Here’s What Happens to Your Brain When You’re in Love

Here’s What Happens to Your Brain When You’re in Love

Although in poetry the heart is to blame for love, in reality, it’s the brain that controls the greatest emotion of them all. A combination of chemicals released in the brain is to blame for the ‘butterflies’ in your stomach which are associated with love. Today we’re going to show you what exactly happens in the brain when we feel emotions for someone and how the brain and body react to it.

Love and the Brain

We all know what love is. It’s the greatest and best emotion there is, but not all the emotions linked to falling in love can be attributed to romance – in fact, most of the emotions are controlled by the brain.

Our brain releases certain hormones which keep us ‘enchanted’ all the time. Talking about love and ‘butterflies’ in the stomach is simply poetic – there are no insects flying around in the stomach when you fall for someone. It’s actually a combination of chemicals released by the brain that’s to blame for the warm feeling.

If you still think that love has nothing to do with the brain, science has confirmed the relationship. It’s not a magical thing – it’s completely biological. When we’re struck by Cupid’s arrow, we can ‘blame’ the central nervous system for the changes we experience. According to Dr. Patricia Mumby from the Loyola University School of Medicine, as soon as we fall in love the brain releases a flood of hormones that trigger many physical reactions in our body, which is the reason behind the ‘butterflies’ in your stomach. “It also makes our palms sweat and our heart race, so yeah, you have only biology to blame,” she says.

At the same time, we start releasing pheromones and other signals the other person involved notices, which results in pure attraction. The pheromones you give off are responsible for the physical attraction between the partners involved and are also the reason why you feel a bit shy and maybe even silly. At the beginning of a relationship, our body releases testosterone as well, a hormone usually associated with males, but which can also be noticed in females. Testosterone is actually an aphrodisiac that gives your libido a boost. After the initial physical attraction, love begins blooming. The brain pumps even more hormones into your blood including PEA, or phenylethylamine.

PEA is a powerful natural ‘drug’ that makes you excited about the other person – you just want to cuddle them and do nothing else at all. However, PEA can also alter your perception and make you ‘blind’ for things that happen around you. This is why many experts consider love a powerful drug which makes us blind to everything but the other person.

This is not where the brain stops releasing certain chemicals. Next in line is oxytocin, also known as the ‘love hormone’ which is associated with childbirth and breastfeeding. As more and more oxytocin gets pumped by your brain, you’ll feel an irresistible desire to be with your loved one, triggering a pleasant response in the brain which is the ‘reward’. It’s not unlike the effects of drugs such as cocaine.

Can the Brain ‘Stay’ in Love Forever?

Sorry, poets – love doesn’t last forever. The brain simply can’t secrete love hormones non-stop. As a matter of fact, it can, but our body wouldn’t be able to withstand it. If you’re wondering how much time it takes before love starts dying out, it’s five years. After that period, the body and mind get accustomed to the drug, and it no longer has the powerful effect it had before. If you’re lucky, you’ve got to know your partner better and married them – afterward, it’s all about how you handle each other.

This is the moment when you need to start working on your relationship. The brain simply doesn’t ‘work’ for love after 5 years, sparking episodes of monotony and boredom due to the lower levels of oxytocin. At the same time, the brain releases yet another hormone known as vasopressin which has been related to boredom.

It’s not all bad, though – when love ‘ends’, it allows you to see who your partner really is. You might have been blinded by ‘love’ (chemicals) for 5 years, but after it, you will look at your partner with different eyes and see if you’ve picked the right person and if your relationship will last forever.

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