Whenever I’m seeing someone new and I actually like them, I get super nervous before a second or third date. Sometimes I’m so anxious I feel sick to my stomach. So imagine my surprise to learn that falling in love can actually physically affect your body. The butterflies flitting around in my tummy weren’t just in my mind—I was honestly sick! A recent Health story explains that “at the start of a relationship, a series of truly fascinating chemical reactions occur throughout your nervous system and hormones.” It goes on to list 19 ways in which your body scientifically changes when you fall in love. I’ve listed 11 below. For the other eight ways in which your body will change when you meet that special someone, visit Health.
- You feel drunk. Oxytocin is the love hormone, and researchers have studied the effects of oxytocin and alcohol. Although they affect different parts of the brain, the outcome—feeling less inhibited, fearful, anxious, aggressive, or boastful—is the same.
- Your cheeks flush, palms sweat, and heart races. The stimulation of adrenaline and norepinephrine will cause you to sweat and feel anxious.
- Your pupils dilate. When you’re attracted to someone and you're near them, be it in bed in the morning or at a restaurant for dinner, your eyes dilate.
- You feel sick. Lovesickness is the stress hormone cortisol contracting the blood vessels in your stomach. This is what makes you feel sick before seeing someone new.
- You could experience hysterical strength. Falling in love isn’t strictly limited to couples. Many new mothers have so much love for their babies that when under extreme duress, they seem to have super-strength. This is why you occasionally hear of a panicked mother who lifted a car off her trapped child on the news.
- You can’t keep your eyes off your partner. The desire to literally look at your love interest comes from the brain’s release of dopamine. When you scroll through photos of your weekend together, you feel a surge of energy as your desire is being fulfilled. Scientists say this is the same affect cocaine has on the brain.
- Your voice will get higher. When a woman speaks to a man she is physically attracted to, her voice will tend to get higher and more feminine. Crazy, right?!
- You will worry when you’re not around them. Similar to a drug addict coming off their addiction, when you don’t spend time with your partner, you’ll feel more stressed, anxious, and depressed.
- You may put on weight. I’ve always said that being in a relationship makes you fat, and according to The Journal of Obesity, researchers found that people do gain weight as they settle into marriage.
- You might not sleep well. Feel-good crush symptoms are known to disrupt sleep. You’re in the initial stages of euphoria, and that will cause you to have more energy in the mornings and evenings.
- You may experience less chronic pain. An all-consuming passionate love affair may work like medication and ease chronic pain. Why? Because intense feelings of love activate the same areas of the brain as painkillers.
To learn more about how love affects us, read Love 2.0.
Have you noticed changes in your body when falling in love? What happened?