The Science Behind What Makes a Woman Fall in Love With You

If you’ve ever been in love, then you know that it’s a remarkable process. The science behind it is even more fascinating. Knowing what makes love happen is an interesting study in neuroscience, biochemistry and psychology. And while there’s much more going on here than science alone, understanding the underlying mechanics of love is incredibly interesting and useful for enhancing our social and romantic lives.

The Role of Chemicals in Love

Love isn’t just a bunch of chemicals, but brain chemistry plays an important role in why we feel the way we feel about other people. And when we feel good things, there’s usually a lot of dopamine involved. Dopamine is the chemical the brain releases when people — women or men — experience any kind of pleasure, including love. Dopamine also increases the amount of testosterone the body produces. The increased testosterone is why people sweat when they’re around someone they’re in love with, and why people have a higher sex drives when love is new.

The science behind falling in love is fascinating, complex, and highly useful to understand.When women fall in love, their bodies also produces norepinephrine and phenylethylamine. These increase focus while creating a sense of euphoria. That’s why women often become focused on one man to the exclusion of other things when they’re falling in love. It’s why everyone, men and women, feels extra alert waiting for a text message, or why people have trouble sleeping or even thinking about anyone else.

Last, but certainly not least, is oxytocin. Oxytocin is released at various points, including during cuddling and sex. Women produce way more of it than men. (Men don’t produce it during orgasm, instead getting a rush of dopamine, which is why they’re we’re less likely to fall in love with someone just because we had sex.) Oxytocin breaks down emotional barriers, making people feel comfortable and getting them to “drop their guard.” Oxytocin is what creates that sense of attachment we feel to another person when we’re falling in love. When they’re not around, you’re not producing as much, and so you want more. That’s why we can sometimes feel “addicted” to the person we’re dating.

Dopamine, testosterone , oxytocin, norepinephrine and phenylethylamine all work together to create a feedback loop of love. Sexual pleasure and romantic attachment release the same bundle of chemicals. These chemicals make you give greater attention to their source, while also pushing you to seek out more of the same chemicals. Love (and sex, for that matter) work on the brain much like a drug.

But even if you knew how to get all her chemicals flowing in the right way, that still wouldn’t be enough to “make” her fall in love with you. Because love isn’t just chemicals. It’s also a function of personal history and preferences.

Psychology Trumps Chemicals

A big reason why you can’t just use knowledge of brain chemistry to get a girl to fall in love is that not every woman responds to the same chemical mix in the same way. Psychologists call these “attachment styles,” and even if you release the precisely correct mixture of brain chemicals, her attachment style might veto any connection you’re making with her. Whereas the hard sciences (biology and chemistry) tell you that you can engage in certain actions, release certain chemicals and get certain effects, the soft sciences (psychology) say that something much more personal and nuanced is going on.

You’re probably aware of attachment styles, even if you didn’t know they were called that. For example, have you ever been really hitting it off with a girl gone on a couple of dates, but then she just disappears? Or have you ever had a casual fling that suddenly turns serious? Those are examples of two different attachment styles. The exact same actions (a couple of dates where the two of you hit it off) lead to two wildly different results (one runs and one clings).

There are four different attachment styles. One of these is completely toxic, two can be problematic and the fourth is just right. We might even react with one attachment style for one person and a different attachment style for another. But for the most part, an attachment style is just that — a kind of reaction to whomever we find ourselves interested in. Once you understand the attraction styles, I’m willing to bet your past relationships will start making a lot more sense to you. They are:

 

  • Secure: This is where you want to land. A secure person is basically OK relying on other people and have others rely on them. They’re equally comfortable being on their own. Thus, a girl who has a secure attachment style isn’t going to hang outside of your apartment every day, trying to get a couple seconds of your time. Nor is she going to avoid you when things start getting hot and heavy. She’s going to see you when the both of you free time. While she might want more time, she won’t resort to inappropriate or manipulative ways of getting your attention.
  • Anxious: Girls with an anxious attachment style tend to have lower self-esteem and be less secure in themselves. The anxious girl isn’t opposed to intimacy, but wants way more of it than is appropriate for the relationship. If you’ve ever dated a girl who treated you as a super serious, exclusive item not long after the two of you started dating, you are familiar with this attachment style. She might not fall in love with you, but she will become more and more obsessed.
  • Dismissive: The dismissive girl doesn’t want a relationship, because she prefers being on her own. Thus, when she gets a sense of attachment or strong romantic attraction, her natural inclination is to pull away and retreat into her shell. She might have feelings for you, but more importantly, she doesn’t want to have feelings for you, so she does everything she can to shut those feelings out. While you might be able to win her over, your energies are probably better spent on someone who is more open to falling in love.
  • Fearful: Fearful people generally have experienced some kind of trauma or abuse (big or small) in childhood that makes them not just unwilling, but afraid to form attachments with others. They see themselves as unworthy of your affection and interest. What’s more, they might question your motives in being attracted to them. Fearful folks have to do the work on their own to become emotionally strong and healthy enough to be in relationships. You can’t fix them, and you’re not going to get anything but hurt in the process.

