Love is a many splendored thing…or is it? There isn’t a one among us who hasn’t feared, at one point or another, that we may be unlovable. Or maybe you think being in love is a silly idea reserved for trite Hollywood movies, romance novels, and teenage crushes. Maybe the idea of falling in love, as portrayed in those movies, isn’t really the truth about love as we know it. Are you one of those people who are simply immune to romance, hearts, and flowers? Considering that the absence of love can lead to loneliness, depression, a lowered immune system, and anxiety, we ask a very important question in today’s episode of the Infographics show – Will you ever fall in love?
According to science, what we call romantic love is simply a chemical process within the brain. Some may believe this process to be a type of spiritual possession; however, science has shown us the feeling of love is caused by three key neurotransmitters being dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin. First up, dopamine is the key neurotransmitter responsible for the feelings of romantic love. This powerful transmitter is in fact responsible for our moods in general, having a part to play in our attention span, our motivations, and our addictions. Researchers have shown that when we fall head over heels in love with somebody, we experience a phenomenon similar to taking an addictive drug; we feel dependent on that person, we don’t feel the same when they aren’t around, and we basically want more of that person. So with this in mind, most of us have fallen in love with something to a certain level, even if it’s an ice cream on a summer’s day, a great song on the radio, or the latest movie.
Next up in the neurotransmitter list is norepinephrine, and this transmitter is responsible for that feeling of exhilaration and rapid heartbeats, those little butterflies in the stomach we often associate with falling in love. But this transmitter also causes feelings of sleeplessness and anxiety that we can all relate to, similar to the sensations we experience the night before an important exam. Last up is serotonin; this is the obsessive thinking, and restlessness transmitter, but less is more with this transmitter. The other two push it down, and the less serotonin you have, the more you obsess about your loved one. These brain functions are happening within us every day, whether we like it or not, or whether we are in love with somebody or not.
With all these strange new brain functions bubbling around inside our head, it makes us wonder why people actually enjoy falling in love – why is it necessary? Well, from an evolutionary standpoint, love exists because it helps us form strong bonds with partners in order to facilitate successful child rearing. But to be fair, some people just fall in love because it makes them feel good. They feel that they have purpose, and that there is at least one other person looking out for them, and this makes them feel special.
There are other forms of love besides romantic love. There is lust – fueled by testosterone, this is an attraction to physical forms of a person. Then there’s parental, maternal, and paternal love, which is the love for your children and the love for your mom and dad. Besides that, we have admiration, which can be close to love, adoration – which is literally a kind of puppy love, and then there is the practical attachment to another person for reasons other than love, and that attachment might appear like love to the casual observer. People who you may think are in love might not be in love at all, and are simply going through the motions.
So the question isn’t will you ever fall in love, as to be fair, you probably already have, to a certain degree, and if you haven’t, you no doubt will. The problem could well be that you are not moving beyond the falling in love part and developing a relationship. Some people are terrified of intimacy and panic when others close in on them. This is normally caused by a sense of low self-worth and fear of being taken advantage of. The opposite side of this coin is those who suffer from dependency issues and become so needy in a relationship that they simply scare their potential partner into running for the hills. Then there are those with abandonment issues, often stemming from childhood neglect, as well as codependent pleasers in relationships. And finally, there are those with addictive behaviors, perfectionism, and personality disorders – yet even psychopaths, despite being unable to feel empathy, can in fact fall in love.
If you haven’t yet fallen in love, don’t panic! You have plenty time. It is probably impossible to live a full life without falling in love with someone or something at some point. Love affairs can be undeveloped or unrequited, and sometimes they are deeply passionate affairs with flowers and chocolates and couples holding hands while skipping merrily through grassy knolls bedded with daisies. People can fall in love with a person without actually meeting them – think of those teenage crushes on pop stars or sporting heroes. Love and passion go hand in hand. We can fall in love with a pastime or an idea; some people love reading, others love watching football, or playing crossword puzzles, and some people love religion and fall in love with religious leaders, or historic figures, artists, scientists, poets, or even politicians. Some have a passion for animal welfare and give their entire heart to the cause, some love nature and feel most happy simply hugging a tree or watching a sunset.
So, if you haven’t’ yet found love, what do you think is holding you back? Let us know in the comments! Also, be sure to check out our other video called What Happens When You Die! Thanks for watching, and, as always, don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe. See you next time!