Love is pure, love is painful, love is sweet and love is dreadful. True love is overwhelming. Our lives depend on it and it often seems like our planet would stop spinning if love didn’t exist. Love is something we strive for and something we mourn the loss of.
A lovesick panda once said that “if you’re never been hurt, you’re either very lucky, or very lonely”.
We understand the poetry of the heart, but over the courses of our lives we tend to demystify this precious feeling more and more. We learn about biological processes that cause specific reactions; we learn about cultural influences on how we behave and think about love; we learn about the psychological and physiological processes that make us fall for someone.
And as soon as we think there’s no more place for romance in a world explained by science, we fall in love, or simply look into the eyes of our beloved, and all of that knowledge is pushed to the back of our minds. In the end, the feeling itself is what matters most.
Let us present you with 20 interesting facts and theories about love that will explain much about this all-absorbing phenomenon without dispelling its romance and poetry.
1. Monogamous Relationships Exist Throughout The Animal Kingdom
Even though we often think of ourselves as a faithful species, we’re not the only one in the animal kingdom. Wolves, swans, gibbons, black vultures, albatrosses and even termites are just a few of those animals that find a mate for a lifetime.
2. It only takes up to 4 minutes to decide whether you like someone or not
Image credits: Kristina Фотограф в Мексике
If you want to make a good impression on someone, you’ve only got about 4 minutes to do it. It is believed that it has far more to do with your body language, tone and speed of your voice rather than exactly what you say.
3. When Two Lovers Gaze At Each Others’ Eyes, Their Heart Rates Synchronize
Image credits: Alexander Khokhlov
Some extraordinary research has found that couples who are in love and bond in a romantic relationship synchronize their heart rates after gazing into each others’ eyes for three minutes.
4. Falling In Love Has Neurological Effects Similar To Those Of Cocaine
Image credits: Jeremiah Kuehne
Falling in love is much like taking a dose of cocaine, as both experiences affect the brain similarly and trigger a similar sensation of euphoria. Research found that falling in love produces several euphoria-inducing chemicals that stimulate 12 areas of the brain at the same time.
5. Cuddling Releases Natural Painkillers
Image credits: Sara K Byrne
Oxytocin, the so-called love or cuddle hormone, is produced during an embrace or cuddle. The hormone appears in the brain, ovaries and testicles and is thought to be involved in the bonding process. Research has found that a dose of oxytocin decreases headaches significantly, and for some it even makes the pain go away completely after 4 hours. It’s definitely worth trying hug and cuddle medicine before jumping to chemicals and pills.
6. Even Looking At A Picture Of A Loved One Relieves The Pain
Image credits: Benoit Courti
Even though it was long known that the presence of a significant other has a lot to do with patients’ improvement, it has been proved that the same goes for even a picture of the beloved. The experiment showed that when experiencing pain, study participants exposed to pictures of their beloved and to distracting word games had their pain reduced far more than those exposed to the same distracting word games and pictures of acquaintances.
7. People At The Same Level Of Attractiveness Are More Likely To End Up Together
Image credits: Rehahn Photography
Many psychological and social research indicates that there is a significant pattern in how people choose people to establish romantic relationships with. This pattern is explained by the Matching Hypothesis, which says that people are more attracted to those that they share a level of attractiveness with, or, in other words, are equally socially desirable. Even if successful couples differ in physical attractiveness, one of them usually compensates for it with other socially desirable qualities.
8. Couples Who Are Too Similar To Each Other Are not Likely To Last
Image credits: kashia
As the well-known saying goes, opposites attract. And research proves that this is partially true. Couples that are either too similar or too different tend not to last very long. Apparently, there always has to be a foundation of similarities, but there also have to be things that the two of you learn from each other.
9. Heartbreak Is Not Just A Metaphor
Image credits: Rob Woodcox
Research has provided evidence that intense, traumatizing events, such as a break-up, divorce, loss of a loved one, physical separation from a loved one, or betrayal can cause real physical pains in the area of one’s heart. This condition is called the Broken Heart Syndrome. Deep emotional distress triggers the brain to distribute certain chemicals that significantly weaken one’s heart, leading to strong chest pains and shortness of breath. The condition is often misdiagnosed as heart attack and tends to affect women more often.
