Love, its one of the greatest, the worst, the most obvious, and the most mysterious of emotions in our arsenal. When you’re in love, you just know it. And when you fall out of love, there’s nothing quite as depressing . But why do we fall in love in the first place? There must be some evolutionary reason, it serves a purpose. Is our brain drugging us?
Well first-off let’s discuss love on a chemical level. From what I can tell, the main culprits in this matter are serotonin and Oxytocin. The serotonin patterns produced from love is much akin to those seen in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. This explains how you just can’t get that loved one out of your head.(1)
Oxytocin is the chemical released during orgasm, and is attributed to long-term love, beyond the “Honeymoon Phase” of passionate love.(2) We all know that these relationships evolve over time, but it is fairly interesting that the chemicals involved actually do change.
But why? Occam’s Razor points to our need to reproduce to sustain the species. But why does the initial “passionate” period of love only last for a year or so? Maybe it is due to the highly dependent nature of humans at birth. The chemical attempts to keep the parents together long enough to get the child out of infant stage. This could be related to the immediate bond many parents (especially mothers) feel for their children upon birth. Tell me your theories.
The most interesting thing to me is how much Love resembles a drug. When you first taste it, there’s nothing like it. You’ve never been so high in your life. You need more, you need to be around your dealer (loved one) all the time. If you don’t see him/her for a while, you begin to have emotional withdrawals (loneliness, depression, anger). And perhaps the most interesting correlation, you build up a tolerance to it. Hell me and my friends have had to do pseudo interventions over a buddy not getting over a girl.
I know that sounds silly, but consider it. If you’ve been in a long-term relationship, you know it has changed, on a chemical level. You still love them, but it’s not the same as when you first met. Maybe this is why people cheat, they’re looking for that chemical rush they’ve lost somewhere along the way.
So what can be done? Well that’s a bit above my pay grade, but I have some ideas. The most obvious is keep it fresh. Do new things, exciting things. Take a dance class together, make a comic book, try rock climbing, take a great cooking class, do P90x. Your relationship is like a body. You’ve got to keep it active, or problems will hit you down the line.
Beyond that, spicing up your sex life never hurts. Part of this is both of you staying in shape. I know its shallow, but hey, we’re conditioned. Also when you’re in good shape it opens up some… possibilities in the bedroom. This is also a chance to open up to one another, and express your desires. Just don’t make any shocked faces when they tell you their fantasies. Seriously.
So what do you think? Has your brain been throwing you love rock since you were a teenager, or do you have a different view on love? Let me know.