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Your brain in love?

In a fascinating new book, Dirty Minds: How Our Brain Influences Love, Sex, and Relationships, author Kay Sukel explores the neurobiology of love. I am a science fan so this was right up my alley! I reached out to her and asked, “What happens to our brain when we fall in love?”

(Don’t laugh because when you realize that the stupid things you do and say when you are head over heels in love is rooted in science, it makes you feel better!)

Kayt Sukel: For a long time, we’ve thought of love as an emotion. But it’s got more a lot more staying power than that. Love results in actual physical changes to the brain. An important part of our “reptilian brain,” or the most evolutionarily preserved part of the human brain, helps to facilitate risk and reward processing.

Romantic love makes changes to that circuitry through the increase and decrease of key neurochemicals. That’s why love can make us feel physical sensations like butterflies in the belly or sweaty palms. It’s why love feels so good and compelling. It’s also why we can be both so obsessed with our intended yet so distracted by the rest of the world. And it’s why we often make bad decisions and see our lover in those rose-colored glasses. Love is a powerful, bold and neurally altering thing.

See? Love is neurally-altering! Perhaps this will help us when we are knee-deep in love and need a little insight.

Have you ever experienced this firsthand? Do you think you have worn those rose-colored glasses before? In hindsight, what did you learn about yourself?

Tomorrow, we will continue to dig into how the brain affects sex. Stay tuned!

By Wise Diva, Misadventures in Atlanta Dating Blog

190 comments Add your comment

Orlando

March 19th, 2012
5:42 am

We have all experienced this, its part of the life process. I can remeber years ago, in high school, I was obsessed with this girl who attended an all girls high school. I took a giant teddy bear up to the school to impress her, and waited for her after school. She came out with all her friends, but she just laughed at me and asked me how she was going to get that home. So I had to leave with the bear, I was embarrassed, but will never forget how stupid I was for her.

Lily

March 19th, 2012
7:11 am

Diva, is that what’s happening? Rose colored glasses? Some 25 years ago maybe. Science or no, brain dead or not……we shouldn’t justify stupid…lol

Lily

March 19th, 2012
7:27 am

Enter your comments here

Lily

March 19th, 2012
7:32 am

If this supports what happens with love, how do you explain all the icky when it’s love for you and nothing but lies and games for him/her? Is it still a brain thing? Where’s science in that?

Tucak

March 19th, 2012
7:56 am

There are a million studies published on this, dont act like you just woke up from a 100 year old coma please.

Lady~

March 19th, 2012
8:02 am

Good Morning MIA!!!!! Happy Money Making Monday!!!1 ;)

hmmmmmm Logic vs. Love~

SlimUno

March 19th, 2012
8:06 am

Good morning – Let’s make it a great week Blogsville!

Lily – Um, are you okay dear. Maybe you need to get in an early morning stretch, a nice glass of OJ and come back. lol

Lily

March 19th, 2012
8:12 am

@Slim, I’m fine (lol), just thought I’d toss that out to understand the logic behind games people play. I’ve had my “glassfull” this morning :)

SlimUno

March 19th, 2012
8:24 am

Lily – Oh ok, just figured I’d check up on ya lol…as far as understanding the LOGIC behind the games people play, that will be an unsolved mystery unless folks come clean about the reasons. But for the most part, I’d assume it was for several reasons: enjoy game playing, used to lying/games to get what they want, don’t feel they can stand as themselves on truth to talk to females/dudes and the list goes on and on and on.

Angel

March 19th, 2012
8:32 am

Well, I read some articles about the relation between the chemistry of chocolate and love, it speaks about the phenylethylamine (PEA) “love-chemical”. Phenylethylamine releases dopamine in the mesolimbic pleasure-centres which makes you feel happy like you are in love (Forget love– I’d rather fall in chocolate!!! :-p) BUT speaking about Science here and I spent my whole life working with Science specially Chemistry, I don’t like the idea of explaining everything according to Science because this makes our feelings lost their meanings, somethings their beauty lies in their mysterious. Love is a gift to all the livings, Humans, Animals, even Plants and Whatever they try to explain it, it will be the only thing that has a GREAT meaning in all our heart without even we recognize it…

Lady~

March 19th, 2012
8:33 am

I want a male’s perspective on Logic vs. Love…..Cool Shadow where are you?!? LOL or any other Blog Man!

