When I told my IC at an early session that the feelings I had with AP were like a drug, she said, "Not like. It is a drug." Another book I'm reading indicates that my AP may have been particularly adept at stoking my brain chemicals, to "hook me" on him. (Standard disclaimer: nothing written herein is an expressed or implied excuse for my actions, which are solely mine and not associated with this station or its advertisers.)
BH hates that I got that high from AP, but he does empathize because he's experienced it from (shall we say) unconventional sexual encounters also. I will also state for the record that I recognize my addiction to that drug is dangerous, I'm working to kick it, and it was so not "worth it." We often use the terms "detox" and "withdrawal" here on SI in the A context, but I don't recall it being used to refer to garden-variety relationship break-ups. All of which is a preface to this...
Question: do normally-adjusted people ever experience that intense high, within healthy relationships?
However, I have no experience with CSAB issues so I don't know the science of how later sexual experiences factor in, or anything about risky sex, etc. I can only speak to my feeling what I think you're describing in the early stages of so-called "normal" relationships.
Divorced from (2010) and remarried to (2014) XBH
1-year-old daughter and another baby girl on the way
Yes, felt highs with xAP, with the added kick of the secret/illicit factors which my alcoholic/addict self found just peachy effing dandy. Add in my fantasy constructing active imagination, and it's no wonder I related so much to the acute withdrawal and rejection threads.
I can't speak for "normal" though. I'm not thinking I qualify.
Then again my A was relatively short, 3 months (mostly LD), so it never got past the shiny-new stage.
You may find the following article of interest, titled:
Limerence and the Biochemical Roots of Love Addiction
I have gotten that high plenty of times from healthy, bonded sexual encounters. It requires some work, anticipation, to make it happen, but yes my wife can absolutely do it to me.
As far as a history of CSA, nope. None of the complications of my childhood had a thing to do with abuse.
Complete well-being and peace? That I've felt at the highest level after childbirth . . . Also during/after long distance running.
Intense anticipation and excitement? In the early stages of teenaged-20's relationships. But it wasn't wholly a positive feeling--too obsessive, jumpy and queasy.
I have had to take narcotics for surgical pain and migraine pain. Maybe you're referring to that type of high? If so, nothing in regular life equal that. But it's followed by depression for me when it wears off, and not worth it at all!
For the record, my FOO was the Brady Bunch and I'm basically a thrill avoider. (I do like adventure sports, but not the extreme versions.) My addictions are caffeine in the morning and SI!
fWH, on the other hand, was what you might call unadjusted and toxified by FOO and abuse. I will be asking him about chemical rushes.
Some people jump from relationship to relationship for that dopamine/PEA high.
During that 'high' phase the couple hopefully develop other mutual interests (like children) that bond them going forward when the hormonal high subsides.
Long term it is personality that becomes the principal factor governing relationship success and that is something that cannot accurately be established until the relationship has been underway for many months.
While some experts view limerence as a natural part of early love, others are evaluating its potential placement in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. For now, the best course of action is to begin addressing unhealthy relationship patterns with a therapist.
I'd amend that to say the best course of action is to *stop* the unhealthy relationship patterns, and *stay stopped* with a therapist's help.
sailorgirl, I did feel (and I've seen others on SI say they felt) like a giddy teenager during my As, so it's like that, combined with the endorphin rush from running.