Tue. Jul 5th, 2022

Introduction: Understanding the Chemistry of Romantic Love

Can you remember the last time you felt butterflies in your stomach? Or when you and your loved one shared a sweet smile, causing your heart to warm as if you had just come home after a long journey? We love romantic love, but we may not know why. The phenomenon of romantic love, where a strong desire to form a lasting bond with another individual causes us to be more focused on their well-being than our own is one that has mystified and riveted the attention of people from all walks of life for millennia. But now, thanks to the hard work of many talented scientists who have dedicated their careers to studying the nature and neuroscience of romantic love, we are beginning to understand why love is so important for us.

why we love the nature and chemistry of romantic love
why we love the nature and chemistry of romantic love

Romantic Love Is a Chemical Process That Starts in the Brain

Aristotle is attributed with being the first person to write about romantic love in Western culture. He noted that “Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.” The ancient philosopher Plato also discussed the concept of romantic love in his dialogue Symposium, which includes a speech by Socrates, who was himself in love with Phaedrus. Yet, how exactly romantic love started and how it is associated with certain physiological and psychological mechanisms are only now being revealed. Research has shown that romantic love is a universal phenomenon and thus, measurable.
When thinking about romantic love we often think of Romeo and Juliet, but what exactly is romantic love? Well, it’s a lot more than just mere sexual desire! In general it can be defined as a strong desire for emotional closeness with another person accompanied by an intense motivation to acquire the relationship. Romantic love does not necessarily have to achieve fulfillment, but the longing and yearning are common components. In other words, in the presence of love people experience euphoria and are wanting, craving, for the love object. The yearning can be so profound that people become depressed if they do not obtain it. It is a drive similar to hunger or thirst.

why we love the nature and chemistry of romantic love
why we love the nature and chemistry of romantic love

Oxytocin and Vasopressin are Two “Love Hormones” that Play a Part in Romantic Attraction

Two hormones, oxytocin and vasopressin, are the chemicals that are most closely associated with the feeling of romantic love. Oxytocin is secreted by the pituitary gland in the brain, which also regulates feelings of love and sexual desire. Vasopressin is secreted by the hypothalamus and is responsible for our ability to bond with others. When we are in love, endotoxins in the bloodstream cause us to feel as if we are experiencing an out-of-body experience. This is similar to what drug users feel when they are under the influence of drugs, including cocaine. The experiences are also similar to what is experienced by people who have had a severe heart attack. Research has shown that when we have an intense romantic experience, we begin to develop our own personal longing curve, with which we measure the feelings of the partner. Like cravings, neediness and despair are stronger than desire. In this article I will discuss oxytocin and vasopressin and their role in romantic love.
Many people have heard of oxytocin, but very few know what it really is (1). It is a hormone that is made in the hypothalamus and secreted into the bloodstream. It flows through the body and binds to receptors on the walls of capillaries in certain regions. Oxytocin affects many parts of the brain, including those associated with bonding, mating, caregiving and sexual arousal (2). The hormone is also involved in how often we smile, breastfeed our children and how responsive we are to social cues (3). Some people are born with fewer oxytocin receptors than others. Those individuals who do not produce enough oxytocin tend to be more aggressive and suspicious. In contrast, people with hypersensitive oxytocin receptors tend to be less aggressive and suspicious (4).

why we love the nature and chemistry of romantic love
why we love the nature and chemistry of romantic love

How Romance-Seeking Behaviors are Influenced by Other Factors Such as Genes and Environment

Romantic love is such a powerful force that it can cause long-lasting physiological changes in our body and mind. Romance is like a drug that, when taken, makes us feel exhilarated and happy. However, when the romance ends there is also the possibility of withdrawal symptoms. We do not always have control over what we feel in life. However, we do have control over how we act with others. And it seems that our actions in romance can be greatly influenced by genes or external situations.
We do not always have a say about who we fall in love with; however, many of us are aware that there are people out there who are ‘matches’ for us. Romantic love is an emotion that transfers from human to human through some kind of communication, sometimes physical like holding hands etc., and also more intangible, such as empathy and deep feeling. This is a very powerful tool in the evolution of human beings, because it allows us to pass on our genes; without this emotion we would be unaware of who we are supposed to reproduce with and therefore unable to translate genetic material into future generations. So, is there a true scientific reason why some people seem to have better ‘chemistry’ than others?

why we love the nature and chemistry of romantic love
why we love the nature and chemistry of romantic love

Conclusion: The Complexity of Romantic Relationships is Something We Should All Explore

Many people may be unaware that the complex and mysterious phenomenon of romantic love is a chemical process that starts in the brain. Understanding the chemistry of romantic love is important because it can help to explain why loving relationships are so important for our overall well-being. Romantic love is similar to substance abuse because it activates the pleasure centers in our brain and causes us to feel intense euphoria. This is why we love the nature and chemistry of romantic love.
While it creates a sense of happiness and well-being, it can also trigger anxiety, loneliness, and even obsessive behavior. Since romantic love involves many emotions, which are a combination of biochemical changes in the brain, it plays an important role in social bonding by helping us to feel connected to our loved ones. This process is also important for biological evolution, which helps individuals to find partners and to reproduce.

why we love the nature and chemistry of romantic love
why we love the nature and chemistry of romantic love