CONROE, TX, October 06, 2018 — Some people argue that love is like an addiction. As it turns out, they might be right! Being in love makes your brain go through some crazy changes that just may surprise you.
It all starts with the butterflies in your stomach when you meet someone new. This feeling is due to an increase in dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain's reward and pleasure center. Other chemicals are released as well, including sex hormones and adrenaline. Serotonin drops drastically, which is a central feature of obsessive-compulsive disorder. This can explain why new couples are consumed with each other. Together, this chemical cocktail creates that “fluttering” of excitement you feel.
As the relationship evolves, some of these hormones begin to even out and couples become less infatuated. Thus, the bonding stage begins. As serotonin levels increase, a more trusting relationship forms that is less about attachment. Oxytocin, the hormone responsible for making maternal bonds so strong, is released and further bonds you to your partner.
As the years go by, less and less dopamine is released. This can make a relationship feel less exciting, but that doesn't mean the bond is gone. In fact, it's quite the opposite. A molecule called corticotrophin-releasing factor or CRF, creates an unpleasant feeling and gets released when couples are away from each other. This is what makes partners miss each other when they are separated and helps keep them together.
A study conducted at Stony Brook University in 2011 found that it is possible to still be madly in love with someone, even after decades of marriage. They came to this conclusion after performing MRI scans on couples married for an average of 21 years. In doing this, they found the intensity and activity in dopamine-rich areas of the brain were the same as couples recently in love. This proves that true love and its effects on the brain can last for a lifetime.
For couples whose long-term relationship has become routine and dull, there is still hope. This tends to happen to relationships because couples become busy and prioritize other things, such as work or caring for children. To rekindle the flame they once had, it's important to create the habits of a healthy relationship. For example, sexual activity can increase oxytocin and stimulate the reward center in the brain. This will lead to a couple's having an increased desire for each other. Getting back into the habits of healthy relationships will ensure couples become closer again.
There's no denying our brain shapes our behavior, so understanding love's impact on the brain is extremely helpful. Whether falling in love for the first time or being in love for 50 years, love can do some incredible things to our brains. Want more inspiration for your relationship? Visit www.me4her.com
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