Faith A. Watkins is passionate about loving people and helping individuals and families find hope and healing through licensed therape, her book, RECOVERING LOVE, and her speaking

The Chemistry of Love

Hallmark movies and Harlequin Romance novels want us to believe that falling in love is all about that magical chemistry between the hero and heroine. In reality, it is chemistry, but not in the heart but the brain!


Your heart racing when around the special person is caused by the chemical norepinephrine which stimulates muscle contractions, especially cardiac muscles. It’s responsible for the racing heart, the breathlessness, the energizing high, and the feeling one can’t eat or sleep. Your body is in reality in fight or flight mode.


Dopamine stimulates the pleasure center creating motivation reward and goal-directed behavior that drives you to pursue that special person. The object of your affection seems special and unique. And if you can’t be with the one you love, dopamine inspires fantasies of you being with the one you love!


While norepinephrine and dopamine are flooding your brain with high energy “feelings of love,” serotonin levels are decreasing. This chemical is a mood stabilizer and promotes healthy sleep, eating and digestion. Studies show as these levels decrease obsessive/compulsive behaviors increase. And, so, with a lowering of serotonin levels, you can’t sleep, you can’t think of anything other than that person, you’re obsessed and your inside are all a flutter. You’re in love!

These intense chemical changes—romantic feelings—seem to have a half-life of six months. That means if your feeling of love is a ten in the beginning, it will drop to a five in just half a year. In one year, down to a three. Which explains why junior and senior high school romances last less than a semester.

The ancient Greeks had several words for love. This initial “chemistry” was called eros. However, if the love were to develop into a deep, meaningful relationship, the Greeks would label it phileo or a strong friendship. Finally, a lifelong commitment was described as agape which was a willful choice “to have and to hold from this day forward, until death do we part.”

From the book I’m writing, Recovering Love, copyright © 2020 Faith A. Watkins.

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