Monday, November 19, 2007

A matter of the heart... or the brain??

You remember the time when you just started going out and your heart felt like it would burst with all the love you were feeling. This is the stage when your partner could do no wrong, the pedestal was studded with diamonds, things that will irritate the crap out of you later are so endearing and you stare in wide-eyed wonder at everything that comes out of that hallowed mouth. You need no one else and you are the couple that other couples look at with various expressions. Some are just plain annoyed at being unwilling spectators to unwarned PDA, others look with envy and yet others with a knowing look that says 'enjoy it while you can, it won't last forever'. Well scientifically speaking the last ones are the most correct.

When we meet someone that we fall in love with we are on cloud nine, thinking about them is the most pleasurable thing in the world. We feel like we are on an emotional high which is the most rewarding sensation we have ever experienced. We are blind to all faults and the thoughts of our loved one makes us tingle with pleasure.

The glamorous explanation is that love literally makes our heart go soft and gooey and our eyes twinkle but the more accurate explanation is that love has got more to do with what's happening in our brains or rather to our brains physically than our hearts.

When we fall in love, the reward or pleasure center in our brain gets activated, and starts firing every time we see our beloved or think about them and at the same time the part of our brain which is responsible for critical evaluations and judgments gets muted, explaining why the person we love, can literally do no wrong and why we idolize them. According to research this phenomenon lasts for two to three years... this is of course for the preservation of the species.

The mystery to some of the most stupendous stupidity shown by most couples in love has been solved....Love literally makes us or rather our brains go blind!!!

30 comments:

Zeal said...

I miss that feeling

Random Magus said...

It literally is a rush...

Jay Cam said...

wow..
i'll never at "love" the same way again!

JYankee said...

ha ha it is true...but we are still together..so "Love" must not have eaten all of my brain entirely!

The Real Mother Hen said...

No wonder I can't tell the difference between husband and Brat Pitt... I must either be blind or have no brain left :)

On a serious note, I like this blog, and I do enjoy the feelings :)

The Real Mother Hen said...

On a more serious note, how our body works continue to stun me...
there really must be a Creator somewhere out there creating us the complicated beings.

Random Magus said...

Jay Cam:
I was watching this in a BBC show about couples - it was fascinating realy. It'd be cool if they discovered drugs that could stimulate the affect

JYankee:
I have been married for 8 years as well and I honestly think that it becomes far more real after a few years when the 'rush' dies down and the love settles in.

The Real Mother Hen: That is exactly what I was thinking...

Amel's Realm said...

Well, since I had a long-distance relationship with my hubby, it actually lasted longer than 3 years he he he...We literally fell in love over and over again with each other. The meeting and being apart period really helped us in falling in love over and over again.

You know something? When you're an adult already and you're in the throes of that rush, I find it annoying if someone else says, "Enjoy it while it lasts." Because when you're an adult already, you KNOW it'll not last, but does someone else have to remind you about it while you're enjoying it? I bet even wise teenagers know that the rush won't last...I just hope that other people will just let other people who're feeling that rush to enjoy every bit of it without spoiling it with "reality".

Josie Two Shoes said...

Looking at my life history, I'd suspected as much. I always plead "temporary insanity" when trying to explain the men I chose! :-)

meleah rebeccah said...

After reading this post, I can honestly say I have never been IN LOVE before.

At least not since I was a very young girl.

Random Magus said...

Amel's Realm:
Which is an excellent thing. This show was really cool, in it they had couples going through various problems and one couple that had been together for decades. Love is something that has to be worked at and not taken for granted - it actually starts when the initial euphoria dies down and you really get to know the other person without blinders yet still respect and love them.I have a friend who actually does say 'enjoy it while it lasts' and it sounds pretty condescending and a little jaded

Josie Two Shoes: We are the victim of our brain....

meleah rebeccah: You know the symptoms of an infatuation are far stronger than those of love - at least that's what I think. Infatuation is how you look when you are ready to go out on a date and love is the person who wakes up in the morning without the make-up. Silly analogy!

Mariuca said...

The beginnings are always the best part, savour them while they last! ;)

Welcome back Amber, glad ur back to blogging. :):):)

Amel's Realm said...

Yes, I agree with you that love has to be worked on. They say "it's a verb, not just a noun, so action is important".

You have a friend who says that, too? Yeah, then you know what I mean. :-))))

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Love must be the most complex thing there is!

Dawn said...

This is so interesting... and it certainly does explain the temporary insanity!

Titania Starlight said...

I must be a rare one but I am still on cloud nine after 10 years. We still get that glossy eyed look.

Yes, we get tired and work and life may drag us down but we still are hot for each other. It may be because we have had so very close to losing one another far as health crisis goes. Perhaps this adds to the factor that we value one another and do not take each other for granted. It is good to fall in love over and over again with the same person. And a blessing.

