5 Different Stages of Falling in Love

According to new research, there are 5 different stages of falling in love. It all starts with Butterflies, the first step towards Stability. Read more about the stages and find out where you are in your relationship!

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Is this Love or Convenience?

Have you ever run into someone you knew from school when you were in a different city? Even if you barely knew them before, you tend to act like you were best buds. That was what happened to me when I moved to a new city and unexpectedly ran into someone I had known from Montreal.

Antony had been a good friend of my sister’s, and also a friend of an old boyfriend. He had been married when I knew him last, and though we had socialized quite a bit I didn’t know him well. He was attractive and funny, and I liked him a lot.

Running into this old acquaintance when I felt lost and a little bit lonely, resulted in that acquaintance quickly morphing into my new best friend. Suddenly I had an ally, someone to say “…do you remember when…” and all too soon we were dating, and making plans for a mutual future.

Cheerful couple in a restaurant with glasses of red wine

Antony’s first marriage had been great, except for one thing, they couldn’t have kids. I don’t know all the details, but it eventually broke them up. He was a good Italian boy, and his Mama wanted grandbabies. I was listening to a ticking clock, and wanted to be a Mom.

I met his parents, they loved me, and soon, way too soon- we were engaged! When the fireworks stopped we realized that we didn’t really know each other. We had very little in common, and very different interests. I was a flower child, he was a rocker.

After six months we drifted apart, we saw each other a couple of times a week, but were finding excuses to be apart. He stopped buying me flowers every payday, and spent more time in his apartment than in mine.

Rekindle Your Relationship And Fall In Love Again

Great way to get sparks flying!

Stop reading for a moment, and think back to the first few weeks after you met your spouse or love partner.

Actually try to visualize an early date where you were cuckoo for CoCo Puffs about this amazing person. And they felt the same about you.

Remember how it felt falling in love, how happily distracted you were, how you couldn’t wait to see her — how everything he said was interesting and funny.

Remember how you felt the two of you were special? Meant for each other. Destined to be together.

And now . . . not so much.

Now you’ve been together for a while — maybe years. And the bloom is off the rose. What was once endearing or funny now gets under your skin like a bad rash. The differences you found so appealing now divide you like a knife. It’s past time to rekindle your relationship.

Frustration, resentments, hurt feelings, and unmet needs are always simmering just below the surface. One wrong word, one sideways glance, one exasperated sigh is all it will take to cause the lid to blow. And blow it has — many times. Too many times to count.

Bickering is a daily sport and full-blown fights dot the landscape of your marriage like bleeding soldiers on a battlefield. Whether your particular fighting style is a head-spinning screaming match or a silent treatment freeze-out, both of you are exhausted, hurting, and so tired of living this way.

How did it come to this? What happened to the joy, the fun times together, the great sex, the intimate talks? Where are those two people who fell so head-over-heels in love?

If you spend more time in your love life fighting or feeling angry, hurt, or resentful than you do enjoying the connection, then it’s past time to take action. Right now you must do something about it if you want to save the relationship.

Here are some ideas on how to rekindle your relationship and fall in love again:

Do you really want to stay?

Before you begin working the relationship, be very, very honest with yourself.

Do you really want this marriage to work?

Are you invested in it enough that you’re willing to make some changes?

Do you truly want to have a happy, healthy, intimate connection with this particular person?

If the answer is no, and you’ve been with this person a long time, go to counseling anyway to be absolutely sure it’s not just your anger clouding your judgment. Get professional support to help you navigate this huge decision whether to end the marriage or not.

However, if the answer is yes, and you know with certainty you want the relationship to work, then read on.

Remember the foundational premise

Both  you and your spouse or partner must embrace this foundational premise: your relationship together takes priority over everything else in your life.

That includes your children, your parents, your friends, your work, your hobbies, your chores, your television, your computer, and your egos.

The relationship itself must be viewed as a separate living, breathing force that the two of you are charged with care taking. I’m not suggesting you lose your individuality. But as two individuals, you are jointly responsible for nurturing your connection as you would your child.

If your relationship isn’t solid, everything else in your life will be negatively impacted. Your happiness as a couple is essential to the security and happiness of your children, your job performance, and your mental health.

What Is HOT About a Stable Guy

PASSION. Definition: strong and barely controllable emotion. Is passion a good thing? How much do we want of it in a relationship?

Often times, women feel like they have to make a choice between the hot and heavy/ tumultuous relationship and the boring/stable one. The real question is, why is passion paired with feelings of anger and jealousy and stability paired with feelings of boredom and dissatisfaction. What is it about the reliable man that unconditionally loves and supports us that makes us want to run the other way?

We don’t want to be in a relationship completely void of passion, so we might have to rewire ourselves. Here are 5 things about stable men that we should feel passionate about.

He has a job.

This might seem a little obvious, but any person who gets up every day and goes to work deserves some respect. He’s not “figuring things out.” His employer counts on him to be there, and he’s there. That means he is a reliable person. THAT IS HOT. When you call, he answers. He’s not “so high he fell asleep.”

