Would you like to know how the brain of a person in love works? In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about how it feels when we are in love from a neuroscience perspective.
We will talk about what love is and the chemicals it activates in the brain and what you will feel during the different stages of this wonderful cognitive process that is love.
What is love?
Ask anyone and they will probably give you a different definition of what love means to them. Some people say love is about the feeling of excitement and passion when you are with your partner. Someone else will say that it is a matter of trust, honesty, and comfort that comes from a long-term relationship. Western psychologists define this as an “emotional union” with another person.
If you’re looking for a simple definition of love, according to Google, it’s “An intense feeling of deep affection.” You are not here to define what love is but to know how it works at the level of neuroscience.
According to biological anthropologist Helen Fisher. There are three basic brain systems that have evolved for relationships and reproduction:
- Physical attraction: Physical desire has evolved to seek s exual partners and can be concentrated on several people at the same time.
- Romantic Attraction: This is an attraction centered on one person to allow you to bond emotionally with them.
- Attachment: This feeling of a deep union has evolved to allow you to stay with someone long enough to raise a single child together until infancy.
These three brain systems work together to create different forms of love. For example, there is a difference between love and love passion and according to Ficher, the romantic attraction will last between 6 months and 2 years and then turn into attachment.
Before entering neuroscience with the biochemistry of a loving brain, you must understand that love is unique for everyone and there is no singular emotion of love. We experience it and feel it in different ways.
For example, some people describe love as intense and passionate, while others describe it as peaceful and comfortable. Love can be felt so many different emotions at the same time.
How does the biochemistry of the brain of a person in love work?
Love usually begins with an intense feeling of joy. When we first fall in love, most people are very happy and passionate. Why?
According to neuroscientist Loretta G. Breuning, love stimulates all the chemicals in the brain that are the source of well-being. This is why it is so good, but the biochemistry of our brain is primarily used to motivate reproduction, not to make you feel good all the time. This is why a good feeling does not last. This is the reason why the beginning of a romantic relationship looks like a “high” drug and that it eventually fades over time.
So let’s take a look at each chemical in your brain that causes love.
Dopamine is a brain chemical that it’s released to alert us that our needs are about to be met. When you finally kiss the woman or man you are chasing, dopamine is activated. When you think you’ve finally found your soul mate, dopamine is mass-activated and is associated with feelings of euphoria, happiness, motivation, and focus.
Dopamine is released very early when you start falling in love very early. It is a stimulant that can give you a beating heart and moist palms. Besides making you feel good in the early stages of love, it can also make you anxious and obsessive.
Oxytocin, also called the “hug hormone”, is a brain chemical that is stimulated by touch and confidence. This chemical can explode by holding hands, hugging and being comforted. For many people, love is about trust and comfort. Oxytocin is, therefore, an important factor in producing these feelings of well-being.
The best feeling to describe this brain chemical is a feeling of warmth and blurring. Feeling warm, confused and comforted is also a common way to describe love.
In a relationship, serotonin is said to be released by the pride of associating with a person of a certain stature. This may sound a bit “wrong”, but throughout the animal kingdom, higher status social groups are more successful in reproduction.
So your brain rewards you with the serotonin that does you good when you seek status. It can be money, success, kindness, authenticity, social skills, fitness or a host of reasons.
When you receive affection from an individual considered “desirable”, serotonin is triggered in the brain. And when your partner receives admiration from others, it will also trigger serotonin. The release of serotonin can also trigger dependence on another person.
Having high levels of serotonin is associated with a positive, happy, confident and flexible feeling. Conversely, a low level of serotonin can make you feel negative, worried or irritable. So a happy and stable relationship will contribute to your serotonin level throughout your relationship.
Endorphins are released during physical contact and intercourse. They give a high and they are also stimulated by physical pain. This is one of the reasons why some physical pain seems to subside at the time of the sexual act.
They play a key role in long-term relationships. Endorphins become more important between 18 months and 4 years of a relationship since the brain stops depending on love stimulants like dopamine to turn to chemicals like oxytocin and endorphins because they are associated feelings of attachment and comfort. This is why you can feel soothed and comforted by the presence of your partner.
What are the symptoms of a person in love?
Your heart beats every time he/she enters the room. You are pissed off and cannot think properly. You have a hard time doing things because you are so distracted by the thoughts of your new relationship.
Here are some symptoms of a person in love:
- You only have eyes for him/her. You not only see the beauty on the outside you also see its beauty on the inside.
- You feel like you are floating on a cloud. If you are in love, you will live a life with the impression that your feet never touch the ground.
- You cannot concentrate. Love can make you forget your game and it can be difficult to focus on what you need to do. You will count the minutes until you are together again.
- You always think of the other. Love not only blinds you to the rest of the world, but it also fills your brain with many amazing thoughts and prevents you from doing what needs to be done.
- You want the best for your lover. If you love someone, you want incredible things for him/her.
- You are ready to try new things. Love makes you do all kinds of crazy things, but it also makes you more open to things that you kept away from before.
- You feel exhausted. When your brain is filled with a distraction in love, you can get really frustrated with your lack of focus.
- You feel connected to each other. When you are in love, you enjoy each other’s company and you need nothing more than just being together.
Love is a complex emotion that triggers different chemicals in the brain at different stages of the relationship. They are essential in helping two people stay in touch, as they are associated with feelings of attachment and comfort.
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