Love can be an elusive concept; each individual holds different opinions about how romance develops and whether or not it lasts or fades over time.
But there is plenty of science behind why and how we fall in love, with scientists finding that hormones such as oxytocin and others play an integral part in stimulating human love and attachment processes.
Love is a chemical response
Love is the intense emotion we experience toward another individual or group – be it romantic, platonic, familial, etc.
Love can be defined in many different ways, yet scientists believe its roots lie within evolution. Love may have developed as an adaptation to fulfill a basic need shared by all living organisms: reproduction.
As soon as a relationship begins to form, your body sends out hormones – such as phenylethylamine, dopamine, and norepinephrine – into your brain that affect emotions related to love.
Early lust chemicals cause you to feel dizzy, yet euphoric and highly attractive to the object of your affection. In addition, these hormones increase your libido and create an overwhelming desire to be around that person as much as possible.
At first, when dating is appealing, anxiety and stress may also arise, possibly leading to OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).
As you continue dating the person of your interest, your brain begins to adapt; in particular, the nucleus accumbens (a round structure in your brain which regulates how much dopamine is released) becomes increasingly active.
Dopamine production increases when you enter a new relationship and as more ways are found to connect, your love only becomes deeper and stronger.
Oxytocin, another neurotransmitter released when you experience new love, plays an integral part in strengthening relationships and increasing trust with a partner. It plays an integral role in making you feel closer and forming new bonds between lovers.
To increase oxytocin, try eating foods rich in amino acids, essential fats, caffeine, L-theanine, ginseng and omega-3 fatty acids. Or take supplements containing these ingredients to naturally boost love chemistry.
Scientists are studying what causes love to form within us and hope to develop drugs to strengthen it further. Through studying its mechanisms, scientists hope to discover new treatments to strengthen relationships.
Love is a feeling
Love is one of the strongest feelings a human can experience. It makes us feel grateful, protective, vulnerable and ready to go the extra mile for those we care for – which are all attributes we can experience as lovers.
Love can be a complex emotion that many struggle to comprehend, so it’s crucial that we learn its workings and different forms it takes. There are various kinds of love; romantic between two individuals, non-romantic platonic affection between friends, and intense unconditional affection among them all.
As soon as you fall in love, the initial feelings can leave a flutter in your stomach or bring excitement when thinking of your partner – this feeling is known as the honeymoon phase and won’t always remain present. Though these initial sensations may last briefly, eventually things settle down over time and new feelings begin to form.
Live Science reports that love is created through primitive neural systems involved with drive, reward recognition and euphoria — essential processes in survival.
Studies conducted with MRI technology demonstrate that people in love are equipped with primitive systems when thinking about their partner, providing us with a means to express affection and affectionate relationships. These processes help us express affection and attachment – something all relationships aim for.
However, relationships can also be sources of great anxiety as your feelings change as you learn more about each person involved. You might begin to fear that their love might change over time or that they won’t always be there when needed.
These feelings can be uncomfortable at times, yet are necessary for healthy growth in relationships. You shouldn’t allow your emotions or the person you love to rule you; therefore it is crucial that you accept and work through them.
If you are concerned about how you’re feeling, seeking professional assistance may help better understand what’s going on and how best to move forward with life. Counseling or therapy sessions or joining a support group could all provide essential resources.
Love is a habit
Love is a complex emotion that has played an enduring role in human history. Although there are various definitions for it, one general understanding is that love consists of feelings such as affection, protectiveness and respect toward another person or thing.
Love is something we experience daily; from our spouses, parents, children and friends to animals and principles that we support.
Strong feelings of love can last long into the future if the person you adore is close to your heart, as you may experience it every time you think or see them; your heart may beat faster, your face flush with tears, and eyes filled with watery tears when remembering or visualizing them in your mind’s eye.
Be it with your partner, family member or friend, feeling love is something to treasure and hold onto – knowing it will help ease some of life’s toughest challenges.
Your actions and behavior should show your partner just how much you care. Doing this triggers the release of oxytocin hormone in your brain which acts to strengthen bonds between two individuals.
Psychology Today reports that higher oxytocin levels increase mutual eye gaze and alleviate pain while creating a sense of wellbeing and attraction between partners.
Therefore, it’s essential that both partners maintain positive and constructive communication. Together, you should feel free to discuss everything from food choices and finances to your romantic goals and your interests.
When this doesn’t happen, it could be a sign of falling out of love with each other. To determine this for certain, take an honest appraisal of your relationship to find out where things stand.
If your partner fails to make efforts to make you feel good when they see you, this could be a telltale sign that your relationship has moved past romance into habitual behavior rather than true love. There’s an enormous difference between the two forms of relationships so it’s wise to take time and assess if this applies in your case.
Love is a choice
Love is an inextricable part of being human, an organic process that occurs between people when they come together in relationship. At first blush it can feel exciting and joyous but for lasting love to last it requires daily actions to strengthen connections, trust, and mutual respect between partners.
At first blush of romance, you might feel completely dedicated to your partner and eager to do anything they need from you in times of difficulty or make their lives simpler. Yet relationship experts caution that in the rush of emotions that first love brings, impulsive decisions could occur that could endanger their relationship.
Instead, it is better to take some time and consider whether the choices you are making align with your values and aspirations for the future. If they don’t, it is often best to find someone else.
Keep in mind that love takes work; therefore it is common for couples to work through differences and look for ways to strengthen their bond.
Love and kindness can go a long way toward showing your partner you care about them and are invested in their wellbeing. Do this through small gestures such as arriving early for job interviews or helping out when someone has had a particularly tough day at work.
Remind your partner what makes them special by showing appreciation for their individual characteristics. Give a compliment or remember their favorite things as ways of showing that love.
As part of your preparation for future relationships, it’s also important to take good care of yourself. Eating well, getting enough sleep, and engaging in exercise are all proven strategies for strengthening bonds between couples.
If you’re struggling to be an attentive and loving partner, therapy may be an invaluable asset. Simply complete a brief questionnaire online and be connected with an appropriate therapist near your location.