back to the other times that you enjoyed that taste, and you know it’s a good night to come.
Dopamine is nothing but a chemical reaction. It is not your fault that you fell in love — and it’s not your fault that you stay(ed). Love is but a response that you fine tune over the years. Intermittently feeding it with stories of hope, with laughter. But this love is deceitful, selfish and gives you the whiplash effect when you see through the curtains: truth. There is no room for you (the real you) in this paradigm.
Eventually you’ll gain the courage to leave. Or rather, your body will get physically sick of dopamine rushes and subsequent crashes. Like an alcoholic the morning after the first drink. You will sit in front of bathroom and wring your guts out. Wash your face and see yourself in the mirror (the real you). You will cry of sadness for person you lost along the way, and promise her to do better.
And you will, eventually. I hope.