"When you trip over love it's easy to get up. When you fall in love it's impossible to stand again"
~ Albert Einstein
A good friend of mine who has been single for what seems like a lifetime has recently fallen hook, line and sinker for someone in a period of her life when she wasn’t pro-actively looking to date. Firstly, I have to say how delighted I am to see her so ridiculously happy. Secondly, we have noted together, to which if you have been in love you can relate, that she is in a little bubble where nothing else seems to matter in the world. Any third party looking in could only describe it as seemingly bonkers (but certainly beautiful). According to many psychologists falling in love is a state close to madness - who wouldn’t want to know a little bit more about it?
Said friend and I got to chatting about this feeling that Beyoncé describes as crazy in love and so I decided to delve a little deeper, do a little research and see what it is exactly that keeps us from carrying out our daily duties with ease when we meet someone that seems just that little bit extra special. The state of falling is mental, it’s physical and most certainly chemical, whereby, your day to day responsibilities can seem to fall by the wayside as you experience the highs and lows of new feelings for another. Surely there has to be a reason they don’t call it walking into love?
Apparently, falling in love is the concept of moving from a feeling of neutrality towards another to a feeling of love. There are three key stages which include lust, attraction and last but not least; attachment. When two individuals fall in love the highs experienced can be deemed as both exhilarating and addictive. Here's a little bit on these three stages:
Lust - As adults testosterone and oestrogen are active in our bodies. These hormones create a desire to experience love and we start to look for a mate. When we begin to lust after someone it isn’t something that appears completely out of the blue, a number of factors are included to make this happen. Inclusive of these factors are looks, personality and commonality. All of the hormones released when we begin to fall for someone begin to create the desire to experience love and so we actively look to gain a partnership. A merger in the madness some might say.
Attraction - Dopamine is released in the brain and produces a feeling of bliss which can lead to sleepless nights and a loss of appetite. Serotonin levels fall and norepinephrine is released which activates stress levels hence our increased heart rates when we are in the company of the person we are lusting after, attracted to and becoming attached to.
Attachment - If a relationship is set to last then a strong bond between two people must form. Two important hormones which are oxytocin and vasopressin are involved in forming a commitment. These hormones are released in intimacy such as touching, kissing, hugging and having intercourse. Vasopressin is a hormone which is released during sex which is intended to encourage monogamy. Endorphins suppress pain and negative feelings, thus, creating a strong sense of security. Endorphins play an important role in forming an attachment between two persons in this final phase of falling.
Scientist Gary Neuman has proven that there are 5 things that make someone subconsciously fall in love with you, which is quite interesting as they are so simple. They are:
#1 Making eye contact, at least 75% of the time when communicating.
#2 Active listening is key to building a strong bond
#3 Validating the other person - inclusive of their passions and successes
#4 Smiling is key. Happy is the most attractive trait after all.
#5 Touch is essential to physical bond building
Being a matchmaker and an advocate for love I have to say I find this so fascinating and something that made me giggle was how the state of falling for someone has been referred to as a position close to madness. Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence, says this "With regard to sociobiology, it is stressed that mate selection cannot be left to the head alone and must require complex neurochemical support."
So there we have it. Falling in love. It's just science.
p.s. If you're wondering how to tell if you have met 'the one' here's another piece I put together with some other dating and relationship experts for Business Insider.