Claire Corlett

Fish Food, Fish Tanks, and More
The Science of Love, with Dr. Helen Fisher

The Science of Love, with Dr. Helen Fisher


We all want to have a good stable relationship
with somebody and one of the problems with early stage intense feelings of romantic love
is that it’s part of the oldest parts of the brain that become activated. Brain regions
linked with drive, with craving, with obsession, with motivation. And in fact some cognitive
regions up I the prefrontal cortex that have evolved much more recently begin to shut down.
Brain regions linked with decision making, planning ahead, you know, people who are madly
in love can fall madly in love with somebody who’s married who lives on the other side
of the planet, who comes from a different religion and somehow they’ll say to themselves
we’ll work it out. We can work this out because of all that energy of intense romantic
love and also the shutting down of various brain systems like with decision making. So
one of the things that I say to people is, you know, before you decide to marry somebody
spend some, a good deal of time with them so that some of that early stage intense feelings
of romantic love can begin to subside and you can begin to really see what you’ve
got. As a matter of fact I’m very optimistic
about the future of relationships because we’re spending so much time now getting
to know somebody before we wed. You know a great many people are having these one night
stands and friends with benefits and living together before they marry. And there was
a recent study in which they asked a lot of single people who were living together with
somebody why have they not yet married. And 67 percent were terrified of divorce, terrified
of the – not only the legal and the financial and the economic but the personal and social
fallout of divorce. And so I began to realize maybe all of this hooking up and friends with
benefits and living together is not recklessness. Maybe it’s caution. Maybe singles are trying
to learn every single thing they can about a potential partner before they tie the knot.
And in short marriage used to be the beginning of a relationship, now it’s the finale.
And I think that that is very positive. As a matter of fact I work with Match.com. I’m
their senior, their chief scientific advisor. And we did a study of married people not on
the site Match.com of course of 1,100 married people. And I had reason well if there’s
this long precommitment stage of getting to know somebody maybe by the time you walk down
the aisle you know what you’ve got, you’re happy with what you’ve got and you’re
going to build a long stable really happy marriage.
Maybe we’re going towards a time of happier marriages because relationships can end before
you tie the knot. So within this study I asked these 1,100 married people a lot of questions
but one of the questions was would you remarry the person you’re currently married to?
And 81 percent said yes. And I think that with what I call fast sex, slow love with
this slow love process of getting to know somebody very carefully over a long period
of time it’s going to help the brain readjust some of these brain regions for decision making.
You’re going to get to know how this person handles your parents at Christmas or whatever
holiday, you know. How they handle your friends. How they handle their money. How they handle
an argument. How they handle getting exercise and their own health and your health, et cetera.
You learn a lot about the person. I think we’re in a – I’m very optimistic about
the future because of this concept of slow love.
I’m not really in the advice business or the should business. I think people should
marry when they feel like marrying. But from what I know about the brain if it were me
I’d wait at least two years because in two years you see the full cycle of the year twice.
You see how they handle Halloween, how they handle Christmas or Hanukkah, how they handle
summer fun. And to see that twice is I think important. And by the way, you can sustain
that intense feeling of romantic love for two years. I’ve studied 5,000 people through
Match.com not on the Match.com site. A representative sample of Americans based on the U.S. census
and a great many of them say that they’ve had the experience of sustained feelings of
intense romantic love for somebody for two to five years. So if you pick the right person
and you know now to sustain some of the joy I think you can create a long term attachment
that is full also of periods of romantic love. We all want to sustain a long term happy partnership
and psychologists will give you a long list of smart ways to sustain it. But I’d like
to say what the brain can add. I studied the brain and the first thing that you want to
do is sustain the three basic brain systems for mating and reproduction. Sex drive – have
sex with the partner, have sex regularly with the partner. If you don’t have time schedule
the time to have sex with the partner because when you have sex with a partner you’re
driving up the testosterone system so you’re going to want to have more sex. But you also
have all the cuddling which is going to drive up the oxytocin system and give you feelings
of attachment and having sex with the person, any kind of stimulation of the genitals drives
up the dopamine system and can sustain feelings of romantic love. So basically having – and
of course there can be good jokes about it and relaxation about it that is good for the
body and the mind. So have sex with a person and sustain that brain system of the sex drive.
To sustain feelings of intense romantic love do novel things together. Novelty drives up
the dopamine system and can sustain feelings of romantic love.
And this isn’t just in the bedroom. Just go to a different restaurant on Friday night.
Take your bicycle instead of a car. Read to each other in bed. Sit together on the couch
and have a discussion about something new. Read new books together. Novelty, novelty,
novelty sustains feelings of intense romantic love. You also want to sustain feelings of
deep attachment and to do that you have to just stay in touch. Learn to sleep in the
person’s arms, at least start that way. Cuddle after dinner. Walk arm in arm down
the street. Hold hands together. Put your foot on top of his foot or her foot while
you’re having dinner, gently of course. But stay in touch. That drives up the oxytocin
system and can give you feelings of deep attachment to the partner. So you want to sustain all
three of those brain systems – sex drive, feelings of romantic love and feelings of
deep attachment. But we’ve also found out what’s going on in the brain in long term
happy partners. We did a study, a brain scanning study of people who were married an average
of 21 years. And those people who are married an average of 21 years who are still madly
in love with their partner showed activity in three brain regions. A brain region linked
with empathy, a brain region linked with controlling your own emotions and a brain region linked
with what we call positive illusions. The simple ability but sometimes hard to overlook
what you don’t like about somebody and then focus on what you do. So last but not least
we’ve now known that if you say several nice things to your partner every day – I
would suggest five but if you can only pull off two or three, whatever, saying nice things
to your partner. That actually reduces their cholesterol, reduces their cortisol which
is the stress hormone and boost their immune system. But it also boosts yours. So what
the brain says about a happy, long term partnership is overlook what you don’t like and focus
on what you do. Express empathy for the partner. Control your own emotions. Have sex with the
partner. Do novel things together. Stay in touch and say several nice things every day
and you will – your brain will help you sustain a long-term deep attachment. We’re
built to love.

