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The Science of Love In A Relationship

Updated on December 13, 2015

Love at first sight...

One of the great scenes in the play, “Fiddler On The Roof,” by Joseph Stein, finds the main character, Tevye, asking his wife Golda, “Do you love me?” She responds, “Do I love you?" That question speaks to what may be the deepest hunger of the human soul - Yes you guessed it, to love and be loved. In psychology we call it “being attached,” or “attachment.”

Acoording to Dr. Hattfield, there are two basic types of love: compassionate love and passionate love. Compassionate love is characterized by mutual respect, attachment, affection, and trust. Compassionate love usually develops out of feelings of mutual understanding and shared respect for one another. Passionate love is characterized by intense emotions, sexual attraction, anxiety, and affection.

Falling in love can be a great or even bad experience for some people. Someone might feel as if they are on cloud nine and some may feel that they are just not there yet. Love does take time and it does take a lot for it to develop. But once that moment comes you have to let yourself go of all things and feel the greatest feeling on earth...Love. As you may know and from my studies during Literature class, I know that the Bible clearly says " Love is always patient and kind. It is never jelous. Love is never boastful or conceeded. It is never rude or selfish. It does not take offense. It is not resentful.."

It's not just what you say..

Scientists have researched a lot on this topic of love and logic. Psychologists have shown it takes between 90 seconds and 4 minutes to decide if you fancy someone. Research has shown this has little to do with what is said, rather: 55% is through body language (Actions speak louder than words), 38% is the tone and speed of their voice, Only 7% is through what they say.

To me there are 3 stages of love and relationship. Lust, Attraction and lastly Attachment. The first stage lust is mostly driven by sex hormones, testosterones and estrogen. Love, real love, is about commitment and communication. These two important components lead to stability within a relationship. Of course, fire can be part of the equation, but when there’s lots of drama, chaos and more emotional gut blows than butterflies - This is the lustful situation!

The next stage is - Attraction. This is the amazing time when you are truly love-struck and can think of little else. Scientists think that three main neurotransmitters are involved in this stage; adrenaline, dopamine and serotonin. Adrenaline! The initial stages of falling for someone activates your stress response, increasing your blood levels of adrenalin and cortisol. This has the charming effect that when you unexpectedly bump into your new love, you start to sweat, your heart races and your mouth goes dry and oh yes the butterflies in the stomach! The chemical Dopamine stimulates ‘desire and reward’ by triggering an intense rush of pleasure. It has the same effect on the brain as taking cocaine! It is shown that couples often show the signs of surging dopamine: increased energy, less need for sleep or food, focused attention and exquisite delight in smallest details of this novel relationship. And finally, Serotonin. One of love's most important chemicals that may explain why when you’re falling in love, your new lover keeps popping into your thoughts.

...Love and Be Loved...


Hormones, the brain and everything else..

Oxytocin, or otherwise known as the love hormone is released on several occasions. The hormone's influence on our behavior and physiology originates in the brain, where it's produced by the by a structure called the hypothalamus, and then transfers to the pituitary gland which releases into the bloodstream. The first thing is that pregnant women with higher levels of oxytocin during their first trimester bonded more strongly with their babies after they were born. According to Dr. Ellison, she has mentioned that "For people who can really get into the sensualness of hugging and cuddling, that is the hormone released in this process. For people who don't get into it, maybe they're not releasing the oxytocin. It may be a circular thing." It probably deepens the feelings of attachment and makes couples feel much closer to one another after they have had sex. The theory goes that the more sex a couple has, the deeper their bond becomes.

The other hormone that we have to mention is called Vasopressin, this is another important hormone in the long-term commitment stage and is released after sex. Vasopressin (also called anti-diuretic hormone) works with your kidneys to control thirst. Its potential role in long-term relationships was discovered when scientists looked at the prairie vole. Ironically, high cortisol levels can interfere with the normal production of both testosterone and oxytocin, hampering both men and women from their attempts at stress reduction.

When a man’s testosterone level is adequate, it allows him to become the “emergency man” in urgent situations where he needs to focus keenly, step up, and solve a problem. In fact, solving problems is so satisfying that it may cause some men’s testosterone levels to actually rise, while stress hormones like cortisol come down.

Now looking a little bit more in depth for " love at first sight". Some people might argue that there is no such thing but at the same time there are couples who says that " Oh it was love at first sight." Well let's take a closer look today. First, love at first sight as a concept still survives and is the basis of many a modern romantic comedy film or romance novel (and yes I was thinking about Romeo and Juliet - Shakespeare), but it has also been given credence through scientific research. A number of studies carried out in recent years conclude that it is in fact physically possible due to the release of chemicals in the brain that affect the intellect and cognitive functions - producing a feeling of euphoria. And to gives you a clear explanation of what Euphoria is, it pretty much means the state of mental and emotional condition in which the person gets a feeling of excitement, happiness and well-being.

Why Do We Fall In Love?