He respects your friends.

The stable man is always down for a night out with your friends. He’s not living for himself and his own pleasure. He likes being part of a team. THIS IS HOT. You don’t want the guy who ditches you last minute because “my buddy wants to watch the game.” You want a guy you can MAKE PLANS WITH, who is capable of saying things like “I can’t tonight, maybe another time.”

He listens.

It’s simple. When you talk, he listens. “Huh?” and “sorry babe, what?” is not something that happens often after you have been talking for an extended amount of time. Not listening is a sign of disrespect. It is NOT HOT. It means they are prioritizing whatever they are doing or thinking over you. Unless of course, you are a total chatterbox, in that case it is you that might have a little work to do.Love, relationship. Beautiful couple at home

He keeps his place neat.

His place is tidy; he has furniture. He has a box spring, AND A BED FRAME. THESE ITEMS ARE HOT. Who wants to do it on a mattress on the floor whose sheets haven’t been changed in ages? Having your place together means you have your life together and that you aren’t looking for a mother to manage your life, you are looking for a partner to share your life with.

He doesn’t swear at you.

It is shocking to me how many women will put up with this during an argument. It is absolutely unacceptable to use profanity in any way or call your partner names. This is a sign of a person that is not evolved = NOT HOT. Plus, it sets the tone for your relationship. Once you condone this kind of behavior, it is easy to go downhill from there. The balanced man knows how to express his concerns without going to a dark place. His tone may be firm, but he is not disrespectful.

Catching the Love Bug

Falling in love can be a magical feeling. Did you know there are lots of natural side effects and exciting uncontrollable changes that happen?

We sing about it, write about it and watch movies about it, but when you think about it, falling in love is crazy and maybe even weird.

It makes us feel and do things we usually wouldn’t under any other circumstances.

First of all, it physically affects our hormones and brain. In fact, scientists have shown that love affects the brain in a way similar to cocaine addiction. Not only that, it also affects us psychologically and behaviorally.

Here are 10 crazy, weird symptoms you may experience when falling in love:

1. Your hormones go wild.

When you fall in love, your cheeks flush, your heart beats faster, your palms are sweaty and your head starts spinning. This is all thanks to a rush of chemicals and hormones that flood your brain and body when you fall in love.

This leaves you with feelings of euphoria similar to an endorphin-induced “runner’s high.”

There’s nothing you can do about this; love physically makes you crazy.

2. You wake up and go to sleep thinking of someone other than yourself.

From the moment you wake up in the morning to the moment you go to sleep at night, the person you love occupies at least some part of your mind. How does your brain even know to think of that person first thing in the morning? Doesn’t it have other more important things to worry about?

The truth is this phenomenon is usually subconscious and automatic, almost like your mind is programmed to do so. Even throughout the day, that person stays staunchly in the back of your mind.

As crazy as it may be, it is nice to think of someone beside you every once in a while.

3. You smile when you’re alone.

We’ve all seen them: the smile texters. Smile texting is the perfect example of what happens when you’re falling in love. You experience weird, giddy feelings of happiness, even when you’re not physically with that special person.

You might smile when he or she texts you, when you hear a certain song, see a picture on Facebook or when you just think of that person.

In general, little things like that will make you smile more than usual because you are just so blissfully in love (and because of all those happy hormones flowing through your bloodstream).

People may look at you funny and wonder why you’re so happy, but you don’t even mind.

4. You become a little obsessive.

I wonder what she’s doing right now. I wonder if she’s watching the game. She loves football, which is cool for a girl. But I forget what her favorite team is … I need to ask again. Or maybe I should ask now. I’ll mention it if she texts me later.

Oh look, a bag of chips. She loves chips. But only the BBQ kind.

People in love, love to think about each other. They somehow manage to relate even the smallest things to the person they love. If your life is the universe, then chances are, your love is the sun, and everything revolves around that.

5. You do embarrassing things.

Ever heard those sappy stories of boys in the olden days throwing rocks at a girl’s window, and playing her songs on their guitar? That was then, but today, there are videos all over YouTube of men proposing to their fiancés with elaborate flash mobs that take place in front of hundreds of people.

Love will make you do embarrassing things because when you’re falling in love with someone, you will do almost anything to make him or her happy, no matter what other people may think.

6. You do things outside of your comfort zone.

Along the same lines, falling in love will make you do things you never even considered doing before. Boys, that may mean taking a yoga class or going to get a pedicure with your girlfriend (they feel really good, it’s okay to admit it).

Girls, that may mean watching “SportsCenter” for two hours or playing a couple games of FIFA. Of course, doing these things can open your mind to new activities you might enjoy. Doing them with the one you love is a great bonding experience, too.

7. You suddenly care more about your appearance.

Before, you may have rolled out of bed and thrown on some athletic shorts and a t-shirt, but you now have a reason to try to look good.

