The Several Stages of Love
Love is an emotion that receives a lot of attention. Whether it be Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Disney’s The Little Mermaid, or Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, love is a heavily popularized emotion. It is a universal emotion experienced by everyone, but is ironically represented with a heart. The brain is the real cause of love, as all emotion and conscious thought stems from the brain. Often times, romantic love occurs in several stages.
Helen Fisher of Rutgers University in New Jersey has proposed three stages:
1. Infatuation or Lust
This stage is characterized by the hormones testosterone and estrogen being the driving forces for both men and women. These hormones make people start looking for love.
This stage is characterized by three main chemicals in the brain: Dopamine (makes people feel really good, associated with drugs such as cocaine, some dopamine is released in laughter), Adrenaline (comes up in situations with short term stress), and Seratonin (Chemical needed to maintain the sleep cycle with a feedback loop also including melatonin. OCD, or obsessive compulsive disorder is characterized with low levels of serationin). When people are “lovestruck” they are in this phase. It is also characterized by time spent daydreaming about their new love.
This stage results from long term love or attraction. Long term relationships result from this. Chemicals associated with this stage are Oxytocin and Vasopressin, both chemicals associated with long term trust and bonding.