High on Love

"I was about half in love with her by the time we sat down. That's the thing about girls. Every time they do something pretty... you fall half in love with them, and then you never know where the hell you are. "
J. D. Salinger (Holden Caulfield)

The Swing 	Jean-Honoré FragonardCredit: WikipediaMany Types Of Love

There are many varieties and types of love. The sedate love a couple married for many years, the love of a parent for a child, the love of a pet and of course the other type of love, which seems to be very closely tied to lust.

This brand of love can be exhilarating, the blood surges through the veins and the lover feels compelled to be with, or at least constantly thinking about the object of their affection. Research indicates, that a person generally decides within a few minutes whether they fancy someone or not and most of the fancy comes from body language and the type of voice someone has. Seems somewhat superficial does it not?

Helen Fisher of Rutgers University who studies love, has found in her research that ‘love struck’ couples seem to pump out higher amounts of the pleasure hormone dopamine. In the early stages of love/lust the stress response also comes into play, with the release of adrenalin and cortisol. You see your love object and find you are at a loss for words, your heart is racing, blood is pumping through your veins and you feel as if your could run a mile and bring anything your love desires...chocolate, champagne, Thai food?

How Do You Love Me?

The Lover Crowned Jean-Honoré FragonardCredit: Wikipedia

"Love is my religion - I could die for it."
John Keats
 
Dr Fisher has defined three phases of love:
1. Lust- largely driven by testosterone and oestrogen.
2. Attraction- a state of euphoria, obsession and mood swings. (high adrenalin and dopamine and a low level of serotonin)
3. Attachment -oxytocin and vasopressin kick in to increase bonding.
 
These stages of love are all very well, but what of the extreme craziness which comes with being a teenager -so intense, so obsessed and so hard to understand later. Prof. Christos Pantelis, who researches the teen brain, has found that the brain remodelling and 'pruning', which occurs during the adolescent period and up into our twenties, results in a brain that is 'novelty seeking'.
 
So with all the restructuring going on in the teen brain, the prefrontal cortex, the part responsible for such things as planning and  decision-making,  is not working properly. This, combined with a hormonal rush (BBC) makes the love experience more exhilarating and rapturous. Sadly, memories of those 'heady' days can cause many a middle-aged person to connect with the 'old flames' of their teen years on Facebook, to disappointing effect.
 
Or as Miguel de Unamuno Spanish philosopher said 'Love is the child of illusion and the parent of disillusion.' But on the other hand, as the poet  Robert Browning said 'Take away love and our earth is a tomb.'
 

Kiss - I was made for loving you