Some of the below facts about relationships and love may surprise you, yet, they all are based on actual scientific research.
Ask anyone what their greatest wish in life is and the majority will tell you it is to be loved. But why are we conditioned to love, what exactly is it and once we’ve found it, how can we sustain it? Science-backed facts about relationships might just answer those questions.
Here are eight facts about relationships and love based on recent psychological studies:
1. Love is not the same as lust
It is without question that lust plays a huge part of falling in love, but studies have shown that they are not the same. This might explain why one-night stands leave people feeling unsatisfied and do not progress into meaningful relationships.
In studies, brain scans showed that lustful feelings light up the reward and motivation areas, whilst love is processed in the empathy and caring regions. This suggests that feelings of love are more associated with compassion and understanding, whereas lust is fuelled by incentives and driven behaviour.
2. Love at first sight?
Is there such as thing as love at first sight? Some studies seem to suggest there is. According to brain scans, it takes one fifth of a second for the brain to start reacting when it sees the love of its life. When a person looks at a potential partner and likes what they see, the brain starts producing feel-good chemicals associated with love, such as dopamine and oxytocin.
These neurotransmitters that release these chemicals are situated across 12 different areas in the brain and fire up with these happy hormones, similar in the way that certain drugs react. Which is why it is so difficult for addicts to get clean, they are experiencing feelings of love over and over again.
3. It’s in his (or her) kiss
“If you wanna know if he loves you so it’s in his kiss,” so goes the song, but studies have revealed that these lyrics might hold some truth. Two separate studies showed that women, in particular, rate a man’s kiss and say that it is an important part at the start of a relationship. It helps them to decide whether to go further or end any liaisons.
However, it is not only about testing the romantic waters, couples state that it is also important in keeping a couple together. The study showed a direct correlation between the amounts of kissing long-term couples did, and how they highly they rated their relationship, with lots of kissing indicating a happy relationship.
4. Four things that couple should never do
Professor John Gottman has been studying what makes a successful couple and what helps to maintain good relationships. Over there last 40 years, he has come up with some pretty good advice, including these four things you must never do if you want to remain in love:
- Criticise – there is a particular form of criticism that is destructive to partnerships, this is the type that eats away at the other person’s very core being.
- Show contempt – this is the same as disrespecting your partner and includes sarcasm, belittling, eye-rolling and rude putdowns.
- Be defensive – someone who is constantly being defensive is one that cannot take the responsibility for their actions. Therefore you cannot possibly move on.
- Stone-wall – when a person refuses to discuss the problem there is no chance of ever getting it resolved.
5. It takes hard work to keep a relationship going
Once you have found Mr. or Mrs. Right, it is not all plain sailing until the pair of you die in each other’s arms, courtesy of The Note Book. Studies of good long-term relationships showed a pattern of behaviour whereby both couples were supportive of their partner and helped with their personal growth and happiness.
This involved shared experiences where the two could enhance their own knowledge and expand their horizons together. So what does this mean in real life? If your relationship is stagnating and you no longer feel the same about your partner, try doing activities together that you both enjoy and be sure to praise your partner’s efforts.
6. Watching Chick Flicks can improve your love life.
If you feel that you are starting to move away from your partner and you want something to bring you back together, studies have shown that watching chick flicks works. You also have to talk about them afterwards. Research that revealed these weird facts about relationships suggests that when a couple watch a movie about relationships and then go onto to discuss it, the outcome can be as effective as couples therapy.
The reason is thought that as the couple discusses the fictional characters, they can relate their problems to the made-up story of the film, but in a safe and nurturing way, without blaming the other person.
7. Couples look more similar after 25 years together
They say that dogs start to look like their owners, but it has been revealed that so do couples who have been in a relationship for over 25 years, but why?
There are many factors that could contribute to this phenomenon, such as the couple sharing the same diet and environment and the fact that we tend to choose a partner that closely resembles ourselves in the first place. Plus there’s the notion that all people look the same when they get older.
8. Ditch the grand gestures
Studies have shown that if you want your relationship to stand the test of time, then ditch the big gestures and concentrate on the little things. In one particular study over 4,000 people were shown to prefer smaller acts of kindness than huge overblown gestures of undying love.
Things such as a morning cup of tea, doing the dishes without being asked, walking the dog when it is raining. These all have a cumulative effect on the relationship and makes the partner feel valued.
Do these science-backed facts about relationships and love ring true for you? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!