Love at the level of biology is all chemicals. The attraction process is strongly linked to physiological arousal that typically starts with increased heart rate and sweatiness. When you catch sight of your beloved, your heart starts racing because of an adrenaline rush.
The brain sends signals to the adrenal gland, which secretes hormones such as adrenaline, epinephrine and norepinephrine. They flow through the blood and cause the heart to beat faster and stronger. It is similar to a fast heartbeat while running on a treadmill. For people with serious heart problems, love could actually be dangerous because when the heart rate goes up, the heart uses more oxygen, which can be risky for a person with blood vessel blockages or who has had a prior heart attack. Good medicines such as beta blockers help curb the adrenaline response. The norepinephrine, a stress hormone that governs attention and responding actions, makes one feel weak in the knees. The brain imaging studies of people who said they were "madly in love" showed activity in the area of the brain that produces the neurotransmitter dopamine.
Dopamine and norepinephrine are closely related. Dopamine gives you focused attention, the craving, the euphoria, the energy and the motivation to win life’s greatest prize. This norepinephrine response seems to be more active in people who are in love. Serotonin system too plays a role. Data from an Italian study indicate that a drop in serotonin levels is associated with obsessive thinking. The stress hormone cortisol has also been shown to have implications for love. Those who are in love show an increase in stress hormones such as cortisol.
Three brain systems play vital role in romantic love: sex drive, love and attachment. The sex drive evolved to get you to look for a lot of partners, the "love" portion is for focusing mating energy on one specific person at a time, and attachment is for allowing you to tolerate the partner — at least, long enough to have children with him or her. These systems are often connected, but can function separately. You can start out with one of them — casual sex, or an intense feeling of love, or an emotional connection — and move on to the others. For example, what may start out as a one-night stand may feel like more because the hormones oxytocin and vasopressin, released during orgasm, make you feel deeply attached to someone. You may feel in love after that, or instead feel somehow responsible for the person, because of these hormones.
The romantic love doesn’t have to die. The activity level in the brains of people who are in love after 20 years of marriage is same as in people who had just fallen in love. This brain area makes dopamine and sends it to other areas. In the days of early humans, in hunting-and-gathering societies, these qualities were especially advantageous for finding a person to bear and raise children.
Love also has health benefits for people who have aged beyond their reproductive years. Being in love makes people feel optimistic, energetic, focused and motivated, which were all positive for health and societal contribution in the early days of humans. So, it makes sense evolutionarily that people can still fall in love after their childbearing period.
Romance is good for health. Studies have shown that people who have frequent sex are generally healthier, with a longer life, fewer coronary events and lower blood pressure. A 1995 study in the journal Demography found that marriage adds seven years to a man’s life and two years to a woman’s.
It is hypothesized that people for whom the love is still new will respond to the stress and recover from it quicker than those who have recently been in a breakup or have been in a relationship for a long time. The guess is that when individuals are falling in love, they are walking around with rose-colored glasses.
Love comprises of intimacy, passion and decision-commitment. The intimacy denotes the feelings of closeness and connectedness. Passion explicates the sexual drives. The decision-commitment touches on the choice first to love someone for short-term involvement and then to transfer this choice into a long term one by keeping up this love. With all these together, you can come up with a triangle with each part labeling a vertex. This machinery of love is in a continuous flux depending on the nature of the relationship. For example, in short-term involvements, especially romantic ones, the passion element tends to play a large part. The intimacy part may play only a moderate part, and the decision-commitment element may play hardly any part at all. The opposite is true of a long term relationship.
Intimacy, passion and decision-commitment can be mixed and matched which produce different kinds of love. Sternberg came up with 8 combinations ranging from non-love all the way to consummate love. As the names imply, non-love has neither one of the three components and characterizes most of our informal interactions. Consummate love involves intimacy, passion and decision-commitment components and is one that everyone strives to attain. Between these two extremes, one can find infatuated love, romantic love, plain liking and so on. Each kind of love can be manifested in the shape of the triangle that arises from the differing combinations of intimacy, passion and decision-commitment. For example, liking is drawn as an isosceles triangle with the intimacy part having the biggest role opposed to passion and decision-commitment. These kinds of love vary along a continuum and are not placed discretely into one of these categories.
You can add another 2 components, physical attraction and caring. The colors of love are eros, ludus, storge, pagma, mania, and agape. Men tend to be more ludic, whereas women tend to be storgic and pragmatic. Mania is often the first love style teenager’s display. Relationships based on similar love styles last longer. People often look for people with the same love style as themselves for a relationship.
The erotic lovers’ centre more on beauty and physical attraction, sometimes to point where they exclude other qualities people may find more important and lasting. You could say that they live in a fantasy world. They often see marriage as a lasting honeymoon, and see sex as the ultimate aesthetic experience. The erotic lover also has an idealized image of beauty that is unattainable in reality. Consequently, the erotic lover often feels empty, and they are also sensitive to imperfections of their partner or the ones they love. An erotic lover can be supposed as a hopeless romantic. Those of other love styles may see erotic lovers as unrealistic or ensnared in a fantasy. The advantage of erotic love is the over-romanticizing of love that is very relaxing to the person doing it. The disadvantage is the foreseeable decay in attraction, and the danger of living in a fantasy world. In its extreme, eros can resemble naïve.