Lily

March 19th, 2012
8:33 am

Yes it does Sim, yes it does and such is life. I have come to understand stay with the positives and KIM :)

Lady~

March 19th, 2012
8:34 am

Angel good post! Love the last parts~

Mr. Unknown

March 19th, 2012
8:37 am

Good Morning,
In hindsight, what did you learn about yourself? Life is about risk. I learned I can’t hold a woman accountable for another womans mistakes. “You will miss 100% of your shots you don’t take” WG. I learned to trust my gut, my spider-senses.

Lady~

March 19th, 2012
8:39 am

I agree Mr U……….logical

Mr. Unknown

March 19th, 2012
8:52 am

Love vs Logic. I think people that are aware they are using logic in the matters of love, use this as a defense mechanism to protect themselves from hurt. Those are the same people getting in their own way of a great relationship. Meaning they are over thinking everything!
Love should just flow. Logic is structure. Its good to have a little bit of both though.

Lily

March 19th, 2012
8:55 am

WOW……Orlando, Tucak, Angel, Mr Unknown such insight. Sounds all of you are drinking from the same fountain!

Good day!

Lady~

March 19th, 2012
9:02 am

Those are the same people getting in their own way of a great relationship. Meaning they are over thinking everything!<<<<<<<<<<<<<I so agree sir!!!! I overcame this in more ways than one and glad about….you have to live and take risks and be secure with either outcomes that you made a good solid decision

Leggs

March 19th, 2012
9:03 am

Good morning!

Have you ever experienced this firsthand? I sure hope everyone has at some point in their life. If not at this stage, there’s a hole in their psyche, meaning there’s probably a longing to really experience love and all the stupid and wonderful things it has us doing.

Do you think you have worn those rose-colored glasses before? For Sure, For Sure!

In hindsight, what did you learn about yourself? I’ve learned to not get discombobulated. To listen, observe and to not discard obvious warning signs. Take him for what he says, and not what’s implied. Nothing wrong with speaking up when you don’t agree with something, and the more things are swept under the rug and not dealt with is #1 sign discord will not surface and surface quickly.

Mr. Unknown

March 19th, 2012
9:43 am

Is there a blog meeting that I don’t know about?

Lady~ Yep! My ex was a very Analytical thinker, logic driven person. Drove me nuts!! It wasn’t all bad but she needed an off switch. I found myself saying to her, can’t you just enjoy the moment for once. Why second guess everything trying to find the imperfection or the blemish.

lolalee

March 19th, 2012
9:45 am

Gmorning all.
I’ve learned to be more logical about who I let into the realm of possibility of love. Im not going even develop the possibility with somebody I know doesn’t have what it takes… been there, done that, wiser now.

Im in deep with somebody now, and its beautiful and exciting and mysterious too. Unimaginably great to think about him and smile to myself just at the thought. Always happy to see him, still thrilled to see a text from him, never run out of things to say. But also a little worried we may have different ideas about what our future might look like.

SlimUno

March 19th, 2012
9:49 am

Mr. U – I think we’ve sort of been programmed to expect something bad to happen and I’m not sure why that is. Sometimes folks get freaked out when things seem to be going TOO GOOD. Naturally we begin to prepare ourselves for the blow to lessen the sting if something were to happen. It’s a vulnerable place to be when you’re feeling that high up & falling for another person that we have No control over. But that’s part of love, life, dating etc.

Mr. Unknown

March 19th, 2012
9:54 am

Lolalee~ “But also a little worried we may have different ideas about what our future might look like.” Isn’t part of the fun of a great relationship compromise. Unless its a huge difference.

DreamsMaterialize

March 19th, 2012
9:57 am

Morning

See? Love is neurally-altering!
As are all emotions. There is some science associated with all behaviors and emotions. Knowing that there is some science involved in our emotions doesn’t detract from the meaning or value of those emotions…at least for me it doesn’t. I’m just working on inventing the chemical concoction that will make everyone love and follow me…then I can ruuuuule the world!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAH (in my evil genius laugh)

SlimUno

March 19th, 2012
10:03 am

Dreams – I thought there was already something like that out there. I believe they call it ecstasy. Maybe you just need to tweek it to make the effects last longer. (Of course, this is just what I heard, I don’t personally know about it)

Mr. Unknown

March 19th, 2012
10:06 am

Slim~ Yeah that sucks, because a very observant partner can feel when someone is bracing themselves. Which can then make you paranoid that she or he is going to bolt at the first sign of trouble.

lolalee

March 19th, 2012
10:07 am

Mr. U right you are. Part of the fun is also trying to figure out what the other is thinking/planning/dreaming… but at times that drives me nuts. I think that’s also probably more a ‘woman thing’ to want a roadmap of ‘the future’. Not to say men don’t think about what it might look like, but maybe women think of it sooner??

