Why do we fall in love?

For a couple to work, it is not enough to be able to match two people well. There is an intangible and mysterious factor that governs everything: the so-called chemistry. Chemistry is the feeling of extraordinary wellbeing that we experience when we are together with a person who attracts us.

It is that strange and inexplicable feeling of having known her forever, even though we have just met her. It is the need to establish physical contact, to touch her, to embrace her. We smell its natural odour and are attracted to it; we seem to recognise it as if it 'belongs' to us, in a mechanism made up of natural instincts. Chemistry is a phenomenon of strong physical and mental attraction generated by various physiological factors that we are unable to control.

When there is a good chemistry, a person makes us happy just by being there with us. It goes far beyond physical appearance or character, it is something that attracts us like a magnet. It is based on a sense of familiarity, mutual attraction and spark. It cannot be produced, we cannot 'make' the chemistry happen; however, it can and often does develop between two people over time. The smell of the other, the sound of their voice, the way they move or their gaze, provide us with feelings of intimacy and involvement.

According to anthropologist Helen Fisher, the feelings that this phenomenon arouses in our brain generate the same behaviour as when we are under the influence of a drug. In a way, it is as if you become dependent on the other person. You feel the need to spend 24 hours of the day with them. In love, you suffer a lot if you are deprived of the object of your desire, just like in drugs. All this happens because the brain centres involved in falling in love are exactly the same as those involved in taking drugs.

Chemistry is based on biological factors that, even just through skin contact, are capable of giving a feeling of well-being and a sense of belonging. Biochemical signals are in fact molecules that our body perceives but of which we are not aware. We become infatuated with a person when the neurons of the limbic system become saturated or sensitised by dopamine. Endorphins calm the mind and reduce anxiety. One tends to feel secure and stable. In addition, oxytocin encourages physical contact and hugs. Plato also considered falling in love to be an autonomous process, calling the sexual impulse "totally irrational, a soul that accepts no discipline."

Once we know for sure that we are matched (because many times we may not be matched even though we feel an overwhelming urge towards the other person) the desire to get to know each other and spend a lot of time together comes into play.

When we are in love the other person lives in our emotional centres. When we lose them our brain centres are triggered by looking everywhere for this person obsessively, like a kind of withdrawal, because we are used to seeing them, feeling them and hugging them; we will find it hard to sleep and eat. There is also a lack of endorphins, which regulate the sensation of pain, and that could be the cause of the physical pain we feel.

As time goes by, this feeling of euphoria fades. The transition from falling in love to love requires the ability to re-evaluate the relationship in a more real space, accepting each other's differences. By sharing experiences, the couple will develop complicity, unity and a sense of belonging.

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