Jul 292013

A recent birthday brought back a treasure trove of beautiful memories from my well wishers, some of whom I’ve spent many beautiful moments with. 

One precious someone signed his birthday wishes, thus: “forever your soul mate,” which rendered me breathless for a moment. Then I felt a surge of adrenaline up my spine and, I must admit, allowed myself to wallow in the myriad of emotions that went through my mind and filled my whole being.  I almost felt embarrassed feeling the way I did, truth be told. 

In retrospect, I must have been in love with this man, for me to have felt the way I did after reading his birthday greetings.  For sure, happy memories of that relationship resurfaced which made me smile all day during my birthday.  Family and friends asked me why I looked so happy at my birthday dinner.  I guess I am just a hopeless romantic!    

I remembered that somewhere in my files, I kept an article about the science of falling in love. I immediately looked it up as I wanted to analyze what made me react the way I did. 

Findings reveal that it takes between 90 seconds and four minutes to determine whether you fancy someone.  These are the stats: 55% is through your body language, 38% is the tone and speed of your voice, and only 7% through what they say.  It is all so true because I know that when I am attracted to someone, my body language changes, the tone of my voice is sweeter, and I hardly pay attention to what he says. 

The first stage of love, based on research by Helen Fisher of Rutgers University, is lust.  I am sure a lot of men will agree with her on this.  It is driven by the sex hormones testosterone and estrogen, in both men and women. 

Lifestyle Feature ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch:

Stage two is attraction.  This is the most wonderful stage because you are so lovestruck and it is all that occupies your mind. Scientists name three neurotransmitters involved in this stage: adrenaline, dopamine, and serotonin.  

Adrenaline is activated in the initial stages of falling for someone.  You feel an adrenaline rush when you unexpectedly bump into a new or old love. Then you feel your heart racing and your mouth getting dry.   

Dopamine: Helen Fisher says, “If lovestruck couples were to have their brains examined, high levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine will be discovered.  This chemical stimulates desire and reward by triggering an intense rush of pleasure.  It has the same effect on the brain as cocaine. Couples often show signs of surging dopamine: increased energy, less need for sleep or food, focused attention and exquisite delight in the smallest details of their novel relationship.” 

Serotonin:  It is one of love’s most important chemicals.  It explains why when you are falling in love, your new lover keeps popping into your thoughts. 

Is love blind?  The saying love is blind is based on the fact that lovers often idealize their partners and magnify their virtues, neglecting to acknowledge their faults.  Psychologists think that couples need to have a rose-tinted view of their relationship.  It makes them want to stay together and enter the third phase of love: attachment

Attachment is the bond that keeps couples together to enter a new phase of their relationship: marriage and having children.  Two hormones are involved in this phase of attachment: oxytoxin, also called the cuddle hormone, and vasopressin. 

Oxytoxin is a powerful hormone released by both men and women during orgasm. It explains why couples feel much closer after having sex.  The theory goes that the more sex a couple has, the deeper their bond becomes.  Oxytoxin, which is released during childbirth, also helps cement the strong bond between mommy and baby. It is what is responsible for a mom’s breast automatically releasing milk at the mere sight and sound of her young baby. 

Vasopressin is another important hormone in the long-term commitment stage and is released after sex. It is also called the anti-diuretic hormone as it works with your kidney to control thirst. 

Love is an often abused word, but there is a whole science behind it.  All three phases of love are exciting to be in, and lucky are those who are in any of its stages.  Even those who are not in any stage at the moment but have experienced being in love are lucky, too!  To quote Shakeaspeare: “It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”!  To be in love with love is also a wonderful feeling as you look at life with such unguarded optimism and positivity that people around you feel loved when you are around!  

Sources: psychology of love researchers Ellen Berscheid and Helen Fisher

 Leave a Reply