You might comb your hair more often, double check to make sure you didn’t forget deodorant, shave more meticulously and go to the gym, instead of falling asleep on your couch after work.

8. You sing.

When you’re falling in love, you feel so happy and carefree, you can’t always keep it inside. Whether you sound like William Hung or Ariana Grande, sometimes, you just have to sing at the top of your lungs to let it all out.

9. You go out of your way.

You may find yourself driving out of the way to pick up your love’s favorite dinner, or calling in sick to work just to hang out with him or her.

The crazy part is that even though these things may inconvenience you, you’re happy and excited to do them. You actually take joy in making that extra effort to please your SO and show him or her how much you care.

10. You go blind.

As the old adage goes, love is blind. When you’re falling in love, everything your love does and says is interesting and amazing. Every word uttered from his or her mouth, and every move he or she makes, is magical.

Love blinds you to faults and screw ups, and even when you do notice them, you’re quick to forgive because your love can do no wrong. As it turns out, Ke$ha might be right about this one: Love is a drug.

It makes us crazy, but it also makes us happy. Love is exciting; it’s addicting, it’s confusing and it’s weird.

So, cheers to love: both our worst nightmare and our best friend.

Curated by Erbe
Original Article


Falling In Love: Best Things That Happen

Falling in love is awesome! More so, if it is your first.

Here are 20 of the best things that happen when you’re first falling in love with someone:

1. The way your skin prickles up every moment they’re around you.

2. The way you never quite get used to them touching you, so that when they grab your hand, your heart lurches (in the best way).

3. The way you can just catch them looking at you out of the corner of their eye and your body goes limp.

4. The way you can’t stop looking at them, as if all you want to do is create a new sense that allows you to properly take them in, because your eyes don’t do them justice.

5. The way the world around you completely dissipates, like you two exist in complete clarity, and everything else is a blur.

6. The way you look back and wonder how you lived your life before them, and how there was a vacant space in the shape of them that happened to be open the moment you met them.

7. The way you fall asleep together in those first love-hazed months, all tangled into one being, feeling safe and loved in a way you couldn’t have even dreamt up.

8. The way their fingertips seem to hold the nerve endings to your skin.

9. The way they smell – no matter what time or day – and how you want to bottle them up.

10. The way they’ll leave an item of clothing behind and you’ll smell it throughout the day, momentarily forgetting that this is kind of creepy.

10 Ways to Tell You Are Falling in Love

It’s a thin line between love and lust. If you’re crazy about your guy but not sure if you’ve crossed into crazy-in-love territory, there are definite signs you’ve gone off the deep end.

Here are 10 of our favorite tells.

1. You start thinking in terms of the future, and it doesn’t scare you. Do you already have next year’s couples Halloween costumes planned? You’re on the edge of the cliff, my friend.

2. His happiness is your happiness. Not only do you go out of your way, instinctively, to make your man smile, but when he’s content, you’re floating on cloud nine.

3. You want him around in good times and in bad. The idea of him taking care of you post-wisdom-tooth-removal doesn’t send you into a freak-out fit, in which your voice takes on dog-hearing-only octaves as you scream, “He can’t see me doped up on Valium, drooling into a pillow!” Instead, he’s the one you want spoon-feeding you.

4. You crave physical contact that goes beyond sex—oh, and sex with him is also amazing. When you’ve had a tough day at work, burying your face in his neck is an instant cure. You sleep better when you’re in his arms. And his chest is way more comfy than your memory-foam pillow.

5. Feeling like an addict? Check. Hours spent together simply aren’t enough, and any empty space you have in your brain is taken up with thoughts of him.

6. You talk him up 24/7. From every sweet text he sends to that new—and very effective—move he whipped out in bed, your gal pals have the 4-1-1.

7. You get jealous. Not in a crazy-psycho-don’t-talk-to-my-man way, but in the sensitive-to-potential-relationship-threats way.

8. “We” and “our” have become regular parts of your vocabulary. It’s not the coffee shop; it’s “our coffee spot.” And when you get invited to your BFF’s weekend bash, you reply, “we’ll be there.”

9. Ex who? If any thoughts of your last love held on at the beginning of this relationship, they’re now long gone. Why would you think about an ex, after all, when a perfect man is right in front of you?

10. Love songs were written for you. When you start relating to the lyrics of your favorite gushy tunes, you know you’ve got it bad.

What are some other signs that you’re falling in love? If you’re in love, how and when did you know?

Curated by Erbe
Original Article

Why He Smells So Good to You

I once fell in love with a guy because I loved the way he smelled. He wore Eau Savage by Dior, and it made me swoon. It never had that effect on me when worn by anyone else, just Ben. He was a fellow journalist, and we really liked each other in other ways, but it was his smell that really turned me on.

Scientists have said that the sense of smell is overlooked in romantic encounters, mostly because we don’t notice it. Pheromones are ridiculously important in the animal kingdom, but apart from being clean, and putting on deodorant and perfume we humans don’t think of it much.

