It’s no secret that love and relationships can be complicated and there are a lot of theories, opinions, and debates about what does and doesn’t work while you’re dating. However, there are a few things about love and relationships that are indisputable. We did a little research and found 11 love and relationship facts, based on science and data, that you may not have heard of before.
Fact #1: Love works like a drug.
You know what’s better than cocaine? Love. It’s no secret that being in a loving relationship unleashes a host of neurological reactions in our bodies. One study found that increased levels of adrenaline, oxytocin, and dopamine are found in the brains of people who are in love. This leads to euphoria-like symptoms, not unlike what happens with cocaine.
Fact #2: Love, or at least attraction, can be at first sight.
The brain calculates an amazing amount of information in a short amount of time, including knowing in a few moments whether you’re attracted to someone. The prefrontal cortex region of the brain plays a major part in making that decision, as was shown in another study when the region buzzed up when people saw photos of individuals they were attracted to or liked. Researchers took the information into a speed dating setting, and found a link between who people buzzed for and who ultimately exchanged numbers at the end of the session.
Fact #3: Being close to someone doesn’t necessarily mean it’s meant to be.
The perfect fit in a relationship may not be the right fit for you. A 2013 Columbia University study of 732 couples found that couples who felt too close to each other were just as likely to break up as people who didn’t feel close enough. However, it’s important to note that some couples in the study realigned what their definition of closeness was over a two-year period, improving the quality of their relationship.
Fact #4: People have tried to come up with a formula for love.
One popular theory of love is the triangular theory of love developed by a psychologist named Robert Sternberg. He presented it in 1985 and hypothesized that a combination of intimacy, passion, and commitment constituted romantic love in its complete form. And what’s perhaps even more interesting is that when one of these three factors is missing you get stuck with other forms of love such as empty love, liking or friendship, or compassionate love. Unfortunately, the theory was tested by others, and the results were less than stellar. The researchers concluded the theory needed more sound measures.
Fact #5: Japan has two Valentine’s Days.
While Valentine’s Day does exist in Japan, the nation has a follow up to the romantic holiday called White Day. It’s tough to understand the full meaning of the holiday from the title so here’s a short explanation: In Japan, Valentine’s Day is for women to present chocolates and treats to men. Men reciprocate a month later on White Day, giving gifts to the women that found the courage to express their love.
Fact #6: It was once thought that the ring finger had a vein that led straight to the heart.
The idea of the ring finger is more than just a tradition. It stems from Greek and Romans who theorized that the fourth finger on your left hand (the ring finger) had a vein that led right to the heart. It was called the vena amoris (the vein of love). Unfortunately, modern science demystified the belief, saying there is no vein that goes directly from the finger to the heart but it’s still a nice thought.
Fact #7: Love potions used to be made with sweat.
Back in the days of yore (think Shakespeare), people would use their sweat as an active ingredient in love potions. Women would carry peeled apples in their armpits to soak up the fragrance before giving it as a treat to men. For men, it wasn’t fruit but hankies stuffed into their armpits that gave them hope of attracting women with their scent.
Fact #8: Many think laughter leads to love.
One theory is that laughter leads to some of the best relationships. It’s been shown that couples who laugh together have a more unique moment, leading to the ability to share a memory of the unique moment and thus a connection.
Fact #9: Love makes us taste things differently.
One study showed that thinking about love can make things taste better—particularly, it can make them sweeter. Participants were asked to write about love and jealousy then eat gummies and bitter chocolate. People who wrote about love said the candy was sweeter than those who wrote about jealousy. Scientists also did a second experiment, repeating the process but changing it from candy to water. Again, those who wrote about love talked about the water having a sweeter taste.
Fact #10: Love makes you lose your focus.
There may not be a specific disease associated with being love sick, but there is science to show that you’re less productive. People who had high levels of passionate love had decreased efficiency in individual performance. In short, you lose the ability to focus and gain the ability to think about the other person constantly.
Fact #11: Speed dating was created in the late 90s.
The first official speed date was organized in 1998 by Rabbi Yaacov Deyo, who wanted to expedite the process for young Jewish singles to meet each other. Organizers used Excel spreadsheets to track would-be matches. One thing they couldn’t track was how fast the idea would catch on. Television shows centered around speed dating cropped up, even after the company Deyo trademarked SpeedDating.