 

Note that the two attachment styles in the middle — anxious and dismissive — can be elements of a secure person’s attachment style. For example, a girl can be secure but slightly more clingy than most, or she might value her independence while being able to form attachments and relationships with others. The fearful attachment style is far more explicitly toxic. Why would you want someone to fall in love with you who wonders if you’re tricking or trying to take advantage of them? The first three can all fall in love with you, while the fourth will always keep you at arm’s length.

No matter how much a woman’s chemistry might be telling her to fall in love with you, her personality, expressed through her attachment style, might be too much to overcome. That is where psychology trumps chemicals.

What the Science of Girls Falling in Love Says You Should Do

Knowing about chemicals and attachment styles alone isn’t going to get a woman to fall in love with you. Knowing how love works, however, can increase the chances of finding the right woman for you and creating a meaningful bond in a way that’s healthy and satisfying for both of you.

The simple act of touching and cuddling can make the two of you feel closer. Knowing what your chemicals are telling you to do unconsciously can help your conscious, rational mind to accelerate or put on the brakes as needed. Understanding her attachment style can help you give her what she needs in a relationship, or decide to find someone else if your attachment styles don’t match.
The science of what makes girls fall in love isn’t a magic spell or a Jedi mind trick. It’s the simple act of paying attention to habits, behaviors and preferences with an eye toward the role science plays in affairs of the heart. You can’t hack into her brain and make her fall in love with you, but you can use your knowledge of how the brain works to nurture and deepen attraction that’s already there. Given enough time and the right compatability, that attraction can blossom into love — in all its strange, unique, exciting complexity.

 

Image credit: www.flickr.com/photos/shandilee/15595606566

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AJ Harbinger - author of 368 posts on The Art of Charm

AJ Harbinger is the CEO and co-founder of The Art of Charm. Prior to founding AOC, Harbinger pursued a Ph.D. in Cancer Biology. With no prior knowledge about social dynamics, Harbinger pored over the material, quickly mastering the fundamental concepts. His background in biology helped him to apply the scientific method, taking his book knowledge to the next level through in-field experience. While still at the University of Michigan, he founded The Art of Charm Podcast, which was later featured on SiriusXM Radio. He lives in Hollywood, California, which provides no shortage of places for him to continue to test and develop the techniques taught by The Art of Charm.

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  • anon.

    “social skills”

    Most women like quiet guys. Google for it.

    • Wayne

      I would say 50/50 some women prefer quiet guys but confidence is the more important aspect of a guy that women like

  • dE_logics

    There’s no science in this.

    What you’re talking here about is the initial attraction phase, the lust.

  • Tee

    These qualities are true. Yes, we women do like looks but mainly we notice hygiene, then humor, confidence, and social intelligence. But if you have other qualities in combination with at least one of the others, then you’re good.

  • Ngonie Forbs

    Tht was awsome man i liked it and i thnk this will help me man thnks

  • Robbie Solom

    What about wealth and status? Every man knows women are attracted to men’s wealth and status not confidence, humor and social intelligence (that’s a bunch of bullshit, don’t try to sugarcoat things). Women will marry a wealthy socially awkward shy nerd in a heartbeat.

  • monteboss

    You make a woman falling in love when you punish her when she does something wrong. It will not just gain respect but also her heart.

  • M.B.

    I think you’re misleading readers here. I am a woman and I and my girlfriends all find looks to be pretty important for a man. How important looks are depends on different individuals. We have all seen the gorgeous guy and his average-looking girlfriend as well as the gorgeous girl and her unattractive, buck-toothed boyfriend.

    Just don’t tell your readers that women don’t care about looks. It’s sexist and incorrect. A very large number of women are willing to date an attractive man with no money and a sketchy career just to be with a really handsome man. So, don’t tell us that women don’t care about looks. We absolutely do care about looks and many of us are as superficial as the average guy! The only difference is that an educated, successful man can be willing to overlook a lack of education or success in a woman but not the other way around! We women want the whole shebang!

    • john

      So essentially what you are saying is that women are way more shallow than men? Because I’m certain the statement “the only difference is that an educated, successful man can be willing to overlook a lack of education or success in a woman but not the other way around! We women want the whole shebang!”, is more shallow then anything I or any other man has ever said. You know what is the sad part about that statement? You women, especially the attractive ones, are never satisfied. Most of you “righteous” women will cheat on their husband, boyfriend, fiance, etc, in a heartbeat if you think there is someone better. Scandalous.