In fact, if we are too clean, and wear too much perfume, we may be confusing our olfactory (smelling) senses and confusing our romantic brains. It is said that the Emperor Napoleon would send a message to his lady love Josephine, telling her not to bathe, because he was on his way home from War! Now we probably wouldn’t want to go that far, but should we perhaps lay off on the deodorant a bit?

Some research even suggests that we may even pick our “soul mate” by subconsciously reacting to pheromones that transmit their genetic compatibility. A research study which had women smelling a variety of white tee-shirts worn by unknown males discovered that women consistently preferred the odors of tee-shirts that had been worn by strangers who were genetically compatible with them … and were actually turned off by those who were genetically incompatible. What’s more, the odors they preferred reminded them of their boyfriends.

Scientists are discovering that the hypothalamus plays a critical role in receiving pheromones through the vomeronasal organ (VNO) in the nose, and then triggering an emotion or response.

Until recently, the VNO was assumed to be an important organ in animals, but a vestigial organ—leftover from primitive times and no longer needed or functional—in humans. But in 1994, Dr. David Berliner and his colleagues at the University of Utah discovered that their 400 human subjects did indeed have a VNO, which, as in animals, detected pheromones and sent messages to the hypothalamus, which is linked to the limbic system.

The limbic system, your “primitive brain”, drives your more basic, less complicated impulses – emotional connections, your awareness of the environment and how you interact in it, the “fight or flight” response…your sexual behavior.

So should we all stop bathing and using deodorant? Probably not, but perhaps we should be aware that our own clean natural scent is the best thing to “wear” when getting close to the ones we love, Eau Sauvage notwithstanding!

Are You In Love? Science Will Prove It

Scientists have pinned down exactly what it means to “fall in love.”

Researchers have found that an in-love brain looks very different from one experiencing mere lust, and it’s also unlike a brain of someone in a long-term, committed relationship. Studies led by Helen Fisher, an anthropologist at Rutgers University and one of the leading experts on the biological basis of love, have revealed that the brain’s “in love” phase is a unique and well-defined period of time, and there are 13 telltale signs that you’re in it.

1. “This one’s special”

When you’re in love, you begin to think your beloved is unique. The belief is coupled with an inability to feel romantic passion for anyone else. Fisher and her colleagues believe this single-mindedness results from elevated levels of central dopamine — a chemical involved in attention and focus — in your brain.

2. “She’s perfect”

People who are truly in love tend to focus on the positive qualities of their beloved, while overlooking his or her negative traits. They also focus on trivial events and objects that remind them of their loved one, day-dreaming about these precious little moments and mementos. This focused attention is also thought to result from elevated levels of central dopamine, as well as a spike in central norepinephrine, a chemical associated with increased memory in the presence of new stimuli.

3. “I’m a wreck!”

As is well known, falling in love often leads to emotional and physiological instability. You bounce between exhilaration, euphoria, increased energy, sleeplessness, loss of appetite, trembling, a racing heart and accelerated breathing, as well as anxiety, panic and feelings of despair when your relationship suffers even the smallest setback. These mood swings parallel the behavior of drug addicts. And indeed, when in-love people are shown pictures of their loved ones, it fires up the same regions of the brain that activate when a drug addict takes a hit. Being in love, researchers say, is a form of addiction.

4. “Overcoming the challenge made us closer”

Going through some sort of adversity with another person tends to intensify romantic attraction. Central dopamine may be responsible for this reaction, too, because research shows that when a reward is delayed, dopamine-producing neurons in the mid-brain region become more productive.

5. “I’m obsessed with him”

People who are in love report that they spend, on average, more than 85 percent of their waking hours musing over their “love object.” Intrusive thinking, as this form of obsessive behavior is called, may result from decreased levels of central serotonin in the brain, a condition that has been associated with obsessive behavior previously. (Obsessive-compulsive disorder is treated with serotonin-reuptake inhibitors.)

6. “I wish we could be together all the time”

People in love regularly exhibit signs of emotional dependency on their relationship, including possessiveness, jealousy, fear of rejection, and separation anxiety.

7. “I hope we stay together forever”

They also long for emotional union with their beloved, seeking out ways to get closer and day-dreaming about their future together.

8. “I’d do anything for her”

People who are in love generally feel a powerful sense of empathy toward their beloved, feeling the other person’s pain as their own and being willing to sacri?ce anything for the other person.

9. “Would he like this outfit?”

Falling in love is marked by a tendency to reorder your daily priorities and/or change your clothing, mannerisms, habits or values in order for them to better align with those of your beloved.

10. “Can we be exclusive?”

Those who are deeply in love typically experience sexual desire for their beloved, but there are strong emotional strings attached: The longing for sex is coupled with possessiveness, a desire for sexual exclusivity, and extreme jealousy when the partner is suspected of infidelity. This possessiveness is thought to have evolved so that an in-love person will compel his or her partner to spurn other suitors, thereby insuring that the couple’s courtship is not interrupted until conception has occurred.

