Chemistry of Love at First Sight

Chemistry of love at first sight is a chemistry that happens very rapidly. I think most of us when we say love at first sight mean love at first interaction which might mean a conversation at a party for example, that lasts for a period of time, during which we begin to become aware of a feeling of attraction.

However, for the brain, chemistry happens much faster.

If one has read Cziksentmihalyi's book FLOW, on page 28 he talks in his section on the Limits of Consciousness, that we can perceive seven bits of data, including visual, auditory, and non-verbal communications every 1/18th second, and the chemistry of love at first sight is cued that fast, and my behaviors may begin to change just that fast.

Malcolm Gladwell in his book BLINK, makes the case that we as humans seem to have this ability to size folks up and decide whether we like them or not in a very short period of time.

(An eye blink takes 1/10th second by the way, so it takes twice as long to blink your eyes as it does to change chemistry inside your body).

Whether it is 1/10th second or 1/18th second, the chemistry of love at first sight can sure change your life.

If one reads the work of Helen Fisher, Ph.D., then the chemistry of love at sight is based on her proposal that humans have evolved three systems of mating and reproduction....

"In her book, Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love, (Fisher) proposed that humanity has evolved three core brain systems for mating and reproduction:

1. lust - the sex drive or libido. 2. attraction - early stage intense romantic love. 3. attachment - deep feelings of union with a long term partner.

Love can start off with any of these three feelings, Fisher maintains. (Which happens in 1/18th second). Some people have sex with someone new and then fall in love. Some fall in love first, then have sex. Some feel a deep feeling of attachment to another, which then turns into romance and the sex drive. But the sex drive evolved to initiate mating with a range of partners; romantic love evolved to focus one's mating energy on one partner at a time; and attachment evolved to enable us to form a pairbond and rear our young together as a team.

Fisher discusses many of the feelings of intense romantic love, saying it begins as the beloved takes on "special meaning." Then you focus intensely on him or her. People can list what they don't like about a sweetheart, but they sweep these things aside and focus on what they adore. Intense energy, elation, mood swings, emotional dependence, separation anxiety, possessiveness, physical reactions including a pounding heart and shortness of breath, and craving, Fisher reports, are all central to this feeling. But most important is obsessive thinking. As Fisher says "Someone is camping in your head."

Fisher and her colleagues have put 49 men and women into a brain scanner to study the brain circuitry of romantic love: 17 who had just fallen madly in love, 15 who had just been dumped, and 17 who reported that they were still in love after an average of 21 years of marriage. One of her central ideas is that romantic love is a drive that is stronger than the sex drive. As she has said, "After all, if you casually ask someone to go to bed with you and they refuse, you don't slip into a depression, commit suicide or homicide--but around the world people suffer terribly from romantic rejection."

Helen Fisher Wikipedia

Mystery #1: How is it that sexual chemistry can be amazing when people have absolutely nothing to say to one another? While it’d be nice to have something to say other than “Yes, yes, yes!” to someone you find so irresistible, that’s not always the case. If you feel like certain parts of your anatomy have a mind of their own, it’s because in a way, they do. “Sexual chemistry does not always equal love, and this is because we’ve evolved distinct brain systems for mating,” says Dr. Helen Fisher, research professor in the department of anthropology at Rutgers University and author of Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love. “One system controls the craving for sexual gratification. Another system rules over romantic love, that obsessive thinking and craving and focusing on one individual. They’re not always connected, which is why you can be madly in love with someone and only have so-so sex, while you can have intensely passionate sex with someone you never want to see again!” With time, and a little luck, however, lust can lead to more tender feelings. “You can start having sex with someone and then fall in love,” says Dr. Fisher. “Sometimes one thing can trigger the other.” So keep chipping away at making chit chat and you may find yourself enjoying this person’s company out of bed as well as in it.

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