Sex & Life
Sex & Life August 3, 2017
No wonder people act like morons in new relationships.
Have you ever Googled the signs that a man is falling in love with you?
Have you searched the deep recesses of Buzzfeed to find a “How You Know You’re Falling in Love” quiz?
Well, then you’ve come to the right place. People in love have famously acted like, for lack of a better word, complete idiots. Even before you start to see the signs of being in love, they can’t seem to operate as respectable human beings. They walk out of their apartment without shoes, daze off with empty expressions mid-conversation, and suddenly have an affinity for the “500 Days of Summer” soundtrack.
So what causes this complete crazy fest? In essence, it’s your brain.
Ever heard that being in love is like being on cocaine? Well, that’s a bit of an overshot, but according to Psychology Today, this statement isn’t too far off. When you’re heading off to Romance Land, the part of your brain that controls dopamine release is triggered (if you’re interested in the scientific name, it’s the ventral tegmental area).
The VTA then sends a boatload of dopamine to the pleasure center of your brain, and at that point you’re basically in La La Land. Fun fact, this is basically the same high narcotic users get.
One of the most inconvenient signs of being in love is the uncertainty. Does the other person like you? Do they even know about you? How will you feel if the feelings are unreciprocated? Basically, your brain matches the pattern of every phone call you’ve had with a distressed friend.
You know the serotonin, the chemical that comes in short supply when it comes to depression? Well, it might be counterintuitive, but brains in love don’t have a bunch of serotonin either.
According to research done by Donatella Marazziti, brains in the early stages of romance have lower levels of serotonin levels than normal. This lack of serotonin can manifest itself in the form of anxiety and intrusive thoughts.
So if you can’t stop thinking about someone, and the thought of them gives you equal parts unending joy and crippling fear, this might be some well-deserved consolation.
Have you ever experienced the oh-so convenient reaction of blushing when an attractive person walks by? It can be one of the most counterproductive signs of being in love, so why does your biology make this reaction occur?
Well, you can blame your brain for this irony, because you literally had no choice in the matter.
At the first moment of attraction, your brain releases the aforementioned levels of dopamine. Right after that, a bunch of neurotransmitters like adrenaline and norepinephrine come to the party. These chemicals are responsible for your sweaty palms and Red Hot Chili Pepper Cheeks.
So you’re body is basically really unhelpful when you’re trying to be subtle.
Although dopamine is associated with joy and euphoria, it has also been associated with ruining your entire life. Rutgers University anthropologist Helen Fisher, Ph.D., commented on these lesser-known effects of the world’s favorite happy chemical: “Dopamine is already associated with euphoria, sleeplessness, loss of appetite and a rush of motivation.”
So it’s basically the Red Bull of emotions. It makes you feel awesome, but it can also mess up everything else. Lovely.
Have you ever watched your friend in the throes of romance and asked, “Exactly how many martinis have you had?”
Odds are, they were probably drunk… on love (cue the gag reflex for corniness). According to a study done by the University of Birmingham, oxytocin (often called the “love drug”) can lower your inhibitions and anxiety. And yes, we also mentioned that dopamine has been associated with high levels of anxiety. So if you feel bipolar when you’re in love, this might explain a few things.
So essentially, if you’re in love, enjoy it. The signs of being in love can be intense, so it’s nice to have a good support system if you’re unfortunate enough to go through all the ranges of emotions that we listed.
But if you start to act like a total crazy person, you can totally blame your lovestruck brain. It truly doesn’t know any better.
Send this to a friend