No wonder I am crazy, my brain is flooded with love.

Rambler said...

I am not sure why after those few years it turns people blind to love..

Ricardo said...

Yes it does make our brains go blind. I have had a few moments where I wondered what on earth was I doing and saying to myself, "no that could not have been love." Was it? I don't know but the euphoric feeling is something that is hard to shake and you are left wanting more.

AntiBarbie said...

Romantic love (also known as infatuation) is just chemicals firing off in our brains to help propagate the species. It doesn't feel like a high, it *is* a high of sorts.

It's sad that so many people confuse infatuation with mature love and screw up their lives over it by doing silly things like cheat or get divorced on a quest for the unattainable. Infatuation never lasts.

Jeff said...

This is what makes a lot of marriages and long term relationships end. People feel that they are missing something. THIS is the something. Sad.

meleah rebeccah said...

thats not a silly analogy. thats a pretty damn good one!

Blur Ting said...

I love that feeling :-)

Jacques Pierre said...

No more love 4 me. I'm loving myself for a change :)

QUASAR9 said...

And alchemists have been trying to bottle it for millennia ... like the most 'exotic' perfume

But, at least when all else fails, there's still chocolate

Greg said...

Love doesn't fade away. Researchers are known for taking stuff we already know and rewording it so they can publish more papers. This is the dark side of academia.

What you are writing about is tolerance. This is just like alcohol or acetaminophen or any other drug. Our bodies thrive on new experience, so when we have one, a chemical fireworks show goes off in our system and gives us the high.

Think about when you went sky diving as compared to falling in love. The cliché "falling in love" comes from this same feeling as though one was falling. Sky dive enough and that feeling too becomes normal or common.

There is a movie called The Seven-year Itch that plays off another thought that infidelity is most common around the seventh year of a relationship. And most couples will be familiar with the honeymoon year: the first year is like a constant honeymoon. After that, it's something else.

Research tells us about common cases, but hardly anyone fits a common case, so it is often that this "finding" doesn't apply to them, or applies to them in a different way. What this "finding" and the others that I've mentioned tell us is that the excitement of the relationship, or the newness of it, fades over time, all things being the same.

If we put the three together we might say that the first year is marked by intensity, by the third year the couple has reached an equilibrium state, and by the seventh year the couple craves excitement.

The way to counter this is with growth as a couple. Growth as an individual apart from the partner increases the rate of this. And by the way, many drugs reproduce this feeling, that is why there are so many drug users.

Random Magus said...

Mariuca:
Glad to be back. I actually really like this part when the madness of the beginning is over and you can breathe together.

Amel's Realm:
It is annoying, I simply ignore it now...

Jean-Luc Picard:
That it surely is...

Dawn:
;-D Won't hold in a court of law though or will it??

Titania Starlight:
You are very lucky and I am sure you both put in effort to keep the magic alive. It is indeed a blessing...I can't stay without hubby for too long either, we both have fiery tempers and are very headstrong but cannot dream of a life without him. It's also because we know that there are some things which are unacceptable to each other and we respect them

Rambler:
I think it's because people assume that without making an effort to be each other's partners and get to know them as they grow, love will still survive. But as Greg said you have to grow together. You have to remember that person you fell in love will change he/she won't be the exact same person you fell in love with a few years ago. If you are not cognizant of each other's growth you become strangers

Ricardo:
And then you get used to the drug :-D Some people love the feeling of being in love more than anything else actually

AntiBarbie:
Because it is built on false foundations, unfortunately because it's effects are more glamorous people get totally taken in and when it fades they feel cheated and betrayed.

Jeff:
They should know and be prepared in advance that the feelings will change the people will change but trying telling anyone in the throes of love and see the reaction you get.

meleah rebeccah:
Thank you... muaahh

Blur Ting:
It's a lot of fun and oh so exciting

Jacques Pierre:
That's a good thing to love and should always come first

QUASAR9:
There's always chocolate :-D The world's not that evil a place after all - can find some rich goodness every time

Greg:
Yes there's always ecstasy to fall back on but even that wears out its effect after a few years of of familiarity. I think our mind is always looking for new frontiers and this is a part of that, I guess. Many couples just stop making the effort thinking that their love is nontarnishable and therein lies the biggest mistake. You have to work at everything meaningful in your life so that it stays that way - all relationships...

John said...

I'm just a guy and terribly unqualified to comment on love.

somewhere joe said...

Who doesn't adore the thrill of infatuation? Of course it doesn't last forever. Nothing organic does. That doesn't make it any less lovely.

Random Magus said...

John: :-D

Somewhere Joe: Any less appealing or transient....

jen_chan, writer MemberSpeed.com said...

Love is a mysterious concept indeed. But I am curious to know if infatuation induces the same reaction in the brain? Infatuation is not deep love but I feel like it clouds the mind even more.