Love has the power and the capacity to shake us to our very core, to make us lose the ground under our feet, and to even make us break some of the principles we thought we would never break for anyone.
Have you ever wondered what happens to our brains when we fall in love? Here are the 4 stages that our brains undergo when we experience, what else if not…that good old love.
When you first meet someone, the first thing you experience is attraction, and if that attraction is mutual, then we’re talking about chemistry. Chemistry is when you “click” with the other person and you feel the intensity and the emotional connection you have with that person.
Chemistry can also be sexual, and if you have that with someone, it will feel highly altering and explosive. This is because, at this stage, your body releases the hormone noradrenaline which causes you to feel excitement and your heart to race once you see the person you like.
2. INITIAL DATING
When you are in the early stage of dating and you enjoy the perks of the first hug, the first touch, and the first kiss, your brain is experiencing a brainstorm of hormones as well.
Vasopressin provokes a sense of stability and security for men and a feeling of sexual pleasure that’s linked to their romantic partner. For women, oxytocin, known as the love hormone, provokes feelings of love and an increased desire for cuddling and snuggling.
We shouldn’t forget to mention dopamine, of course – the mover and the shaker, the hormone guilty of provoking feelings of happiness and joy once we fall in love.
3. FALLING IN LOVE
During the first stages of the relationship, our brain reduces the levels of serotonin. Serotonin plays a major role in the regulation of our appetite, our mood, and our sleep. We obsessively think about our romantic interest, we fantasize about them, so appetite loss or insomnia should come as no surprise.
The tricky part here is that when you fall in love, your cortisol levels skyrocket, which basically means both your stress and anxiety levels hit the roof, like, big time. However, the amygdala, which normally reduces and controls those levels, (except when you are in love), has fallen asleep.
You had one job, amygdala. Level up! Gosh!
4. LOVE, ACTUALLY
Okay, so at this stage, you have finished drinking the elixir of hormones and you can slowly notice how its magic starts to wear off. The hormones are no longer going up and down and you no longer idolize the person you are with. You see them for who they really are.
Now, at this stage, people either break up or learn that there is more to love than just insatiable sex drive and intense attraction. They learn what real relationships are actually composed of – love, compassion, understanding, acceptance, and some squabbles here and there.