For those that aren’t Bollywood buffs, the title of this blog post is a Hindi song and it translates: I fell in love, how did it happen? After this line, they prance off singing about how neither one of them knows how it happened. (How anticlimatic) Most of us Indians have grown up listening to classic Bollywood songs that question how we fall in love. Why do our ‘dils go dhakdhak’ (heart palpitations), or in Preity Zinta’s case, her dil goes hmm! Cardiologists out there, do you think that could just be a heart murmur? (I heard this term on Grey’s Anatomy, I’m not even sure what it is) I mean how can a heart go hmmmm??
The Chemical Locha (Problem):
So, I’m not trained in the medical sciences, but from my research, I realised that the phrase ‘love is a drug’ is quite apt. Let’s break it down into three components that are all seen in the process of love.
- Lust: Your friend shows you a picture of a really cute guy/girl and you’re instantly intrigued. This intrigue comes under lust because at the moment it’s purely a physical attraction. The hypothalamus produces testosterone and estrogen, which play a role in increasing your libido.
- Attraction: Ah, the honeymoon phase. That period of time when anything and everything the person does is just sooo cute! You want to be with them every moment of every day, and frankly you can’t keep your hands off each other. Actually, it’s the dopamine that is released when we do things that feel good to us like spending time with the person you’re smitten with. High levels of dopamine and another hormone called norepinephrine create those butterflies in your stomach. Also probably why you feel like singing, “haan mujhe pyar hua, pyar hua Allah miya”, (translation: Yes God I’m in love), loudly from the rooftops.
- Attachment: The dust has settled in on the relationship. You’re more of that old married couple that bickers over the lamest things like “it’s your turn to do the dishes”, but you’re still super attached at the hip. This person is your other half. The hormone oxytocin is at play here. Did you know it’s called the ‘cuddle hormone’?
The Triangular Theory of Love:
Robert Sternberg theorised that love is made up of three elements:
- Intimacy: This is purely psychological in nature and refers to the feelings of closeness in ANY relationship.
- Passion: This is the physical aspect of love. In other words, the arousal that makes us go oh là là!
- Commitment: This refers to the decisions you make in a relationship. For example, deciding that you are now in love.
Now we get to the love triangle part of this theory. No, nothing like the crazy love triangles seen on Grey’s Anatomy.
Take a look at the diagram above. The type of relationship is determined by the different combinations that can be formed. Let’s take a look at them!
- Intimacy+Passion=Romantic Love This is usually the base for any lasting relationship, and is seen in the years of dating whilst in a serious relationship.
- Intimacy+Commitment=Companionate Love This kind of love is generally seen in our grandparents’ relationship. The physical passion is less, but the emotion connection is extremely strong.
- Passion+Commitment=Factuous Love The best example for this would be a friends with benefits. You’re attracted to the individual and you’ve committed yourself to this type of relationship, but it lacks any emotion.
Now when all three components are present in the equation, (the love triangle), we get the ideal and best kind of love- Consumate Love, or in other words, relationship goals!
So, the next time your significant other asks, “kehdo ek baar sajna, itna kyun pyar sajna”, (translation- tell me one more time, why do you love me so much?), you can send him/her this article and explain it with science. Or, you know, you could just take a page out of Rahul’s book and say, “kuch kuch hota hai, tum nahi samjhoge” (translation- Something happens, you won’t understand).
Until next time,
(M.A Clinical Psychology, PGD Counselling)
Ps. I’m not at all sorry for all the lame Bollywood references!