11. “It’s not about sex”

While the desire for sexual union is important to people in love, the craving for emotional union takes precedence. A study found that 64 percent of people in love (the same percentage for both sexes) disagreed with the statement, “Sex is the most important part of my relationship with [my partner].”

12. “I feel out of control”

Fisher and her colleagues found that individuals who report being “in love” commonly say their passion is involuntary and uncontrollable.

13. “The spark is gone”

Unfortunately, being in love usually doesn’t last forever. It’s an impermanent state that either evolves into a long-term, codependent relationship that psychologists call “attachment,” or it dissipates, and the relationship dissolves. If there are physical or social barriers inhibiting partners from seeing one another regularly — for example, if the relationship is long-distance — then the “in love” phase generally lasts longer than it would otherwise.

Curated by Erbe
Original Article

Loved and Learned Rather than Loved and Lost

Here’s what I learned about gratitude and pain during the worst variety of heartache…

Pain + Gratitude = Less Pain.  Less Pain + Gratitude = A Thirst For More Gratitude.

I like to think that gratitude is the currency of the Cosmos.  The more I spend the richer I become.  Like everything else, being thankful is a choice, just as in choosing love over fear, or happiness over crappiness.  Consciously choosing to dwell in gratitude simply makes me feel I’m closer to the source of the Universal gift dispensary.

This perspective sounds totally do-able when the road is paved with sunshine and smiles, but when the Darth Vader of heartache pays you a visit and bad things happen to good people, suddenly the “do-able” seems bloody impossible.  Here’s what I learned about gratitude and pain during the worst variety of heartache; Divorce.

Rather than fight the sadness, the fear, the resentment, the embarrassment with a fake smile and my genetic British upper lip bravado, I chose to commit to my grieving seriously.  I fully belly flopped into my feelings and gave myself permission to fall apart like a total pro.  Intuitively I knew that unleashing the hounds of pain, anger, disappointment, ridicule, and mountains of crap-ola I had put up with, was the massive exhale that my soul was starving for, after all those years of holding it’s breath.

Thank you for failing.

When you’re faced with good, bad, and ugly, it’s often tricky focusing on the good.  We get so tempted to dwell in the darkness, the pity, the punishing shoulda, coulda woulda’s that we forget to simply congratulate ourselves on being human and that   “failing” is actually critical to succeeding.  My bad and ugly were frightening and painful, but my good was the prize that made it all worthwhile.  My own happiness was not the only one at stake.  I had a child and we both deserved gold.

Thank you “Golden Boy”.

During much of my marriage, I often felt like the passenger in the movie “Speed”, with the work of a madman at the gas pedal.  Even though you may not be in control of your breakup, you are in complete control of how to proceed from here on out.  Knowing that you can get off the bus without knowing what is going to happen next is both terrifying and spectacularly thrilling.

My Name is Sunah and I am a CARER

To Care, or Not to Care, that is the question every person actively dating is forced to ask themselves daily.  However if you’re a carer you’ve probably already realized there is exactly zero point in going through this daily test because you have no choice.

My name is Sunah Bilsted. I am a carer. And I don’t know how to stop.

Managing the percentage of care or not care is one of the more elusive challenges when it comes to getting to know someone. Care too much and a fragrant waft of desperation flies around you like a gaggle of zombie cartoon birds. Care not enough and you feel like a robot living in fear, mechanically pushing people away with rationalized aloofness.

Carers tend to have a habit of falling in love with people who prefer dating people who don’t love them.  And in a confusing turn of events, so do the NOT carers. EVERYONE seems to love a not carer. Oh, the gladiator like challenge you take on, to be so wonderful, so amazing, so fucking cool, that you alone can change their distant nope persona into a loving hells yes persona. Society idolizes not carers too because for some peculiar reason, apathy mimics confidence. It’s almost as if caring is an insecure act of weakness and I’m so above caring cause I’m too busy being awesome, it is an act of high self esteem. We’ve all heard that feeble nugget of advice: “Just act like you don’t care” or “Just act like you have somewhere else to be”.  And you see it work for them.  They act like they don’t care, they get the job.  They win the relationship.  They win life.

What do you do if you just can’t fake it? What if you have nowhere else to be??

Everyone has a friend that excels in not caring and they have an endless stream of suitors. Who cares if they’re actually fulfilled, you’ll simply revel at their effortless ability to snare people into their web, I mean lives. And you’re secretly or perhaps not so secretly jealous, but you have long accepted that they’re perfect and are incapable of insecurity and you; well you drink insecurity like whiskey. Or diet coke. Or whatever shitty thing you slurp down in a desperate attempt to pad your void. You sit there and listen to their advice, breath held, eyelids wide, almost fluttering, but you know that their addictive wisdom will never work on you. Like an iPhone that drowned in toilet water for one precious moment too long. There ain’t enough rice in the world to dry out your need to care too hard, too soon.