100 comments on “The Science of Love, with Dr. Helen Fisher

  1. Thank you! I tell everyone wait two damn years wtf! You don't know shit about them and if u can deal with them stably after two years you can try to get married lol

  2. 4.5/10 Not enough dick/fart jokes. Cum and Go, Ejaculate and Evacuate, i need shit like that in my life. Make it happen.

    ~Love, Nobody that gives a shit ;D

  3. that is comfortable in comparison to posession n insecurity or competition issues. we just calL relationship n affection w slight variations

  4. Relationships are primarily for propagating the human species, not the happiness of the individuals involved. You want to be happy? Forget relationships and cultivate friendships.

  5. I take my time in my own way but slow love isn't something that works for me. I love hard and fast. That's what works for me.

  6. The unspoken downside of "long love" is the utter shattering of the heart after a two-year-long breakup. What Dr. Fisher fails to recognize is that a breakup after a two-year long relationship is just as emotionally damaging as a divorce. Your community is ripped in two, your entire psyche goes into numbness and pain, and you're even more afraid of commitment. And forget the fact that, if all your sexual safeguards ever once fail, and a pregnancy occurs, you either have a child or go through the complete emotional wreckage of an abortion. Her advice, in my opinion, is actually a huge part of the problem of broken families.

    The answer to the facts she presents – that we are irrational while in love – is to have leadership and community in our lives to help us make the wise and important decision of marriage. You don't need two years. You need, among many things, wise guidance.

  7. Ummm we are going to go towards no marriages. There really is very little point in marrying if you already can do everything without marrying someone.

  8. Marriage has many benefits in the United states economically. Not to be confused with love nor a wedding. Though find that special someone before getting married as it is more beneficial in the lifelong relationship.

  9. Affection should be the most simple and common act in a relationship so this kind of advice is a bit redundant. the fact that affection is lacking is not going to cause issues because somethings already wrong. The most important part of relationships are being able to take care of each other, expressing fully how you feel, and loyalty. Anyone can hug and kiss and cuddle. But it really takes someone special for to be able to lean on them for anything, and can be yourself around without judgement. She's really forgetting a lot. There's a reason people are afraid of marriege for more than just devorce.

