2Hy Do Some Animals Have A Longer Lifespan Than Oyhers The Chemistry of Love

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The Chemistry of Love

We’ve all heard our friends talk about chemistry and relationships. Rock stars sing of “the chemistry between us” and movies depict pounding hearts, sweaty palms and love at first sight. Have you ever wondered where all these scientific, chemical and physiological terms and ideas related to love and attraction appear? It might surprise you to know how much of your relationship is invested in hormones.

Why do we even have “Chemistry” with other people?

Long ago in our evolutionary history, before courtship and ’til death do us part relationships were the norm, our ancestors needed encouragement to reproduce and raise children. In response to the need to perpetuate the species, humans developed several romantic functions to enhance the desire to find mates and create family units. The first basic instinct that most animals have was sexual desire, or the need to reproduce; this created a desire to seek partners. The romantic love or instant chemistry you experience from meeting a great partner then evolved to keep your mind on only one mate at a time; this helped us and helps us save time and energy. Finally, we developed a sense of connection. Bonds and bonds create the desire for long-term partners, allowing us to build a secure family unit and raise children.

Why does love feel the way it does?

The feelings we associate with falling in love, especially the initial and highly romantic and passionate stages of the relationship, are the body’s response to three main chemicals. These chemicals affect some of the brain’s powerful pleasure circuits, causing feelings of euphoria and focused attention on your partner; in fact, initial romantic feelings work like a drug.

Dopamine is the most prevalent chemical in this love reaction. Dopamine is considered the “pleasure chemical” and is responsible for our feelings of happiness and physical responses to being in the presence of our partner. Combined with phenylethylamine, it creates the racing heart, flushed skin, and sweaty palms that can make you realize you’re in love with the other person. Norepinephrine is another chemical involved and works similarly to adrenaline. This chemical creates the rush of excitement we feel when we are around our partner. Together with dopamine and phenylethylamine, we feel intense energy, insomnia, great desire and focused attention.

We can also thank dopamine for our attention to our partners. When we feel love and romantic attraction towards our partner, we experience an increase in blood flow to areas of the brain with high concentrations of dopamine receptors. Our brain begins to focus on our partner, acting as if we are addicted to that person and our body’s response to them. Combined with norepinephrine, we begin to focus our attention on our partners; our short-term memory increases and we engage in goal-oriented behaviors, generally focused on being with our partner.

Some researchers suggest that serotonin is also involved with feelings of love. During withdrawal or the early stages of romantic love, we have lower levels of serotonin, which causes us to behave differently. In fact, serotonin levels in people in love are similar to those with obsessive-compulsive disorder; this explains why some of us seem to be obsessed with our partners.

What comes next?

After an initial courtship, filled with rapid pulses and days of excitement, we begin the chemical bonding process. As we perform sexual acts with our partner, our body begins to release chemicals that promote bonding or feelings of deeper connection. The hormone oxytocin, which is released during sex, creates a deep connection; this feeling grows with each release. Vasopressin, another chemical associated with bonding and forming long-term relationships, is also released. When combined, oxytocin and vasopressin begin to interfere with dopamine and norepinephrine; this can leave partners feeling less passion but higher levels of connection.

Why don’t we keep the same feelings of love and attraction throughout the relationship?

The longer we stay with a single partner, the more a relationship matures. Instead of that rush of excitement we used to feel just thinking about our partner, we might feel a little smug. They may no longer be the image of perfection they once were and we may sometimes feel bored with them.

The heady excitement of attraction is associated with the very early stages of a relationship; once they’re gone, the relationship has either dissolved, or matured into a long-term relationship. In fact, after two or three years, researchers find almost no sign of the initial dopamine and norepinephrine reactions.

A long-term relationship is based on the bond formed during the early stages of a physical relationship. Other chemicals, oxytocin and vasopressin, are hard at work producing feelings of pleasure and connection when you are with your partner; these are strengthened as you engage in healthy, physical relationships. Endorphins also work to keep you feeling secure in your relationship and happy with your partner.

Doesn’t the idea of ​​science and chemicals take the romance out of the romance?

Some people may find the idea of ​​evolution in love somewhat cynical, but scientific theory and hypotheses have not taken romance out of relationships. Think about it: humans are one of the only species on the planet designed to love. In fact, we simply proved that love was not created by men, or imagined for the sake of medieval poetry. We have evidence of love in more than 150 societies and can trace evidence of poetry and declarations of love back as far as 4,000 years ago. We actually have proof that love exists.

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