Ever been so infatuated with someone that the only logical thing to do is dramatically throw yourself on the couch and play the “You have bewitched me body and soul and I love, love, love you” scene from Pride and Prejudice on a loop?
That can’t-stop-thinking-about-them, swoony, kinda nauseous, exhilarated feeling = lovestruck.
You can thank your brain for that. Below, we explore the science behind being lovestruck.
In the beginning stages of love, it can be surprisingly easy to ignore red flags that, in hindsight, are glaringly obvious.
Activity in the frontal lobes (the parts of the brain associated with logic and reasoning) decreases, which leads to a selective suspension of judgment. Literally, the parts of the brain that are responsible for things like critical thinking and figuring out if someone is lying shut off for a bit when it comes to the object of your affection.
The perfect (neurotransmitter) storm
When you are infatuated with someone, an imbalance of the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine occurs. The brain ramps up dopamine production and suspends serotonin production.
Dopamine activates the reward circuit in the brain. High levels of dopamine can make you feel euphoric, energized, and horny, but they can also cause poor impulse control. Low levels of serotonin can result in anxiety, compulsion, agitation, disturbed sleep, and digestive issues.
(Studies have suggested that serotonin levels in early romantic love are reduced to the same amount common in people who have obsessive-compulsive disorders.)
Throughout a relationship, love and validation keep the dopamine high going. During a breakup, the source of dopamine is taken away, and withdrawal occurs. For some people, this turns into lovesickness.
Lovesick and lovestruck are sometimes used in reference to all the intense feelings you have during the infatuation phase.
But generally, feeling lovestruck happens when you’re falling in love, while feeling lovesick typically happens after heartbreak or rejection. (Unless we’re talking unrequited love, which can trigger a bout of lovesickness before a relationship even begins.)
Lovestruck is about the positive and euphoric, and lovesick is about the negative and unpleasant.
Sparks fly 🙂
Friends saying, “Shut up about Noah already!”
All-consuming romantic feelings
Overlooked red flags
…… 🙁 ……
Intrusive and persistent thoughts about them
Daydreams about them
Replayed conversations in your head
Inability to sleep well (or at all)
Obsession to see if they’ve called or texted
Loss of appetite
Lack of motivation
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