Posted on April 22, 2014 by

Why Being Cool and Being In Love Can’t Coexist

You’re walking down the street with a ‘too cool for school’ expression on your face as you look right through the people you’re passing. To say you have composure is an understatement. You’re so cool all the cucumbers on the planet are no match for you. Others furtively shoot you admiring glances because you have it together like no one else within a one-mile radius of you does. You are the living definition of cool, calm and collected.

cool-kids This posse of cool kids is the kind of crowd you run with. Or it was before you fell in love.

Then one day you’ve fallen in love so hard and fast that it’s become a dizzying process trying to remember just how it all happened. How did you get reduced so quickly and effortlessly into a puddle of goo? You were supposed to have been part of the Cool Gang! But you now live and breathe only for your new love. Every thought that creeps into your head – at home, work, or even the gas station – is spent thinking of this one-of-a-kind person who is capable of lighting up your world like no one else can. Your heart races, your breath quickens and your palms sweat out of control when that person’s face dances across your mind. You count down the days, hours, minutes and seconds until you can see the love of your life again. Suddenly, it seems as if every sappy love song that was recorded between 1960 and today was written with you and your love in mind. In fact, it seems your relationship is every poet and songwriter’s muse.

greys-anatomy-in-love Those disgusting lovebirds, Drs. Meredith Grey and Derek Shepherd. Most of us have been there before and know that urge to smother our significant others with our love.

There’s a scientific reason for explaining exactly why being cool and being happy and totally in love simply cannot and do not coexist: chemicals. In particular, dopamine and norepinephrine flood your brain, resulting in the heady euphoria you feel when you’re in love. Dopamine is a feel-good chemical that gives us that sense of pleasure and euphoria we experience when we’re in love. Norephinephrine works like adrenaline and is responsible for the rapid heart beat and heightened joy. Anthropologist Helen Fisher of Rutgers University has noted that these two chemicals work as a team to create our lovey-dovey feelings of bliss, restlessness, excitement and craving about our partners. Not coincidentally, when you use cocaine, your brain also triggers the release of dopamine, resulting in that same feeling of euphoria. Ms. Fisher argues that love, just like drugs, is a genuine addiction and the experience of both gives way to constant cravings for more of the same.

Although our dopamine levels surge when we’re completely blinded by love, the amount of the neurotransmitter serotonin will noticeably drop. Again not coincidentally, those who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder also experience reduced levels of serotonin, indicating it is entirely possible that when we fall in love, we become obsessive about our new paramours. Those who are newly in love experience a surge in stress response molecules as well. It takes at least a year to a year and a half for serotonin and stress response molecules to normalize in such love-stricken individuals.

bunnies-smitten Do these smitten bunnies look cool? No, even smitten bunnies cannot refrain from laying the love on thick.

Our brain chemicals have thus demonstrated why we can’t be cool and be in love simultaneously. The two experiences are mutually exclusive. When we’re truly head over heels in love with a special someone, we can’t see anyone or anything else around us except for our true loves. Lovebirds walk around in a lovesick daze and don’t have regard for anyone who happens to be witness to their public displays of affection or raw vulnerability. To be in love is to lose one’s cool exterior and be at the complete mercy of the person we have fallen hard for. Any couple madly in love can attest to that.


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2 Responses to Why Being Cool and Being In Love Can’t Coexist

  1. Meg says:

    Those bunnies!

  2. Ronald says:

    Thank you for the great information!