Falling in love is one of the most blissful feelings we as humans get to experience. Everything around us seems so much lighter and brighter as emotions take over our entire being and we (often) view the other person through rose-colored glasses. We all know about the emotional aspect of love from our personal perspectives, but what about from a scientific point of view. Take a look at these five things science has to say about falling in love.
Attraction is the infatuation phase where we “catch feelings” for another on a physical level. Dopamine and adrenaline levels rise as we become excited and slightly obsessed when thinking about that person. It is at this phase that many people view their partner through rose-colored glasses, thinking they can do no wrong and refusing to acknowledge their shortcomings. “Love is blind,” they say. This may be the case, but the best chance of a relationship prospering is by taking off those glasses.
When two people fall for each other, they both feel that spark that becomes an overwhelming blaze that takes over their entire body. Their brain is flooded with neurotransmitters that make them want to stay up late, having long talks well into the night, almost every day of the week. This is known as limerence, a mental state of profound romantic infatuation. The interesting thing is that we become triggered by very specific people with the right combination of smell, feel and appearance. This might be connected to the phenomenon of love at first sight.
Phenethylamine, also known as PEA, is a chemical compound that can be found both in our brains and in nature. It’s a nervous system stimulant which affects our mood and overall energy levels due to its effect on dopamine, serotonin and other hormones and also unlocks the brain’s natural potential for maximum stimulation. It sharpens our attention and focus, makes us goal-oriented and increases our ability to get things done. In short, PEA is responsible for that rush of emotions we feel when falling in love.
Oxytocin plays a huge role in how we feel about our crush/partner as it helps increase the bond and trust between individuals. However, oxytocin does a lot more than make us all mushy and giggly- it also changes the way we think of other people. It makes us think better of those we like and a little less in how we perceive those we aren’t fans of. Increasing levels of oxytocin is also said to lead to lovemaking which can strengthen a couple’s bond. This effect lasts for several weeks after each act of lovemaking.
And finally we get to attachment, where we’ve bonded with our partner with the deepest possible part of ourselves. Those chemicals that make us all giddy and excited are now replaced by oxytocin, the cuddle chemical and vasopressin, the monogamy hormone which makes us want to settle down and have a family. Attachment extends way beyond romantic relationships; it also shows up in our friendships, family and even childhood as an expression of platonic love for those in our lives who we care about.
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