All you need is love.
Love conquers all.
Love is enough.
All you need to do is listen to essentially any song ever sung. Or book ever written. Or speak to anyone who's ever spent time in a happy marriage. The message is the same: love is what it's all about.
But that doesn't mean it's easy. Humanity's smartest minds have spent entire lifetimes trying to understand this most basic of human needs. And yet it still confuses us. What's a person to do?
Well, Factinate is here to help. We might not be able to help you find The One... but we can give you all the knowledge we can, in the hopes that it'll help you out. That being said, here are 42 lovestruck facts about love.
Love just might be universal.
Though we’d like to think we’re unique from the rest of the animal kingdom, humans are far from the only animal to mate monogamously. Wolves, gibbons, albatrosses and even termites have been known to mate for life.
No word yet on the rate of animal adultery, though. Maybe these "marriages" aren't all happy. And just imagine a divorce-court for wolves. Things would get ugly...
Then again, this is adorable. Fun fact: these guys met on Tinder.
You already know the importance of first impressions. But did you know just how quickly we make a judgment about the people we meet? Researchers have shown that it takes just 4 minutes to decide whether or not you like someone.
It’s not just what you say either: your body language, tone, and the speed of your voice are all factors in another person's opinion of you. When it comes to making a decision about someone else's character, our brains take in an astonishing amount of information very quickly.
We're like super-computers built specifically for going on first dates.
They met four minutes ago. Also on Tinder.
For whatever reason, eye contact is a massive factor in human intimacy. Maybe it isn't a huge mystery: researchers have shown that 80% of the information our brains process in a given moment is visual.
So when it comes to love, remember to lock eyes. When two lovers stare into each other’s eyes, their heartbeats will synchronize after about 3 minutes. Meanwhile, other studies have shown that couples spend about 75% of a conversation making eye contact... as opposed to around 40% for an average non-romantic pair.
Just remember to blink. Nobody likes to go on dates with a shark.
You're love, you're love, is my drug
If the music career doesn't work out for Ke$ha, she could easily be a scientific researcher on human intimacy. After all, she's figured out one scientific truth: the human brain reacts to romantic love almost exactly the way it reacts to cocaine.
It's all about neurochemicals and neuropathways— the machinery in your brain that determines how you respond to the world around you. When a person takes a stimulant drug (like cocaine) their brain is triggered to release dopamine... one of the most powerful feel-good chemicals in the brain. What else causes that same reaction? Falling in love. And unlike cocaine, which damages the dopamine-receptors (causing addiction and other harm) love is essentially harmless.
So there you have it: if you want a real buzz, just try love. We don’t condone Cocaine, but we certainly condone a little romance.
38. Cuddle Cure
Oxytocin is a complicated hormone that aids in human bonding by conditioning the brain to seek out social behaviours.
Simply put, Oxytocin is the love drug.
A whole host of romantic behaviors release oxytocin, such as cuddling with a loved one. And that hit of oxytocin is associated with all kinds of benefits. One example? Research has found that a dose of Oxytocin decreases the pain of a headache significantly.
So remember, next time you get into a fight with your lover and you’ve got a headache, just cuddle it out. Or call your doctor, maybe.
Here's a shocker: People will often fall in love with and form relationships with those that are of a similar level of attractiveness.
OK, maybe that's too surprising. But there is a more interesting detail: on average, when one person is more physically attractive, they will often have other traits that are considered socially or culturally unattractive which level out the overall attractiveness of the couple. So if you see a gorgeous person with an absolute potato, it's not uncommon that the beautiful one might have a few annoying qualities... while the "ugly" one has lots of other great features.
It all balances out, apparently.
36. Too Close
Couples that are too similar tend to not last very long. The old adage opposites attract rings true, as researchers found that similarities will help form a foundation, but if both parties cannot learn from each other, they tend to part ways sooner rather than later.
35. Heart Break
Heartbreak is very real. When experiencing the loss of a loved one, divorce, or betrayal, the brain releases chemicals that weaken the heart, and result in chest pain and shortness of breath. The condition (broken heart syndrome) affects women more often, and can be misdiagnosed as a heart attack.
34. Limited Time Only
Researchers suspect that romantic love lasts for about a year (tops). Romantic love is what makes you experience sweaty palms, butterflies, and euphoria.
After the romantic love fades, it’s followed by what’s called committed love.
It doesn’t even last close to that long… if you hit an iceberg halfway across the Atlantic
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People in the early stages of love have lower levels of serotonin, which is associated with happiness levels, and higher levels of cortisol, which is associated with stress levels.
