Are you a hopeless romantic? It’s hard not to be. We want to believe there’s truth to those sayings about romance. You know the ones: Love can touch us one time and last for a lifetime and Lovers at first sight, in love forever. We all are made to believe that falling in love will happen to us one day and we will live happily ever after. How lovely.
But, does the brain chemistry support that romantic notion? Can the brain feel love forever?
We hate to be bearers of bad news but the short answer is No. And here’s why.
Love Doesn’t Last Forever
Unfortunately for us and our love lives, and as much as we want it to, love doesn’t last in its original state. That’s because our brains can’t have the same feeling forever, based on the chemicals released in this first phase of love.
As you can imagine, love comes in phases just like pregnancy. To get pregnant, first you have to be physiologically mature, and then you have to be able to engage in the lovemaking act. No doubt this is an exciting phase but unfortunately, it has to end one day—or nine month later, to be exact. Pregnancy is followed by a third very painful experience called labour. We accept it because we know that we’re getting a big reward in phase 4: a beautiful baby.
As Usual, Nature Repeats Itself.
Not surprisingly, we also have four phases in love:
1. Phase 1 of love is mate selection. We select the one we want to spend our lives with.
2. Phase 2 of love is falling in love. It is fun and exciting but must end one day.
3. Phase 3 of love is falling out of love. It is painful and uncomfortable.
4. Phase 4 of love is true love. This phase lasts for a lifetime and should be out goal. This is True Love.
BUT KEEP IN MIND: Everyone who falls in love will be a FOOL two years later.
FOOL? Why fool?
Fools stands for Fall Out Of Love.
Yes, we all fall out of love. Why? It’s based on the reality of brain chemistry.
So, is falling out of love the end of love? No, it is not. It is just phase three in love. Pregnant women must go through a painful, miserable labor to have the beloved baby they wanted so badly.
Again, nature repeats itself. We have to fall out of love to experience True Love.
So, falling out of love is not “the end”. FOOL does not happen to some people and not others. FOOL happens to everyone who falls in Love. The question is not if, it is when, are we going to fall out of love.
The Surprising Benefits of Falling Out of Love
Nature gave us this phase a purpose. Falling out of love has benefits to it. Here they are:
Falling out of love has the benefit of giving us another chance on mate selection, if we made an error the first time.
When we fall in love, we release brain chemicals, called monoamines that change our thinking and perception. We perceive our beloved as the most perfect person, even if they are not. They could have serious flaws but our brain blind us to that. That is why we say “love is blind”.
Two years or so later, these chemical cease their effects on our brain. We lose the wonderful feeling of being in love. However, we also start to see reality for the first time. If we made a serious mate selection mistake, this is the time to find out. We now can make correction to our mate selection. Without falling out of love, we will never be able to recognize the truth about our mate selection errors.
Falling out of love is needed so we can fall in love again.
We know that a woman cannot be pregnant by two men at the same time. No woman can carry a four month old baby from man A and two month old baby from man B. she can carry only one baby from one man at a time. If she wants to get pregnant by man B, she has to lose the baby from man A first.
It is the same with love. We can fall in love with only one mate at a time. You simply cannot fall in love with man B unless you fall out of love from man A. Falling out of love is like losing the baby from man A. It is needed so we can fall in love again. Falling out of love has the benefit of giving us another chance to fall in love again. Without falling out of love, we can never fall in love again.
Falling out of love is the first step in experiencing true love, which should last us a lifetime.
We should rejoice in the benefits of falling out of love, rather than feel that it is the end of love. It is not.
Fred Nour, M.D., is a specialist in Psychiatry and Neurology and the author of the new book True Love: How to Use Science to Understand Love.