Signs of falling in love
You are bursting with energy, bubbling of excitement and may also be quite unfocused, because you only think of… him!
Read why both body and brain run in a completely different gear when infatuation takes over.
What really happens when you experience love at first sight?
Love, at first sight, is real.
It strikes if the other party has a special symmetry or an expression that, for example, signals good fertility. It makes him or her more attractive and arouses immediate interest. It is most often men who are struck by love at first sight. That women tend to be more critical is probably related to the fact that, from an evolutionary point of view, we have had a greater need to be completely sure of our choice of mate.
THE 3 PHASES OF LOVE
- Desire. In the first phase of infatuation, several sex hormones are secreted, such as testosterone, which makes you more open and receptive.
- Attraction. Then your dopamine levels increase, which causes your attention to focus more on a particular person.
- Affiliation. You connect with each other, thanks to oxytocin, which is triggered by physical touch, kisses and orgasm. Desire may decrease, but devotion grows.
THE HORMONES AFFECT WHO WE CHOOSE
We can choose a potential partner according to many rational criteria. But in practice, we are most likely to fall for people who have a high serotonin content in the body. It makes them happier, flirtatious and open to others. Conversely, we are also even more susceptible to infatuation when we have lots of serotonin whizzing around the veins.
… in your brain? Falling in love is incredibly much about chemistry and chemical reactions in the brain. The infatuation is controlled especially from the forehead lobes and the centre of the brain, ie. the places where the reward centres are. The primordial brain starts when the very basic needs for sleep, food and sex are met. As a reward for falling in love, you produce a large amount of the hormone dopamine, which makes you happy. Just the thought of the one you are in love with can make dopamine production grow. Dopamine is highly addictive and will make you crave more, more and more. It contributes to the brain and body.
… When you touch each other? Especially during the first period of time is often characterized by a lot of physical closeness – sex, kisses, hugs and holding hands. The constant urge to touch each other is a cunning mechanism that aims to bind you closer together. The body contact, especially the touch of the nipples, thus triggers the hormone oxytocin, which increases your attachment to each other. In addition, orgasms have the pleasant side benefit that they release endorphins, which provide well-being and make you relaxed and happy. So intimacy and sex increase the desire for more of the same kind. And it all strengthens your relationship, so you have built cohesion when the love one day begins to wane.
… With your senses? Falling in love sharpens your senses. You will experience a more intense sensation, for example by the scent of your chosen one. But the sense of smell also comes into play already in the selection phase. Our sweat glands secrete pheromones, which unconsciously affect others. The pheromones give hints about, for example, men’s genome, women’s menstrual cycle, and the drugs that make men find women attractive.
… With your empathy? You have greater empathy when you are in love. It is empathy that helps to open you up to closeness and get you tuned in to make a connection to another human being. It is especially the hormone serotonin, which makes you extra open and receptive to your surroundings. And your joy and happiness is probably also so great that you can not help but share it at all.
… With your judgment? Falling in love tends to give us blinders on and make us ‘blind’. It is quite common that in the first phase we see only the good qualities of the other person. And if there are flaws and shortcomings, they are just charming. One of the explanations is that the level of serotonin in the body changes and makes you less controlled, more impulsive and almost obsessed with the one you are in love with.
… With your energy level? Falling in love works in two directions on your energy level. The bubbling joy and rushing happiness on the one hand give you the strength to overcome the entire world. On the other hand, it’s a huge amount of energy to be in love, so it’s also a very exhausting phase to be in.
… With your stress level? Falling in love is a stressful process in itself. The hormonal effects of stress and infatuation, respectively, have many similarities. Among other things, it increases the amount of the stress hormone cortisol in the body in both cases. However, oxytocin, which you get a proper shot of with all the physical proximity, has a calming and de-stressing effect and at the same time pulls in the other direction. In addition, your focus will also be quite one-sidedly directed at your emotions so that everything else steps into the background. As long as everything seems wonderful, everyday challenges and stressful moments have a very hard time knocking you down.
… When it become everyday? After a period of three to six months, the ‘honeymoon’ period is typically over, and the infatuation is replaced by an attachment urge. Being with your partner no longer triggers the same amount of dopamine. You open your eyes to his or her faults and shortcomings. A bit like when children discover that their parents are not perfect, but are also just ordinary people for better or worse. If you come to the conclusion that you are actually quite enthusiastic about the other person with all the faults and shortcomings, then the love itself begins to sprout and take over.
… When you fall in love late in life? Falling in love has no age. Fortunately, we can fall in love throughout life. But there may be a tendency for the young infatuation to be more intense and omnivorous than the more mature one. Without it necessarily having to do with age itself. Later in life, there may be more obligations, and therefore we may let reason fill up a little more the older we get. Even in a love affair. But lightning strikes, regardless of the year of the birth certificate.