Sue Johnson sees no contradiction in viewing love as biology and poetry, physiology and romance. For her, love is the hard won endowment of our evolutionary history and a source of hope a world of uncertainty and danger.  With this book, Sue reveals that love is scientifically understandable. She emerges not only as a world authority on love’s repair, but also on its underlying, neural, physiological and psychological structure.

James Coan, PHD, Professor of Clinical Psychology and Director of the Virginia Affective Neuroscience Laboratory at the University of Virginia


Vulnerability & Monogamy

 

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Suddenly it seems as if everyone is having to defend monogamy. To defend the idea that love with a long time familiar partner can be just as erotic and passionate as a one night stand.

 

Passion is the longing for connection linked to the attunement that only emotional safety can give and that then fosters erotic play.

 

Sometimes people ask me, “Are affairs always traumatic?” If we love our partner, indeed they are, because we are wired to want to be special – irreplaceable – to a trusted other.  We want to know that in our moment of need, our need will matter to another. That is, if we call, this person will be a bridge over troubled water for us. This is not immaturity. It is a survival strategy wired into your brain.

 

Affairs violate our need for safe connection and push us into rejection and abandonment. Our brain registers rejection as a danger cue that signals that we are alone. Rejection is registered in our brain in the exact same way as physical pain.

 

Not ‘minding’ if your partner is engaging in sex, which is a bonding activity primed by bonding hormones, isn’t a sign of maturity. It is a sign of detachment. The avoidance of intimacy is NOT an indicator of health or adjustment. It is associated with addictions, anxiety, and depression.

 

The only way out of vulnerability in love is not to care or let yourself trust – and that is the biggest booby prize of all.