The Neuroplasticity of Relationships

  • Do YOU believe the RIGHT PARTNER is out there,

    Video by Sentis

    if only you could meet him or her?

  • Are you seeking diversion, escape or freedom from your current relationship?
  • Would you recognize the RIGHT PARTNER if you met, made a commitment, and shared your home?

Yes, there are all types of people in this world and none of us are exactly the same. We were raised in unique socioeconomic and cultural settings with different family dynamics, and individual life experiences. The neural connections in our brain, the hormonal influences upon our body, and the way we hold onto and interpret our memories enable us to develop personal beliefs and personal understandings about relationships, business and the way the world works.

Bring any 2 people together and there may or may not be an immediate attraction. Without attraction, we may quickly dismiss the other person and avoid becoming more intimate. However, when we connect with someone who stimulates our emotions and triggers the release of hormones, we tend to want to pursue further contact. As we spend more time together and have explored and enjoyed the many ways in which we are similar or different and what we like about each other, eventually our perspective will change. After enjoying the newness, the excitement, the sense of potential and possibility, we eventually reach an awareness of what we don’t like about this other person. We begin to question our original emotions and our previous decision to get more involved and make a lasting commitment.

As a relationship continues and we have made a personal commitment to remain with this person “for the rest of our life,” we often experience real changes in our brain, our emotions and our attitudes. Because the other person is present and available, we often overlook their good qualities and focus on what we don’t like and wish they would change. (Women are notorious for choosing an exciting, boyish, playboy-type male partner and then wanting and expecting him to become a sensitive, caring, and loyal mature partner. Sometimes that actually does happen, but more often the male just digs his heals into the ground and becomes less and less interested and less loyal.)

Everyone goes through this period of doubt and disillusion with a special relationship because we are flooded with hormones at certain points and depleted of these same hormones at other points. We have conversations with friends and family and co-workers. We watch movies and videos, connect online, and usually cannot help comparing our self and our experiences to others.

There IS a way out of this continual state of excitement with something new and the disillusion, boredom and wanting to escape from something old and familiar. The solution is in the brain and its capacity to grow and change throughout life. Brain Plasticity, the capacity to continue to make new neural connections, enables us to repeatedly create new habits of thought, develop new skill sets and alter our beliefs, attitudes and actions.

Creating and sustaining satisfying, intimate and loving relationships involves continually allowing our partner to influence us, to alter our brain patterns so that we expand our loving feelings. When we choose to escape, through chemical or other addictions, or when we stop listening to our own or our partner’s expressed and unexpressed needs and desires, we literally reinforce our current habit patterns and thought processes. Those qualities in our self and in our partner that we don’t like and resist accepting seem to expand in our consciousness and create deeper grooves in our brain. As we accept and forgive and let go of expectations, our brain is then more able to process new information and develop new neural pathways.

I am not suggesting that we must remain in a difficult, abusive, violent or in any other way totally unsatisfying relationship. What I am suggesting is that if we leave a difficult, abusive, violent or in any other way totally unsatisfying relationship without finding a way to understand, accept and forgive, we may be headed toward repeating the same old habit patterns in our next relationship and the one after that.

Neural plasticity is the key to creating the life and the relationships you truly want in your life.

CONTACT ME.  I can help you to create and access new neural connections through my unique method of empathic listening and body/mind awareness.

Read a healing book.

Listen to my healing words.


Dr. Erica



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Dr. Erica Goodstone is a Spiritual Relationship Healing Expert helping men and women heal their bodies and their relationships through love. Having presented her comprehensive relationship healing programs throughout the U.S. and Canada over several decades, she has helped literally 1000's of men and women to heal through learning how to love. Dr. Erica believes "Where There is Love There IS a Way". When you love, accept, listen and pay attention to your body, trust your own sense of what you truly desire, and strive to understand, appreciate and really know the other people in your life, anything and everything is possible.

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16 thoughts on “The Neuroplasticity of Relationships

  1. Hello Dr. Erica

    What a fascinating post!! Being married for 10 years it’s very easy to fall into a rut or start to form a habit. Reading your post now I do see when one lets go and puts expectations aside one can really open up and accept new things. Makes total sense!!

    Thank you for sharing this eye opening information!

    • Monisha,

      Our minds really can and do change through our associations with others. A loving partner can help you to feel accepted and valued and that enables you to explore behaving in new ways. An unloving and critical partner can lead to your shutting down and becoming extremely careful – or – you might exaggerate your unhealthy patterns. Love is always the best approach.


      Dr. Erica

  2. Fascinating topic Dr. Erica. I certainly agree with your point about the importance of understanding why a relationship is or isn’t working (though personally I believe if someone’s in an abusive relationship they need to leave first and then work out the hows and whys once they’re safe). There are so many people who bounce from one unsatisfying relationship to another and I can’t even begin to imagine how draining that must be, so hopefully a lot of people see this and take your message to heart.

    • Marquita,

      Many people are living in denial, just holding it all together and coping with the way it is. They are not holding a vision of what is possible and they don’t think they will be able to do what it takes. It boils down to mindset, self-esteem and confidence. When we believe we CAN do it or we want to do it strongly enough, the assistance seems to materialize right before our eyes to help us move toward our goal.
      Dr. Erica

  3. This is a fascinating article. I loved the video and truly learned from it. You know, sometimes when the newness wears off a relationship it is so easy for us to start to find the flaws in our mate. But, I like what the video said about establishing new ways of feeling, thinking and doing.

