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The Physical Effects of Falling in Love

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The Physical Effects of Falling in Love

By Allie Firestone, DivineCaroline

I like to think of myself as a logical, control-my-own destiny kind of girl. I think most of my friends see themselves as equally levelheaded. But recently a friend was describing the physical sensations she gets when she meets someone that she really likes–butterflies, sweaty palms, quick heartbeat. No matter how hard she tries to think her way out of this silliness, she can’t. Since we’ve all been there, I figured there had to be more to it, something powerful enough to give even the most strong-willed a run for her sanity. Hoping for some insight into why these feelings take over, I went looking for the science behind lust and love. Why, physiologically speaking, do these things happen, and what are they trying to tell us?

The Curse of Chemicals
“No matter what I tell myself, I’m always attracted to people who aren’t good for me,” says Lynn Miller, twenty-seven. “I tell myself to go for the nice, reliable men, but I can never resist the difficult, arrogant ones. It’s like I have no control.”

Hormones. Adrenaline. Pheromones. We’ve all read about the factors that supposedly cause us to be attracted to certain people, and there’s no denying that you can’t choose who you’re attracted to. But most people I spoke with, including myself, believe that real, life-changing love can’t exist without that unpredictable sweaty-palmed, stammering speech reaction–at least during the early stages. If this is true, the success of a relationship is based on a physical response that we have no control over.

Scientists have identified three chemicals at play: phenethylamine, dopamine, and oxytocin. They are secreted when we feel that initial attraction to someone and function like an amphetamine, keeping our mood elevated, senses extra alert, and giving us the urge to bond and attach to others. As these secretions increase, our attraction to the object of our desire intensifies, and we get more and more of those dizzy feelings.

So, with these “love” chemicals firing away, physical changes start happening, like–you guessed it–sweaty palms, feelings of euphoria, and light-headedness. It’s likely that Lynn’s problems are in part due to the chemicals coursing through her body.

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DivineCaroline

At DivineCaroline.com, women come together to learn from experts in the fields, of health, sustainability, and culture; to reflect on shared experiences; and to express themselves by writing and publishing stories about anything that matters to them. Here, real women publish like real pros. Together, with our staff writers, theyre discussing all facets of womens lives from relationships and careers, to travel and healthy living. So come discover, read, learn, laugh and connect at DivineCaroline.com.

99 comments

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9:31AM PDT on Jul 19, 2014

And I've discovered that sometimes if you think you love someone and ignore those feelings, they eventually go away, which kind of makes me a bit cynical about the whole thing... But I believe it probably does exist for some people.

9:27AM PDT on Jul 19, 2014

Never experienced any of these effects, I'm doubtful about the whole 'butterflies in stomach' thing as well. Thanks for sharing. I'm usually only nervous if I've got an exam that I really care about the result for though!

3:09AM PDT on Jul 8, 2014

Does this also happen to anteaters?

5:29AM PDT on Jul 2, 2014

Surprise, surprise, beyond even my wildest expectations, Love, true love, exists for me Teresa .. and has lasted so far, since I wrote that comment back in 2010 ..

And it grows stronger and more beautiful, more lasting every day .. I cannot imagine my life without my love ..

We're fulfilling our life purpose by writing a book together, 'no matter what' there is love, real true love after having been raped as an 11 year old ..

6:51AM PDT on Jun 29, 2014

Jaycob is right. If love doesn't exist, it can't have any physical effects.

6:49AM PDT on Jun 29, 2014

Fortunately, I'm free of theses effects. I don't know the feeling of love. I bet it doesn't exist.

5:16AM PDT on May 24, 2014

Good chemicals at work

8:38PM PDT on May 20, 2014

thank you that was interesting

2:37AM PDT on May 16, 2014

Good to know

2:32AM PDT on May 16, 2014

Thank you :)

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