      • sayurijo

        M.B. is right. She is absolutely right. Men can be willing to overlook a “lower” class women just because she has big boobs, sexy, very beautiful, has sad eyes, or some fetish looks. That’s the point of being a man. And that’s why this world is a fair place for women, despite that this is a men’s world.

      • Nick Preston

        Truthfully, why woman would want looks over brains is beyond me as an intelligent and aesthetically pleasing man, I value both. In myself, and my female partner. But this woman sounds shallow and uneduCated at a best.

    • kstech

      I wonder about your age?

      • M.B.

        What does age have to do with anything? This is true for many women who are 18 to 99!

  • kurt

    Looks matter at the initial stage.. , its like icing in the cake.. at the end of day, cake matters not the icing…icing will melt and wither away..

    • Kian

      I agree with Kurt. As a female (28) I tend to be more attracted to certain types of guys. Mainly, they range in age but I want to be able to enjoy my time with them. I want to have things in common with them. So we can go out and do things I’d normally do with my friends. If this person is going to be my partner I want to have a intellectual attraction more than anything to him. When I was married we both gained weight, not a lot, but no we aren’t as in shape and fabulous as we were prior to settling and having kids. Back in the dating field 7yrs later I seemed to look for the same. Someone I can enjoy comic books, LoTR, music, gaming and getting out and doing fun things together with. When I date someone I’m open minded. Especially if they’ve been married and have kids like myself. I try to introduce them to things I enjoy and try to learn about the things they enjoy. I’m not the body building, extreme sports, skydiving kind of girl, I’ll watch from a distance but I’m choosing to sit that out. If it’s a problem and we don’t mesh well, it happens. Not everyone was meant to be together. Same as if they don’t enjoy or aren’t understanding of what I like or my past/kids. Now, the guy I’m with (29) enjoys just about everything I do. We do like different things and has introduced me to his world of DnD. He’s extremely attractive it’s funny to watch our waitresses stutter when they take our orders. Or even ladies do a double take when we’re out. He finds me attractive as well, I’m known as his “beautiful lady” among family and friends. We just happened to be lucky and find someone we can enjoy what we love and be physically attracted to. In the end when we grow old we’ll be gray with wrinkles and we can still make each other laugh. He’s a welder and I’m a nurse. In the end I make more money a year it doesn’t matter because we don’t care who pays for what. We just enjoy the time we’re able to have at the end of the day, it’s called home. When we first started dating the thing that caught my attention was his second language is German (we live in the states) and he wanted to go “roller skating, make something, workout at the gym, go to an arcade..” for a first date. The only thing I thought was “We will definitely have fun together!!” I was right! We’re in this for the long haul and whatever else life throws at us. At least in the end we know how to make each other happy and it has nothing to do with how we look or solely involve sex and money.

      • kurt

        its nice to see someone who is really having good time out there.. good luck

  • Lashing

    this is hilarious. People like you or dont. You have to be yourself and if yourself is ugly – work on that. But acting like James Bond probably will end up looking like a goof acting like James Bond. And that wont get you laid.

    Of course this article seems to point to those wanting to be someone other guys kids daddy so ….. if you are looking for a woman who wants you to feed her kids this advice may work. Me I like the Michelle Obama type – you know – she can take care of her own business.

    • Jordan Harbinger

      I definitely agree that people need to work on themselves if they’re the problem. I think we’re also on the same page that being “a goof acting like James Bond” will look as such. That said, this blog and company is not about “getting you laid” so I’m okay if the advice falls short in that area. I also think there’s plenty to be learned from a character specifically designed to be, in many ways, an ideal specimen of the attractive male.

      Good luck bedding the first lady. 😉

  • disqus_kyVdBucVOo

    I have a question for the ladies….
    I was seeing this Guyanese girl. I am 27 and she was 37(even though she looked 18). Anyways. We go on our first date, and everything goes wrong. The show I RSVP cancelled. I got there late..it was a mess. But Since I really wanted to get to know her, I told her lets just be spontaneous! We drove into the city walked up and down 34th street, grabbed some pizza. Very casual date. We sat at some memorial, talked, kissed. Then, I took her back to her place, we end up talking in the car until the sunrises. She asks me to come in, and I do. We watched some movies..both passed out, and fell asleep on eachother. No Sex! And the only reason for that is because I really liked her and want to see where it can go. So we both agreed no Sex right now. We spend the whole next day together like lazy bums, but it was priceless and awesome! We continue texting back and forth since the date which was that Friday before the 4th of July. Then out of the blue she just stops texting me. I am really baffaled because I thought everything was going well. I wasn’t leading her on, or being to much..I thought everything was going well. Any Hints on why she would just disappear. I am guessing she either was alone that weekend and she has someone else, or maybe she felt smothered by me? Any insights ladies?