Why Do We Fall In Love With Someone? What Happens To Our Brain?

Written by Harini Natarajan, Certified Emotional Intelligence Practitioner

Why do we fall in love? Some people fall in love because they feel a connection or some form of attraction, while others may remark they feel at ease with a certain individual.

Love is a wonderful thing that has the ability to alter the direction of your life. It is the only sensation in the world that can make you fall so hard for someone that you’re willing to make a fool of yourself for them! But if you have ever been in (or out) of love, you must have stopped to wonder why we fall in love in the first place. Today, we are going to answer this question for you! We will go through all the reasons that people fall in love with each other, as well as how it impacts our brains. Keep reading to find out 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).

Key Takeaways

  • Love is a strong affection for another person arising from kinship or sexual desire. The intense feeling can be based on admiration, benevolence, and common interests.
  • The need for companionship is one of the top reasons for falling in love.
  • If two people share many common interests, there is a high chance of falling in love.
  • Attraction and spending quality time with each other are major reasons to fall in love.

What is life without love, after all? If you fall in love, do not let your feelings fade away with time. Instead, embrace them as they are truly precious. Sharing an intense connection with somebody brings a feeling of belongingness and intimacy. And when you share common interests with them, you may gradually fall in love with that person. How wonderful would it be to be with someone whose likes and dislikes are just like yours! This article has tried to cover everything to answer your question: ’Why do we fall in love?’ Now, it is your turn to identify your feelings, acknowledge them and nourish them. Love is all we need to make the world a better place.

Sources

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. General Theories of Love
    https://www.sagepub.com/sites/default/files/upm-binaries/3222_ReganChapter1_Final.pdf
  2. The Brain in Love: Has Neuroscience Stolen the Secret of Love?
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/275606713_The_Brain_in_Love_Has_Neuroscience_Stolen_the_Secret_of_Love
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