We have all been in love, and we all know what the ups and downs of a relationship can do to our happiness levels. But have you ever thought about what happens inside our brains and bodies when we are in love?
If you fall in love with a pair of motorcycle boots, you can check out a full review with in-depth pros & cons about them, try them out, and even return them if they aren’t perfect, but when you fall in love with a person, things are a little bit more complicated than that. Well, not quite. The chemicals that are involved and how they work are not that complicated to understand, and we are going to tell you all about it.
Photo by June.
There is a myth in the popular culture that oxytocin is the love hormone. It’s true, but oxytocin is not the only chemical involved in this brain process. However, it has a great role in bonding and forming relationships.
When we bond with others, we feel good because of the release of oxytocin. It happens because, while evolving, humans had to live in groups. After all, this was the only way that they could protect themselves from predators.
Oxytocin is also released when touching another person. Mothers hug and caress their babies a lot. As a result, babies’ brains release this neurotransmitter that will make them want to spend time around their mothers.
This way, they will stay away from danger. When it comes to love, hugging, caressing, and skin touching will trigger the release of oxytocin which will make you trust the other person more and feel a stronger bond. Oxytocin is also a relaxer; that’s why people feel very relaxed near their loved ones.
Serotonin is known as the happiness neurotransmitter. However, when serotonin levels are low, people can develop obsessions for a specific person, like a former lover, for example. When we are going through a breakup, our serotonin levels can become low, and this is why some people are obsessed with the other person.
Estrogen and testosterone
Sexual drive is another important component of relationships. Some people consider it to be the most important and others think of it as 50 percent. Either way, the presence of these hormones in romantic relationships is a certainty. Lust is a result of the preservation of species. To reproduce, we have to have sex, so our bodies take care of that on their own.
Phenylethylamine or PEA
You have most certainly heard that love lasts for about three years. Some people think that this is true and that it has nothing to do with our brains. Well, science begs to differ. PEA is a chemical that helps with the release of dopamine in the brain, which leads to happiness. This chemical is responsible for the feeling of attachment that we have to the person we love.
In the first three years of a relationship, people feel happy and have a lover’s high because PEA levels elevate in people who are in a relationship. After three years, people’s brains adjust to these high levels and have a feeling of attachment while the lover’s high transforms into a feeling of calmness.
When couples break up, the ones involved experience a sort of withdrawal from these chemicals, especially from oxytocin. It may last for a while, but this explains why some people prefer to get involved with someone else right away after a breakup. Every individual experiences these feelings differently, and that’s why some people can take longer to recover.
Even though through science, we can somewhat explain love, it doesn’t mean that its importance diminishes and that we should look at it only through scientific eyes. Love is a beautiful feeling that we should enjoy to the fullest. We now just understand the process a little bit better.