By Prashansa Khandelwal
“ I am completely and madly in love”
There are certain people who fail to distinguish between love, lust and infatuation. For them a simple case of passing likeness is love. These people have this awesome capability to depress that single friend in the group who has always been single (relatable?)
What is it that they do and we don’t? Why is it that they find love more than we do? Well, a rather simple conclusion would be they don’t understand love.So the question arises, why do they not understand what most people easily can?
Helen Fisher, a human behavior researcher, proposed three stages of love-lust, attraction and attachment. Improvising it a bit for better understanding, I put forward “4 stages of love.”
You know the feeling,you sense them from across the room. Your body tenses, your heart starts to race, and your palms begin to sweat, all before you’ve even met them. As they come closer your pupils dilate, but you experience a type of tunnel vision, and your mouth goes dry.
We all have had our share of crushes since the age we didn’t even know what a crush is! This feeling of being physically attracted to someone increases great folds when the angel in disguise (puberty) hits us!
This is the very initial stage of being fascinated to an opposite sex. And probably the most non serious stage too. We move ahead of puberty but sadly never over this stage.
This is the stage when you start noticing minute details about a person, wait for him to come in the class, think about him when you are trying to sleep, tell about him to your friends. This stage also includes all the flushing, trembling, palpitations and excitement. Call it the ‘big brother of attraction’, a bit more serious than a crush.
There are things Hindi films got spot on. This feeling of likeness is one of them.
This one is dangerous. It’s like that evil twin every Bollywood movie has who creates all the problem and the good twin suffers. It is the evil twin of love. We call it love. It feels like love.
When you are in love (both the evil and good twins)-struck, your heart races. You feel a surge of extra energy and excitement as you fantasize about the things you’ll do together. Researchers have found that these feelings are created by three chemicals: norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin. So yeah, totally scientific!
Dopamine – this one keeps you motivated. It stimulates ‘desire and reward’ by triggering an intense rush of pleasure. It has the same effect on the brain as taking cocaine! It increases- feelings increase.
Norepinephrine – it is responsible for the extra surge of energy and racing heart that you feel, as well as the loss of appetite and desire for sleep. It increases when Dopamine increases.
Serotonin – it decreases. Low levels of serotonin is thought to cause obsessive thinking.
So if all this happens in both love and infatuation, what makes the latter evil?
There is a time in the process of ‘falling in love’ when the part of the brain that judges yourself and the other person, the one which decides right or wrong , takes a vacation (Now you understand the saying, “love is blind.”). This is a temporary process in most cases.
But when this time of the process prolongs and extends its duration you fall into the trap of infatuation.It makes you unstable, restless, anxious, and impatient. Everything that love is not. It is unreasonable and dangerously passionate. It is reckless and delusional.
And the worst part of it is; according to a survey, more than 5,000 suicide cases in India are due to “love” affairs each year.
After all the attractions, lust, increased heart beats, sleepless nights and madness…love happens!Love is not reckless, it’s secure and peaceful .Love is NOT unreasonable, you find reasons when you fall in love. It is unconditional-it happens without conscious intention and hence doesn’t expect anything in return.
It makes you introspect and improvise to carve a better human in you.Love brings with it attachment. Scientifically, two major hormones are involved in this feeling of attachment-oxytocin and vasopressin. These create the desire to bond and affiliate with our better half. This is why love leads to successful commitments.
Infatuation fades. It is an imaginary world created by you. But love deepens with time. It doesn’t change your realities. It makes them better.So the next time you say you are in love, think again! It can be just the evil twin haunting you.
And if you don’t fall in love every other month, it just means you are patient to wait for something more meaningful and you don’t prefer to sway with your hormones.
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