You know that high, unbelievably energizing feeling of being drawn to another person? Not easily analyzed, or explained, but delicious nonetheless? It is what we all call chemistry, and it is how connections originate, whether short-lived or long-term.

In all the years of working with people in relationships, I have come to be privy to how they met, what it was like to be drawn to others, and how then a connection gets stronger or fizzles out. Sometimes the fizzle takes years, but still, other factors keep people together. The bottom line is that we all want that emotional connection, that sense of being close to another human being(s), both physically and mentally. In the adolescent and young adulthood years, hormones and nature exert a huge pressure to attach ourselves to others, and as years pile on, the emotional component becomes even more powerful. This is not to dismiss any personality factors. Some need more personal space – there are introverts and extraverts – but in the end, whatever our temperament, we look for that nirvana.

What complicates this process is what we have learned over the years from the families we grew up in, or the environments we experienced. What if one grew up in a single-parent household? What about extended families with many living together? Divorced families? Violent people, poverty, strict religious beliefs, privileges or lack thereof? How do we make some or all of these lessons learned a part of how we deal with our own foibles and those we relate to?

The fact that today we have unbelievable amounts of information and self-help resources at our disposal provides ways of understanding how and why we do what we do. But the wealth of information can also give us conflicting views. So as much as that chemistry leads us one way, we have to tap into the rational brain and assess if this will be healthy connection. Most importantly, do take red flags seriously; don’t overlook them thinking you can change the other or that once things settle down, all will be well. I have come to hear too many admit to doubts standing at the altar and afterwards, regretting the choices made. On the other hand, there are many who launch into a relationship despite reservations and end up being happy they did.

Life is full of risks. It’s how much you take and how you deal with the end result that matter.

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Author Profile

Janan Broadbent, PhD
Janan Broadbent, PhD
As a psychologist in private practice since 1979, Janan Broadbent, Ph. D. offers individual, couples, group and family therapy, in addition to conducting workshops on topics such as stress management, communication skills and assertiveness. She writes about current issues relevant to relationship building and conflict resolution in LGBTQ and minority populations, with emphasis on health, fitness and education.

Born in Turkey, Dr. Broadbent earned her undergraduate degree in psychology in 1965. At that time, first as a Fulbright Scholar, then as a CENTO Fellow, she received her master's and doctorate degrees in psychology and education from the University of California at Los Angeles. She has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in psychology at St.Mary's College of Maryland, Mt. Vernon College in Washington, D. C., Johns Hopkins University and the College of Notre Dame in Baltimore. From 1981 to 1988, she was also the Director of Counseling at Notre Dame College.
While in graduate school, Dr. Broadbent worked for the Voice of America radio program, writing and recording materials on the cross-cultural college experience. She has been interviewed on various news programs on TV and has received media training.
Dr. Broadbent is a member of the American Psychological Association and has served as the chair for the Public Affairs Board and as a member of the Executive Council of the Maryland Psychological Association.
Dr. Broadbent's office is located at:
Village of Cross Keys, 120 West Quadrangle, 2 Hamill Road, Baltimore, Maryland 21210-1847 phone: 410-825-5577