Falling in love can be a powerful, life-changing thing. In those early days of romance, you may act differently, think differently, and sometimes even dress or talk differently. But how love affects the brain is one of the most interesting, and mysterious parts of falling hard. It can be so intense that it's actually possible to see certain areas of the brain lighting up on brain scans.
"When falling in love, chemicals associated with [the reward center of the brain] increase, such as dopamine, which makes you happier," NYC-based psychotherapist Kimberly Hershenson, LCSW tells Bustle. And this trickles down to your body, too. "It may create a feeling of your heart racing, sweaty palms, and feelings of romance." You know, like the desire to swing around a lamppost while bursting into song.
Feelings of love and how it affects your brain can be different for everyone, and may be spurned by different things. "Women may feel the sensation of love after having sex because of hormone levels increasing," says Hershenson. But for those who identify as men, it might even be entirely different. It's important to note the role of social constructs in the way our brains react to love – while brain chemistry can differ for each individual, some experts suggest that socialized gender norms can sometimes be internalized, and affect the psychology of love and how we express it.
So, if you have always wondered what a self-identified guy might be thinking or feeling whilst falling in love, you're in luck. Though not all men will experience love the same way, here are a few brain changes experts tend to notice in men falling in love.
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