Love School Lesson #5
Last week I introduced you to the four phases of love. These phases are based on what’s happening in your brain and includes the release neurotransmitters as well as the activity of certain brain structures. These phases can cause you to feel differently as your relationship progresses.
The phase of falling in love makes you vulnerable to another person. Mother nature helps by lowering your feelings of vulnerability to assist you in getting closer. As you move though the phases your perception of vulnerability fluctuate. This is one of the main reason’s why finding and maintaining love can be so challenging. Your feelings keep changing.
Fortunately, this happens in a very predicable pattern. Therefore when you understand what to expect it can make finding and keeping love easier.
This graph shows the pattern. This is based not only on people’s experiences, but also the neural activity. The middle bar is your normal everyday level of anxiety. This can be higher or lower depending on the person.
Before you met someone you start off at your normal level. When you find someone you are attracted to, your perceived anxiety dips. This is important, because it allows you to get closer to this new and exciting stranger.
If you notice on the graph, as you begin to date someone, your perceived vulnerability goes up rather dramatically. This is often felt as fear or anxiety. Its what can cause some people to get very uncomfortable with dating. Even to the point of breaking off the relationship. If your anxiety level is normally low, finding and keeping love might be easier for you. However, if you are one of those people that are normally a little anxious, dating may be difficult for you. But don’t worry; I’ll give you some tips to help you in a later episode.
This first stage is attraction. When you find yourself attracted to someone your body releases norepinephrine. This causes those unmistakable signs of attraction such a rapid heartbeat, and sweaty palms. Although its part of your fight or flight response, it’s job is to lower your perception of vulnerability slightly. This is to help you to get closer to the other person.
Attraction is primarily subconscious based on our senses. If you want to learn more about that I’ve included my TED Education video below.
I often get the question is it opposite attracts or is it birds of a feather that flock together. It turns out that attraction is a unique combination of both opposite and familiar. You are most attracted to people with the opposite immune systems. This of course was done my Mother Nature to increase genetic variability. However, studies have also found that you are more likely to choose someone that resembles your opposite sex parent.
The big factor on who you choose has a lot to do with the perceived vulnerability. For example, the science tells us that you are going to be most attracted to your genetic opposite. However, that person is probably on the opposite side of the world. They could look very different, have different customs and speak a different language. Therefore, although they would be ideal, chances of you choosing them as a partner are slim.
You are more like to choose someone else that you feel more comfortable with. You will probably choose someone with the same religion, education or social background. This helps because as the chart indicates, as you begin to date, the anxiety level increases. But familiarity can buffer those effects.
Now, last week I told you I would tell you the single most important thing you should be doing if you wanted to attract love in your life?
Here it is are you ready (I smile)? Did you get it? If you are a woman, the single most important thing you should be doing to attract love in your life is smiling. Remember the perceived vulnerability? When you smile, you seem friendlier and more approachable. So if you want love in your life you need to practice smiling. Smile at people in the grocery store, smile at people at work, even smile as your driving. This even applies if you’re dating online.
Pictures of smiling women get more attention. But this only applies to women.
Ironically, smiling men get less attention online. Women tend to go for the moody or proud and powerful. Now if you are a man, and your not sure if you can pull that off, there is one thing you can do to enhance your attraction. Get a dog. A man with a dog is 3 times more likely to get a woman’s phone number.
Now, there is much more involved in attraction. I’ll explain more about it later. Next week, I want to talk about the next phase of love, the dating or courtship phase. This is the most treacherous phase because our perceived vulnerability increases and so does our anxiety. This is based on several factors. Most of these are subconscious, so a lot of dating coaches don’t understand them. But, once you understand the biological instincts involved, you can sail through the dating phase until both of you falling madly in love.
So, make sure you come back next week. Oh and if you are enjoying this please let me know by leaving a comment and sharing it with a friend.
And don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss a thing. See you next week in Love School.
TED Education video on Attraction: