The Nature Of Love

Dr Helen Fisher of Rutgers University has spent a lot of time investigating the nature of romantic love. She’s even written books with such forthright titles as “Why We Love“.

Since she has spent so much time understanding love and investigating what function it serves for us, it’s worth looking at an interview she conducted with a while back to see what it can tell us – if anything – about the nature of love between men and women.

Love is…..

She starts by making the observation that love seems to be one of three systems all of which are related to the function of reproduction.

As you might have guessed, the human sex drive is a motivational factor – it propels men and women to look for partners with whom they can have sex.

Then there’s romantic love – probably a human evolutionary trait designed to ensure that a prolonged pair bond will be a safe environment in which to raise children.

And a third factor is attachment – which is something to do establishing a sense of security, and seems to be involved in both the infant-parent bond, and the romantic connection between adults who are in a romantic relationship.

Video Helen Fisher – Why People Fall in Love

Naturally enough, one of the obvious questions about love is why it feels like the most wonderful thing in the world.

And the answer, according to Dr Fisher, is simple: it’s to do with the brain circuits which register pleasure. They respond to a chemical called dopamine, which is produced when you are in love. It’s a sense of euphoria, of being on a high. Biologically speaking, romantic love, infatuation, romance, obsession – it’s similar to taking cocaine.

Love at first sight is a concept that we’ve all heard of, but few of us have probably experienced in a serious way.

We are, in truth, more accustomed to thinking of infatuation at first sight, rather than love first sight. And it turns out that Dr Fisher agrees with this concept – she says that it’s responsible for the urgent sense of reproduction to which animals must respond to to ensure the survival of the species.

But generally timing is much more important for us humans. Timing, that is, in the sense of the appropriate moment to fall in love: you might pass your perfect partner in the street, but if you’re in a rush on the way to work, you might not even notice them.

By contrast, when you’re in a place and time where you have the opportunity to look around and see who might be a suitable mate, you’re much more likely to notice somebody to whom you are attracted, and who potentially might fall in love with you.

Now one of the most important questions – particularly for this blog, which, after all, is abouthow you can make a man fall in love with you – is whether or not there’s anything we can do to make a person fall for us. By extension, of course, you may wonder if there is anything you can do to yourself to make you fall in love with another person.

And there is! You can do something new together.And I’d add to that – you can do something dangerous together.

You see, plenty of experiments have shown that novelty, excitement, and adrenalin all increase the level of dopamine and noradrenalin in the brain.

These are neurotransmitters, and they are associated with all the traits of romantic love such as focused attention, energy, excitement and so on.

Video – Helen Fisher on Understanding Men

What this means is that as you do exciting things with another human being, your brain chemistry actually tips into a place where you’re predisposed to fall in love with somebody.

But what about falling out of love?

We have all been rejected and then found ourselves obsessing about our beloved ex-partner, the one who has rejected us.

(Interestingly enough, by paying more attention to what’s happened in the past and the trauma that you experienced, rather than what you hope to have in the future, you can actually retraumatize yourself and make things even worse.)

The answer seems to be a complete break: don’t call, don’t write, don’t speak, think or even keep anything that reminds you of your ex. And take exercise, find a new interest.

Of course this seems like banal advice, but when you think about it, this makes perfect sense – people who are in limerence, i.e. obsessive infatuation, are told that a complete break is needed for recovery. That’s like all addictions, I guess. (If you really feel you want to get your ex back, then there are plenty of places on the Internet where you can go for advice.)

Lots of people have asked about the difference between love and lust.

Lust is the sex drive, and it dissipates after having sex because it’s been satiated. But it returns after a certain period of time. You can feel lust for several people at once, but you don’t feel jealous.

As you know, when you’re in love, you don’t usually feel love for several people at once (though if you do, you’re likely to have emotional “challenges”!)

Being in love is something that instinctively evokes jealousy and possessiveness.

And if you have sex while you’re in love, you’re likely to experience an increase in romantic feelings for your partner.

Conversely, it turns out that having casual sex or sex with somebody you merely like, can trigger loving feelings. Again, it’s all to do with brain chemistry and the high levels of dopamine produced after orgasm.

