Tag Archives: why do we fall in love

The Science in Romance

7 Aug

My friend had a really bad break-up with her boyfriend last week, and cried her eyes out for weeks. Being a good friend that I am, I talked to her and comforted her. She asked my why we fall in love. I was honest to tell her I don’t know, but she said “Would you mind doing a research about it?”

I know my friend was just kidding when she asked me that, but being such a dork, I tried to Google it and found something interesting. Brace yourselves world. =)

Falling in love is a magical experience that happens between two people. If you have been in love or is in love, I don’t have to explain how it feels, you know it better than I do. So why do people fall in love? Researchers has been exploring the dynamics of what happens when two people are falling in love:

Q:  What motivates people to seek out love?

A:  Our primary motivation as human beings is to expand the self and to increase our abilities and our effectiveness. One of the ways we accomplish this is through our relationships with other people. We have learned in our research that it is important to feel that you have the ability to be an effective person, especially in our relationships.

Q:  How does this theory of self-expansion explain the process of falling in love?

A:  Usually, we fall in love with a person that we find attractive and appropriate for us, but also someone who demonstrates that they are attracted to us. This creates a situation where a great opportunity is open to us for self-expansion. The fact that they are attracted to us offers a significant opportunity — when we perceive this, we feel a surge of exhilaration!

Q:  Does it always work this way?

A:  No, an interesting exception to this occurs if we feel badly about ourselves. The process gets thrown off if we can’t believe that another persons finds us attractive — like the Groucho Marx joke where we don’t want to belong to a club that would have us for a member. We tend to miss out on opportunities for falling in love if we don’t feel good about ourselves.

Q:  What conditions are best for meeting someone and falling in love?

A:  When you meet someone under conditions that are highly arousing — a political demonstration, turbulence on a plane, a stimulating performance — a time when the body is stirred up and excited, we tend to experience attraction at a heightened level. This effect is well documented but the explanations for it are very controversial. I tend to believe that we come to associate the arousal of the situation with this person and our own self-expansion.

Q:  When do we fall in love?

A:  Contrary to what most people think, the statistics show that most people fall in love with someone that they have known for a while. People only report falling in love quickly about 1/3 to 40 percent of the time. Of course, this varies from culture to culture. Falling in love happens differently between cultures but it does occur in most cultures.

Q:  How does our appearance factor into the equation of falling in love?

A:  This is interesting; we have found that if you are very unattractive, it can hurt you a lot in forming romantic relationships (let’s just be honest!). However, being attractive doesn’t help that much (one point for the not-so-attractive folks! rejoice! LOL)

Q:  How do you explain that?

A:  We have found that two important characteristics, kindness and intelligence, are extremely important in the process of falling in love. And attractiveness is not connected to these things. These two attributes are things that people learn about someone from knowing them over time. Intelligence is important in all aspects of life, especially in love. But kindness is the strongest indicator for a successful long-term relationship.

One of the research findings isn’t so complimentary: Love works chemically in the brain like a drug addiction.

 BOTTOMLINE: The source of love is the HEAD, not your HEART. What your heart does is pump blood. It is your brain that produces chemical hormones like dopamine and oxytocin which makes you feel like you’re in cloud nine, makes you feel really good.

XOXO, Karla Cabrera