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20 Oct 2021
Love - Is it all just Chemical?
The beginning of love and a relationship is filled with excitement, as soon as you have left them, you can’t wait until you can see each other or talk again. You get butterflies at the thought of meeting up, and soon they are all you can think about!
It is easy to assimilate the above feelings as ‘falling in love’, certainly the combination of lust and love can leave you feeling as though you have met your soul-mate. But there is a reason that scientists, writers, professors and more have debated and written about love for centuries, some even describing it as a ‘temporary madness’! That is because, there are a lot of chemical reactions at play, when we go through the three phases of love: lust, attraction and attachment.
Both men and women are driven by hormones in the process of falling in lust (testosterone and oestrogen – in case you were wondering). These hormones are part of the process of what piques our interest, why we choose one person over another.
Love & Attraction
You would think that attraction comes first, but in fact it is the second part of the process after lust. It is in this phase that you are besotted by your new friend. This time it’s all in the brain: adrenaline, serotonin and dopamine all kick in to gear, making you giddy and restless in love, as messages go back and forth from your body and brain.
You are probably familiar with dopamine; it is the high that is often associated with drug addiction. The reward system in the brain can get equally excited about chocolate, caffeine and other stimulants – in this case love…
Serotonin is the reason why it seems we have a one-track mind when in lust, the levels are lower than normal, and this allows us to literally become infatuated with another person.
Lastly another thing is at work during these phases, our negativity levels fall and our social judgement is impaired. So, we literally see through ‘rose-tinted-glasses’. This may be why our friends or family do not always see what we see in our new partner, they are not blinded by love.
The honeymoon phase of a relationship, which will encompass all of the above can last anywhere from six months to three years. By which time couples are reaching the last stage – Attachment.
In this phase you are highly comfortable with your partner. You feel very close to them, and content – in other words attached as a couple entity.
Hormones are still at play, this time oxytocin and vasopressin – and the more physical contact and affection between the partnership the more these hormones are released.
So, whether you are looking back at the start of your relationship or are embarking on a new one. You can rest assured that feeling like you are going just a little bit mad is normal, and that you can’t underestimate the chemical effect that are your hormones!Tweet