Why Do We Fall In Love?

Written by Harini Natarajan

“L – is for the way you look at me, O – is for the only one I see, V – is very, very, extraordinary, E – is even more than anyone that you adore can. Love is all that I can give to you. Love is more than just a game for two.” – Nat King Cole

Love – it’s the only feeling in the world that will make you fall head over heels for someone so badly that you’re willing to look like a fool for it! But if you’ve been in (and out) of love, you have probably asked the question – why do we fall in love? That is the big question. So, we are answering it for you! In this article, we explain the factors that make people fall for each other and how it affects our brains. Keep reading to learn more!

What Is Love?

Love is defined as an intense feeling of deep affection. Ancient Greek philosophy describes eight different types of love.

  • Philia: Platonic love between friends and family
  • Pragma: Long-lasting or persistent love
  • Storge: Familiar love
  • Eros: Romantic love
  • Mania: Obsessive love
  • Agape: Selfless love
  • Ludus: Playful love
  • Philautia: Self love

Robert Sternberg, an American psychologist, came up with a theory that the three main components of love are intimacy, passion, and commitment (1). He called it the Triangular Model of Love. These three components in different combinations give rise to the eight different types of love. Romantic love occurs when intimacy and passion are at high levels with a moderate commitment level.

Let’s focus on romantic love. Romantic love certainly does not feel as simple as an intense feeling. After all, wars have been waged in the name of love. The most famous fictional couples of all time, Romeo and Juliet, die for love. We have also heard many a song dedicated to love, read a plethora of love stories, and seen a million movies where love always wins.

Someone once said, “Humans are creatures simply looking for love. That is their purpose. Until they find it, they roam without knowing the meaning of their existence. Once they find love, their life begins.”

So, what is it exactly that makes us fall for someone so hard that we would be willing to give up our lives for them? Find out in the next section!

Why We Fall In Love – Contributing Factors

  • Companionship

People don’t want to be alone. From a young age, we learn to be dependent on other people, like our parents. Once we start going to school, we are pushed to make friends. We feel the need for companionship from a very young age. Sometimes when we find the perfect companion to match us, it turns into love. This is why some of the most common love stories we hear follow the best friends-turned-lovers trajectory. You both know each other very well, including all the good, bad, and ugly that comes with being with them. It makes being together easy.

  • Compatibility

Many people have a checklist of things they want in their ideal partner. Once they find all, or most, of their ideal points met in a person, they see them as a match. Either they immediately like the person or they learn more about them and build their love.

  • Common Interests

Finding someone with similar interests as yours is a big contributing factor to falling in love with that person. You spend more time with each other because you have common hobbies and interests.

  • Attraction

Let’s be honest – love, at first sight, is basically just attraction. Either you are attracted to their appearance or their mindset. Once there is an attraction between two people, spending time with each other only builds love.

  • Intimacy

When two people become physically intimate with each other, it can strengthen their bond and increase the love they have for each other. Intimacy is not only physical. Once you start sharing intimate details of your life and become vulnerable with them, you may start feeling a new, deeper kind of love toward them.

  • Attachment

We tend to build attachments with people. These attachments make us grow closer together, strengthening our love for each other. Once you build an attachment, it is easy to fall in love. Attachment also makes you depend on your partner for either emotional support, general love, and appreciation, or physical intimacy.

  • Desirable Traits

If a person showcases traits you find attractive, you will be attracted to them. If you are someone who reads a lot, you will like people who are well-read. If you are focused on fitness, you will like people who take their health seriously. If you like blue eyes, you may be more attracted to someone with blue eyes. Any traits you find desirable can increase the love you have for a person.

  • Reciprocation

If you like a person and they like you back, it automatically increases your feelings for them. When a person tells you that they like you back, you feel safer being vulnerable with them.

  • Needs

We all have certain needs, and if we find a person that satisfies those needs, it makes us like them. Those needs can be emotional, physical, or even just general needs like the want to get married or be with someone.

  • Social Status

For some people, social status is very important. This is especially true for arranged marriages. Having a good or decent social status increases the desire to know the other person and your attraction toward them.

  • Sparks

Sometimes, you may know a person for a long time and not feel anything for them until you are placed in a situation that makes sparks fly between you two. Finding yourself and another person in an unusual situation (maybe stranded in the middle of nowhere because your car broke down?) can lead to you discovering feelings you never knew you had.

  • Togetherness

Spending time with a person can increase your feelings for each and transform into love. The more time you spend together, the more you get to know each other and the more you love each other.

  • Passion

Passion is what makes the spark alive in a relationship. Many marriages fail because while the couple may like each other, they lack passion for each other.

We know that once we fall in love, we’re on a high. Being in love also affects your body and brain. Here’s how!

What Happens To Your Brain And Body When You Fall in Love

The Brain

In neuroscience, love is said to be a very strong emotion that is greater than other emotions. When you are in love, your anxiety and fear reduce while euphoric happiness increases. In a study conducted in Turkey, 18 people who were deeply in love had their brain activity monitored when shown a picture of the person they loved (2). This triggered a lot of activity in some areas of their brains.

The most significant activity came from the ventral tegmental area, known to produce 90% of the dopamine in the brain. Dopamine creates the feeling of unity with the person you love. When you love someone, your brain releases dopamine which increases your bond with the other person. It also increases your libido.

Also, remember the saying “love is blind?” What it basically means is that when people fall in love, they can’t think straight. According to research, this may actually be true. When you are in love, you are on a dopamine high that makes you feel happy. But, this hinders activity in the prefrontal region of your brain. This region is responsible for visualization, decision making, and logical deduction. It is the main source of logic, morality, and respect. So, yes, love does make you do stupid things!

The Body

Love has intense physiological effects on the body, as well. When you love another person, your body tends to react in significant ways. Apart from the general reaction of arousal, there are a few other common signs. People feel butterflies in their stomach, and they tend to eat less. When they see the person they love, they become sweaty, and their heart rate increases. So, it looks like all the things they show in rom-coms are true!

Research shows that there is a decrease in appetite and a loss of interest in food and drink (2). There is also a decrease in pain sensitivity. There is an increase in pulse rate, heart palpitations, sweating, trembling, and intestinal activity. There is also an increase in the rate of swallowing and, sadly, an increase in stomach acidity. Another reaction of the body is to release pheromones to attract people of the opposite gender (1).

Take Away

Love is a beautiful feeling, but it comes with its own set of risks. Falling in love with the wrong person can affect your mental, emotional, and physical state. This is true because love incapacitates the logical side of your brain. So when you fall for someone, take your time and think it through before you commit to them. Take your time to find the right person for yourself. Forget the idea that the right person is someone who is perfect and flawless. Look for someone who makes you feel better about yourself, supports you, and puts you first. Find yourself a partner who is willing to go the distance to make the relationship work.

Sources

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As Chief Editor, Harini sets the tone and editorial direction for StyleCraze to deliver engaging, interesting, and authentic content revolving around women's health, wellness, and beauty. She has over 14 years of experience in content writing and editing for online media. She specializes in the areas of Beauty, Lifestyle, and Health & Wellness and is proficient in Medical Sciences (Biology, Human Anatomy and Physiology, and Biochemistry). Her background in Biomedical Engineering helps her decode and interpret the finer nuances of scientific research for her team. Harini is a certified bibliophile and a closet poet. She also loves dancing and traveling to offbeat destinations.