Why Do We Love?

Love makes the world a beautiful place

Being in love is the greatest feeling, but have you ever wondered why love is so important to us?

I decided to do some light research to discover the answers, starting with science..

Science explains love in many ways. From various scientists and scientific studies, here are some reasons why we love.

1. Because we all want to “expand beyond ourselves.” Pyschologist Arthur Aron at Stoney Brook University has conducted studies suggesting that a primary motive for us as humans is to “expand the self and to increase our abilities and our effectiveness.” He told howstuffworks.com: Usually, we fall in love with a person that we find attractive and appropriate for us, but also someone who demonstrates that they are attracted to us. This creates a situation where a great opportunity is open to us for self-expansion. The fact that they are attracted to us offers a significant opportunity — when we perceive this, we feel a surge of exhilaration!

2. Good eye contact. Arthur Aron again (see #1). He conducted a study that encouraged strangers of the opposite sex to discuss intimate details about themselves for 90 minutes. At the end of that time, each coupled stared into each other’s eyes for four minutes in silence. The results? Many of the couples said they felt a deep attraction to each other, even though they’d never met before. Two of the couples ended up married.

3. Because of inner and outer synchronicity. We fall in love, says psychologist Mark B. Kristal in the University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences, when processes in our bodies align with appropriate triggers from the outside world. He speaks of “visual, regular olfactory, auditory and tactile cues” happening in “the proper time, order and place.” He told softpedia.com: There are several types of chemistry required in romantic relationships. It seems like a variety of different neurochemical processes and external stimuli have to click in the right complex and the right sequence for someone to fall in love

4. Because we like the way they smell. Many studies have shown that smell plays a role in love. Plus we’re not just talking about the ordinary smell of your lover’s dirty T-shirts (dirty T-shirts, by the way, have been the stock-in-trade of smell studies), but also those other, perhaps odorless, signals that enter the brain through the olfactory system. That’s right, pheromones. Volumes have been written on the subject of smell and pheromones in attraction, love and marriage, and don’t we all know it’s true?

5. Because we like the way they kiss. Kissing has an element of smell to it, obviously, but kissing all by itself can determine if the relationship holds promise. Sheril Kirshenbaum, author of the book The Science of Kissing, told EarthSky a year ago that a kiss, and especially a first kiss, plays a big role in determining the future of a relationship, according to scientific studies. She said: Fifty-nine percent of men and 66 percent of women say they have ended a budding relationship because a kiss didn’t go well. It’s your body’s way of saying, look elsewhere.

6. Because of our hormones. You know how your heart pounds and your mouth goes dry when your new lover rings the doorbell? It’s basically a stress response. Romantic, eh? Adrenaline, dopamine and serotonin all come into play in love’s early stages. Love-struck couples also have high levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which stimulates an intense rush of pleasure, essentially the same effect on the brain as taking cocaine (see #9, below).

7. Because sex is good for us. Sex relieves stress, boosts immunity, burns calories, boosts heart health, improves intimacy … and so much more.

8. To make and raise babies, together. Martie Haselton, a psychologist at UCLA, believes love is a “commitment device,” a mechanism that encourages two humans to form a lasting bond to ensure the “long-term health of children.” Haselton and her colleagues conducted experiments, asking people to think about how much they love their partners while suppressing thoughts of other attractive people. They then have the same people think about how much they sexually desire their partners while suppressing thoughts about others. It turns out that love does a much better job of pushing out potential rivals than sex does. This is what you’d expect, Haselton says, if love was a drive to form a long-term commitment. She said: Natural selection has built love to make us feel romantic.

9. Because love is a drug. Neuroscientist Thomas Insel and colleagues at Emory University in Atlanta conducted studies showing that that monogamous pair bonding among prairie voles (small rodents that mate for life) affects the same brain reward circuits that are responsible for addiction to cocaine and heroin. They say their conclusions are probably true for humans, too. If not … viva le vole!

10. Because we are created for love. Who said that? I did.

via For you, Valentine: Top 10 reasons we fall in love | Human World | EarthSky

So what about the Philosophers?

The short video below by Skye C. Cleary outlines five philosophical perspectives on why we love.

Next Steps

Not sure I am a lot wiser, but to be honest as long as I can keep experiencing those feelings I am not going to worry about it too much.

One thing’s for sure – feelings of love are much better for your health than feelings of hate….


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