Love is a complex and nuanced concept that can be challenging to put into words. It can make you laugh or cry and is the reason for the butterflies in your stomach, or that feeling of rightness when someone tells you they love you. Scientists, philosophers, poets, songwriters and novelists have all tried to capture the feeling in their work. But no matter how you try to describe it, love is something everyone experiences and means different things to each person.
During stage 2: Attraction, the release of a jumble of hormones like dopamine (pleasure), norepinephrine (alertness) and oxytocin (cuddle hormone) can make you feel flushed, sweaty, and your heart race when you see someone you’re attracted to for the first time. Then, during stage 3: Attachment, your hormones change again and dopamine and norepinephrine are replaced by oxytocin and you may start feeling bonded and close to this person. But hormones don’t last forever and you need to build love through actions.
It’s the reason you forgive your partner for always being late, or commit to finishing a creative project, or why you support a friend through a tough time. But when a relationship ends, it can leave you with feelings of grief or disappointment that are hard to get over. These negative emotions can impact your mental health and future relationships, especially if you’ve been in toxic or unrequited love. And even healthy relationships can have a negative impact on your mental and emotional well-being if they’re not managed correctly.