He’s everything my ex wasn’t. He’s consistent, makes plans and tells me how much he enjoys my company without me having to ask. I like him but I’m not “in like” if that makes sense. I want to give him a chance but I can’t stop thinking about my ex.
This makes total sense.
If you watched Sex and The City, you remember this episode.
Carrie, everybody’s favorite Toxic Friend, found herself jonesing for drama. We all know someone like Carrie. They’re not happy unless they have something to obsess over, something to use to drag the spotlight back on them. Carrie was famous for this.
Aidan was stead-as-they-come. Dependable. Affectionate.
That was the problem. It wasn’t that he was too nice so much as he was consistent. And we all know how much Carrie hated consistency. He hated it so much that she made it her life’s work to blow up her life every chance she got. Turns out, there was a reason for this. (One of many, but we’re going to focus on one for now.)
Ask a psychoanalyst why you keep falling for the “wrong” one, and he will draw it back to an unconscious desire for suffering — something that stems from childhood and harboring painful experiences. But ask a neuroscientist, and he will offer considerable evidence that nature is the dubious culprit; that the constant attraction to inconstant love is rooted deep in the brain — more specifically, the reward circuitry of the brain.
When we receive a reward and it’s unexpected, the dopamine release is greater, resulting in a more pleasurable experience than if we were to receive a reward that was anticipated. This helps explain the paradox of being unhappy with a partner because they’re unreliable but continuing to go back to them time and time again.
Mr. Big, the ultimate Fuckboy, was unpredictable. Because their relationship was so tumultuous, Carrie was constantly experiencing huge doses of dopamine. Eventually, she became dependent on that rush from the dopamine. If you noticed, Carrie would drop whatever she was doing when he called. If he wanted to get together, she’d make it happen. Big was like heroin for Carrie. A a result, like many addicts, she’d even lie or engage in reckless behavior just to get a hit.