Falling in love can make someone go out of their mind, and that isn't totally an exaggeration. The real, measurable changes in the brain that take place are absolutely fascinating. Really, the weird things that happen in men's brains when they fall in love are a bit surprising. You'll never look at a lovestruck dude quite the same way again.
When men fall in love, the brain changes are real and sometimes lasting. "And mating is as important to men as it is to women. Once a man's love and lust circuits are in sync, he falls just as head over heels in love as a woman — perhaps even more so," said Louann Brizendine, MD, in NPR. She literally wrote the book on this subject, appropriately titled The Male Brain.
Because love can be such a brain-changing experience, it's fascinating to take a deeper look at what's really going on in that head. If you've ever seen an otherwise aloof guy turn into a sweet, doting partner once he finds the right person, well, there's some science to back up that behavior. Fortunately, learning more about the mind's inner working doesn't make these behaviors any less charming or adorable. Smitten dudes in a healthy relationship are kind of wired to become so devoted.
1. Feelings Of Euphoria
Being in love can make dudes feel like they're on a winning streak. Falling in love releases high levels of dopamine, a chemical associated with the brain's reward center, as explained by the Harvard Medical School. It's like a natural high.
2. New Lease On Love
Most everyone has been burned in the past by a romantic partner. But oxytocin, AKA the love hormone, might help ease those old pains. "We are all carrying romantic baggage," said Andrew Trees, author of Decoding Love, in Brain World. "But if you have a powerful enough response to someone, you’ll be able to get rid of some of that mental baggage, wipe the brain clean and form new neural connections." The oxytocin helps the brain form fresh, positive memories with the new partner.
3. Desire To Bond
Even after the initial buzz of attraction fades away, there's still so much going on in the lovestruck dude brain. In fact, the hormone vasopressin is still present in the brain, and it promotes a desire to bond with and nurture the partner, according to Psychology Today. The idea of settling down in a little suburban home (or something equivalent) might start to sound pretty good.
4. Feelings Of Fearlessness & Positivity
Does falling in love make you more accepting overall? Maybe. Falling in love also deactivates the parts of the brain known for governing social judgement and fear, as explained by the Harvard Medical School. The idea of being in love and not caring who knows it is a very real phenomenon, in other words.
5. Experience Less Pain
Falling in love might even make actual pain less painful. Wild, right? "Love is so powerful that in laboratory tests, it reduces pain by half," said neuroscientist Dr. Jarred Younger, an associate professor at University of Alabama, Birmingham, in Bustle. With this and the many other positive benefits that go along with it, being in love definitely benefits the male brain.