Saturday, April 8, 2017

The 3 Stages Of Love, According To Science

Love is a complex emotion, behind which lie a multitude of chemical and neuronal reactions. How long does it last? What stages do you have? What do the experts recommend? We will know that, and much more, in reviewing what science has to say about love.

Couple love is a multifaceted emotion, which many times, although it does not seem to be, is associated with physiological changes within us. So, before I start with the content of this article, I want to clarify that it is not a question of the different chemical mechanisms mentioned "being" or "causing" the love or emotion that we feel but are closely associated To that, that is, there is a close correlation. 
One may cause the other or vice versa, but that is already the subject of another article. The important thing is not to "mechanize" something that transcends vastly the mechanistic. Now, let's get down to business!

The 3 Stages Of Love, According To Science
The stages of love and its duration

The anthropologist  Helen Fisher argues that love has three major stages: lust, attraction, and union, sometimes followed by a fourth stage, of disunity, which would lead to the breakdown of the couple.

Why We Fall in Love: The Science of Love

1.  Lust 

In a first stage, you feel a strong sexual impulse, which in general is sublimated as a need to look for another person, not to be alone, to have a company. You are "on the market," "available" or whatever you want to call. Once we find someone who corresponds to us, this stage lasts a few hours as a phase of sexual excitement evident, and as a phase of a relationship, it lasts at most a few months  (maybe there comes that a saying that says: Eternal love lasts six months").
  1. At this stage, the level of some neurotransmitters rises (in particular dopamine and noradrenaline) and the standard of serotonin declines. It turns out that serotonin is a mood stabilizer and in addition to this is added the decrease in activity in the frontal lobe of the brain, which is related to logical reasoning. Maybe that's why love is said to be blind (and deaf!)
  2. Being at this stage. Also, several physiological mechanisms are activated when finding a desirable or attractive person. It's like an invisible alert in our body, and a series of rapid processes occur: the heart beats more intensely, blood red blood cells rise, blood pressure increases, and fats and sugars that increase muscle capacity are released. That is, more or less this: (Woody Allen has a slightly different perspective on the same thing).
Also, it increases the production of adrenaline, testosterone, estrogen and progesterone. This produces not only an increase in sexual desire but also alterations in mood, which basically consist of a feeling of well-being, high optimism, and proclivity to daydream. 

However, when the hypothalamus has some problem, this can be expressed through anxiety, obsession and irrational behavior (i.e., the or the ex of many of our readers). All this is an advance of the next phase.
Also read: 7 Amazing Things That Only Happen When You're Single

2.  Romantic Attraction or Love

As time goes by, other brain areas begin to be activated gradually, overlapping those active during the previous period. In the last stage, the impulse was not limited to a single person, but as time passes, we begin to look at only one.

Because as a species, we are primarily monogamous. In 99.5% of 853 cultures studied by anthropologists, women marry only one man (monandric). And although in 44% of these cultures polygyny is allowed, that is, the marriage of a man with many women, only 10% of those cases, a person makes that possibility efficient (that is, approximately 4% of The total cases). Even in societies where it is very common, only 25% of men actually have several wives. In practice, monogamy is the predominant mode among humans. Another muumuu different thing is that there are those who never leave the stage of sexual attraction and walk "trying" here and there.

Well, at this juncture of romantic love, the classic sensation of "love drunkenness" arises, where one walks "like a fool" on the other. That is, a fixed thought develops in the other person. This occurs because the so-called "love circuit" is activated in the brain, which includes the reward system. And the pleasure center of the brain, and this, in turn, corresponds to the older parts of the brain, which have to do With survival behaviors: feeding, ingesting fluids, reproducing, being protected. Therefore, during romantic love, being with the couple feels like a deep vital need.

From a biochemical point of view, what happens is that when falling in love, the brain is flooded with a neurotransmitter called phenylethylamine (and it is also in chocolate). This substance causes the generation of dopamine in our brain, whose effect is that attention is fixed on a single object, in this case, in our partner. Also, it causes lack of sleep, decreased appetite, dilated pupils, euphoria and other symptoms commonly associated with feeling in love. Also, levels of noradrenaline, which has a very similar effect to dopamine, are kept high, and serotonin is still small, which means that we enter into repetitive thought cycles, reinforcing this obsession with the other person.

However, according to several studies, this lasts only for one to three years. If you are not able to evolve to the next stage, usually the couple ends up separating. That is why statistically, most divorces occur around the fourth year of marriage. So much eye!

Also, there is a much greater chance that this will occur between the ages of 25 and 29. In fact, about 75% of divorces are carried out by persons under 40 years old. And the more children the couple has, the harder it is for divorce to happen. In fact, about 40% of divorces are among couples without children. But do not be discouraged by that! After all, 80% of those who divorce, remarry! (Almost always with other people!)

3.  Marriage or mature love

However, if the couple manages to overcome that stage, it reaches the beautiful phase of union or mature love. Here dopamine levels start to decline, so that "obsession" is relaxed, and the affected brain areas begin to change. The reward areas of the brain are no longer activated, but those related to safety and calm.

The neurotransmitters that begin to predominate are oxytocin and vasopressin, which are related and have very similar effects. Of these, oxytocin is the best known, since it is associated with feelings of trust,  generosity, and empathy, which is the same produced during childbirth and is related to the immense bond between mother and child. 
Another time this substance is produced is in orgasm. And that is one of the reasons why many times, anorgasmia (or lack of orgasm), can lead to a relationship become denatured and lose strength. 

And although women secrete more oxytocin than vasopressin, and men quite the opposite, the effects in practice are similar: There is a deeper appreciation of the other. There is a union with the other from an emotional point of view, and the agitation of the beginning leads to a calm and profound peace, where the other becomes a point of support and rest. Predatory attachment, tenderness, deep affection. 
It also releases endorphins, which produces a feeling of quiet satisfaction, safety, and well-being. Love then reaches another level. Security and welfare. Love then reaches another level. Safety and wellness. Love then reaches another level.

This stage lasts at least ten years, and then what happens sometimes is that the cycle is restarted. Ideally, it is to restart it with our partner.

However, if this union has not occurred, this emotional crystallization, by the time the levels of substances that cause infatuation begin to fall, then the couple may find themselves in great difficulty. 
As the libido collapses, as well as the obsession with the other, you will not have where to support the relationship, which can become empty and routine, meaningless. This leads to the fourth period that often extends long, and which consists of a definite cooling of the relationship because the couple no longer has a deep motivation that makes it proceed. But this is entirely avoidable!


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