How We Fall In Love & What Makes It Last, According To Research

How love works in the brain.

the science of love Stock

No question falling in love is one of the greatest feelings in the world. But that doesn't mean that it can't get complicated from time to time. What's interesting is that there is a science to love — how we fall in love, as well as why some relationships are more successful and more fulfilling than others. Love can be a significantly mind-altering feeling! It comes with highs and lows, happiness, and yes, even that butterfly sensation you get in your stomach at the sight of your new beau.


But what exactly causes those feelings? And how can you learn to separate love from lust — real love from simple attraction YourTango's Senior VP Melanie Gorman speaks with author Dr. Sue Johnson, Marriage/Couples Counselor Gal Szekely, LMFT Dr. Rita DeMaria, and LCSW Marni Feuerman about the different ways that we can use the science of love to improve our relationships and make them stronger.

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Love is a natural part of life; there is a hormone that activates the minute that you find yourself falling for someone. It activates our ability to stay with and protect the people we care about. These hormonal changes cause you to end up getting starry-eyed over the connection that you feel, even if you don’t fully understand what you’re feeling, to begin with. Also, if you've ever wondered why you're attracted to someone who is the complete opposite of you, it's because humans have an unconscious ability to be around those who have different traits from us. We thrive on those differences.


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For instance, if you are more laid-back, chances are you will be attracted to someone who is more serious. Likewise, if you’re feeling serious, you might want to be with someone who can make you laugh. Looking for this balance in others is a natural part of what makes you attracted to them. Wanting to find that natural balance is a normal and engrained desire in us.

@30_phobia Why do opposites attract? Why are we attracted to our polar opposites? Psychologists have the answer! #oppositesattract #shadowself #30phobia #20somethings ♬ original sound - Kate Berski

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Intimacy is also an important aspect of strengthening our bond with our partner. Our experts agree that the bond between people who genuinely love each other is stronger than that of people who are just being intimate for one night because of the amount of emotional comfort and intimacy between them. This means that while a one-night stand might be fun if you’re looking for lasting intimacy, it helps to choose a person that you feel a genuine, emotional connection with.

RELATED: How To Make Someone Fall In Love, According To Science

Melanie Gorman is the former Senior VP of YourTango Experts. Dr. Sue Johnson is the Director of the International Center for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy, which focuses on studying the tapestry of human connection and emotions. Gal Szekely, MFT, is a marriage and couples therapist, as well as a Founder of The Couples Center, with therapists who specialize in helping couples navigate challenges and rebuild relationships. Dr. Rita DeMaria is a staff therapist, office director, and director of Healthy Relationships and Wellness Programs at the Council for Relationships.  Dr. Marni Feuerman is a licensed psychotherapist in private practice, relationship expert, and author of Ghosted and Breadcrumbed: Stop Falling for Unavailable Men and Get Smart about Healthy Relationships.