Sometimes we sit down and ask ourselves various questions such as, “Are we loved?” Do I love him/her? Am in love and last but not the least, “What is the definition of love?” There is usually some mystery behind that special feeling of attachment to someone. We fail to understand at times why someone fell in love with this girl and not the other girl. What did he see in her that is not possessed by the many girls around the area? Many people have different opinions on what love is as well as what drives it. Christians define love as that free and God-given gift by which we love God first and our neighbors as we do to ourselves. According to this view, we express love through generosity to all, kindness to those in challenges, and acts of self-sacrifice. Philosophers believe that love is that nurtured and developed passionate commitment. These scholars believe that there are different kinds of love, each with its variants. The love for country, your children, God, parents have some variances. The various types of love may be unconditional, blind, misguided and lastly, steadfast. Love, according to this view has to be nurtured to maintain its flame. But does love have a scientific backing?
The Science Behind Love
Although we experience love in different ways, the chemistry that causes the initial feeling of attraction shows that truly there are biological explanations for the experience of love. A scientific study conducted in the United States to explain the science behind love identified three stages that are involved in love. The three stages involve the action of different chemical reactions and hormones in the body; these include lust, attraction and finally, attachment.
The Lust stage
This stage involves the first step by which we fall in love and is typically characterized by an unyielding desire for someone after we have seen them. The lust stage is triggered and controlled by the Oestrogen and testosterone hormones that are equally present in men and women. Sex done in this stage may initiate a feeling of attraction.
This stage is usually the second step to experiencing love. At this stage, one is infatuated with someone at first, which with time progresses to a deep desire to be near them. One is usually quite excited when near their partner and spends much time thinking about them. There are various hormones and chemicals involved in this stage which define the progression of the stage.
- AdrenalineAdrenaline is very dominant during the early stages of attraction. You will usually see various uncontrollable behaviors by people in love when they see somebody to whom they are attracted. Usually, when you see your crush or someone deeply attracted to, your heart may beat faster, at times one is speechless when greeted, and sometimes your eyesight may be temporarily lost, ending up in nearby ditches.
- DopamineThis chemical acts as a natural stimulant in the brain, stimulating a feeling of pleasure in the body. Dopamine makes the mind of individuals in love to be high just like different kinds of drugs. Sometimes you may see the sky to be bluer than normal and sweat more. Dopamine leads to a change of moods and emotions in people leading to feelings of excitement and happiness. Other observations at this stage include an energy surge in individuals, as well as a decrease in the feeling of hunger. Dopamine also leads to a more focused attention in both the man and woman.
- SerotoninSerotonin is a vital hormone is known to divert your mind and attention to only think about your partner and ignore other things. Research suggests that the levels of serotonin are different in men and women in love, with men having lower levels and females having higher levels. Normally those in love may spend about 65% of their day thinking about their loved one.
At this stage, the couple takes their relationship to deeper heights. This stage is largely dependent on how the previous stages were handled by the couple. A more profound attraction to each other will make the lovers more attached to each other. It is at this stage that the couple may decide to marry, become engaged and even think of bearing children. Two hormones are involved in this stage to retain the feeling of love between the love partners: these are vasopressin and oxytocin.
- VasopressinThis hormone is majorly released after sex and is the reason some people feel greatly attached to their partners after sex. The brains of both men and women secrete vasopressin in the pituitary gland. This hormone remains to be one of the most important hormones in the process of building lasting relationships. Observations in this stage include greater spousal support, interpersonal functioning, more attachment security, a more positive communication as well as relationship maintenance.
- OxytocinOxytocin(“the cuddle hormone”) is a powerful hormone released by both men and women. The hormone is majorly released during orgasm. A couple will normally feel closer and attached to each other after a good orgasm. The partners become more open to each other and expose their secrets at this stage, hence becoming more transparent and consequently, the relationship becomes stronger. Research has shown that the more a couple engages in sex, the stronger the bond between them. Oxytocin is also known to be the hormone that causes the strong bond between a mother and her child during birth. The hormone is still involved in the release of milk in the breasts. These functions show it is a very powerful hormone. Oxytocin improves the communication and social interaction between couples hence enhancing their relationship.
Maintaining relationships in the long term may prove a big challenge to many people. Some people may become too clingy, and this may chase their partners away. Extremely loving someone may also become a problem. Not many would like being distracted from their work now and then by a lover or called at almost any minute. Insecurity may also be felt in the long-term as a partner feels they are inadequate for the other and therefore someone else might take the lover.
Conclusively, we can comfortably say that you cannot avoid falling in love once the feeling sets in. Love is hormonally and chemically controlled, and hence, you may not choose to whom you fall in love. We may ignore the most handsome or beautiful person who was interested in us to love a fair looking individual as we totally have no control over this situation.
This is our love definition, leave yours in comment section, thanks!