The ancient Greeks called love “the Madness of the Gods.” For thousands of years, people have died because of love, they have prayed for love, they have sung love, they have lived and killed for love. This madness is a crucial part of our lives.
Can love be predicted, planned, worked out?
Everything in the world has its own rules. Even though the world and people are like a huge, complex mechanism, many dependencies are predictable. The more engagement, the more effects. The more sacrifices, the more expectations. The more devotion, the more dependence. The more routine, the more boredom. The more challenges, the more stimulation, and development. The more you fear, the more jealousy you get. The more restrictions, the more dreams of freedom. One could go on and on like this. So can you predict love?
Rule # 1. Love likes risk
Tristan and Isolda, Romeo and Juliet, Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler – beautiful, complicated relationships. Men experiencing stress, i.e. men with elevated levels of cortisol (the stress hormone), fall in love much faster than under safety conditions. Researchers have found that it is in times of war or simply a subjective feeling of threat that men ask for the hand of their chosen one more often. So there is no better strategy than asking him to take a loan or take any risk. Local women have the opposite. They will not fall in love feeling permanent stress. Moderate stress for falling in love is fine, but too much cortisol in the women’s brains inhibits the secretion of other hormones that support romantic love.
Rule # 2. The curved mirror of love
When a person has any feeling for another, they can view themselves as in a mirror, showing the best or the worst features of their face. Such a mirror is always a crooked mirror, it only reflects what the other person activates in us. When you adore me, I am the queen. When you caress me – I am a lover. When you hurt me – I am the victim. When you talk to me and listen to me – I am a friend. When you love me – I am the sweetheart. When you ignore me, I cease to exist. In a way, we always become the subject of a kind of relationship. Here it is worth asking yourself – what kind of mirror am I to the other side? The mirror is never passive.
Rule # 3. Indifference like a concrete wall
Some say the opposite of love is hate. It’s not true. Hate is close to love. It is so easy to hate someone you loved and there are cases that those who hated each other fall in love – according to the premise – “Whoever hates, he likes him.” Indifference and ignorance are like a cold wall. It is impossible to see yourself through it. Indifference makes the other person cease to exist. Even an adult mind, a mature heart will not remain indifferent to indifference.
Rule # 4. The three colors of red – intimacy, passion, commitment
Red is the color of love, as are blood, wine, and strawberries. Perhaps this is not the case. Wine is exhilarating, gives you wings, and blunts your mind. Like love. Blood gives life as well as it takes it. Strawberries are sweet, but only in season. Sternberg (the one on the three-factor theory of love) examined its dimensions. It turns out that people are trying to naively believe that with this one and only person, passion will never fade away. It will pass. It will be two years at the most (therefore, romantic lovers are advised to wait this time to decide what to do next). In the phase of greatest passion, intimacy appears. It will last longer than passion, but whether or not she will remain in a loving relationship depends a lot on rituals. We think love continues. It doesn’t last. It is “made”, it is glued every day – with gestures, rituals, challenges, conversations, close-ups, giving each other space. As passion subsides, the commitment remains. The third component will bind the relationship the most until the last days, but only if one of the parties does not become a wall.
If you combine passion with intimacy – you will get romantic love. Combining passion with commitment will give you fatalistic love. Merging commitment with intimacy will create brotherly love. Complete love is a combination of all three components. Which of them are you most familiar with?
Rule # 5. Love happens in the brain
Falling in love involves the same pathways and circuits in the brain that are activated when hungry and thirsty. Falling in love is not a “pure” emotion, this state rather turns off some emotions and intensifies others. Symptoms of falling in love are similar to those achieved with ecstasy, amphetamines, or cocaine. As a rule, the chemical bonds of love are strengthened and consolidated through physical contact.
Oxytocin and dopamine levels increase in the body. These hormones cause the skeptical part of the mind responsible for analysis and alertness to go to sleep. We are unable to think rationally. Rationality returns after several months.
Can falling in love be turned up?
Yes, as long as we master the art of raising dopamine in the brain together, i.e. activating the reward center. How? Best by doing things together that are fun – cooking, eating, traveling, sex, exercising, touching, kissing.
Rule # 6. Belonging and attachment
The need to belong has accompanied man for thousands of years. Love gives you a sense of security. A child wants a bond with someone who will keep him safe and warm. An adult needs the same from his / her partner. Few of us realize that psychologists have investigated how early childhood can affect the types of relationships (precisely the types of attachment) that we build in mature relationships. Sometimes these patterns learned from home are so strong that we cannot run away from them, although most often we are not aware of them at all.