But nah, screw that! You’re real! You don’t play games. And if people want to play games then you don’t want them! But you do. You do want them. Can you have them authentically? Can you be yourself and also create healthy boundaries? Yes!

But only if you address your own anxiety. Because maybe, just maybe, love and anxiety feel like the same thing to you.

“Anxiety is love’s greatest killer. It makes others feel as you might when a drowning man holds on to you. You want to save him, but you know he will strangle you with his panic.”

– Anais Nin

You don’t want to be a strangler! You just want to love. How is that a bad thing?

If you’re early on into getting to know someone, and you’ve spent one or more days wondering about how their day is going instead of yours, then you care too much.

Pointers to Maintain a Healthy Carer “non-strangler “ balance:

  1. You’re not in control. So stop trying to be. So often we reach out, call, text too much, or make it your part time job to ‘like’ all their dumb Instagrams, because in some weird way, we are trying to control the outcome. You feel vulnerable just being, just living with your feelings, so an action, any action, temporarily alleviates the worry. But action borne out of trauma, will usually result in more trauma. When you feel like you need to connect or you might actually die, check in with yourself first. If it feels like a game, an attempt to get the imaginary upper hand, or even if you just want attention. Stop. Do something else. For yourself.  Like your own Instagram pictures if you have to.

Do You Fall In Love Too Easily?

When you fall in love easily, it’s never just with love. It’s with ideas. And places. And ideas of places. And people, of course, and all the things you think you could amount to.

You imagine the ways these things are meant for you, connect the coincidental dots to prove it. When you fall in love with another person, you wait for them to say they return the sentiment; when you fall in love with so many things, you have to find it for yourself.

You fall in love with all the jobs for which you apply — imagining how you’d situate your cubicle and make friends with coworkers and come home with sparkling stories of the great, important things you’re up to, only slightly imbued with exhaustion — all as you fill out the application.

But you also fall in love with the jobs you never get. The jobs you never interview for.

You fall in love with strangers in restaurants and on public transportation: people you’ll never see again, but who are beautiful and wonderful and undiscovered, as if maybe either of you will build up the courage to say hello, and that’s all there is to it. That will be all it will take, and you’ll look back on that day together and think, we almost might not have been, but thank God we did.

And you fall in love with little everyday things — with idealized photos of the way your apartment could look, with the outfits of people who seem so effortlessly put together and nonplussed about it all, with the life you could have. With your morning routine, with your daydreams during your commute. With the life you only believe you lead in your mind.

It’s so easy to fall in love with things you’ll always fall just short of ever having.

Because it is easier that way, to live in the what if and the could be and the dream world. When you’re the one who falls in love easily, you fall in love with all the things that are easy to fall in love with, the things kept at a distance, the things that will not love you back. Because when they love you back — when that love is real and something to be acted on, it has to be cultivated. And then comes the second part to the idea of love: then comes the work.

But when you don’t have to work, loving is easy. That’s why it’s so easy to fall in love. There’s no obligations, no phone calls, no anniversaries to remember. When you fall in love with jobs you never had, you never have to make deadlines. You’ll never be fired. And when you fall in love with a life you never lived, you don’t ever have to wake up when life falls short of the way you dreamed it.

Because when you fall in love easily, you also set yourself up for the fall. Because when you fall in love easily, you never have to deal with someone else breaking your heart. You’re already doing that yourself.

And when you set yourself up for a hundred little daily heartbreaks, you feel like you’re more accustomed to it. Like you’re better prepared for the day when you DO fall in love, when you DO meet the love of your life and they don’t love you back, or when you DO go on your job interview and still don’t land the role. If you imagine a trillion little what ifs, you can’t be disappointed.

But you also can’t go after what you want if you always keep it at a distance.

Because it is easy to fall in love, because it is easy to keep from living. It is easy to hide, and to say that you are the person who falls in love too easily, and that is, of course true. You fall in love easily. But love is never easy. Love is hard. Really loving, really risking yourself is terrifying and difficult and frightening and confusing and strange.

Love is worth it, though.

And the thing about that love that’s worth it, is that it feels easy when it’s real. Not always, but a lot of the time. It feels easy even though it’s not. Because when things are worth living for, and worth loving for, they may be hard, but they’re also natural.

But you can’t hide who you are just because you fall in love easy. You also have to stay in love. And that takes work. That takes not just loving, but living, too.

Curated by Erbe
Original Article

How Your Brain Falls in Love

They don’t call love a drug for nothing. When we fall for someone, our brains release a cocktail of chemicals, creating feelings of euphoria and pleasure and (if all goes well) closeness and comfort.

That complex organ inside our head is hardwired to want love and keep love at all costs—a response that has been crucial to the survival of our species.

Curious what that hardwiring looks like? Here’s what happens in your brain at six stages of romantic love.