    This works also as it relates to our mates and our thoughts about them. If we practice lifting them up instead of tearing them down, we now are building new habits. Thanks for sharing.

    • Nathaniel,

      We really can program our brains and actually affect the programming in other people’s brains as well. This works for our intimate relationships with others but also with our self. If we keep feeding our self uplifting and encouraging thoughts and words, we can much more easily create what we want in life.


      Dr. Erica

  4. Erica,

    I find neuroplasticity fascinating! I had to re-program my brain a long time ago concerning relationships. From the same old same old attraction to someone that would be hurtful, or even abusive….I had to put a Stop to it.

    Through many different kinds of therapeutic techniques, I was free! That is how I accepted David in my life. “The nice guy” The person that gave me more love that I ever experienced in my entire life!

    It does work. From there, I keep working on changing patterns in my brain. I found in my journey that EMDR (Rapid Eye Movement) worked the most quickly to rid certain behaviors.

    I’m always on the journey for improvement so there must be a lot going on between these ears of mine 🙂

    Thanks for a wonderful post!


    • Donna,

      Isn’t it amazing how we don’t just easily choose the loving person. I have discovered that for many people it is much easier and more familiar to go after the difficult, avoidant and even abusive partner because while focusing on trying to win over or change the other person we can avoid looking at our self. As we do that inner work and alter the way we think and feel, we can finally choose and appreciate the good in life.

      It really is a lifelong journey to learn how to give and receive love.

      Dr. Erica

  5. Hi Dr.Erica,
    I love the neuroplasticity aspect of our brain. Yes, we can continue to grow and evolve.
    Your post has so many aspects of this and about relationships in it.

    “Those qualities in our self and in our partner that we don’t like and resist accepting seem to expand in our consciousness and create deeper grooves in our brain” is one of your sentences that to me seems very important.
    We can use what we are ‘confronted’ with through other people for our own soul searching healing and adjustments.

    Thank you for sharing your expertise!
    Love and Light!

    • Yorinda,
      Because our brains continually make new neural connections and can change, it is essential to surround ourselves with people who support the highest in us and in themselves. What others think and say and do can have profound effects upon us.
      Dr. Erica

  6. I do believe that someday I’ll find someone for me. I can’t date and have a relationship with someone that doesn’t stimulate my mind. Yeah, some people can tell great stories, but their really intelligence does show through.

    I’ve been dating recently and so far, no dice. The guys had nice stories, but in one date, it was easy to see that I couldn’t find a common ground… and though I did somewhat tone down my Internet savviness, I was over their head… lol.

    I was lucky to have that connection once, so I know it can happen again… it just takes time.

    • Nile,

      Why would you need to “tone down” your internet savviness? Just as we look for our ideal business client, your ideal romantic partner would be someone who shares your level of intelligence, intellectual excitement and technical knowledge. If you have to become less to be accepted, then you are better off to remain alone. There are men out there, computer savvy geeks, who are frustrated by the women who don’t understand what they do and maybe even belittle them for being geeks.

      Just know how amazing and multi-talented you are and don’t let these mediocre people try to bring you down to their level.


      Dr. Erica

  7. Hello Dr. Erica.

    I found this article about neuroplasticity very fascinating and educational. I, too, agree that when we think negatively about our partners, we just reinforce our current patterns and thought processes making those thoughts almost seem automatic.

    So, I really like the idea of accepting, forgetting, and letting go of expectations so that we are open to “new information” as you call it and thereby create new neural connections. It makes a lot of sense to me, especially if you have been in a long term relationship with someone. We change physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually through time so why not see your partner in a “new light”?

    I’m looking forward to learning more about this, so I look forward to your future posts!


    • Karen,

      The world is in the eye of the beholder. What we see through our filtered view creates responses in the other person. We have all seen movies in which a child is behaving badly until he or she has a real experience of being accepted and loved by somebody else.

      Anybody who mistreats us is doing so out of an absence of love. Just as darkness is an absence of light, abusive and unkind behavior is an absence of love – the person does not feel loved and therefore does not share love.

      The change we need to make in our brain is to “Know” with certainty that we are loving and lovable and that does not depend upon the way anyone else responds to us.


      Dr. Erica

  8. David,
    I didn’t mean to define growth as merely redefining the familiar, although when we are open and receptive to learning and discovering more about our current partner or situation, we can and do change our perspective. And we can certainly develop new neural connections by leaving the familiar relationship and connecting with someone new. In fact, at the start of a new relationship we often do start making new neural pathways as we allow this new person to influence and affect our thoughts and behavior. But if our old patterns are deeply ingrained, before the new pathways have had enough time to develop into habit patterns, we will probably return to the old patterns. Developing new brain patterns requires conscious awareness, determination, time, practice and often a quality known as “grit.” It may not be easy to change habit patterns developed within a particular relationship, but it can be well worth the effort in terms of increased mutual satisfaction.
    Dr. Erica

  9. I find it interesting that you discuss neuroplasticity in terms of growth through redefinition of the familiar. “Growth” is most often associated with developing new experiences rather than expanding old ones.

    But I certainly agree that true growth comes from deeper discovery of existing relationships, rather than shallow serial engagement in new ones.

    I’m also intrigued by the nature of habitual behaviour, and particularly, how flight from deepening our relationships can contribute to the hardening of adverse habit patterns, while immersion in them enhances neuroplasticity and allows us to form new neural pathways that can actually liberate us from adverse, repeated behaviours.

    Anxious to hear more about the neuroplasticity of relationships,Dr. Erica.

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