These levels of cortisol and serotonin also share a striking similarity with those suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, which explains why people behave so differently when they’re just beginning a new relationship. On a physiological level, it's almost as though they're temporarily experiencing a genuine mental imbalance.
32. Creative Love
Research has shown that thinking of love influences creativity and abstract thoughts, as well as long-term planning. The theory goes that the act of "psychological distancing" (thinking about something far in the past or in the future) causes to process problems differently, considering the impact of cause and effect. All of which is good for creativity.
Thinking of sex, meanwhile, does good things for immediate decision making and attention to momentary details.
There you have it: Next time you're struggling to come up with an idea for work, just tell your boss you need about 15 minutes to scroll through a dating app. It's all about boosting that creativity.
There are four types of love: romantic, companionate, fatuous, and consummate.
Each type consists of 2 of the 3 factors needed for love: passion, intimacy, and commitment. Romantic love is a combination of passion and intimacy, companionate is intimacy and commitment, and fatuous is passion and commitment. Consummate love, the strongest of the four, is the only one to be comprised of all three (passion, commitment, and intimacy).
Got all that? There will be a test at the end of class.
Research has shown that those looking for short-term flings tend to care more about their partner's body than their face.
However, those looking for long-term relationships will take a nice face over a nice body.
There’s plenty of fish in the shallow sea.
29. Hand Holding
Next time you’re feeling stressed, try holding a loved one’s hand. Research has shown that doing so can decrease stress levels, and even relieve physical pain.
Looks like love and pain-relief go hand-in-hand.
Sorry for that pun. I'll show myself out.
Here's a little life hack: Expressing gratitude toward those you love will result in an immediate spike in happiness levels.
See? It always pays to be a little more thankful. Unless you're a turkey, maybe. Then maybe you could do with less thanks giving.
The butterflies in the stomach sensation you get when you’re just falling in love is a result of your body releasing adrenaline. It’s closely related to our fight-or-flight response, letting us know something good or bad is about to happen.
The unfortunate part, of course, is that we haven't yet evolved enough to easily tell how it's going to turn out. I don't need butterflies if I'm about to meet the person I marry! And on the flipside, if I'm about to meet someone who is going to break my heart... I could use more than butterflies to warn me.
26. Look At Me
When looking at a loved one, even if it’s just a picture, the pupils of the looker will dilate. Coincidentally, people with dilated pupils are perceived to be more attractive. No wonder people notice you the moment you’re in a relationship.
25. Love Matters
A 75-year-long study by Harvard found that patient's happiness and life fulfillment almost exclusively revolved around love, or the search for love. Moreso than career success, more than material wealth, it was the pursuit of love that predicted well-being.
So even if you never find it, simply looking for it will lead to a happier life. That's something we can all do.
24. Our Secret
Consciously trying to keep a romantic relationship a secret will heighten the romantic feelings both parties feel. So go ahead, hold off on making that Facebook relationship status for a few more days.
23. Lucky Number Seven
On average, people will fall in love a total of 7 times before finally getting married. That includes love that you never get to act on.
22. Eyes Up Here
Over his lifetime, the average male will spend an entire year looking at women. To understand the enormity of that, remember there are 8760 hours in a year. Or 525 600 minutes. That is a long, long, long time.
I'm starting to think that men can be a little preoccupied with sex.
Don’t quote us next time you get caught staring, though.
21. Self Care
People with higher self-esteem tend to have longer, more successful relationships than those without.
Which is perhaps unsurprising. If you can’t love yourself, how can you expect anyone else to?
19. Long Life
Men who kiss their wives in the morning are thought to live up to 5 years longer.
The research still needs to be borne-out, but the fundamental thought process makes sense: kisses in the morning are one indication of a more loving marriage. And the health benefits of being in a happy couple are almost endless. No wonder they'd all add up to a longer life.
18. Sweet Sweat
Nobody likes to be the smelly one. In fact, many of us undergo a tremendous amount of effort just to avoid smelling like sweat. But are we doing something wrong?
Historically, human sweat has been used to make love-attracting perfumes, and even love-potions. Sweat contains pheromones—a set of chemicals that are key ingredients in animal attraction. Maybe your armpits were your greatest strength all along.
That being said, the jury is still on the efficacy of human sweat as an aphrodisiac. So just be aware: if you're planning on heading to your next date straight from the basketball court, you're taking a serious risk. But you're also doing some pretty important research. Just remember to record your findings, and report them to any scientists you know.
Some people are incapable of experiencing love.