Ludic lovers are players; more interested in quantity than quality of relationships, they want to have as much fun as possible, choose their partners by playing the field, and quickly recover from breakups. For them, love is not to be taken too seriously and emotions should be kept in check. Ludic lovers are also very self-controlled, they always find the need to manage love, rather than let love be in control. Perhaps, because of this need to control love, some researchers have found that ludic lovers are linked to sexual aggression. The ludic lover will also only maintain a partner for as long as he or she is interesting or amusing. Research has shown that people who score high on ludic love are more likely to engage in outside-the-couple dating and sex than those who score low on ludus.
Storge love lacks passion and intensity. Storgic lovers set out not to find a love, but to find a compatible relationship with someone they already know and share common interests. Storge love is gradual process of unfolding feelings and emotions. At times the storge love can move so slowly it is hard to define where relationship stands. Sex in storge love comes late, and when it does it usually assumes no great importance.
Pragma lovers are practical and seek a relationship that will work. Pragma lovers want compatibility, and a relationship that will satisfy all their needs, desires and wants. They are more concerned with social qualities rather than personal ones. Family and background are very important to pragma lovers, who don’t rely so much on feelings as on logic. They view love as a useful relationship, and as a way to make the rest of life easier. They ask questions when choosing a potential partner such as: "Will this person earn a good live?" "Can this person cook?" "Will my family like this person?" Their relationships hardly ever decay, because they choose their partners very carefully and emphasize similarities. They also have realistic romantic expectations.
Mania lovers are characterized as having extreme highs and extreme lows. The manic lover loves intensely, and at the time worries intensely about the loss of the love. For this, the manic lover may experience fear that prevents them from enjoying relationships. With little reason, they may also experience extreme jealousy. Manic love is obsessive; the manic lover has to possess the beloved completely. In return, the manic lover wishes to be possessed, to be loved intensely. They tend to feel that their poor self esteem will only improve with intense love. Their sense of self-worth comes from being loved, rather than from inner satisfaction. Because love is so important, danger signs in a relationship are often ignored; the manic lover believes that if there is love, then nothing else matters.
Agape lovers are compassionate, egoless, self-giving lovers. The agapic lover loves even people with whom he or she has no close ties. This lover loves the stranger on the road even though they will probably never meet again. Agape is a spiritual love, offered without concern for personal reward or gain. This lover loves without expecting that the love will be reciprocated. Jesus, Buddha, and Gandhi practiced and preached this unqualified love. In one sense, agape is more a philosophical kind of love than a love that most people have the strength to achieve. Agape and Eros could be compared to infatuated love of the triangular theory, while mania could be infatuated love gone crazy.
Each of the three components of love has its own path in a relationship that differentiates a successful relationship from a failed relationship. At the very beginning of a relationship, there are frequent interruptions and these will diminish as the relationship grows older. This has two impacts on intimacy, one positive and the other negative. On the positive side, less intimacy means increased predictability of the other’s actions therefore more bonding. One can here further differentiate between latent intimacy and manifest intimacy. When observable intimacy decreases over time, it is sometimes replaced by latent intimacy. This gives rise to the negative point; which is that it becomes difficult to distinguish between relationships with no intimacy from one with latent intimacy. The failed or failing relationship will differ from the successful relationship primarily in terms of the latent intimacy rather than in terms of the experienced or manifest intimacy.
The course of passion is opponent-process theory of acquired motivation. For every emotion felt there are two opposite processes that take place. A positive process develops and diminishes quickly, while a negative or opposing process is slow to develop; therefore, lasts longer than the positive. Applying this theory to passion, Sternberg claims that passion can be activated immediately upon meeting someone and rises quickly but also peaks quickly until passion becomes habituated and eventually stable. If a person is to lose a loved one then instead of going back to baseline, he or she goes below baseline into bouts of depression, discomfort and sorrow. Gradually, however, that person will go back to baseline. This is analogous to drug addiction. The negative, opposing process can be compared to the withdrawal period which is so intense that a person goes back to drugs just to escape this period.
The decision-commitment takes its own course in a relationship that depends on the success of the relationship. This level starts at zero and then begins to increase. If the relationship is to become long-term then this component will increase gradually, speed up and then begin to stabilize resulting in an S shaped curve. If, however, the relationship begins to fail the level of commitment will go back to baseline directly resulting in the termination of the relationship.
Further research resulted in findings that backed up areas of Sternberg’s theory. It is found that physical attractiveness is the only thing needed for satisfaction on a first date. Extending this to lover theory, we can substitute physical attraction with passion which is the quickest to develop while the other needs more time. What makes a person indulge in romantic love is that individuals who are physiologically aroused would be romantically interested in the member of the opposite sex. Looking back at the characteristics of romantic love; one finds intimacy and passion as the actively working components. Love can be addictive, in particular the passion component. This relates to the opponent-process theory that can be incorporated while understanding the course of passion in a relationship.
