I have been trying to understand what sparks love, how you go from moderately entertained to full blown in love.
I’ve been a very successful flirterer over the last year, as I mentioned in How to be successful at flirting and work. And if there have been guys, kind people in attractive demeanours, trying to get under my skin (not just my pants), they have been met by an impenetrable wall not even I could have shaken, comfortable though that would have been.
And yet I have in the past loved profoundly and been loved just as deep. So why do some people just scratch the surface while others seem to shake one’s whole world?
I blame the usual culprit, the brain. Brains have priorities (I am going to go all Maslow pyramid here now):
1. Keep you alive
2. Keep you fed
3. Keep you healthy
4. Keep you pain free
5. Balance your emotions
6. Reach your personal goals
7. Evolve you as a person.
I think falling in love falls is the latter.
Attraction often comes first of course. “This person smell so good and walk so fine, wanna”, says the brain. Research says this tends to be satisfied in 2-3 months then kaput if that’s all that was.
But when your brain recognises in someone the ability to progress you, a spark of knowledge it wants to get for itself, “why do they smile so vibrantly and their eyes sparkle so, why do they stand their ground and are not subdued by my strength/charm (power and love must sadly always be balanced, which is food for a future post), why are they happy, where does their drive come from”, are examples of things brains want intrinsically to apprehend. So they set your heart racing and cruelly force you to go and collect more data, i.e. go spend more and more time with this person.
I call this imprinting. Your brain works diligently to create the synapses that represent the loved person and make your grasp of them. Research says this process takes about two years. Until all questions are answered and this person is fully grasped, you are stuck. After two years, imprinting is complete and so the physical need dries. Then one of two things remains:
– love, when the person is now your kindred spirit and you care for their well-being as much or almost as for your own,
– emptiness, when beyond the curiosity no higher common ground existed.
So it is not money, or lust, or comfort, or an answer to loneliness that are the key to falling in love. It is a higher purpose, a desire to evolve to a better new place as a human and the perception that this person can somehow help you clear the path for getting there.
Sex does play a part in all this. But that will come tomorrow…