Everyone is familiar with that “butterflies in the stomach” feeling you get when you fall in love with someone. The sensation is named that way because your heart is beating faster, your internal muscles, like your diaphragm, are flexing and your adrenaline is shooting up, similar to a fight or flight response, creating a sensation of pulsing or “fluttering” in your chest, an internal tightness or even an urge to vomit. If the sensation is intense enough, the constriction can worsen bloodflow to the head, resulting in giddiness, loss of balance, sweating and a very deep all-face blush. Your body is so excited to see this person that it goes into fight-or-flight mode whilst simultaneously making you worse at fleeing.
It sounds cuter without the explanation, I guess.
Anyway, many people seem to view it as the initial attraction that wanes with the weeks and after the years is completely dead, fixable only with novelty.
However I completely disagree.
Butterflies aren’t attraction. Attraction is necessary for butterflies to form, but not everyone who experiences attraction has butterflies, which instantly disproves that theory.
So what are the butterflies? The butterflies are EXCITEMENT so intense it overwhelms you. And anyone who has ever given a child a piece of cake knows that excitement is not actually bound by novelty. Excitement is bound by good things, great things, things you look forward to, yearn for and relish.
The butterflies, as far as I have experienced and heard, do not have an expiration date. They may be more frequent during the first few weeks. They may be constant for those weeks. This is because humans are neophiles. We love new things and we love change. The excitement you felt with your partner for the first few weeks was in part excitement at them, and in part the same sort of excitement you feel when you meet anyone new and interesting. It was a compound of two sources of excitement, not a lot more excitement of the same kind.
Of course, the neophile excitement has an expiration date. That date being: when the thing in question ceases to be new to you.
If you found that you had amazing butterflies, but the second you were familiar with someone, you stopped feeling butterflies completely, forever, then all those butterflies, every single one, was neophilia. Maybe this person wasn’t actually appealing to you. Maybe they were just the most different anyone has ever been from other people you know. In other words, out of everyone you liked, they had the least in common with all your friends, past partners and relatives. And once they became mundane, all this novelty ceased to excite you, because it isn’t new any more. In fact, if they have so little in common with anyone you regularly see, chances are you’ll like them less than anyone else. Because they aren’t the sort of person you actually like.
“Neophile excitement has an expiration date: when the thing in question ceases to be new to you.”
But the interpersonal excitement has no expiration date. If you love someone’s humour because it clicks well with yours, then it will be as exciting the fortieth time as cake is the fortieth time. The joke may not be as side-splittingly funny, because you’ve already completed it in your head, but you’ll still smile and feel all warm from the endorphins and oxytocin that’s released when someone’s sense of humour matches yours.
The more someone excites you as a person, the more butterflies you will still feel after the neophilia has worn off. If someone is deeply interesting, funny, attractive and synced with you, then you will feel some butterflies forever. You can even learn to trigger them on demand, if you are butterfly-inclined.
Hugging your partner and smelling their scent for a couple of minutes, if you find them sexually appealing, will give you butterflies.
Telling jokes with your partner and laughing together, if you find them funny, will give you butterflies.
Looking them in the eye and discussing something deep and impersonal, if you find them interesting, will give you butterflies.
The sad downside to this is, if you experienced butterflies aplenty at the start of the relationship, but now you’re experiencing fewer than you experienced with any other partner, then the problem isn’t them or neophilia. They haven’t changed and you aren’t driven to find something brand new at their expense. The simple fact of the matter is, you probably never found them that funny, interesting or sexy to begin with. And you probably never will.
“The more someone excites you as a person, the more butterflies you will still feel after the neophilia has worn off.”
Butterflies with your partner don’t actually need to end. The only limiter is how much you like them.
TTFN and Happy Hunting!
Agree or disagree? Are you a butterflier or butterfly-free? Have you tried to trigger butterflies with your partner? How do they excite you (SFW please)?