Meaningful Psychology Facts About Love
Experiencing romantic love can be a mind-bending roller coaster of emotions, behaviors, and biological processes. While romantic love is something many people experience in a lifetime, there may still be some aspects that are hard to understand. Psychology and current research give some insight into the world of love, emotions, and relationships.
What Is Love?
Love takes many forms and can be difficult to define. The love between friends, family, and romantic partners can all be different. People report that some love is unconditional, some about pleasure, and some about service.
All humans need and crave love in some form, even if from a pet. Understanding romantic love can be daunting, whether you have felt it before or are still waiting to recognize it.
Love As A Triangle
Romantic love can be thought of as a triangle of intimacy, passion, and commitment. These three aspects are separate but may impact the strength of each other.
For example, a relationship with a lot of intimacy may also have a strong sense of commitment. On the other hand, a relationship lacking passion but high in intimacy and commitment may struggle with some aspects but revel in others. A relationship lacking all three elements may not be compatible or require couples counseling or coaching to improve.
Romantic love involves chemical reactions in the body. The physiological changes that occur when falling in love can affect us in many ways by altering our serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin, and cortisol levels.
The chemicals released by feelings of love can cause mood changes and influence thoughts and attention. They can even cause a lowering in blood pressure. Sometimes, if love is suddenly taken away, it can break the heart (called stress-induced cardiomyopathy). However, death by a broken heart is rare and only occurs in less than 2% of those with stress-induced cardiomyopathy.
All About Love
Here are a few other facts about love:
- Love can require compromises.
- Love may require compassion. Consideration and empathy for your partner can be essential foundations for a compassionate, honest relationships.
- Love is often universal. Whether you feel romantic or sexual attraction to others or not, love in some form is a basic human need. Love can be expressed and felt in hugs from close friends, a lick from your dog, or even in supportive words of a coworker or boss.
Sexual attraction may not be the only glue that binds two people together in a long-lasting romantic relationship. Although sexual attention often plays a role in romantic love, especially at the beginning, relationship attraction and compatibility involves much more. There are many theories and research on how and why we are attracted to each other.
Here are some research-based facts about sexual attraction:
- Body language is one of the top ways we attract each other (smiling, flicking our hair, making eye contact, etc.).
- The pitch of your voice may impact how others perceive your attractiveness levels.
- Many people find those with symmetrical faces highly attractive.
- Having other interests, values, and beliefs in common can increase attraction.
Psychology Of Love
Throughout the centuries, famous artists have used creative means to describe love and its effects on the mind and body. At times, it can feel that love can only be described through poetry, music, films, and art. However, there's a psychological basis to love as well.
Deep down, the mind is where love takes root. Experiencing love and the loss of love can be life-changing. When you lose someone that you love, it can be one of the hardest emotional pains you ever have to go through.
Psychological Research Findings About Love
- Cuddling with someone you love triggers the brain to release oxytocin. This chemical relieves stress and promotes a feeling of well-being and happiness.
- Seeing a picture of someone you care about can lower stress and pain levels and help you heal faster if you are injured or sick.
- Less than a second after looking at someone we love, the brain releases chemicals such as oxytocin and dopamine. Together, they provide a sense of intense happiness and well-being.
- Kissing helps us choose who we will love. It is a big player in maintaining long-lasting love. If your partner is a good kisser in your opinion, you may be more likely to be happy in the relationship.
- Long distance relationships work better when partners communicate about intimate feelings and thoughts more often. When both partners seem to have an idealized view of their partner, the relationship has a stronger chance of working out.
- Having a healthy social connection with someone is important for your mental and physical health. Being isolated for long periods can be detrimental.
- Love lasts longer when both partners are actively working toward self-fulfillment. For couples that choose to work on conflicts in therapy, 70% find fulfillment and benefits from the process.
Are You Having A Hard Time Finding True Love?
How Relationship Education And Therapy Can Prepare You For Love
A study from 2019 evaluated the effectiveness of emotionally focused couples therapy. They found that couples who attended regular sessions with a therapist reported greater satisfaction in their relationship over time, and that their satisfaction was at the same level at a follow-up appointment a year later.
While couples therapy tools are geared for couples, you may also benefit from a therapist focusing on relationship issues as an individual. In individual relationship-based therapy, you'll work with a counselor to define your values, your desires, and any barriers in your way to reaching romantic goals. It can also be important to learn realistic information about healthy relationships and how to build them. Online therapy may be a valuable tool for those who have a busy schedule or can't make time out of their day to drive to an appointment.
Speaking with a licensed therapist can help you build relationship skills as you work to understand better who you are and what you are looking for in a partner. It can feel challenging and, for some, even "embarrassing" to be open and vulnerable about these deepest human desires. Online therapy can create space between you and a therapist, allowing you to take treatment at your own pace. With online platforms such as BetterHelp for individuals and ReGain for couples, you can learn more about love on your own time.
Below are some reviews of therapists with BetterHelp from those dealing with relationship concerns.
“Mark has been extremely attentive to everything that I say. He’s not only supported me but insight and encouragement to let me know I’m on a good path to self-improvement and discovery. Furthermore, Mark has provided me valuable insight into my romantic relationship, specifically with learning more about the relationship dynamics and how to build a stronger, healthier relationship.”
“Stephanie is a gem! She's very thoughtful, thorough, honest, insightful but most of all helpful. This is coming from a person that never wanted to do counseling and just "knew" I didn't need it. She's been key in helping my wife and me find our better place. She made us grow as a couple and individually. Thanks, Steph!”
The psychology of love can be a complex and difficult-to-understand thing. With the help of a relationship therapist or coach, you may be able to understand your mind around these subjects a little easier. Take the first step and learn more about what love means for you.
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