Falling in love is possibly one of the best feelings in the world and one of the most exhilarating things anyone could ever experience. Nothing can prepare us as it is often quite sudden and comes as a surprise. It normally hits us when we least expect it.
Unfortunately, falling in love is also one of the worst feelings in the world. The emotional and physiological instability it brings can be overwhelming or difficult to deal with as we wrestle with the highs and lows of our emotions.
This is caused by the chemicals it releases on the brain, which actually reacts in the same way it would if we were on drugs. Our levels of dopamine increase, which has the same effect as taking cocaine and the reason why we don’t seem to be able to concentrate on anything. Our levels of serotonin decrease and this normally leads to some obsessive behaviour, like checking our phones every 30 seconds. We literally become lost and the mind struggles to focus on anything but the object of our desires.
Most of us will have experienced the emotional rollercoaster it sends us on, from the butterflies in the stomach, the lack of sleep to the loss of appetite. When we fall in love with somebody, it feels that life will never be the same again. We become emotionally dependent on that person, continually wanting to please them and make them happy. The thought of being without them is unbearable and we can also become very possessive of them.
It is normally quite easy to know whether the feeling is reciprocated and there are many self help books and articles on the subject. We normally want to reassure ourselves that they are feeling the same way and will look for signs such as their body language or eye contact. As human beings, we like to over analyse at this point as we become more and more aware of the fact we could get hurt if the other person doesn’t feel the same way. It is worth bearing in mind that there are actually 3 stages to falling in love.
The first one is lust and is basically the initial appeal, where we know there is a certain chemistry with that person. We are just driven by our hormones and just know that there is a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ about them that makes them special to us.
We then move on to the attraction phase as we literally lose ourselves to our feelings. We just can’t get enough of that special someone and we are totally love struck. This part can’t stay on for too long as we pretty much lose our ability to function and is the foundation of the rest of the relationship. Research has actually shown that the attraction phase will last longer if there are any physical or social barriers and this is mainly because it becomes a very conscious choice to be together as opposed to just taking it as it comes.
The third phase is the attachment period and where people create the bond that will keep them together, it is the precursor of a longer lasting commitment. It has also been found that when people have to go through some form of adversity together, their feelings intensify quite significantly.
Nothing can prepare us for the feelings we experience as we fall in love and whilst we can try and stay as grounded as possible, the whirlwind of emotions will take over our lives.
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