Being in love can feel amazing. It is a beautiful feeling that all of us crave and value. While Hollywood may have us believe that love is magical, psychologists have found that love is more complicated than we believe.
In this article, we are going to look at some of the most fascinating psychological facts about love and attraction.
Now let’s take a look at –
10 psychological facts about love that you probably didn’t know about:
1. Love is complicated
What you believe to be the magic of love is actually a combination of lust, attraction, and attachment, which lead to different emotions from pleasure to pain.
According to research by anthropologist Dr. Helen Fisher, the sex hormones testosterone and estrogen regulate our sex drive to motivate us to reproduce more often.
The hormones serotonin, dopamine, and adrenaline control who we get attracted to by regulating our reward behavior in the brain, making us feel exhilarated and excited.
The brain chemicals or neuropeptides – oxytocin and vasopressin – regulate bonding and attachment we share with another person.
Lust initiates the mating process, attraction helps us choose an appropriate mating partner, and attachment enables us to maintain lasting relationships with a reproductive partner for the completion of parental duties. That’s the recipe for love!
2. Love can lower appetite
Are the butterflies in your stomach making it hard to eat? It’s a psychological fact that you don’t feel hungry when in love. During the attraction stage, the happiness hormone dopamine, the love hormone Oxytocin and the stress hormone norepinephrine are released in the brain at high levels.
These chemicals suppress our appetites by making us feel euphoric and skittish. Not only does it make you feel less hungry, it can also result in weight loss and insomnia. That’s why you can’t eat or sleep when you’re in love.
3. Love is an addiction
Research has found romantic love can literally be a natural, and often positive, addiction. Basic social attachment, attraction, and love-related behaviors have been found on a spectrum of addictive motivations.
A 2016 study by Dr. Helen Fisher found that the symptoms of early stages of intense romantic love, such as – euphoria, craving, tolerance, dependence, withdrawal, and relapse – are similar to substance and behavioral addictions
Some researchers believe that romantic love is similar to drug addiction; thankfully the symptoms disappear as the love relationship progresses.
4. Being lovesick is a real thing
Are you unable to behave normally when you miss your partner? You just may be lovesick. Being in love can increase the levels of the stress hormone cortisol which can make us feel sick by suppressing our immune function.
Studies even show that couples can influence each other’s mental and physical health and one partner’s health problems can affect the other’s. According to a 2010 study, relationships can actually “affect mental health, health behavior, physical health, and mortality risk”.
5. Love is a pain reliever
Did you know intense feelings of passionate love can help to relieve pain? Although the explanation is a bit complex, feelings of love can increase or decrease our pain perception depending on our individual psychological construct and emotion regulation. Love is related to the functional connectivity of the brain and helps to modulate the pain, explains a 2017 study.
Studies also show that viewing pictures of a romantic partner can also help to relieve pain as the process is associated with neural activations in reward-processing centers.