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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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9:00PM PDT on Jun 15, 2015

I think that being in love can improve your self-esteem; since you feel boosted by someone your confidence increases. Something similar happens if your partner is also your best friend. To get emotional support will be significant for your personal projects, your work and your social life. You can find more feedback here:

8:59AM PST on Feb 7, 2015

Thanks for sharing It is great to be in Love and to be Loved by someone

9:16AM PST on Feb 5, 2015

Thanks for the info

2:53AM PST on Feb 5, 2015

great article, thank you

9:03AM PST on Feb 4, 2015


9:03AM PST on Feb 4, 2015


5:58AM PST on Feb 3, 2015

Shared, thanks.

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?

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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