Love Is Blind So Our Species Can Keep On Living (And Loving)

Brilliance | Dec. 14, 2017

We've all heard the phrase "love is blind." Scientifically speaking, it's actually kinda true. (At least, at first.) It doesn't mean that you're literally blinded by your boo, or even that your significant other is objectively unattractive. Instead, it has to do with the sexy topic of human survival.

They Can Do No Wrong—Seriously

You've been on a few Tinder dates with a certain lucky person, and now you can't get them out of your head. To you, everything about them is perfect: their hair, their laugh... even the way they take their time ordering food and can't help but ask questions during movies. They're unapologetically themselves, and you love every bit of it. Your friends are apprehensive of your budding relationship, but they're obviously just jealous.

So maybe your friends are jealous, but you're also delusional. Don't worry—it happens to everyone. When we enter a new relationship, we put our love interests on pedestals. Our brain's reward system is activated, and our mirror neurons trigger a "love potion" of brain chemicals, including dopamine, testosterone, vasopressin, oxytocin, serotonin, and GABA. This magic mixture induces love, while our brains simultaneously suppress negative judgments, including wariness, suspicion, and discrimination. As neuroscience professor Dr. Lucy Brown explains to CNN, "When you're in a relationship, you're aware of the other person's flaws, but your brain is telling you it's OK to ignore them." But why? One word: reproduction. In order for our species to survive, we're hard-wired to become blindly enamored by new love so that we enter the attachment stage long enough to reproduce and raise children. We told you it was sexy.

Love Is Love Is Love

When you enter the attachment stage of love, your blinders fall. That's when you realize that your S.O. spends too much time fixing their hair, their laugh is super loud, and you wish they were better at making decisions and practicing self-restraint while watching a movie. But that's also the beginning of a real relationship where your comfort grows, and you learn how to make compromises for each other. While the honeymoon stage can feel great, it also boosts the stress hormone cortisol, which influences maddening thoughts. Once you enter the attachment stage, however, your cortisol levels go down and serotonin levels go up. What does this mean? New and old couples can be equally in love—it just looks different.

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