In the meantime I experienced years of pain (continuing on from yesterday’s post). The dissolution of my own marriage was emotionally devastating, especially because my two wonderful daughters, now grown into loving and accomplished women, were just little girls. So devastating that I vowed never to marry again. Convinced that true love was a myth—at least for me—every day for 17 years I repeated this mantra when I shaved: “I won’t get married again. I won’t get married again.”
Needless to say, I wasn’t committed relationship material! But despite my morning ritual I couldn’t ignore what is a biological imperative for all organisms, from single cells to our 50-trillion-celled bodies—the drive to connect with another organism.
The first Big Love I experienced was a cliché: an older man with a bad case of arrested emotional development falls in love with a younger woman and experiences an intense, hormone-driven, teenaged-style affair. For a year I floated happily through life high on “love potions,” the neurochemicals and hormones coursing through my blood that you’ll read about in Chapter 3 of “The Honeymoon Effect”. When my teenaged-style love affair inevitably crashed and burned (saying she needed “space,” she rode her bicycle a very short space away into the arms of a cardiovascular surgeon), I spent a year in my big, empty house wallowing in pain and pining for the woman who had left me. Cold turkey is horrible, not just for heroin addicts but also for those whose biochemistry reverts to everyday hormones and neurochemicals in the wake of a failed love affair.