The Science of Love, Attraction, And Losing It


I would like to think that I have control over who I choose to love and dictate the “right” reasons for loving someone – reasons such as intelligence, sense of humor, and the list goes on.  Science on the other hand would say that we are actually at the mercy of science and nature.  Here’s why science plays a huge role and why some relationships lose its spark.

  1. As much as we hate to admit it, we are all narcissistic in one way or another.  Have you ever heard that older folks say a married couples has a similar face or that they look alike?  Well, I have.  The reason for this is because research by David Perrett, amongst others, revealed that we tend to find those who look like us as more attractive. The same goes with personality.  We tend to look for mates who remind us of ourselves or our parents.  We fall in love and get married for the continuation of our species.  Pheromones play a huge part in this.  Pheromones are distinct aromatic chemicals released by one individual that affects the sexual physiology of another. It helps us choose a mate whose immune system is different from ours, thus ensuring a healthy breed.  The more attracted we are to someone’s unique smell, the more different their immune system.
  2. Then there are the chemicals.  Among them are estrogen and testosterone, which are the initial drivers that encourage us to venture out for love in the first place.  When we find someone, new chemicals come into play.  You know the feelings of flushed cheeks, sweaty palms, and butterflies in the stomach?  Well, those are produced with the chemicals dopamine (pleasure chemical) and norepinephrine, respectively.  These chemicals create a state of euphoria and hyperactivity making our life revolve around another person, the relationship and little else.  It’s almost as if our brain is on steroids.  Many people say love is blind.  All our friends see it – the boyfriend is not exactly the hot stud we somehow got deluded to think.  He is actually short, and that IS a beer gut hanging but we won’t see it because the lower levels of serotonin found in people in “love” will cause us to idealize the person and relationship, regardless.  This object of our affection will constantly be parading around our head.  You know those parents who think that their kid IS the cutest kid in the world?  This stage is where our brain tricks us into thinking that our relationship is the most unique and “different” of ALL when in fact, it really isn’t.
  3. Once the honeymoon period of a relationship is over, if the attraction remains strong by both parties then we enter into what psychologists call the attachment and bonding stage.  When two people have sex, they exude hormones called vasopressin and ocytocin, which help create emotional bond and connectivity with another person – hence resulting in attachment.

So how is it that long-term relationships lose its spunk, its passion and that queasy feeling that feels so good?   All of a sudden, that beer gut is starting to look like one and their idiosyncrasies that were “so cute” before are just plain annoying now.  According to Helen Fischer, anthropologist and love researcher at Rutgers University, the chemicals that cause attachment interferes with the passageways that produces the passion chemicals such as dopamine, which might explain why passion fades as the relationship matures.

So how will couples survive through this?  Hopefully, the relationship, courtship, sweetness and bonding that have been created are strong enough to ride through the storm.

Just to give you an idea of how little control we have over nature when it comes to love, York psychologist, Arthur Arun conducted an experiment where he asked his subjects to carry out 3 steps on falling in love.  What he discovered was that after the short 3-step experiment, many of his couples felt deeply attracted to their experiment counterpart.  Two of his subjects even got married.  So what are the 3 steps?

  1. Find a complete stranger
  2. Reveal to each other intimate details about your lives for half an hour
  3. Then, stare deeply into each other’s eyes without talking for four minutes

It’s that simple! Try it and let me know how it goes.

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Comments
2 Responses to “The Science of Love, Attraction, And Losing It”
  1. Juslitome says:

    That’s all that it requires?

    Really?

    It might seem a bit odd asking the other partner to stare and oggle into your eyes for 4 straight minutes, though. I might just fall into a fit of laughter. Hahahaa, I’m already laughing as I envision this.

    Interesting study, nevertheless.

    • pillowchats says:

      I actually tried it and for the most parts, it does work. Even when it comes to things like friendships. By sharing something intimate, you create a bond and trust of some sort. Quite magical.

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