People say that love is a drug, and your body might agree when you understand what happens to your body when you fall in love. There are a lot of physiological changes in your mind and body that are normal for someone who is falling in love, but it can feel like you are going through puberty again with all of the chemical and hormonal changes that your body is experiencing.
This Is What Happens When You Fall In Love
You release pheromones
Pheromones are chemicals that have a faintly detectable scent. As a person falling in love, you often feel sexually attracted before you feel true, deep love. That initial spark of attraction is likely due to your inhalation of your partner’s pheromones.
When you fall in love, your body releases a spike in adrenaline. The adrenaline rush gives you that feeling of butterflies in your stomach. This is a similar feeling you get when something ‘just doesn’t feel right.’ That gut feeling is a way for your body to tell you to pay close attention because something important is happening.
Obviously, falling in love and getting a gut instinct that something is wrong are very different emotionally. One is a happy emotion and the other one is a fear response. The tingling in your belly is a way for your body to tell you that something is about to change your life, either for the good or the bad.
Hormone level changes
Researchers studied the hormone levels of people who had fallen in love within the last 6 months and compared them to the hormones of people in long-term relationships or those who were single. They found ‘Cortisol levels were significantly higher amongst those subjects who had recently fallen in love, as compared with those who had not. FSH [follicle-stimulating hormone] and testosterone levels were lower in men in love, while women of the same group presented higher testosterone levels.’
The scientists explain that the research on the biological chemistry of falling in love is limited, and that they are unsure why the reverse levels of testosterone happen for men and women falling in love.
You increase serotonin
Your body and your brain undergo chemical changes that cement the new bond of love that you are forming with your partner. These changes happen when you fall in love as an evolutionary tool to help us to reproduce and sustain the population of our human species.
A joint study between the University of Pisa, Italy and the University of California at San Diego looked at the neurotransmitter serotonin and the brains of people who were falling in love. They found that the levels of a serotonin transporter were as high as they were in the brains of patients with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
No wonder you can’t quit your partner. 5-HT is the serotonin transmitter that you makes you obsessed about your partner. The scientists say that the increase in 5-HT ‘might mediate more enduring and ‘romantic’ forms of love, characterized by ‘obsessive’ pre-occupations about the partner and, consequently, a greater likelihood of bonding and faithfulness to the relationship.’
You increase your levels of other neurotransmitters
Dopamine and oxytocin are two other neurotransmitters that make you feel good. Oxytocin is such a strong naturally-produced pain-killer that it is given to women during childbirth. Increased levels of oxytocin is one thing that happens to your body when you fall in love. Oxytocin is often called the ‘cuddle hormone’ because it is also produced during intimate snuggle time.
Dopamine levels also increase when you fall in love. Dopamine is like a happy drug for your brain and it makes you want more of the good stuff. To get more dopamine, you want more love from your partner.
Your heart rate and breathing synchronizes to your partner’s
Does your heart beat only for your true love? That’s entirely possible because researchers at the University of California at Davis say couples who were connected to monitors measuring their heart rates and rates of respiration had heart rates that were in sync. The research also revealed that the couples breathed in and out at the same intervals.
The scientists found that women tended to adjust their heart rate and breathing to match that of their male partners, rather than the other way around. The researchers explain this as similar to the tendency of women to adapt to their partners’ preferences in a relationship and their tendency to have a higher capacity for emotional empathy as well.
The couples were a few feet away from each other and did not touch each other or speak. When couples who are in love have been separated from each other, their heart rates spike when they see each other again.