The human body is wild.
Have you ever felt crazy in love? Not figuratively. Actually crazy in love?
Even if you’ve never been a big fan of committed relationships, all of that can change when you get together with someone you’re really into. Maybe you always had a "take it or leave it" attitude when it came to previous relationships, but with this person, you suddenly feel obsessed. You’re interested in everything they said or did or ate or wore or wanted to accomplish or be. When they’re around, you want to sit near them all the time and listen to them talk and smell their hair. But you feel like you’re totally losing your cool. “Why do I always want to touch my boyfriend? Why do I get hot around him? Do I need to chill?”
If you have ever felt crazy in love — mentally replaying the moment he said you feel so good or she called you the best kisser in the world — rest assured you're not alone. It turns out that really weird (but cool!) things happen to your body around someone you love. Dawn Maslar, biologist and science of love expert, and Dr. Donna Oriowo, clinically licensed social worker, sex and relationships educator, and therapist, shared their thoughts with Elite Daily. According to them, it’s totally normal to have an intense physical reaction to being in love.
1. You Feel Relaxed And Excited At The Same Time
One weird feeling you might experience with your partner is feeling completely and totally relaxed, but completely and totally exhilarated around them at the same time.
It's a unique experience: The body and muscles feel limp with contentment and calm, but then the heart and mind are racing with excitement about being with this person.
It turns out that when you're in love, the body releases adrenaline, which can lead to a really active heart and brain, and also endorphins, which make you feel good and calm. “When you first get into a relationship or are dating, your blood pressure rises,” Dr. Oriowo explains. “Which makes sense because cortisol is released, giving us anxiety symptoms like a racing heart, butterflies, and sweaty palms.” But don’t worry — that anxious feeling won’t last forever, and you can still have totally normal blood pressure in the long run.
When you're in love, it's likely that when you're with your partner, you'll feel at times overwhelmed with excitement because of all the adrenaline and at other times comfortable and happy. Or, you could constantly feel both. Love is weird, amirite?
2. You Feel Addicted To Them
Although your obsession with your partner might be at the "bordering on bizarre" level, it’s actually normal to feel addicted to or obsessed with your partner whenever you are around them.
When you're in love and you just see a photo of your partner — let alone being physically in their presence — the same part of your brain is lit up as if you were addicted to cocaine. Yup, being in love, it turns out, can make you an addict. Your serotonin level drops,” Maslar explains. “That's why you feel so obsessed.”
Alyssa Bunn, professional matchmaker at Tawkify and creator of Love + Co, says, "When we are truly in love, we're all on 'drugs.' Not only are our dopamine, oxytocin, and vasopressin levels at all-time highs, but our amygdala — our fear — is 'gone.'" Maslar echoes this. “We see a deactivation of your amygdala, the part of the brain that sounds the alarm,” she says. “With a quiet amygdala, we feel more serene.”
In other words: You're not a stalker that makes consistently irrational decisions, you're just in love. It's all good.
3. You Want To Touch Them All The Time
Obsessed with cuddling your partner every chance you get? If they’re sitting on a chair, are you always in their lap (personal space be damned)? If they’re lying in bed, do you always want to be tangled up with them in the sheets? Whereas you didn't like your personal space to be invaded much before, now if he's sitting on a chair, you’re on his lap. If she's lying in bed, you’re all tangled up in her. If they’re standing, you’re less than three inches away.
That’s your brain talking. Being around the one you love and getting to kiss or cuddle them releases oxytocin. Oxytocin, which has been called the "love hormone," is the thing that makes you feel all lovely inside about your partner and can make you want to invade their personal space even more. This can (literally) provide you with pain relief, Dr. Oriowo says: “Chronic or other pain can feel way better because of your body's natural pain reliever being activated.”
So if you're being accused of too much PDA, silence the critics by telling them that it's not you, it's the love hormone.
4. Your Brain Feels Flustered
Maybe you’ve never been the type of person to find yourself at a loss for words. Normally, you come up with the perfect thing to say at every opportunity.
Not around your partner, though. With them, your brain sometimes feels like it's totally scrambled, and you struggle to string words together.
Luckily, it's not you; it's love. Turns out love may temporarily lower our cognitive capacity — in other words, it makes us feel silly, say silly things, and act silly. . If you feel a little "off" around your partner, it's probably just because you love them and your brain isn't operating at 100 percent. “When you first fall in love, we see a deactivation of your prefrontal cortex,” Maslar explains. “That's the thinking part of your brain. This deactivation keeps you in the primal primative part of your brain where sex is the main focus. It can make you feel flustered, forgetful, and sometimes irresponsible.” You’re more likely to call a sick day from work to spend the whole time in bed. Ain't love grand?
5. You Can't Stop Smelling Them
If you’re getting an unusual urge to sniff your significant other in public, it’s not just because they smell delicious. You’ll also be relieved to discover that it’s not just you.
The reason you like the way your partner smells is probably because their MHC composition — major histocompatibility complex — is different than yours. “MHC is a product of our immune system,” Maslar says. “We are most attracted to people with opposite immune systems. This attraction is registered by our nose — not necessarily a distinctive smell but rather a sensed pleasantness.”The evolutionary side of us likes partners with different MHC compositions because it supposedly would help the immune system of our offspring, meaning they'd have a greater chance of survival.
6. Your Voice Can Change
Notice something different about your voice lately? You’re not imagining things. “As you are starting to fall in love, your voices may change,” Maslar says. Studies have shown that people alter their voice when talking to a romantic partner, and that this can happen even at a subconscious level. “It may be nature’s way of making us feel "together," Maslar says.
So, if you randomly switch to a sexy voice every time your partner comes around, chalk it up to your undeniably strong feelings for them.
7. You Overlook Their Imperfections
Obviously, it’s easy to see the best in someone you care a lot about. But this happens on a deeper level than you might expect. “We also see a deactivation of the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that judges the other person,” Maslar says. “Because of this deactivation, the other person in a sense can do no wrong. They seem perfect.” Even if your partner does careless things, like leaving their place a mess or showing up late to a date, you’re more likely to overlook it. “We can just spend hours gazing at and admiring this perfect person,” Maslar says, while forgetting the last time they did something annoying.
Your body definitely does some weird things when you're around the person you love — and it does some weird things when you're in love in general. If you find yourself having any strange habits around your partner, worry not: You're just a fool in love.
Loyola University Health System. (2014, February 6). What falling in love does to your heart and brain. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 7, 2021 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140206155244.htm
Farley, S. D., Hughes, S. M., & LaFayette, J. N. (2013). People Will Know We Are in Love: Evidence of Differences Between Vocal Samples Directed Toward Lovers and Friends. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 37(3), 123–138. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10919-013-0151-3
Dawn Maslar, biologist and science of love expert
Dr. Donna Oriowo, clinically licensed social worker, sex and relationships educator, and therapist
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