Your Neural Pathways Will Never Let You Get Over Mr. Big


It’s been 13 years since Sex and the City premiered, and yet we are still talking about Mr. Big. Why? Because, according to anthropologist and relationship scientist Helen Fisher, we are addicted to him. Okay, we’re not addicted to the actual Mr. Big, as in Chris Noth (who probably really wishes we’d all stop calling him that); we’re addicted to our own personal Mr. Bigs—the men who sweep us off our Manolo-clad lady feet only to drop us on our Spanx-encased asses a few months later. But of course we know it is MEANT TO BE, so we crawl back to them and repeat this devastating cycle over and over again for the entire six season run of our hit television series, or, you know, until we get tired of being jerked around and force ourselves to move on.

Why do we torture ourselves? Fisher says it’s because love plays with your brain in the same way drugs do. In fact, love may be the original addiction.

“My guess is that our modern addictions—nicotine, drugs, sex, gambling—are simply hijacking this ancient brain pathway that evolved millions of years ago, that evolved for romantic love. The brain system evolved to focus your energy on an individual and start the mating process.”

Fisher knows because she studied people who’d experienced heartbreak and found that rejection by one’s own Mr. Big lights up the same areas of your brain that fire up when you have a craving for something you’re addicted to. That explains why, as anyone who has ever been spurned can tell you, you do some pretty crazy stuff when you’re jonesing for the dude who dumped you. Stalking, anyone?

So, okay, once you’ve admitted you have a problem and decide you want to quit him, how do you actually do it? According to Fisher, “It really is an addiction; you have to treat it as an addiction.” That means cutting yourself off from him cold turkey. No contact, no attempts to remain friends, and definitely do not ever get in his town car when you come home after an amazing night out with your girls and find him parked in front of your beautiful apartment. It will only lead to bad things!

Mr Big: the Einstein of love or science’s excuse for Casanova? [Syndey Morning Herald]

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