Happiness on Venus

Ladies, this one’s for you (and guys, you will thank me later).

So, some years ago, after a spate of fights with my then-boyfriend (none other than the Mr), I went out and in typical nerd-style, bought a book: Why Mars and Venus Collide by John Gray. I’m not a big fan of self-help books but if you’ve ever felt overwhelming urges to swat the back of your man’s head and find yourself moaning to your girlfriends that he doesn’t listen to a word I say!, I highly recommend this book.

The best part for me though, is the 90/10 rule. This, ladies, is our scientifically-backed decree to have a girls’ night out. Come closer and hang on to every word.

First, let’s backtrack a little and talk about stress. Picture this, Tuesday 7pm, the Mr comes back from the office with a hard face and a shuttered look in his eyes. What’s wrong? I’d asked. Nothing, he’d answer and fixate on the news or a football game. It’s obviously, not nothing! But by now I know it’s futile to badger him for answers. And then there’s me. If I’m upset, I have to exorcize all the toxic feelings by talking it all out. The proper explanation for why we behave this way is in the book but in a nutshell, when women are stressed we need oxytocin also affectionately known as the love hormone or the cuddle chemical. We produce great quantities of this during childbirth, lactation and orgasm. Friendships, sharing, caring and nurturing are also oxytocin triggers. When I realized this, I understood why I’m always filled with a happy glow after spending time with my girlfriends. Following this thread of logic, the Mr should be the main contributor of my oxytocin levels.

Ha! Bullshit.


It wasn’t just a matter of having the South China Sea separating us for years, it’s just not how men are wired and it’s unfairly setting them up for failure to expect this of them. It revolutionized my mind to know that I have to take 90% responsibility for my own happiness a.k.a oxytocin levels. When I already feel good about myself, the 10% that comes from my partner makes a huge difference. I go from feeling good to great. If you’re thinking hmmm, that just sounds like a convenient excuse for the men to slack off in relationships, then take a hard look at your partner. If he does that, chances are, he wasn’t that into you in the first place (ouch!). A man who values you will do his damnest to make you happy and when his efforts are the icing on the cake for you, it’s a recipe for success.

Now for the fun bit. How do we create our own oxytocin? Simple: by treating ourselves to activities that are rewarding and connecting with others besides our partner. These are my top five personal favorites:

5. Buying flowers for myself and displaying them at home

4. Sweating it out ungracefully at Zumba

3. Shopping or just window-shopping (sometimes all I need is the smell of the mall)

2. Spa – massage/facial/hair/manicure/pedicure (not all at once of course)

1. Being with my friends – doesn’t matter what we’re doing but most of the time, there’s food involved

How about you, ladies? What gives you a happy buzz? Let’s treat ourselves to at least one nice thing this week. After all, it’s practically a law of the universe, isn’t it? 😉

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