“Love is a many splendored thing.” “Love knows reasons that Reason knows nothing of.”
These are just two of the countless quotes about how wonderful, inexplicable, and out-of-the-ordinary love is. In fact, if you have ever been in love, you know that love, in all its beauty and glory, can often be both mysterious and confusing.
Thank heavens for science, though. Yes, science.
Not many people realize this, but apparently a lot about love can be easily explained by science. Science, technology, and decades of research have helped us somehow understand the many facets of “this thing called love.”
23 really interesting facts about love
Below, we take a look at some of the most interesting facts about love to show you that, yes, those butterflies in your stomach and that heartbreak you feel are not only real—but backed by science. So read on and enjoy!
#1 There is forever. Well, not exactly. But we all want to believe in a forever with the love of our life, right? To give you some relief, monogamous relationships are possible and we are not all “animals.” Even animals, themselves, can stick to one partner, and mate only with one another for life. So, if you’re having a hard time landing “the one,” maybe you should find yourself a swan. [Read: 17 secret ingredients to a happy, monogamous relationship]
#2 Beating as one. Couples who are in love and in a romantic relationship are found to synchronize their heart rates *or, in science speak: co-regulate their physiologies* after they gaze into each other’s eyes for three minutes.
#3 Love is a drug. Falling in love can give you a high like you are on cocaine, a study says. This is because both can trigger the same feeling of euphoria to the brain. In fact, both love and cocaine stimulate 12 areas of the brain at the same time, releasing chemicals such as adrenaline, oxytocin, and dopamine.
#4 Cuddles, anyone? There is, in fact, a cuddle hormone called oxytocin that is released when you cuddle with your loved ones. This hormone is produced in the brain, ovaries, and testicles, and is involved in bonding two people together, such as mother and child, or you and your partner. [Read: 16 non-sexual touches to make you feel more loved and connected]
#5 Cuddles are also great painkillers. The oxytocin that is released in the body is found to significantly reduce the pain caused by headaches. So if you want to make love to your partner, but he tells you he has a headache, cuddle first, and the headache might go away in time for you to do the deed. Better yet, instead of pain medicine, give your lover a dose of some cuddling.
#6 Speaking of pain… Another fun fact about the power of love is that even by just looking at a picture of your loved one, your pain will decrease significantly. So, if you want to feel better, be sure to have a picture of your special someone by your bedside.
#7 And another thing: If you are lucky enough to have your loved one beside you while you’re in pain, be sure to hold his/her hand. Holding your loved one’s hand, like cuddling, can be so soothing that it can also relieve stress and pain.
#8 Achy, breaky heart. Surprisingly, that image of a heart with a zigzagging line down the middle, the ever-popular symbol for heartbreak, can be proven by science. Heartbreak is real. Deeply negative emotional triggers such as a breakup, a betrayal, or the loss of a loved one can give you strong chest pain and shortness of breath called Broken Heart Syndrome. [Read: The real reason why your heart hurts when love goes bad]
Love is a powerful feeling indeed
#9 Love is obsession. Someone in love often exhibits strange, out-of-character behavior that is also associated with someone who has Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. If you are in the early, budding stage of love, you will have lower serotonin levels associated with happiness, while having higher levels of cortisol, which is associated with stress.
#10 Love is addiction. Studies show that looking at photos of your loved ones can trigger the caudate, the region of the brain responsible for cravings. So when you see your significant other’s photos on Instagram and you start to miss him/her, that’s actually the caudate doing its job.
#11 Same looks? A handful of research has identified a pattern showing that people with the same level of attractiveness end up together. This doesn’t mean that if you look and dress the same as your partner that you will marry each other *though some couples do begin to look like each other over time*. This only means that if you have the same perceived social desirability as your partner, you end up considering each other a match over other people.
#12 Opposites DO attract. Research has shown that couples who always agree aren’t really that romantically compatible. Couples who are not as close as they could be end up being happier in a relationship, because they have more things to learn from each other. So if you’re a cat person and your partner isn’t, that’s your cue. [Read: 50 relationship questions to test your compatibility immediately]
#13 Face or body? Ah, the age-old question. Well, it turns out that if you are looking for a long-term relationship, you are more likely to look for someone who has an attractive face. However, if you are looking for someone with an attractive body, you are more likely just in it for the night.
#14 Those butterflies are real. Science was able to prove that those butterflies you feel when you see your crush or the love of your life are real. It’s not actual butterflies, though. What you feel in your tummy is actually adrenaline, which floods your body *thanks to evolution* due to your innate fight-or-flight response.
#15 Love is good for your memory. So, your partner forgot your anniversary again? Don’t sweat it and cut each other some slack. In fact, give him/her a year. It’s been proven that falling in love calms both body and mind. It also increases the nerve growth factor for over a year, helping restore your nervous system *and those brain cells*, thereby improving memory.
The science behind love and attraction
#16 A lover’s dozen. There is actually a magic number for finding your one true love: 12. Mathematical theory actually tells us that we should date a dozen people before choosing a long-term partner. This provides us with the best chance to find our best match.
#17 Familiarity doesn’t breed contempt. Actually, it breeds romance. You are more likely to fall for someone you see on a daily basis, such as an officemate, because one of the biggest predictors of love is at work: proximity.
#18 Online dating is a go. Forget hooking up at a bar—go online instead. 23% of couples who met via social dating sites end up marrying each other. But don’t tell that to the founder of Match.com, who lost his girlfriend to someone she met on—where else—Match.com. Talk about irony.
#19 She got it from your momma. If you’re a guy, it’s most likely that you are more attracted to women who possess a bone structure that is similar to your mom’s. This is because of what researchers call “sexual imprinting.”
#20 Dangerous encounters. People are more likely to fall in love if they find each other in a dangerous situation than if they are in an everyday, mundane setting. So if you’re looking for that special someone, you’d better go skydiving or white-water rafting. [Read: 50 awesome first date ideas that’ll make your date fall in love with you]
#21 Eye to eye. A study has shown how eye contact can make people fall in love. In an experiment, people of the opposite sex were made to talk about intimate details with each other for 90 minutes, and then stare into each other’s eyes without talking. Many found deep attraction and two even got married later. [Read: 10 subtle eye contact flirting moves to make anyone fall for you]
#22 Chin up. People with high self-esteem have proven to be more successful in their relationships. So love yourself!
#23 Humor trumps looks. Women associate sense of humor with intelligence and honesty. This is why most women are attracted to men with a strong sense of humor. Keep those jokes coming! [Read: How to make a girl laugh and like you instantly]
Science has managed to whip up a pretty cool explanation for all things love: why we fall in love, how our body reacts to love, how love makes everything better, and how heartbreak really does hurt. Despite these clear explanations, however, love continues to awe and inspire even the most scientifically-minded among us. So…what’s not to love about love?
What we know for sure is that once love takes over, there’s no stopping it. Love is, inexplicably, one of the most powerful motivations in the world—and if you’ve found the love of your life, who can demonstrate the facts above, know that you are extremely fortunate.
[Read: 15 strange and unknown facts about divorce]
The more we know about why and how we love, the more mysterious and beautiful love becomes. However, it’s always fun to know a few fun facts about love—if only to use as an opening line to get a girl interested or just to break the ice. So spread the love…and the love facts!
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