Falling Crazy in Love and Biohacking for Longer Relationships

Posted By on February 10, 2016

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We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.

Dr. Seuss

As humans we all hope and wish to fall in love and live a fulfilling life happily ever after. For many this is a utopian dream, and there are also many people that experience the giddiness of falling in love needs to be prolonged but often fades. Once we get into a prolonged relationship and we see the effects of the heart racing and constant thoughts of a cherished someone fade off , we lose interest.
Why?
Well, it’s chemistry. And, we can control this somewhat. In Falling Crazy in Love and Biohacking for Longer Relationships dating mentor Andrea Hill and Nikolas Badminton talk about the chemistry of love.
It all started with a debate on Facebook around a video shared by Andrea and originally posted by Jason Silva (of Shots of Awe fame).

The ‘sad tragic truth’ really is that we stop trying and also keep going with those initial relationships that seem great and lack compatibility. The following video presents the discussion between Nikolas and Andrea on those exact topics and talks about the 3 stages of love – LUST, ATTRACTION, and ATTACHMENT – and the powerful chemistry at work.

Stage 1: Lust (touching, kissing, thoughts of sex)

This is the first stage of love and is driven by the sex hormones testosterone and oestrogen – in both men and women.

Stage 2: Attraction (feeling crazy about someone and this is when your brain is taken hostage)

This is the amazing time when you are truly love-struck and can think of little else apart from wanting to be with that person. Scientists recognize that there are three main neurotransmitters are involved in this stage; adrenaline, dopamine and serotonin.

  • Adrenaline
    • This is the stress response and adrenalin and cortisol flood your brain. You start to sweat, your heart races and your mouth goes dry. it’s the feeling that when you bump into your new love, you start to sweat, your heart races and your mouth goes dry.
  • Dopamine + Norepinephrine
    • It’s that feeling of increased energy, less need for sleep or food, focused attention and delight in smallest details that think about in relation to your new love (dimples, turns of phrase, pictures etc.)
    • Scientist Helen Fisher asked newly ‘love struck’ couples to undertake an experiment where they have their brains examined and discovered they have high levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine. This chemical stimulates ‘desire and reward’ by triggering an intense rush of pleasure and has the same effect on the brain as taking cocaine. 
    • Fisher suggests “couples often show the signs of surging dopamine: increased energy, less need for sleep or food, focused attention and exquisite delight in smallest details of this novel relationship”.
  • Serotonin
    • This is the big influencer in the brain. Ever heard of people talking about being ‘crazy in love’? It’s been found that serotonin levels of new lovers were equivalent to the low serotonin levels of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder patients. Can’t stop thinking about someone, or the relationship? This explains that.
    • An experiment in Pisa, Italy showed that early love (the attraction phase) really changes the way you think.
      Dr Donatella Marazziti, a psychiatrist at the University of Pisa, connected with twenty couples who’d been madly in love for less than six months and wanted to see if the brain mechanisms that cause you to constantly think about your lover, were related to the brain mechanisms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. By analysing blood samples from the lovers, Dr Marazitti discovered that serotonin levels of new lovers were equivalent to the low serotonin levels of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder patients.

Stage 3: Attachment (working out if the relationship has legs)

Attachment is the bond that keeps couples together long enough to have a life commitment and, for some, to have and raise children. We know that things g=change at this stage and life starts getting in the way of love and we qualify if things are works more often than not if we lose the feelings from the brain being stimulated in stages 1 and 2.

Mark Manson – a bloggers that write personal development advice ‘that doesn’t suck’ talks about how ‘Love is not enough‘.

 In our culture, many of us idealize love. We see it as some lofty cure-all for all of life’s problems. Our movies and our stories and our history all celebrate it as life’s ultimate goal, the final solution for all of our pain and struggle. And because we idealize love, we overestimate it. As a result, our relationships pay a price.

The 3 month drop-off. We have all experienced it. One or both people lose interest. That is down to compatibility. Will the relationship work? The analysis of actions, thoughts and feelings, ethics and morals, and other considerations in the fundamentals of someone’s personal philosophies kick in at the beginning of attachment. We need to recognize that if it’s not working then leave it rather than keeping it going. Honesty and integrity needs to kick in here along with bravery of being able to ride out the feelings of a broken heart (a chemical withdrawal).

Scientists believe that there are two major hormones involved in this feeling of attachment; oxytocin and vasopressin.

  • Oxytocin
    • Oxytocin, sometimes referred to as ‘the cuddle hormone’ is a powerful hormone released by men and women during orgasm. It’s thought to deepen the feelings of attachment and makes couples feel much closer to one another after they have had sex (we know that feeling, right?). The theory goes that the more sex a couple has, the deeper their bond becomes.
    • Oxytocin has also been found to create the strong bond between a new mother and baby released during childbirth. It’s also responsible for a mum’s breast automatically releasing milk at the mere sight or sound of her young baby. A powerful drug.
    • In an experiment with sheep and rats, Diane Witt – an assistant professor of psychology from New York showed that if you block the natural release of oxytocin in those subjects, they reject their own young. On the flipside, injecting oxytocin into female rats who’ve never had sex, caused them to fawn over another female’s young, nuzzling the pups and protecting them as if they were their own.
  • Vasopressin
    • Vasopressin is another important hormone in the long-term commitment stage and is released after sex.
      Vasopressin (also called anti-diuretic hormone) works with your kidneys to control thirst. Its potential role in long-term relationships was discovered when scientists looked at the prairie vole.
    • It’s been found that prairie voles have far more sex than is strictly necessary for the purposes of reproduction. They also – like humans – form stable, monogamous pair-bonds. In an experiment, when male prairie voles were given a drug that suppresses the effect of vasopressin, the bond with their partner deteriorated immediately as they lost their devotion and failed to protect their partner from new suitors.

Hacking the 3 stages

This is also when we can start to hack love a little bit:

  • Testosterone and oestrogen – Let your lover be free in the world to flirt a little.

Jealousy can even be good for love. One partner may feel secretly flattered when the other is mildly jealous. And catching someone flirting with your beloved can spark the kind of lust and romance that reignites a relationship.
Helen Fisher

  • Dopamine – Create little goals and achievements that you celebrate. And, once each is achieved, set a new one. Your dopamine will start to soar.
  • Serotonin – We can reflect and bring back great memories of past moments in life and our relationships. Visual and audio cues play a huge part. Having ‘our song’, pictures from great vacations and moments make all the difference. This is where a celebration of the relationship kicks in.
  • Oxytocin – Research has shown that giving your lover 8 long (30 second) hugs a day and small gifts (making breakfast, some tokens of affection etc.) generates oxytocin. It’s stimulated by romance. Oh, and keep having great sex too!

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Nikolas Badminton is a world-respected futurist speaker that researches, speaks, and writes about the future of work, how technology is affecting the workplace, how workers are adapting, the sharing economy, and how the world is evolving. He appears at conferences in Canada, USA, UK, and Europe. Email him to book him for your radio, TV show, or conference.


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