So, on a slightly facetious level, if you want to know how to make a man fall in love with you, then going to bed with him might be one way of making him want you a whole lot more!

On a serious level, there’s no doubt that one major factor which helps men fall in love with women is making love. And equally, a good sex life can make your husband fall in love with you again if your relationship has gone stale. According to Dr Fisher, this is also about brain chemistry and the high levels of dopamine produced after orgasm.

How long does love last?

Well, as you’ve probably observed, that first intense period of infatuation can last for anything from one to three years. Then it gradually begins to subside.

Conventionally we think of infatuation as being replaced by companionate love or affection.

But Dr Fisher makes the point that if two people really are compatible for life, there are many ways in which they can renew their romance. Sex is a good way to trigger romantic love. Novelty, too, can spur romance. It’s a matter of intention and desire – that is to say, having both the intention to renew the relationship and a desire to do so.

At this point, you probably understand the significance of “chemistry” in a relationship. I guess chemistry can be described as mutual attraction on both the physical and emotional levels – but the point is that when you have true chemistry with another person, passion can erupt unexpectedly out of nowhere, and this can lead to the reinforcement of the relationship.

By the way, if you wondering how to make a man fall in love with you, then you should know that a woman’s appearance is important to man. Men are visual. And for women, status and success are important in choosing a mate.

What advice does Dr Fisher have that might be relevant to all of us?

She’s certainly on the ball with the statement that many people marry too quickly, soon after they have fallen in love, and before they’ve really got to know their partner’s personality.

Indeed, she suggests people might wait until the first flush of romantic love dies, so they can truly see their partner for who they really are before they get married.

How To Make A Guy Fall In Love

One of the things that I often hear women say about men is “Oh, you’re so shallow!”

It’s a disparaging comment, but there’s truth in it – at least to the extent that men are less emotionally articulate than women.

Why? Because men are very goal oriented – they see an objective, and they set out to get it, and their satisfaction often comes from that simple act. Complex emotional thinking is something that most men are not especially good at – it’s a biological thing, we’re not wired for it, and it has to be learned.

Women tend to find emotional connection and interplay much easier than men do.

So one of the things women need to understand about male attraction is that as far as men are concerned, the first attraction a man feels to a woman is often purely physical.

man and woman in bed
Like it or not, often the first attraction is purely physical.

Sure, sometimes you will meet men who are more sophisticated than this, and who find your conversation, your personality, your qualities – perhaps compassion, empathy and understanding – to their taste, but in the general run of things, men are initially attracted to a woman because of what she looks like.

However, what women tend not to understand about this is that a man is often attracted to one aspect of her appearance, not the whole package.

To sum it up: while you might find it disappointing, there’s got to be a spark of chemistry – which means there’s got to be a sense of mutual attraction. For a man, in the early stages, this is likely to be physical.

Having said that, he’s going to start talking to you very soon if he’s at all attracted to you, so he can establish whether or not his attraction goes beyond the superficial (i.e. the physical).

The First Attraction Tested

Before a man starts to get more deeply involved with woman, he often throws out little clues, questions and signals – nothing like flirting, this is basically a sensitive and discreet way of establishing whether or not you will accept him if he actually puts himself out there and starts making advances.

Why? Well, as you know, nothing is more humiliating and self-destructive to the self-esteem of a man than being rejected by a woman.

So if a woman doesn’t really respond to a man, or rejects him by not responding to his initial advances, it won’t mean much to him, and he’ll move on to somebody else’s court’s attention.

And that’s actually a pretty standard pattern. Sure, it’s mechanistic, it’s impersonal, but it does avoid the hurt of being rejected. In the main, anyway. LOL.

Having established that you’re interested in him, by some positive response you’ve given to his signals, a man’s now going to start what we all understand as “the Chase”.

All men (except gay men, I guess) are strongly programmed to chase women – to seduce them, to woo them, to get them “onside”, no matter what the cost and effort involved.

When he wins you, having chased you, seduced you, and wooed you, he’s going to feel like a million dollars. That’s because he’s deeply affirmed in his masculinity.

