There are two main types of love:
- Romantic love is the poets’ beacon, love between spouses, which combines elements of sexual attraction, passion, and excitement. It is a ‘falling in love’ that does not connect to the love that comes for any other reason.
- Love for family/friends is love between family members, between particularly good friends. It is a love that comes from very close relationships, built over the years. Unlike romantic love, it cannot emerge in an instant, and it is not related to sexual attraction or reproduction.
So let’s take a look at what’s going on in our minds during love: First of all, when we feel love, much of our thought process changes little:
Love Is Changing Body Image
Our ability to perceive our body image and that of the other, changes. The person we love or are in love with seems to us to be more attractive than he would have looked if we had not been in love with him (thinner, more muscular, more graceful, with more beautiful facial features). Our brain, in fact, increases our attraction by a bit of ‘cheating’ on our sense of aesthetics. This can be seen mainly in romantic love (the red spots on the back of the brain – our visual lobe), but also in normal love – for example, mothers usually think that their child looks better than he really is.
Love Is Change In Self-Image
Our self-image also changes a little during love. We tend to see the other person as having qualities that complement us or suit us. Sometimes, a little more than it really is. So, after a breakup, it sometimes happens that we wonder why we thought this person suited us so well, when now it does not seem right. Love amplifies the qualities that are right for us and underestimates in our perception the less desirable qualities. And not only of the other, but also our perception of ourselves, our demands and what we need. Love just matters.
Love Is Attention
this is a change that will not surprise our readers. It is known that during love, our mind tends to focus on the thoughts of the person we love, to the point of obsession and ignoring or diminishing the attention we give to other people.
Love Is Social Thinking
When we give someone our full attention (because we love them or are in love with them), it is important for us to understand their intentions. Our brain invests extra processing time, in deciphering their thoughts, their intentions towards us, their emotional state. Therefore, we are engaged in further social processing. Here there is a certain difference between romantic love and ordinary love, when ordinary love involves more thought processes. Thus the anterior lobe, which is responsible for planning and rational processes, is much more involved in ordinary love than in romantic love. This is not entirely a novelty, it is clear that we are more rational in ordinary love than in romantic love. If Romeo and Juliet had loved ordinary love, and been more rational, they would probably have waited several years patiently, found a way to be together, and prevented us from a great story.
Love Chemicals, Hormones and Emotions
Dopamine effect on love
an increase in pleasure and motivation. Decreased sadness. The chemical dopamine is one of the most important neurotransmitters in the body. These are substances that neurons release to activate other neurons, thus causing actions in the brain and body. The chemical is mixed with feelings of happiness, pleasure, delight and motivation. When we love, the brain releases a higher amount of dopamine (and so do drugs like cocaine for example) and increases our sense of pleasure, which makes us want to be in love, because it gives us physical pleasure. It increases our motivation, and that is why we find ourselves at times, very determined in the pursuit of our love. In addition, a high amount of dopamine lowers the amount of our nerves. This is not to say that when we are in love we are not able to feel sadness, because sadness is part of love at times, but the release of dopamine counteracts this. Other substances, resulting from our disappointment, can in turn also raise the level of sadness.
Vasopressin (antidiuretic hormone) effect on love
This hormone has several functions, one of which is an effect on blood pressure. During love and infatuation in particular, it raises blood pressure levels, and causes symptoms like increased attraction, increased sexual desire and decreased levels of anxiety that we feel. This activity can be attributed to the sudden attraction, to the beating heart, and to the fact that anxieties and worries suddenly seem smaller, when we fall in love.
Serotonin effect on love
A chemical no less important than dopamine, serotonin is mixed with feelings of peace and feeling ‘good’ with ourselves. It makes us more pleasant, more smiling. Unlike dopamine, it gives us less energy and more euphoria (the marijuana drug for example, increases the activity of serotonin in the body). While falling in love, believe it or not, the amount of this chemical actually goes down. Which means we are more obsessive and also more aggressive while falling in love or love.
When we think about it, it makes a lot of sense; A spouse who is not obsessed with a spouse will not continue to preserve love. A partner who is not aggressive will not be able to protect his partner. In today’s terms, there is less need for it. But in old-fashioned terms, it was very important for a husband to be aggressive in protecting his wife, and a mother to be aggressive in protecting her children. Try once to catch a kitten next to his mother, and you will understand what it is.
Cortisol effect on love
The Cortisol hormone is part of the body’s metabolism and in the processing and release of sugar. It is also known as an essential hormone in times of trauma, helping the body to enter a state of ‘fighting or escape’. Cortisol rises during love to give us increased alertness and stress – because we need to pay attention, and we need to take the relationship seriously. When we do not take our role as lovers seriously, bad things can happen to our loved ones. At the same time, our sensitivity to pain decreases, because we are focused on other things, and because we may have to fight for our loved ones, then it is better that we do not feel too much pain. The decrease in pain sensation also helps women during intercourse, an activity that can sometimes hurt them (especially the first few times).
Conclusion: Love Is A Chemical Reaction
we are familiar with the feelings described in this article. But here we learn about the processes behind these emotions, and the biological reasons for them. Do they explain and cover the whole concept of love? no and no. The concept of love has evolved far beyond bodily sensations, and as much as we are still bound to our bodies, we also have a mind, culture, literature and understanding that have transcended the body and the chemicals. That is why we are also able to feel betrayal and affection. Not everything stems from biology, but there is no doubt that it also plays a role in the game of love.