Love is a profound emotion that can have numerous physical repercussions. It also evolves over time.
Love is an intense feeling of deep affection, warmth, and respect for someone. It can be difficult to let go, especially when it begins to feel like an obligation.
The Attraction Phase
The initial stage of love involves physical attraction and the rush of hormones that fuel your desire for a new partner. These hormones, particularly testosterone (for men) and oestrogen (for women), have an immense effect on our body’s reproductive system; they also boost energy levels and sex drive significantly.
Pheromones, which are innocuous chemicals humans emit and can be detected by other humans’ noses, also play a role in this stage. Not only do these signals attract you to a potential partner, but they help your brain decide whether or not you can form an emotional bond with them.
At this stage, you may start spending more time thinking about your beloved. This could include daydreaming about them while on the bus, during meetings or while taking a shower. The attraction stage is marked by increased dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin production in your brain.
You may begin to lose interest in other people due to your growing adoration for your partner. This is often referred to as “lovesickness,” and it can lead to power struggles as well.
Eventually, this stage can transition into “emotional attachment.” At this point, both you and your lover may feel committed to each other and creating a life together. At this stage, both of you are aware of both their positive and negative qualities and are eager to work towards creating an enjoyable, healthy relationship.
This phase is marked by the release of hormones that promote bonding and trust, such as oxytocin and vasopressin. These chemicals are believed to help create a strong and lasting connection between lovers.
Many of us mistakenly think we can control our love, but it is actually a biological process that takes its course over time. This could explain why the sensation of love can last a lifetime.
In order for a relationship to last, it must pass through certain stages. Each one can be challenging to navigate on your own; if you find yourself in an untenable situation and require advice, a licensed therapist can offer invaluable help.
The Attachment Phase
The attachment phase of love is when two individuals form a secure and lasting bond. During this stage, couples often experience growth, learn to depend on one another, and form stronger connections than ever before.
Romantic love is marked by a surge of dopamine and serotonin, as well as hormones that promote connection and intimacy such as oxytocin (aka “love”) and vasopressin. Studies have demonstrated that when these hormones are released in the presence of someone you care about, it signals healthy bonding and attachment processes.
It’s easy to become caught up in the romance and euphoria of this stage, which is why some couples may experience such intense emotional and physical attraction for an extended period. Nonetheless, this rush of euphoria eventually wears off as attachment and long-term love develop within a relationship.
Researchers have also observed that being in love can impair your ability to recognize red flags in a relationship. When infatuated, parts of your brain responsible for danger detection (the amygdala) and decision making (frontal lobe) temporarily shut down, making it difficult to make accurate judgments about the quality of a relationship or your partner’s behavior.
If you’re feeling restless in your relationship or worried about how love works, consulting a therapist might be beneficial. This is especially true if the relationship is having an adverse effect on your mental health or leading to unhealthy behaviors and attachment patterns.
In the attachment phase, you and your partner are not only focused on each other’s needs but also their desires and aspirations. This can be beneficial for a relationship as it forces both of you to be honest about feelings and thoughts as well as any areas where improvement may be necessary in order for both of you to feel fulfilled together.
When this stage of a relationship isn’t handled well, it can lead to serious problems such as depression and anxiety. If the strain on your mental health has become unbearable and you’re experiencing strong emotions that seem out of character for your attachment style, professional assistance may be needed.
The Commitment Phase
In the early stages of a relationship, people often experience feelings of euphoria and giddiness. This is an entirely normal reaction to dopamine release when you think about your partner and want to spend time with them. But this phase can only last so long; once it ends, your connection with them deepens and deeper feelings may arise.
This stage can last anywhere from three months to two years, depending on the nature and circumstances of a relationship. While this is often the most enjoyable and exciting part of a relationship, it is still essential that you progress from here in order to ensure your bond with your partner remains strong for years ahead.
Once you and your partner have reached this stage, it’s time to declare your love commitment official. You have decided that no matter what challenges come your way, your love for each other will endure. This could involve making sacrifices to meet each other’s needs or helping them reach their life objectives – career related or not.
With your partner, you have the chance to be vulnerable and open up without holding back. Now is an ideal time to learn more about their interests, hobbies and passions. This is an excellent opportunity to get to know them better and assist in developing a sense of self for each other.
However, it’s also a time when you should be mindful that your relationship as individuals is evolving and it will be necessary to maintain communication, respect and honesty in order to remain committed. While this can be challenging at times, maintaining these elements of your relationship is essential if you want your bond to thrive.
As with the previous stages, consulting a licensed therapist if your relationship is causing issues is recommended. You should also be mindful of any negative changes in mood or behavior and discuss these with your partner.
The Healing Phase
The Healing Phase is one of the most essential phases in any relationship. Here, you begin to address issues and break any negative patterns or habits. Though this can be challenging and take a lot of effort, if successful then the rewards will be immense.
As you progress through this stage, you may begin to relax more with your partner. You will enjoy talking and connecting with them, providing an emotional release as well. You may also begin enjoying activities together like going to the cinema, catching up on TV shows or going out for dinner.
At this stage, you will begin to appreciate each other’s generosity, humor, resilience, flexibility, boundaries and self-care. Together you will work on deepening your love and becoming the best version of yourself; this will enable a long term healthy relationship.
Many people get into the habit of trying to control their partners and ensure they do all the right things, which can lead to a loss in trust between them. To avoid this from occurring, allow yourself to be your own person while respecting the individuality of your partner as they are.
Maintaining personal goals and aspirations is also beneficial. Living in a relationship that does not allow for growth can be toxic for both of you, so make sure to set some time aside each day to work towards becoming the best version of yourself possible.
Many adults carry the trauma of childhood into adulthood, which can have a devastating effect on their relationships. These remnants can lead to chronic stress, difficulty controlling emotions and difficulty being present in intimate settings.
These survival mechanisms can be difficult to break away from and often stem from similar experiences, but if you can build new relationships that give you autonomy, safety, respect and love then this is an excellent way to begin letting go of those old defenses.
The Healing Phase of How Love Works involves learning to forgive yourself and others for past experiences and behaviors. Although this can be a difficult step to take, it is necessary for overall health and wellbeing. Furthermore, the rewards from this journey will be immense as you move forward with life.