Falling in love

There are special feelings like the ones of protecting that one special person from all worldly sufferings. To be able to stay awake for the consecutive nights to nurse your bed ridden husband or boyfriend or fiance. That sinking moment when your wife cries profoundly on your shoulder. And that rejoicement of the heart when you’re finally able to see each other after a month’s long wait. Oh the beauty of falling in love! Some might fear the possibility of rejection, which overrides their enjoyment of falling in love. Others may be scared about committing to the relationship, or be needy and clingy, and as a result, it pretty much drives their lover away. Some may dive in straight to the relationship, secure in their hopes that this might be the relationship that lasts for a life time. These patterns are thought to start in the early stages of development, and reflect the parent and child relationship.

Love, Trust and Joy...


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Helen Fisher - The Brain In Love

"Love is always patient and kind..."

In love or not? - Conclusion

Well, overall it can be said conclusively that love is one of the most delightful feelings of our lives. It makes us feel great or even sad. But we should never give up. It is quite true about the saying “love is blind” because you never know when your brain will encounter love and the person it will have stuck in there . A significant number of chemical reactions are involved in instigating lust, attraction, attachment, and love between couples. When love happens it's a great feeling that no one wants to let go.

Thank you, M

Love & Relationships

5 out of 5 stars from 2 ratings of Love and Relationships

© 2015 Mahsa S


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    • mahsa setareh profile image

      Mahsa S 19 months ago

      Thanks, its reat to know the relationship between how the brain functions and when we are in a state of emotional attraction.

    • profile image

      Michael 19 months ago

      Thanks,very nice explanation.

    • mahsa setareh profile image

      Mahsa S 20 months ago

      Love can grow and change over time becoming deeper with physical and emotional attraction. It sure is good to know what is behind us falling in love for another person at first sight or the beautiful streets of paris, or by the lake. There are a lot of emotions and feelings that go behind this.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 20 months ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      Having been married for the past 37 years, it is nice to know what is behind the feelings we have for one another. It is interesting that they do change over time. With the experiences that we have had together, our love has evolved from physical feelings of attraction to a deepening sense of commitment.

    • mahsa setareh profile image

      Mahsa S 20 months ago

      MsDora - Thank you! I'm glad it was a pleasant article. It is possible for many people to have that spark when they fall in love and that first look. It's just a matter of how your mind takes it.

    • mahsa setareh profile image

      Mahsa S 20 months ago

      dashingscorpio - Thank you for the great explanation! I really enjoyed it. It really depends on how you view it. Having a close and intimate relationship with your partner could be something else totally different for someone, but then again at the same time having that intimacy would be a rather different thing for another couple and they would say it brings them together. Some might argue that it's not the intimacy that brings them closer but rather it's their ...children, or the ways that the other person is, or even how they are treated. But then again a very closer and intimate relationship does bring that bond.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 20 months ago from The Caribbean

      Great explanation on the physiological aspect of attractions. Given the facts, it is clear that love at first sight is possible. Informative and pleasant read.

    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 20 months ago

      Every new relationship we enter into has an "infatuation phase".

      If one is immature or lacks much dating experience it is easy for them to believe they are "in love" and have found their "soul-mate".

      After all it is during the "infatuation phase" where both people bend over backwards to impress one another. They make pleasing the other person their "top priority'. In fact the word "no" is seldom if ever used.

      Laughter comes easily, romantic dates and gestures are spontaneous, and sex is off the charts!

      Generally speaking it is not until after you've had your first (major) disagreement/fight that you discover some of each other's "boundaries", "expectations" or "deal breakers". Normally this occurs 3-6 months or possibly a year into the relationship. That is when people feel "secure enough" to reveal their "authentic selves".

      Only then are you in a position to determine you're "in love" with (them) or with who you thought they were.

      Some folks are "in love" with love. No matter how many breakups they go through they fall head over hills with each and every person they embark upon a relationship with. The "infatuation phase" fools them every time! He/she is "the one" until they realize they're not.

      For men (attraction) is the initial impetus that causes us to approach a woman and pursue asking her out. Infatuation occurs when she responds in a manner we had hoped for, shares similar interests, and has a great sense of humor. We feel good whenever we're around her.

      While she may have been open to going on to the hockey game on a date or he went to the ballet or musical she wanted to see during the "infatuation phase" as time goes by they say "no" to things they have no interest in.

      Essentially they went early on because they thought you were "hot"! They didn't want to risk blowing an opportunity to be with you! However once there is a "commitment" or "emotional investment" on your part it's (safe) to say "no" over and over again. :)

      Ironically it's best to pull all of your sexual freaky ideas out the box early on during the infatuation phase! People are far more likely to go along with it then they are after a bond as been established.

      We treat "the new" better than "the tried and true".

      This goes for new relationships, new jobs, new cars, or whatever. The longer we have something the less time and effort we put into maintaining it at it's optimum level. We RELAX or get lazy.

      Some folks make the mistake of stopping doing all the things that caused their mate to fall "in love" with them.

      When we change our circumstances change.

      "The theory goes that the more sex a couple has, the deeper their bond becomes." - Very interesting theory!

      I tend to agree. If a couple barely has sex odds are one of them is silently unhappy about it. The primary difference between parental, sibling, friends, and romantic love is our desire to have sex or be intimate.

      Having said that there are lots of married couples who are little more than "roommates" with the same last name.

      It's easier to maintain a fire than it is to reignite a spark!