Guest Author - Meredith Ball
That feeling of butterflies in your stomach, a flush face, a joyful rapid heartbeat, and the smile that you just can't wipe off your face even if you tried. All of these are symptoms of being in love. All of these are signs that you are under the spell of romance. Sound familiar? Have you been there? Are you there now? One phone call from your sweetheart, one letter, even a text message, and your heart flutters around again. Relax, enjoy, and don't panic - this is all completely natural.
Phenethylamine. One word you may never have heard of. We have all heard of the words love and romance, but most likely not phenethylamine, PEA for short. What does PEA have to do with romance? More than we give it credit for.
PEA is a neurotransmitter that we all have in various amounts in our brains. A neurotransmitter carries messages from one cell to another. PEA is carrying important signals that influence our feelings of romance and love. Your body begins releasing more and more PEA once you meet that special someone. Isn't it amazing how once you lock eyes with your honey for the first time, you feel lighter? You can thank PEA for that.
As PEA is released it signals to its friends, serotonin and dopamine, to spread some more happiness throughout your brain as well. This falling in love process is mainly taking place in between the neurotransmitters of your brain. And you thought it was all in your heart? This is not to minimize your feelings, just to understand that your feelings of swooning, racing heart, and joy are a direct result of the natural happy chemicals in your brain.
What happens then when you may start to feel some of that initial excitement and happiness wearing off? Does that mean that you are no longer in love? Of course, this is not the only way to assess whether or not you want to stay with a partner. Often, the initial bursts of PEA and dopamine fade away as your love for that person deepens. When that happens you may not feel the frequency of light-headedness, but you will experience a richer place of love and romance. This phase of love is helped along by oxytocin and endorphins, neurotransmitters that work to sustain a feeling of consistent closeness, nurturing and support.
Whether you are in the first round of dating with constant anticipation and a swirling heart or looking deep into the eyes of your spouse on your tenth anniversary, the love and romance you feel is all natural.