To some point in our lives, we all hopelessly fall in love or feel uncontrollably attracted to somebody to the point of where we no longer have a control of our feelings or of our body’s reactions. Daydreaming, sweaty hands, increased heartbeat, flushed red cheeks and heavy breathing are few of the signs that we are in love.
Although science cannot explain how the phenomenon of falling in love occurs, it attempts to describe the effects of the process on our brain and behaviors.
As a result of extensive neurophysiological research, scientists have identified that the human brain experiences various chemical reactions when individuals fall in love. Neurochemicals associated with the hormone of pleasure like dopamine or serotonin, the hormone responsible with the emotional balance, seem to affect how we think or behave in the first stages of love. Hence, in love individuals may experience a higher level of dopamine, a stimulant chemical released during pleasurable situations, which may influence lovers to seek pleasant activities such as sex, conversations or behaviors that could cause an euphoric sensation. Moreover, a high level of dopamine is also linked to addiction, meaning that if an individual experiences a pleasant feeling with their partner, they are more likely to become addicted to the relationship.
And if a high level of dopamine makes us addicted to our partner, a low level of serotonin level appears to transform us into obsessive creatures. Brain scans indicate that the precipitated level of the hormone is responsible for the obsessive-compulsory behaviors and preoccupying thoughts, usually associated with infatuation.
But this is not all. The center of our reasoning, impulse control and organization of emotional reactions in the prefrontal cortex is affected too by the touch of love. Apparently, in love individuals have a high tendency of taking risks or express feelings without thinking about the consequences
Nevertheless, the neurological results only suggest a consequence of our brain’s reactions to love, but not the actual effect of it on our behavior. The common belief that love makes us behave or think irrationally is false. In fact, the feelings of love or attraction do not affect our judgement, but rather our ability to control the emotions and the perception we have on the subject of love may be the main factors that influence the stability of our reason.
Psychologists describe the process of falling in love in 5 stages: 1)Infatuation, 2) Becoming a Couple, 3)Disillusionment, 4)Creating Real/Lasting Love and 5)Using the Power of Two to Change the World. Undoubtedly, the roller coaster of emotions are more present in the first stage than in the others, which may explain much. It is a stage of uncertainty, where partners are ecstatic of what the other person may be like, of how the relationship will evolve and what experiences they may share together. Moreover, the stage of infatuation also triggers a high attention on the physical attraction. Individuals are likely to become more worried about their appearances or gestures in the first stage of love with the aim to attract and be liked. Such emotional pressure can cause sensations of anxiety, increased heart rate and obsessive-compulsive behaviors (i.e. desperate need to spend much time with the partner, psychological control and attention-seeking from the object of love).
Therefore, it could be concluded that it is not love that affects our thinking or behavior. Instead our self-perception and the views on how the relationship should evolve play an imperative role in how we react. As such, it is essential that we remain in control of our emotions in order to develop a healthy relationship, while continue functioning socially and mentally at a normal rate. A poor judgement may limit our ability to engage in daily activities to the point of seriously affecting our mental well-being.