Everyone has experienced it, some more than others, and some in different ways — but we all have loved.
Love is one of the only things that we continue to study yet have never been able to completely explain. Scientists have tried to deconstruct the idea of love for over 4,000 years. Anthropologists have yet to find a society where love isn’t an important part and yet love remains a huge mystery.
Even though we have learned A LOT about love and what happens to our brains and our bodies when we fall in love, we have yet to understand this ONE most important thing (and we may never know):
Why we fall in love with the people we do.
Think of love as baking some delicious treat. You can know every recipe, every secret way to make it, every trick in the book but you can’t describe why you feel the way you do when you eat it, why it’s so magical to you, and what anyone else is feeling when they eat the same thing.
According to science, there are three steps to falling in love.
I want to talk about everyone’s favorite stage: Attraction.
Otherwise known as the ‘honeymoon phase’.
The honeymoon phase is the beginning of your relationship. You have gotten past the whole lust part and have decided to give your relationship a try — in other words, you start to REALLY get to know each other and form a bond. That exciting, gushy, can’t stop talking about them/thinking about them phase. EVERYTHING they do is amazing, you can’t wait to see them again, you find yourself talking about them every chance you get (no matter how much your friends and family are sick of hearing about them) and fighting with them seems almost impossible. I recently discovered that it is called the honeymoon phase because back in the day you would be married already and on your honeymoon if you found this type of love with someone. Our generation needs to feel this feeling for a while before the comfortability and reality sets it. Don’t worry, though, according to scientists we now get to experience another honeymoon phase, our actual honeymoon.
I for one am a huge fan of the honeymoon phase (who isn’t?). You met someone extraordinary who is just amazing to you. You want to spend as much time as possible with them, you agree on most things, and your partner seems almost perfect in every way (no matter what anyone else says) and the days never seem to have enough hours to enjoy them as long as you want to.
Being in a relationship that is in honeymoon phase is actually good for your body and your brain. Your brain releases extra dopamine (dopamine affects your mood and emotions so cue in the giddy school girl feeling) and also triggers your testosterone (which triggers a more physical effect so you will have a desire to grow closer to them and want to touch them a lot — cue the PDA). You just feel amazing about them and about life! It also releases serotonin and adrenaline (which can you make feel excited and a little crazy—I’m sure we can all relate).This can also make you feel alive and excited and it’s a feeling we tend to lose when we are in long-term relationships or have been single for too long. Your attention is heightened. You remember everything they say, every detail of their stories, and it is the reason they are ALWAYS on your mind (and of course these phenylethylamine levels drop if the relationship doesn’t work which can often cause depression and overthinking and over-analyzing). Women’s bodies release cortisol, which actually helps defend against stress – which is a nice bonus to falling in love.
So how do we make the honeymoon phase last as long as possible before real life sets in?
If you are in a relationship with someone who challenges you to be better and brings out your competitive side, according to studies this will help lengthen the honeymoon period. Trying new activities together, traveling together (even a small road trip will bring out some truths in your person), introducing each other to your friends, these are all small milestones that you can both look forward to as a couple and either strengthen or threaten your bond.
➜ ALWAYS plan and do things together – take a class, plan trips, have weekly date nights. Give each other something to look forward to that requires effort on both ends.
➜ Touch each other– hold hands, cuddle, hug, and kiss your partner goodbye. There is a reason men who kiss their wives every day before leaving for work live longer; physical touch release oxytocin which affects both the body and the mind. Not to mention when your love kisses you goodbye or holds you when they get home, you just feel comforted and happy.
➜ Speak positively to each other– There are so many reasons why this is important. When you make an effort to say something positive to your partner, it makes you both feel happy and lucky to have each other. When you make your partner happy, they will usually, in turn, try to do the same for you.
The ‘attachment stage’ follows the honeymoon phase, but if you found someone worth growing into this stage with you should be willing to put in the work to make every day feel like the honeymoon stage. There are benefits for both of you to enjoy each day.
Who says the honeymoon phase is just a phase?