1. First attraction: Call me maybe*

Say you develop a crush on your neighbor. Every time you think about this person, you feel giddy—you feel really good. What’s happening? The neurons in your brain are releasing dopamine, a feel-good hormone and neurotransmitter associated with euphoria (as well as gambling and drug addiction). And because your brain wants you to keep pursuing this feeling, like a little love-carrot, it fires off more dopamine every time you think about the crush.

2. Early courtship: You really got me

Notice how whenever you really like someone you get nervous before a date? Your palms sweat, your heart races, and you can practically feel the adrenaline surging through your body? Well, that’s because it is. In the early throes of a romantic relationship, your brain sends a signal to the adrenal gland (located on top of the kidneys) to pump out the chemicals adrenaline, epinephrine, and norepinephrine, giving you a rush of excitement.

Norepinephrine is especially key. Like dopamine, it makes us feel good—but it also makes us feel infatuated and obsessed. It’s our brain’s way of saying: keep going.

3. The fall: Addicted to love

Now you’re hooked. Suddenly you want to be around this person every minute of every day. Why? Studies (particularly the work of anthropologist Helen Fisher) have shown that the same part of your brain that activates when you’re addicted to cocaine activates when you’re in love. It’s called the limbic reward system.

Basically, your brain has decided that love is essential and wants more. From an evolutionary standpoint, this response developed to help us procreate, then raise offspring together. Did you know the love drive is stronger than the sex drive?

During this phase, the limbic system continues to release dopamine, which acts as a feel-good electrical current and keeps you craving the person you love. When the object of your desire is not around, you may feel like you’re in withdrawal, motivating you to see him or her again. As with any drug, however, the high has diminishing returns—which is why, after a few months, the rush can weaken and people fall out of love. Unless, of course, they’ve become attached.

4. The rose-colored glasses: You are so beautiful

What flaws? While falling in love, we often ignore red flags that our friends see loud and clear. That’s because—while other parts of the limbic reward system are lighting up like a Christmas tree—the amygdala decides to shut down, according to brain scans, taking our good judgment with it.

The amygdala, a set of neurons located in the temporal lobe, plays a big role in how we react to stimuli. It’s key to making judgment calls, recognizing fearful situations, and can even decipher when someone is lying to us. When people are in love, however, the amygdala takes a little nap—which clouds judgment and causes the enamored to see his or her beloved through rose-colored glasses.

5. Attachment: Only wanna be with you

You’ve bonded. As we spend time with the object of our affection, our brains start to release oxytocin, nicknamed “the love hormone.” This neuropeptide is produced in the hypothalamus and released into our brains during times of intimacy—when mothers breastfeed their babies, for example, or when we orgasm. Studies have shown that oxytocin is key to fostering trust and commitment. Unlike the quick high of dopamine, oxytocin is subtler and sticks around longer, leading to a deeper attachment.

6. Deep attachment: Never gonna give you up

Over time love can, of course, develop into deep companionship. When two people have been committed to each other for years, their brains show increased activity in the ventral pallidum.

This region of the brain is rich with oxytocin and vasopressin receptors—two chemicals associated with monogamy and deep attachment—which, according to work by Helen Fisher, explains why it lights up when people experience long-term attachment. It’s the same region of the brain that activates in monogamous prairie voles, who mate for life.

Brain scans show that the limbic reward system remains active during deep attachment as well—meaning couples in this stage experience the rush of early courtship along with deep attachment. Love is great.

Curated by Erbe
Original Article

In Love With More Than One Person?

…is it actually possible to love two people at once—or are the tortured souls who think they do just kidding themselves?

The Great Gatsby‘s Tom Buchanan, Jay Gatsby, and Daisy. Carrie Bradshaw, Big, and Aidan (still not sure who to root for in that one). Tons of books and movies feature love triangles for a reason (besides just the drama): Lots of people can relate to having feelings for two different people at the same time. But is it actually possible to love two people at once—or are the tortured souls who think they do just kidding themselves?

The answer is a resounding yup, says Ramani Durvasula, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and a professor of psychology at UCLA. “We assume love comes in one flavor, but it’s really much more Baskin Robbins than that.” In other words, chocolate chip mint and strawberry are different, but they’re both damn good. If only love were as easy as ice cream.

“We are complex and complicated beings, and it’s very possible that two different traits in two different people can both appeal to us,” says Durvasula. As you grow and develop as an individual, you might find yourself drawn to people who complement different aspects of who you are.

“Attraction is a very biological experience,” says Durvasula. You may be in an established relationship and meet someone at work who WHAM!makes your hormones crazy. Or you might be casually dating and find that two different people you’ve been seeing for a while both appeal to you.

That overwhelming, whirlwind feeling people tend to describe as being “in love” is biologically synonymous with a surge in dopamine levels, says Durvasula. (Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that’s connected to your brain’s reward and pleasure centers—so a spike can cause you to feel like you’re experiencing a natural high.) Even days later, just thinking about a great kiss can cause dopamine to release in your brain, and before you know it, you’re falling big time. So while being monogamous or in a committed relationship is a conscious, logical choice, that loopy rush of hormones (and who makes you feel the ensuing effects of them) is entirely physical—and out of your control.

