“This spring I’ll fall in love with someone”, states all of the sudden my friend Sina, after a few glasses of red wine. This is wintertime, a very cold and cloudy day, and so I asked myself: why do so many of us tend to fall in love in the Spring but not during Autumn? Is it one of those unwritten laws of nature?
Probably not. After a long dark Winter, when the first sunlights hit people, the body starts to produce serotonine and dopamine: the so-called happiness hormones. As a result, we’ll be in a better mood and occasionally experience a slight euphoria.
You already have the butterflies in your stomach before having met the flame, because when it comes to love, dopamine is the main cause. Dopamine is our biology’s drug. In the Spring, people tend to go out more, they have more energy and everything seems to be way more fun. When you are happier you attract more people, and the chance to meet someone increases. Plus, it’s a question of belief. Like Sina said: “it will happen”. This already set her up for the right mood.
Just the Sun and hormones?
Why do we fall in love with one particular person while the spark just won’t arise with another one? Our wiser grandmother might very well tell us that this girl or that boy would seem to be a perfect match, but it’s not how this works. First of all, chemistry is a key factor: the saying “I can’t smell this person” plays an important role when it comes to physical attraction. Luckily our biological warning system alerts us when it’s probably not the best idea to get children with that “stinky” one – a simple reminder that the genes won’t be a fit.
Apart from this biological response, our subconscious is playing an important role too. We often search for similarities, both physical ones or those in our mindsets. Someone whom we can rely on, a person who seems kind of familiar. Some say we tend to look for ourselves in our counterpart. It would explain why so many couples look like siblings, wear similar clothes, share the same hobbies or just have the same traits and humour.
As psychologist Siegmund Freud said: we fall in love with a person whom we believe can match our needs. Nearly everyone has a personal wish list they project on the candidates, no matter if those wishes can ever be fulfilled. Take status. Most couples have similar backgrounds, similar level of education, or look equally attractive to others. Often we also fall for someone who seems to be “better” than ourselves, someone in a higher status or someone who has something we subconsciously would like to have too. A dangerous attraction between two opposites. Is it superficial? Well I guess every human being is a little shallow – especially when we meet a new person.
The hormone cocktail and our internal projections make us blind in the first weeks, months or even up to one year, until our body regains its balance and we truly see our loved one as: just a person like us. Not at all perfect, but with all their strengths and weaknesses. Like a bushfire, sometimes when our body gets back to normal again the love just seems to be gone… Or, sometimes it can turn into a long, deep, careful and beautiful river. A calm feeling which doesn’t have a lot to do with our hormones – instead with our ability to truly love.
Some say the older you get, the thinner are your pink sunglasses. Falling in love with someone has a lot to do with ourselves: we have to want it, believe in it and turn off our rational mind, to just fall, fall for someone.