Everyone loves love. If you have it, you want to hold it tight, and if you don’t have it, it’s often all we want. Despite the fact that it’s something we all experience at one point in our lives, it’s still such a mysterious phenomenon, isn’t it? Somehow it seems to take a hold of our rational minds and suddenly we are living in a dreamland, thinking only of the object of our desires.
So, what’s actually going on inside us that makes us feel this way? That’s what you’ll find out now and make sure to check out number 5 because you’re gonna love that one. And number 7 will shock you the most.
1. Heartbreak can cause physical pain.
If you’ve experienced a broken heart in your lifetime, we’re sure that you’re familiar with the agony that accompanies it. Though you might tell yourself that it’s all emotional pain and inside your head, did you know that a broken heart can also cause literal physical pain?
A sensation that is called, “takotsubo cardiomyopathy”, also known as “broken heart syndrome” occurs after extremely stressful events, like the loss of a loved one or the end of a serious relationship. It occurs when there is an overload of stress hormones which weaken the heart’s muscles and in rare cases, can even lead to short term heart failure. This means that you can literally die from a broken heart.
Don’t worry, death of a broken heart is extraordinarily rare. But if you ever feel physical pain from a heartbreak, it might not be in your head. Remember to give yourself extra self-love during heartbreaking times.
2.When you fall in love, your brain releases natural chemicals.
When you fall in love with someone, it often feels like you’re high on drugs. Nothing else seems to matter around you, often in a euphoric bliss. You may feel like you have tunnel vision for your new love, daydreaming about them any moment you’re not with them, craving their next visit.
This experience takes place because of the natural chemicals, dopamine and oxytocin.
Dopamine is the main chemical inside our brains that is responsible for feeling reward and pleasure. When we do things that we enjoy, dopamine is released, making us feel even happier than we did before, which could explain why we “crave” those we are attracted to.
Oxytocin is an opioid, our body’s natural pain killer. Opioids are also present in highly addictive illicit drugs, like heroin, so you can imagine how love feels like an addiction at times. While man-made opioids are highly dangerous, the naturally produced opioids already inside of us help us feel more connected to others, feel happier, and reduce stress. This is why after a bad day at work, all we want to do is snuggle on a couch with our partners. No wonder why Oxytocin is called the “Stress hormone!”
3. Your heartbeats might even synchronize.
Although in the beginning of a new relationship you might feel your heart racing when your date pulls into your driveway. However, after being in a long and deep relationship, recent research shows that your heartbeats might even begin to synchronize with your partners.
If you’re ever bored during the covid-19 lockdown, try resting your hands on each other’s chests and test it out!
4. The Love Hormone Has A Dark Side
Research shows that while oxytocin has a bunch of pleasant side effects, there’s also a dark side to it as well.
Oxytocin has been shown to be related to a person’s working long term memory. It increases our ability to remember details much clearer, enhancing all those sweet, romantic nights in your mind. Unfortunately, though, it also improves the bad memories too.
A healthy level of Oxytocin is good for humans, but if levels become elevated, it can often lead to bad memories triggering jealousy and irritability.
If you feel like your partner somehow manages to remember every single thing you’ve done wrong, even if it happened years ago, you can blame Oxytocin for that. On the bright side, it’s evidence they truly love you!
5. Psychologists identified three types of love.
Famous research by Steinberg coined the term, “Steinberg’s Triangle of Love” which identified three types of love, which all together, bring an all encompassing, beautiful love.
The three types of love are:
Passionate, intimate, and commitment.
Passionate love is similar to lust, characterized by attraction and euphoria by their presence.
Intimate love is more akin to “liking” someone. This is similar to how you might feel towards a friend or someone you’re starting to date and feel a real connection. You’re able to confide in them, but it’s not necessarily romantic,
The last love is commitment. The research says that all three together make real love. Passionate and intimate love could be compared to a summer fling, that was filled with turbulent emotions, though burns out quick. Intimate love with commitment would be the type of love you feel with a parent or a best friend, or even with a romantic partner who you don’t have a long-term commitment with.
While a love that only consists of passion or intimacy still has its benefits, a love that only consists of commitment is called an “empty love”. This could be compared to that of arranged marriages or any relationship where the driving force that holds you together is your commitment to one another.
6. Love can cause you to act silly.
Ever feel like you turn into a bumbling, stumbling, weirdo whenever you talk to your crush? Do you stumble over words or become easily distracted by their dreamy eyes?
Studies have shown that when you’re in love, especially in the presence of them, some important areas in the brain begin to slow down a bit, such as the prefrontal cortex. This area is responsible for things like impulsivity and poor planning, which can be a fatal flaw at the beginning of a new relationship. Other areas that are affected can cause a loss of balance, self-awareness, and critical thinking. So if you feel like you act a little silly when you’re falling in love, don’t worry, it’s normal.
7. You can fall in love in less than one second.
That’s right. Next time someone tries to tell you that love at first sight is a myth you can tell them this fact! A meta-analysis study that was published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine reported that it is possible to fall in love in less than one fifth of a second! Crazy, huh?
That said, we advise that you take longer than that before you start planning your wedding. Afterall, unrequited love is real, too!
8. The way that you’re treated as an infant impacts your style of relationships.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of studies on attachment that state that the way our caregivers show us love as a baby can impact how we attach to others in adult life.
One study identified four types of attachment styles that are usually forged early in life.
The first is the Secure Attachment Style. This is the healthiest of all, and is characterized by the individual having high self esteem, independence, and easily makes healthy romantic and platonic friendships.
The second is the Preoccupied Style. This is characterized by someone having their self worth dependent on others validation. They may swing from one relationship to another or remain in a relationship that is toxic due to low self esteem.
A Dismissive Style is the third. It is usually described as someone appearing to have a very high self-esteem, though appearing to have no interest in relationships. They rarely ever get attached and often deny their emotions when they do have them.
The last on our list is the Fearful Attachment Style. People with this style tend to have a very low self esteem and are extremely distrustful and avoidant of any relationships. Even having friendships may cause people with this style to feel some distress.
We hoped you enjoyed these facts! Which one blew your mind? Our favorite was the Triangle of Love. We thought it was so cool the way they broke it down into three types! Let us know your favorite in the comments below!