Lady~

March 19th, 2012
10:11 am

Mr U I can be that chic sometimes but I am becoming softer and just enjoying the ride……I am finding more its more about trusting yourself and your own judgement vs. the other’s person intentions.

Lady~

March 19th, 2012
10:12 am

LMBAO Slim!!!!!!!!!!!

Lady~

March 19th, 2012
10:14 am

Amen I halted this behavior. I can’t live like this lol>>>Why second guess everything trying to find the imperfection or the blemish.

SlimUno

March 19th, 2012
10:19 am

Part of the fun is also trying to figure out what the other is thinking/planning/dreaming… but at times that drives me nuts. I think that’s also probably more a ‘woman thing’ to want a roadmap of ‘the future’

Yeah, I’ve gone through this, even as of late, but I got tired of thinking about it…so right now, i’m just enjoying the sunnier days and the ride. All that will be will be…

We(the beau & I) were out looking at furniture and the sales guy we had was an older gentleman who has been married for 40yrs. As we’re walking through the store the guy turns to him and says, “I see you have good taste”. Initially, I think the beau thought he meant his taste in furniture but sales guy turns completely around and points to me and says it again. He was like, i’m sure you know that already and the beau laughs and says, naw I didn’t know. The old guys says, Take it from me an old cat, it’s a feeling and I say you have a good one. :lol: (I’m sure guy was just trying to get on my good side to help his sell but he was entertaining nonetheless) ;-)

Celisea

March 19th, 2012
10:24 am

I’m not sure I’m buying. If this is the case then scientifically we would or SHOULD repeat the same exact steps, process, experience each time we think, believe or are in love. No? I mean if love and the emotions and actions thereof are purely scientific, then not only will I have the butterflies each and every time but there would be no such thing as hindsight because scientifically the process would repeat itself each and every time…right? If it’s scientific then I would have no control over the outcome. The rose colored glasses would be present each and every experience right? How come (yes how come) we aren’t as gullible or susceptibile now as we were then….if it’s scientific? Explain that please. I mean if it’s something going on in the brain then I would have no control whatsoever right?

Think about it…..for the last 40 or so years my brain has ordered my body to function as designed. Unless there’s a mishap, accident, disease, it’s going to continue to function as designed…until I die…right? So if love is scientific how am I able to do differently now than say 20 years ago?

I know I know…I’m just thinking Diva is overthinking this thing.

lolalee

March 19th, 2012
10:24 am

@Slim
any chance your were at Macy’s at Perimeter??

Sassy Me..Juicy Fruit ;-)

March 19th, 2012
10:26 am

Have you ever experienced this firsthand?

Yes I have on both ends…my naturally distrusting part forces me to over analyze at times..heck alot of times and I’m sure it’s costed me some really fun times and have protected me as well so that’s a mixed bag. On the flip side of that, I know I’ve met several people over the course of my years that have pulled me out of my comfort zone and it felt right…like I wasn’t swimming up stream. It’s those times when I don’t have control and I roll with it…and that’s how I know..cause I have no control and I like it.

Do you think you have worn those rose-colored glasses before? In hindsight, what did you learn about yourself?

Yes I wore them for sure in my last relationship…everyone saw it first but ME. Once those rose colored glasses came off things were different and I was looking at him like, “WTF was I thinking?”…but I digress. I learned that I deserved to receive as much as I was giving and to never second guess myself when it comes to love.

I know it’s early and all but I have a slight O/T : Said ex from the above post “popped up” at my house early Saturday and said he needed my help with something…I haven’t spoken to him in 2 years and he just pops up. Really dude?! He seemed genuinely surprised that I didn’t agree to help him and I told him not to come back to my house cause there’s a new sheriff in town and he don’t play that isht.

Celisea

March 19th, 2012
10:26 am

more susceptible

kimmie

March 19th, 2012
10:35 am

Morning All!

Too early to be trying to think thru science stuff.

