John Tierney describes some new research that suggests falling in and out of love, or "bonding," may soon be found in a pill.
Click the link for the details, but in short, the chemical in the mammalian brain which is responsible for long-term bonding feelings has been identified, and so has a way to block its action. Scientists can make a vole (normally a monogamous animal) become promiscuous by blocking her bonding chemicals, or make her bond with the first things she sees by dousing her brain in a dose.
Unrequited love will soon have a cure, or two cures really:
Cure 1. So long as you can get the drugs into your beloved's body, and position yourself to be the "imprinted one," you can make him/her love you back.
Cure 2. Alternately, if you are less evil, you could cure your own feelings of love-sickness by blocking all bonded feelings you have to that person.
This would make divorces go much easier (since the deserted party could simply un-bond with a pill), or possibly save marriages, if both partners are willing to take a dose together and attempt to re-bond.
There are other scenarios, though: what if a man really wants to bed his hot co-worker, and he knows she's sort of attracted to him too, but she's completely faithful to her boyfriend or husband, and so would never, ever? A chemical can un-bond her from her once-true-love, and she will feel nothing about a dalliance with him -- or anyone else.
What if some creepy stalker manages to get this into his object's bloodstream, and traps her in a bond that she would never have chosen?
What if single, middle-aged women, desperate for marriage and kids before it's too late (stereotype, yes, but it still happens), start mixing doses of bonding chemical into the drinks of men who would otherwise be one-night-stands?
The possibilities are endless, and disturbing, and I suppose the reason why is that we don't like to think that something so intimate and important to us as falling in love could be chemically-induced. Horniness? Sure. That's fleeting and meaningless anyway, and even if it is illegal and immoral to slip someone a rufie or a viagra to make them want (or "accept") your body, such misdeeds can't hold a candle to the creepiness of a pill that makes you fall in love, bond with someone long-term, to where you'll want to spend the rest of your life, have kids, buy a house, grow old... somehow that seems to be crossing a line into our "humanity," but the drug will come and the line will be crossed. In our lifetimes, we'll all probably end up taking one of these soon-to-come drugs. Hopefully knowingly.