Because loving is reciprocal physiologic influence, it entails a deeper and more literal connection than most realize. Limbic regulation affords lovers the ability to modulate each other’s emotions, neurophysiology, hormonal status, immune function, sleep rhythms, and stability. If one leaves on a trip, the other may suffer insomnia, a delayed menstrual cycle, a cold that would have been fought off in the fortified state of togetherness.
The neurally ingrained Attractors of one lover warp the emotional virtuality of the other, shifting emotional perceptions—what he feels, sees, knows. When somebody loses his partner and says a part of him is gone, he is more right than he thinks. A portion of his neural activity depends on the presence of that other living brain. Without it, the electric interplay that makes up him has changed. Lovers hold keys to each other’s identities, and they write neurostructural alterations into each other’s networks. Their limbic tie allows each to influence who the other is and becomes.
This scaredy-cat was forced to run for cover when a herd of brave buffalo decided to strike back. The lion found itself outnumbered by its plucky prey and is pictured sprinting away from the African buffalo in the Kruger National Park. Picture: DAVE WOOLLACOTT/CATERS