Love and Other Drugs – The Halo Effect

Research shows that the type of person you are sexually attracted to is locked in by the age of 5. What happens throughout the rest of our life is we meet people based on this script. When we first meet the person we are attracted to, we subconsciously place values on them that aren’t necessarily true. Levels of neuroepinephrine and dopamine, the drugs that make us feel happiness, skyrocket. So much that these levels are equivalent to a person high on cocaine. While this is going on, our serotonin levels go low enough to the point equivalent to a person who has critical obsessive compulsive disorder. This can go on for up to four months.

To sum it up, we act like a person who is obsessive compulsive who’s high on cocaine. We act irrationally and want to believe things even though the person could be the complete opposite. Our bodies can’t sustain these chemical levels, and as they level off, two things can happen. Our brain produces oxytocin and vasopresin which are bonding chemicals that psychologically bond us to one another. You go from a high lusty love, to a bonded committed love from the oxytocin and vasopresin, or, your body starts to dissipate the dopamine and neuroepinephrine and you realize that the person isn’t exactly who you wanted them to be.

It’s crazy what love and sexual attraction can make us do. In a way we are a slave to our own brains’ chemical reactions, and without understanding what’s going on, we can’t react rationally. It’s important to take a step back and look at our new relationships from an objective standpoint to find out if it’s what we really want. However, it’s not too surprising that we become blinded when our brain is sending us all these crazy signals.

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