The condition is known as hypopituitarism. The disease doesn’t just limit your ability to love though— it comes with a whole host of other symptoms. So if you’re feeling incapable of love, maybe throw that into Google and make sure you’re not feeling other symptoms.
The condition can also be managed with hormone replacement, putting love back on the menu.
16. In The Dumps
Getting dumped from a relationship will often lead to “frustration attraction,” which causes the person getting dumped to fall deeper in love with the person doing the dumping.
Talk about a scumbag brain! Our minds couldn't possibly be making things more difficult for us. It's like the universe conspired to make romantic love as difficult and confusing as possible.
Maybe that's why it's so fun. There are some clear signs of trouble that may indicate a relationship won't last.
15. Love At First…
Seminal fluid (the liquid that surrounds semen) contains the chemical dopamine. Dopamine is associated with the feeling of falling in love.
Which is why some scientists have theorized that having seminal fluid absorbed into your bloodstream could speed-up the process of falling in love. As always, the lines between our physical and mental interactions can be pretty blurred.
Revista Femra Moderne
The word Lesbian is derived from the Greek island of Lesbos, where the poet Sappho composed her famous poems for her famous female lovers.
The historical connection isn't lost on LGBT people today. The island (especially Sappho's birthplace) receive a massive amount of tourism each year, frequently from gay and lesbian tourists looking to explore their connection to the past.
Symmetry is how our brains judge beauty. A symmetrical faced man will begin having sex four years earlier, have more sex, affairs, and lovers than those with asymmetry in their faces. Women will also experience more orgasms with symmetrically faced men.
12. Luck Of The Irish
The four-leaf clover is a symbol of luck around the world... but for the Irish it has another meaning. It's involved in a powerful ritual of love.
In certain parts of Ireland, it's believed that a woman who eats a four-leaf clover while thinking of a man will cause said simple-minded male to fall in love with her. Think of it like a naturally-occurring love potion.
So no need for a trip to some shady witch's shack in the middle of a haunted forest. Just find yourself a patch of clovers, and start looking.
11. Don’t Judge
When looking at a new love, the human brain suppresses the parts of the brain associated with social judgement. No one wants to think they could fall in love with an awful person.
10. The Chase
Romantic situations involving obstacles and hurdles are crucial elements to falling in love, and determine how intensely you fall in love. The longer the chase, the more intense the feelings of love and longing become.
9. Food Porn
Scientists suspect that the advent of cooked food led to healthier food, which led to bigger brains and the ability to woo potential lovers with new forms of linguistics and artistic flair. Thanks food!
8. Picture This
It’s not just cuddling that releases Oxytocin in your body. Research has shown that simply looking at a picture of a loved one will have similar pain-killing effects to cuddling.
Here's how they tested it: When exposed to distracting word games or pictures of loved ones, patients’ pain diminished with the pictures, but not with the word games.
7. The Dark Side
It is estimated that 40–70% of female homicides are committed by their lovers and/or spouses.
It's a tragic state of affairs... and if you're a woman, there's no doubt it doesn't come as much of a surprise. If you're a man, though, consider this a reminder of one of the daily struggles women face. She's far more likely to face violence from him, then he is from her.
Stop. If you're in a happy marriage (or any marriage, really) you might not want to read this next part...
Nearly 60% of married men said they were unfaithful to their spouses at one point or another. Compare that to only 40% of married women.
This information was compiled through a survey, though, so dishonesty should not be ruled out for either group.
5. Four Year Itch
Most marriages around the world tend to end around the 4-year mark. The next big milestone? Year 8. Get through those two and it’s smooth sailing...
Or not. Maybe marriage is never exactly easy. But statistically speaking, if you make it past Year 8, you're in the clear.
4. Forever Young
On average, men will marry someone 3 years younger than them. If those men get married a second time, they tend to marry someone 5 years younger than them. If those same men get married a third time, they’ll usually marry someone 8 years or more younger than them.
The urge to fall in love, like sex and hunger, is a biological drive that we are (for the most part) born with. We’re lovers, not fighters!
2. Danger Lover
You’re more likely to fall in love with someone if the first time you meet is during a dangerous situation. Explains the whole “women love bad boys” theory.
Lads, if you really want to find love, make sure all your dates have the proper atmosphere. Swimming with sharks should be a good option. Or running with the bulls, maybe? Just remember: if your date idea doesn't involve a serious threat to your safety, you aren't thinking big enough.
Kidding, obviously. Please don't do that.
1. What Women Want
Women around the world tend to fall in love with tall, funny, and successful men, as well as men with defined cheekbones and strong jawbones. All of these are indicators of high levels of testosterone, the confidence hormone.