10. Romantic Love Eventually Ends…Only To Be Followed By Committed Love
Image credits: Rehahn Photography
Couples at the very beginning of a romantic relationship will be very different a year later. It is estimated that romantic love, which is linked with euphoria, dependence, sweaty palms, butterflies and alike, only lasts about a year. After that first year begins the so-called “committed love” stage. The transition is linked with elevated neurotrophin protein levels in newly formed couples.
11. People Who Are In Love Have Chemical Similarities With People With OCD
Image credits: Enzo Perrazziello
Studies show that people at an early stage of love have lower levels of serotonin, which is associated with feelings of happiness and well-being, and higher levels of cortisol, associated with stress. This is strikingly similar to those people who have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, which explains why we act so out of character when we fall for someone. It works the other way around as well – people with lower levels of serotonin fall in love and get into sexual relationships quicker than others. Check out this vivacious video that explains the theory.
12. Thinking Of Love And Sex Influences Creativity And Concrete Thinking, Respectively
Image credits: Omalix Martinez
Research based on the construal level theory found out that reminders of love influence more abstract and creative thinking because they are associated with more distant and abstract considerations – long-term relationships, devotion, commitment and intimacy. Reminders of sex trigger concrete thinking, making a person focus more on momentary details than on long-term plans or goals.
13. Attachment + Caring + Intimacy = Perfect Love
Image credits: Nikolai Zinoviev
The triangular theory of love suggest a clear formula for the components of different kinds of love. There are three kinds of love that are a product of two different pairs of basic components: romantic love = passion + intimacy, companionate love = intimacy + commitment, and fatuous love = passion + commitment. Of course, the truest and strongest of all is consummate love, which consists of all three components.
14. An Attractive Face Is Preferred Over An Attractive Body For Long-Term Relationships
Image credits: Thorbjørn Fessel
There’s evidence that when looking for a fling, the body wins over the face on a physical attraction basis. The opposite is true, however, for those who are looking for a long-term relationship partner.
15. Holding A Loved One’s Hand Relieves Pain And Stress
Image credits: Ricardo Miranda
Research shows that long-term couples with deep, strong connections can successfully soothe each other in stressful situations or when one of them experiences pain simply by holding hands.
16. Expressing Gratitude Towards People You Love Causes An Immediate Spike In Your Happiness
Image credits: Balaji Maheshwar
Without much talking, we’re suggesting you to see the beautiful experiment in this video.
17. Butterflies In The Stomach Are Real And They’re Actually Caused by Adrenaline
Image credits: Jack Wannemacher
When you fall for someone you probably won’t be able to avoid the butterflies flying, dancing and fooling around in your stomach. They’re caused by adrenaline, which floods your body during flight-or-fight response situations.
18. Dilated Pupils Show Your Attraction To Someone And Makes You More Attractive
Image credits: Andy Prokh
As early as the 1870s, Darwin proposed that pupils expand during heightened attention and focus. This is indeed true, as this occurs when gazing at an object of desire or beloved one, even if it‘s only a picture or a video. Moreover, people with dilated pupils themselves look more attractive. (info)
19. Looking Into Each Others’ Eyes Can Make Strangers Fall In Love
Image credits: Kristina Фотограф в Мексике
The eyes are the mirrors of our souls, as they say, so there’s probably no surprise that simply looking into each others’ eyes can make us fall for each other, even if we don’t know jack about each other. It has been proven that when someone is gazing at you, the person’s body produces a chemical called phenylethylamine, which is associated with the fight-or-flight response. So if you decide to continue looking at each other, you’re asking for Cupid’s arrow. (info)
20. Love Is Really All That Matters
Image credits: wikipedia
A marvelous 75-year long study, which was conducted by a group of Harvard researchers, has shown that love is really all that matters. The participants’ lifelong experiences revealed that happiness and life fulfillment revolved around love or simply searching for love.
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