7 Weird Things That Happen To Your Brain When You’re In Love

It is no secret to anyone, I don’t think, that being in love tends to make people do some fairly odd things. One husband and wife loved each other so much that they decided to get cosmetic surgery so that they could look like twins. Another guy literally faked his own death as part of an elaborate marriage proposal to his girlfriend, and, as a true testament to the idea of unconditional love, she said yes. And who can forget Astronaut Diaper Lady, who drove from Houston to Atlanta to, uh, attempt to murder her ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend. In the name of love!

So, being in love does not help one make the most rational of decisions. As the gorgeous, humanitarian chanteuse Rihanna put it so eloquently in her song “Love On The Brain,” it’s when you’re all, “Baby, you got me like ah, woo, ah” or “Got me like ah-ah-ah-ow.” You see? Perhaps not, but that’s just the point. Essentially, being in love can make you feel a little weird, and, as a result, make you do some things that most people would probably consider to be a little weird, too. And it all has to do with your brain! So, check out these bizarre things that happen to your brain when you’re in love right here:


You Feel High

Kesha was on to something with her song "Your Love Is My Drug," apparently. A number of studies have shown that romantic love activates dopamine levels in the brain, which results in feelings of euphoria that are similar to gambling or being on drugs. So, if you're seeing someone, and you start to feel a little loopy when you're around them, that's a sign that you're in love.

Image source: Kesha Vevo

You Feel Less Pain

Perhaps as a result of that whole feeling high thing, being in love can also make you feel less pain. According to research published by Stanford University in 2010, being in love can actually help reduce pain, since it activates parts of the brain that work as pain suppressors. The results showed that being in love and thinking about the loved one reduced moderate pain by 40 percent and severe pain by 10 to 15 percent. Obviously, you can't rely on being in love as a substitute for ibuprofen, or something, but it's interesting to know all the same.

Image source: Pain And Gain

But It Also, Like, Literally Hurts

"Love hurts" is an annoying phrase that comes from an annoying song from 1975. But it's also the truth, apparently--if you're in love, and then you experience heartbreak, this can cause you actual physical pain. This is called "stress cardiomyopathy." It activates parts of the brain (the anterior cingulate cortex, which is basically an alarm for distress, and the right ventral prefrontal cortex, which regulates it) that can cause you to feel pain, even if you haven't experienced an actual injury. So, love giveth and love taketh away, I guess.

Image source: The Hills

You Stop Becoming Disgusted With Things That Would Normally Gross You Out

Normally, you'd be disgusted by someone else's spit. And their body fluids. And their natural scent. So, when you think about sex--which combines pretty much all of those things--it's a miracle that people enjoy it at all. But, as with most things, this doesn't have to do so much with miracles as it does with science. According to research done in the Netherlands in 2012, arousal overrides the part of your brain that signals your inherent disgust for certain things, which only intensifies if you're in love with someone.

Image source: Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon

You Feel More Brave Than Usual

Need a bravery boost? It's easy! All you need to do is fall in love. People have been shown to make more reckless decisions when they're in love, since it activates parts of the brain that impact bravery.

Image source: The Sound Of Music

You Can't Stop Thinking About Them

Because you get dopamine from being around the person you love, your brain establishes an intense desire/reward system--so, when you think about them, it makes you feel happy. This means that you can't stop thinking about them, and probably explains why you want to set your phone and computer backgrounds with a photo of the two of you and also maybe get a pillow with their face on it. What?You're in love. It's fine.

Image source: Splendor In The Grass

Your Anxiety Increases

This is...unfair, I think? But being in love increases your levels of cortisol, which is a stress hormone that comes from the brain. This stems from an evolutionary need to think about the safety of your partner at all times. You're worrying about your partner in addition to yourself, which, as a result, can increase your overall anxiety.

Image source: The Muppets

What do you think of these things? Were you surprised by any of them? Let us know in the comments!

You can reach the author, Sara Hendricks, on Twitter and Instagram.

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