Falling In Love

February 14, 2012

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Category: Awareness, Communication


Falling In Love

On Valentine’s Day we are all sup­posed to be in love. We seem to be expected to fall in love just because a pope in 496 AD pro­nounced a day in the cal­en­dar to honor mar­tyrs, includ­ing one St. Valen­tine. And what if we are not in love? Can we make our­selves be in love, or even bet­ter, can we make oth­ers fall in love with us? These are the ques­tions that peo­ple whose rela­tion­ships are falling apart des­per­ately want to know. Any kind of magic would do the trick. Unfor­tu­nately there is no shortcut.

Falling in love seems to be a purely chem­i­cal process that has noth­ing to do with our inten­tions, will or plans. Falling in love is a genet­i­cally pro­grammed process with the pur­pose of pro­cre­ation, of mak­ing babies. Our genetic intel­li­gence urges us to pro­cre­ate so that genes can keep liv­ing, and uses our bod­ies to that end, it seems. And it does so by excret­ing hor­mones into our blood­stream by mak­ing us want to behave cer­tain way.

Dopamine, a neu­ro­trans­mit­ter, makes you focused on the one you are in love with. You want to spend more time with her/him. When you do some­thing that gives you plea­sure, dopamine is the one that urges you to do it again. Dopamine is released when you eat choco­late, do novel things, hit a hole in one etc. Dopamine gets released when you use drugs, which explains the feel­ing of being “addicted” to your loved one. In other words, dopamine helps you get attached to each other. So, falling in love is a kind of addic­tion. It cer­tainly feels like it.

Nor­ep­i­neph­rine is a stim­u­lant closely related to dopamine and gives you the energy to keep being together: it keeps you awake, you lose your appetite, and it gives you but­ter­flies in your stomach.

The pres­ence of sero­tonin, a neu­ro­trans­mit­ter that keeps you calm, is curi­ously low­ered when you are in love, so that you can be kept in a state of excite­ment and obses­sive think­ing about your part­ner. Being in love is closely related to anx­i­ety and fear. When you are newly smit­ten by love the level of the stress hor­mone cor­ti­sol shoots up. Also, men who are in love show low­ered lev­els of testos­terone, while women’s testos­terone lev­els go up. This may explain why men in love are more timid, while women are a lit­tle freer and wilder.

Oxy­tocin is what cements the trust and bond between peo­ple. This neu­ro­chem­i­cal is released in both men and women when they have sex. It is a bond­ing chem­i­cal that women also get a dose of when they give birth and breast-feed.

There is also an auto­matic reac­tion that reg­u­lates the pro­duc­tion of these chem­i­cals. It involves our senses and how we per­ceive the per­son we fall in love with. Besides the many con­di­tion­ing aspects of what we find attrac­tive in another per­son, there are some uni­ver­sal signs com­mon to all men and women that may reg­u­late the pro­duc­tion of the neurochemicals.

It is no sur­prise that there are whole multi­bil­lion dol­lar indus­tries that sup­port men and women in show­ing their “goods” in order to make the oppo­site sex “fall in love” with them. Every sense is addressed: hear­ing, sight, smell, taste, and touch.

Visu­ally men are gen­er­ally attracted by looks, i.e., signs of fer­til­ity and health in a woman. Besides age, these may include breasts, waist, hips, hair, etc. Women, on the other hand, would be attracted to signs of healthy genetic make-up (mus­cles, demeanor, height, strength, intel­li­gence, etc.) and signs of abil­ity to be sup­ported (money, posi­tion in soci­ety, etc.). Think fash­ion and what’s “in”.

Smell may play a deci­sive role in which chem­i­cals our body is going to pro­duce. The whole fra­grance indus­try is work­ing very hard to make smells attrac­tive. Con­sider the myr­iad of lotions, soaps, oils, can­dles, etc., on the mar­ket. Just imag­ine how you can be put off by a bad smell no mat­ter how attrac­tive a per­son may be in any other respect.

Hear­ing is just as impor­tant. Con­sider the music indus­try and the amount of love songs, and sooth­ing, roman­tic music that is pro­duced. All for one rea­son: to stim­u­late the pro­duc­tion of  “love chem­i­cals” and to sup­press the ones that may keep you dis­in­ter­ested. Con­sider the words “I love you.” By the same talken con­sider how attrac­tive it is to quar­rel, make your “loved one” wrong, not lis­ten, call each other names, put down your part­ner, etc.

Touch is just as impor­tant as any other sense. Women are espe­cially sen­si­tive to being touched. Man love to touch women, as we all know, and skin prod­ucts abound.

The ques­tion begs to be asked: If falling in love is purely chem­i­cal, what hap­pens when the body stops pro­duc­ing them? Do we fall out of love? The bad news is: yes.

But, wait! There is good news. We still have our senses that trig­ger the pro­duc­tion of our per­sonal chem­i­cal fac­tory. Also remem­ber that our mem­o­ries are very real to us. Remem­ber­ing good times can also acti­vate our per­sonal chem­istry pro­duc­tion. So, all is not lost. Stud­ies also show that peo­ple can stay in love for a very long time. And even bet­ter news is that the level of cor­ti­sol in cou­ples who have been together for a long time is much lower than in newly enam­ored cou­ples. Which means that they may be in love with­out the cus­tom­ary fear and anxiety.

And you think your choice and will power count for some­thing? Think again. In most cases we func­tion like any other mam­mals, when it comes to mat­ing games, on auto­matic. Sorry.

And yes! Isn’t it great when you are in love?! No other feel­ing comes close.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Click HERE for The Rela­tion­ship Saver, The Fast Track Man­ual for Sav­ing your Relationship.



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