Science or not, I am sure the same brain love I had during my teens/early 20’s is not the same I have now. I don’t fall as “hard”, but I’m sure the love is deeper, less fleeting and desperate-feeling. I’m not on that crazy high, ultimately to come crashing down hard. I’m happier and I think better able to deal with whatever life brings. I don’t feel I have to “brace” myself like I used to. Everything I’ve been thru, good and bad, has prepared me.

I’ve also learned to enjoy the moment. Always waiting for the other shoe to drop is no way to live. Gotta let that stuff go. I don’t want to have regrets.

Hey Dreams, what’s shakin?

lolalee

March 19th, 2012
10:35 am

told him not to come back to my house cause there’s a new sheriff in town and he don’t play that isht.

you go Sassy!

Lady~

March 19th, 2012
10:38 am

Sassy you’re a science geek!!! ;) you go girl!!!!!!!!!!!

Lady~

March 19th, 2012
10:39 am

wow @ these dudes Sassy just wow! that idiot called me Saturday and no I didn’t answer….. silence speaks loud.

Sassy Me..Juicy Fruit ;-)

March 19th, 2012
10:41 am

Celi I understand your 10:24 and you raise some valid points. I’ve seen shows talking about the chemistry behind love and saw this one couple undergo CAT scans and when each of them were shown pictures of the other different parts of the brain became more active…the parts associated with love and pleasure lit up and certain hormones(endorphines) are released as a result. I’m not disputing what you’ve said…I think there’s validity on both sides of this discussion…

SlimUno

March 19th, 2012
10:43 am

lolalee – Nope, I was out by Stonecrest in Lithonia. lol

Celisea

March 19th, 2012
10:45 am

Sassy – LOL…I believe everything about us can be explained scientifically so I there with you on valid points Diva made. That was just way too much definition behind love this early Monday morning…lol I was thinking even with science it’s an emotion that probably shouldn’t be explained or delved into (if that make sense). As the art of it is freeflow and the unforeseen

Nice move with ex…keep up the good work!

Sassy Me..Juicy Fruit ;-)

March 19th, 2012
10:46 am

Okay lola?! I don’t get it…while I was single there were no issues…now I’m with someone and I’ve had two exes “pop up” like it was cool..and it’s not like we just broke up either.

Heey Lady!! You’re right chica, silence can truly speak volumes!!

Celisea

March 19th, 2012
10:47 am

I was probably being a stinker :)

Sassy Me..Juicy Fruit ;-)

March 19th, 2012
10:51 am

I was thinking even with science it’s an emotion that probably shouldn’t be explained

I concur…try as we might emotions are something we can’t always define or explain..no matter how much science is behind it.

Nice move with ex

Thanks…I’m just glad Mr. Bermuda wasn’t there cause it would’ve been a problem.

Lady~

March 19th, 2012
10:53 am

Sassy I think the challenge for some is exciting to see if they can prove a point that they can still get you and and do nothing with you…..I ain’t falling for the stupid games not even entertaining it. It matters not to me if I have someone or not there are exes that can’t come back. Their season ended respectfully. Keep it moving gracefully. It takes 2 to tango!

Sassy Me..Juicy Fruit ;-)

March 19th, 2012
11:00 am

Lady I understand that but I’m not stroking any of my exes egos…just as you’ve said “Their season has ended”, and I don’t back track…if you’re my ex you’re that for a reason so lets K.I.M. Hasta luego buddy :lol:

kimmie

March 19th, 2012
11:03 am

The gall of some dudes just blows my mind! SMH at Sassy’s post! To actually show up at someones house, just cause you USED TO date them you think you got it like that?

Exiled!

March 19th, 2012
11:04 am

Sassy..be careful with some of these ladies.

They will invite u to a puddy_denying Convention. :lol:

Dude is still feeling u after 2 years…that’s some good memories there,I’m sure. :lol:

On topic:

I think heartbreak,divorce,separation etc and Personal Growth will make one be able to balance emotion and Logic nicely.

Without a heartbreak(reality check) everything is niiiice!!

I have a real nice,educated female cousin that’s in her mid 40s that continuously has boyfriend adventures. Very smart chic but she has failed to lock on just One good guy to marry her. She wants to get married so bad.

But when u hear her talk about a current man,she talks like she is 25. All smitten!

No growth there!

(am I even on topic? No sleep! ) :lol:

lolalee

March 19th, 2012
11:06 am

Hey, I had my ex show up and say we need to move in together!! what he meant was ‘I need some place to stay and cant find somebody to take me in’ HA