Looking deeply into the interactions between people, what make people satisfied in a relationship and how this satisfaction manifests in the relationship? One has to investigate the development of satisfaction and commitment in heterosexual involvements. Distinguish between two important characteristics of relationships, namely, satisfaction and commitment. An increase in rewards leads to an increase in satisfaction. The same was not found for costs, on the contrary, cost and satisfaction is barely related. Once satisfaction increased so did commitment and greater rewards resulted in an incentive to maintain commitment. Changes in cost had barely any influence on commitment. It is therefore a good match for investment model hypotheses.
People who do not get their fair share in a relationship would feel the need to call the shots sexually. They use the double standard in society to come up with two variations. Men who are under-benefited ask more from their partners, while women who are under-benefited expect their partners to wait. Equity theory is used to get a close look into dating couples’ intimate and sexual relationship. The findings were, equitable relationships had the most intensely sexual relationships.
Looking from the cognitive aspect of emotional states, given a state of physiological arousal for which an individual has no immediate explanations, he will label this state and describe his feelings in terms of cognitions available to him. To test this theory, scientists injected participants with either epinephrine or a placebo. They then had participants sit in a room with a confederate who either acted euphoric or angry. The participants who were injected with epinephrine began to feel a physiological reaction but did not know how to interpret it cognitively, so they turned to the confederate for an interpretation and supposedly the confederate was also injected. The data fall in line with theoretical expectations.
The theory of emotions is of the concept that emotions are activated by people’s appraisals of situations. Applying this concept to natural settings and observing the outcome, appraisal-emotion relationship would vary across people based on passion what makes people’s lives worth living. Passion is a strong inclination toward self-defining activity that one loves, finds important, and devotes significant amount of time and energy. Passion can be harmonious and obsessive. To have a life worth living one should have a harmonious passion towards an activity of any kind. All these can be connected to theory of love as this seems to be a pivotal one in the realm of psychology. For example, satisfaction and commitment can be compared to the intimacy and decision-commitment component respectively. The rewards of intimacy can lead to an increase in commitment. The research on equity and premarital sex concept shows that relationships that are equitable had the most sexual activity. This is similar to consummate love which has all three components in equilibrium. Having the three components in disequilibrium is comparable to the concept of a person being under-benefited. Triangular theory of love is by no means complete; however, the abundance of research done on similar topics includes similar ideas and findings. The triangular theory of love provides at least one step toward understanding the nature of love in everyday life.
How many of us, dream of being happily taken someday? Oops, I think I see most of your hands in the air! Unless you’re not eyeing marriage, you probably longed for that one girl who is willing to stay by your side no matter how annoyingly cute you get. Take it or leave it – we all have secret fantasies of being swooned over head over heels by the angel of our dreams, living happily ever after forevermore.
We have our own arsenal of techniques, strategies, game plans in hooking up with Miss Perfect. We’ve tried good old flirting, ranging from mild to ultra-hot, but we wonder why girls don’t take the bait. We’ve tried straightforward approaches, which makes girls either scramble toward us, or run away from us. We’ve tried taking things into our own hands, and women shake their head in despair. What will make women take us seriously?
Yes, it may be true that social status, professional acclaims and financial health attracts women at the onset of most encounters. But what makes them linger? What makes them think about getting to know men deeper, and not just as bed-warmers? It is the inside appearance that matters – that means, the happiness, confidence, and inner peace we exude. How did I come to know of these things? I am speaking from personal experiences.
I realized that when my desire for romance took the forefront of my life, to the detriment of other aspects of myself, it was then that opportunities for real love eluded me all the more, and I would attract gals who are somehow similar to me – rich, lonely, and with swagger attitude. I was crushed many times over by heartbreaks that I unknowingly allowed. Somehow, my hope as a hopeless romantic sailed me through these hard times, and I was back on my feet in no time, ready to jump at my chance for everlasting happiness. Or so I thought, because I have anchored my happiness yet again to the presence of romance in my life. That is not only unattractive to women who may be considered of the good kind, but this arrogant attitude attracts needy women, which is not helpful at all in building a healthy kind of love, only a false sense of security.
Somewhere along the way, I realized that it was not my fashion sense, nor my swagger attitude, nor my money that somehow prevented me to attract the good gals: it was the mindset. When I let go of romance as a super priority in my life, because I was happy nevertheless whether I had a girlfriend or not, that was attractive to good women. Happiness, true and sincere, is the greatest pheromone that will help you snag a great Girl. When good girl look at you and see you oh-so-happy, busying yourself with worthwhile things, and not moping around the lack of someone special, they will hover over you like butterflies and bees to a rose plant. The good thing is, the gals you attract are no longer the sad and bitter ones; they are the happy, peaceful gals as well, who exude a lot of confidence on what they have to offer. They are happy to get to know you, because at the back of their minds they know that they can make you happy. Their ‘job’ is halfway done; you’re happy all by yourself to begin with! What a great deal you’re getting yourself if you simply choose to be happy about life!
Simply put, being happy about life led me to my first and last love and romance. Dear men, I hope I have inspired you enough to simply be happy about living!