An article published in the Journal of Neurophysiology said “early-stage romantic love is a developed form of a mammalian drive to pursue preferred mates.” So when you start to develop a crush, your brain releases a chemical called dopamine, which is often associated with feelings of euphoria, motivation and energy. The areas in the brain working during these early romantic processes also happen to be the areas activated while using drugs like cocaine, which explains “the strength of the obsession.” That’s why the initial pursuit of a new love interest can feel so good and exciting, which keeps us coming back for more.
Long-term attachment is caused by a chemical called oxytocin, which according to Scientific American is “crucial to how we form and maintain romantic relationships.” Oxytocin can make people more sympathetic and supportive, and couples with high levels of oxytocin have better communication and fewer stress hormones. Researchers said oxytocin was “more involved in the communication component of love between couples than the romantic component of love.” So while other chemicals might keep a relationship exciting, oxytocin makes it long-lasting.
A bad breakup can hurt. The same places in the brain related to the feelings of rejection and heartbreak are also related to physical pain. This means because the pain of a nasty separation really does hurt physically, you can take aspirin to get over it, according to a study reported on by New York Magazine. The study focused on individuals dealing with rejection and showed the people “who were on the painkiller reported a significant reduction in their daily hurt feelings.”
So even if your special someone can make your heart beat faster by walking in the room, the feelings you have about him or her don’t originate there.
Instead of telling your Valentine you love him or her from the bottom of your heart, say that you love them from your dorsolateral middle frontal gyrus. Is that romantic or what?
Nick received a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communication at Dixie State University in Utah where we was Opinion Editor at Dixie Sun News. Now he interns for Deseret News National. Follow him on Twitter at