Equally, while you’re being chased by a man, (provided of course that he’s not creepy and stalking you), you’re going to feel fabulous, because his attention, his effort, the gifts he buys you, the presents he showers on you, and the attention he lavishes on you will make you feel like the most desirable woman on earth.

computer keyboard outlining word sex
Hate to say it ladies, but you know why he’s chasing you? It’s Mother Nature’s desire for you to be – yes, carrying his baby.

In a situation like this, a woman might already be falling in love, but men – well, men take a lot longer to fall in love than women.

So when he’s planning dates, flooding you with gifts, and generally doing everything he can think of to make you happy and impress you, he’s probably not yet in love. You are his current project.

For him, the investment of his love is dependent on a woman not only returning his love but also demonstrating that she is going to be a worthy companion – loyal, trustworthy, faithful, supportive… All those juicy qualities that you can imagine just as well as the man who’s been chasing you.

Here, the man is expressing his ardent desire to be in a partnership with you, and he wants you to show him that you love him.

Gaining love and commitment from you is the highest achievement he knows – at least in interpersonal relationships.

So basically what’s happening is a one-sided relationship in which he is worrying about how he can make you fall in love with him. If he starts trying to show you his relationship skills, he’s doing what all men have done throughout time: offering you a sign that he really would make a good lifelong partner.

And if you happen to agree that there’s a future relationship here, this is definitely the time when you need to show him that you love him (or could do), if you haven’t already done so.

But – there’s a problem now. He wasn’t actually being 100% himself, because he was engaging in a genetically controlled game of making you love him.

And of course, he doesn’t really know you yet: he just made a decision to pursue you because of his initial attraction and your acceptance of his initial advances. Oh dear.

So now you have to get to know each other in a way that is real. Meanwhile, he is still deciding whether or not you’re the person he really wants to be with, and he’s also working out whether he loves you. Not only that but he’s also working out whether you want to make him love you, and generally whether or not you’re going to be happy together.

If you’re confused, I’m not surprised. And you thought this was just about knowing how to make a man love you!

You see, from a man’s perspective, the woman he settles down with has to be perfect. He is effectively sacrificing his opportunity to spread his seed around (leaving more offspring) by settling down with one woman, so she’s got to prove that she has qualities which make up for the loss of this opportunity to mate with other women.

And here is where hearts can be broken: for no obvious reason at this stage a man might dump a woman. (The non-obvious reason being he’s decided you’re not the right woman to settle down with.)

But on the other hand, if he accepts you as a potential mate, now he’s ready to give love a serious try.

And for the next few months, you’ll be deeply in love with each other. He will let himself fall right into his feelings of love for you.

You won’t even need to know how to make your man love you, nor at this stage will you need to find out ways to make him love and want you.

Because right now, in the phase of limerence, he doesn’t want to be with anybody else, and he feels as if he’s never fallen in love with anybody as strongly as he’s fallen in love with you. In fact, he might even be contemplating marriage and a long-term future together.

Did you ever think that it was this easy to make a boy fall in love with you? LOL.

However, at some level he is deciding whether or not he’s going to fall permanently in love with you and then stay in love with you.

A part of him probably already knows the absolute truth about whether or not you’re the ideal woman for him, but basically he’s not going to allow that part to show itself until he is certain what it’s telling him.

Advice For Women Who Want A Guy In Love

So here’s a clue for you about what you can do to make love even more certain: hold back – when he’s pursuing you and he’s obviously in love with you, don’t give in to all of his advances.

Don’t say “I love you” every time you meet, or agree to every date or meeting he arranges.

When you put up a bit of resistance, when you withdraw slightly, he’ll pursue you even harder, and as he does so he will fall for you more deeply than you could possibly imagine.

Of course, if you overdo it, he’s going to be really frustrated – and he might just decide his options are better elsewhere.

So if you want to make a man fall in love with you, you have to judge this just right. But then, as a woman, with generations of female ancestors behind you, all helping you and guiding in spirit, you  already know exactly what you have to do to make a man fall for you, so there’s not much doubt that you can get the guy you want.