There’s also a particular circumstance under which you’re more likely to fall for multiple people: when you’re most in love with yourself.

“When you’re going through a positive transition—anything from an exciting new job to a physical transformation—and are feeling happy with yourself, you’re more open to new experiences and new people,” says Durvasula. The more you embrace who you are, the more likely you are to explore and celebrate other people for who they are. So the more you fall in love with yourself, the more you fall in love with others, she says.

How to Say, “I love you”

What does it mean to “fall-in-love” with someone? Is it an emotion? Is it a choice? Is it both? Is loving someone a subjective or objective concept?

“I love you.” We have all said those three words with as little effort as it takes to breathe.  Maybe it was to a parent before you left home to drive back to Starkville, or maybe you whispered it into the ear of someone special cuddled up on your couch. Maybe you exchanged that magical phrase this morning over a text message, or maybe it has been so long, you have forgotten what it feels like to hear someone say, “I love you too.” Regardless of who you said it to or how long it has been since you have said it, you have undoubtedly used the word “love” to describe an overwhelming feeling of attachment, desire, joy and thankfulness to someone who means or meant a lot to you.

Love, of course, exists in a variety of different forms, yet I firmly believe the form of love we understand the least is the very form that our culture idolizes the most: romantic love.

What does it mean to “fall-in-love” with someone? Is it an emotion? Is it a choice? Is it both? Is loving someone a subjective or objective concept? These questions are not easily answered, yet they point to the vital importance of understanding both the love that we accept and the love that we give.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines love as “a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person,” or “attraction that includes sexual desire.” The former of these two attempts to balance only half of the love equation, and the latter is the perfect example of why our perverted concepts regarding what romantic love should look and feel like are so rampant.

If love is a “constant affection for a person,” then I assert that nobody is capable of experiencing true love. Our affection for others, be  our spouses, our children, or our friends, can be described in a number of ways, but constant is not one of them. This is not to say that affection stops all-together, of course, but it is to acknowledge the inconsistency of human emotion. Personal intimacy brings forth a beautiful connection unlike any other, yet with this closeness comes the recognition and clarity of character flaws. As the cliché saying goes, nobody is perfect, and because of this, we will not wake up every single day for the rest of our lives and feel like showing unhinged love to the ones we commit ourselves to. That being said, the simple fact that our affection wavers due to circumstance does not discredit or devalue our promise to love that person with our entire body, soul, and mind.

As far as the definition regarding “sexual desire” goes, people often buy into the idea that sexual attraction and love are heavily linked as is evident by the way teenagers and some adults treat the foundation of love like it is little more than an emotion rooted in attraction. While some certainly cherish sexual intimacy as the ultimate physical display of love, sex, in and of itself, has absolutely nothing to do with loving someone. Having a strong physical attraction to someone while also finding them to be nice and funny is no more a spark of true love  than finding someone sexually attractive at a frat party constitutes a marriage-proposal. Furthermore, if your desire to be with someone is primarily contingent on that person’s physical or sexual attractiveness rather than who they are as a special, unique person, the foundation of your relationship was built on lust, not love.

This idea of love being centered around constant affection and sexual desire completely misses the mark. To say, “I love you,” is to say, “I choose you today, tomorrow, and everyday thereafter because you are the one that I want.” To say, “I love you,” is to say, “I see the good and the bad in you, and still, I choose you.” To say, “I love you,” is to say, “I choose to have these eyes for you and you only.” Loving someone is a constant, conscious choice to show kindness, respect, loyalty, compassion, forgiveness and appreciation for that person regardless of circumstance. The moment we begin to understand love as having a clear element of choice to its composition, we become capable of truly experiencing love with a heart of devotion and personal accountability long after the honeymoon-phase has dissipated and reality has set in.

I know that some of you are in serious relationships, engaged or married while the rest of you are either going through a heartbreak, trying to stay single while you focus on your education or waiting to feel the magic of falling in love. Perhaps, like myself, you told someone that you loved them, yet you stopped choosing them when the reality of the cost of love replaced the butterflies, or maybe you were on the opposite end of the pain and someone told you they loved you, yet after your first big fight, they chose to find comfort in the arms of another. Regardless of your experience with love, it is my sincerest hope that you all understand love for what it truly is, that you find it in the heart of someone who understands it too and that you both choose to cherish the love that you share, forever and always.

Falling in love is certainly an emotional experience, but staying in love is a privilege of choice. Loving someone goes far beyond emotional and physical attraction and demands that a choice be made daily to guard your heart, body, and mind from the forces coaxing you to jump-ship. If you are unwilling to make the daily choice to honor the promise of such a serious commitment, save their heart the pain of a meaningless, “I love you.”

Curated by Erbe
Original Article