  10. Granted, these are great methods to sustain a relationship if all is going well. But if it turns out you don't like the person or he/she is one of those who will potentially turns out to be a beater, abuser… having more sex is going to make it a million times harder to leave since it messes with the brain. He/She is BAD but this feels so GOOD kinda detrimental symptoms.

  11. Maybe we are built for dying by stroke due to high colesterol-cortisol levels in our veins cause of the lack of any kind of relationship in our life. Think about it.

  12. Slow love worked for us… my husband and I are sorta old fashioned that way and we've been together since 1999. I trust him and he trusts me… as a result I'm often called "the cool wife" by his friends. We know we wanna be together forever and nothing can change that and we both work towards that goal.

  13. It's true what Dr. Helen Fisher says. My husband and I were together long distance for 3 years on a roller coaster ride of emotions before we got married. Our first 2 years of marriage was tough, learning to adjust to each other's different quirks and habits. We're now married for 17 years, totally into each other, with a lot of give and take, complement and supplement.

  14. So if your (girl – friend) not wants to be friends with benefits with you opportunities are getting smaller to be her man one day… end those worthless hopes she will love you one day… So the "friendzone" real name is in woman term: No sex with you, then will never be my man..

  15. Funny she doesn't talk about love love. Romantic love yes, but not familial or deep love. She says attachment but attachment is not love love. Everything she discusses is linked to a Pavlovian bio-chemical response. Hopefully you actually like, admire and respect your partner.

  16. …and once we're finished looking for perfection we can expect to work a second fulltime job trying to keep a relationship with someone we will eventually come to resent for taking so much out of us. Maybe it IS better to be alone.

  17. Love is continuous hard work and growing in harmony !! There is no ideal person or relationship to obtain WE ALL WANT TO HOLD ONTO SOMTHING RELIABLE AND HAVE CONTROL (Learn how to "let go") Healthy relationships have nothing to do with marriage WORK HARD AND GROW WORK HARD AND GROW Keep it Together Its hard enough work to STAY in LOVE with YOURSELF

  18. When men want to "get to know" a woman, they really just want to have sex. If the women has sex with him early on (before he has the chance to emotionally bond with her) it will most often be an easy come, easy go/situationship. Men are hunters so ladies, make him earn sex if you want a relationship. Be his friend first, not friends with benefits. But as his friend, that way he can learn who you are and you learn about him. Don't give him the candy shop (have sex, live together, have kids, do girlfriend and wife things, etc.) in exchange for a relationship, because you will be short changed and mad. You will become bitter and cold if YOU let it happen too many times. Women! We hold so much power! USE IT! Love y'all!

  19. Every time I engage in a relationship with a girl, I'm only interested in getting my balls in her sugar walls. Period. Love is a social concept anyway. It doesn't have survival relevance of any kind.

  20. I swear this type of thinking is what is what is making some of us into players rather than boyfriends. Reading the comments on how some dudes are #foreveralone , because women are picky as shit. I'm a decently attractive guy, but not 6' tall, and its a lot of hardwork to get a fucking date with someone you like. And don't say I'm just shallow, because I've aimed lower b4 and never goes anywhere. Then you see some of the douchiesst show off giraffes get the better looking women, ok good for them, but then your girl also wants a piece of that, and "friendszones you", but never wants to actually talk. So you say fuckit and repeat wasting time(valuable) and money. So bad intentions can be overlooked as long as a dude is "alpha". Ok, so if you wanna try b4 you buy while focusing on what you like, I'll just say then that what I now like in women goes away with time, and I could give a fuck about feelings and compatibility, cuz all you hoes want is dick and lots. So no, I don't want the leftovers after someone has failed time again giving their best years to some imbecile(s). So yeah I've started looking into Game and that shit actually works. So I hope all the guys catch on, see if women can actually start rewarding something other than assholes. Fuck you very much!

  21. Then religion says you must marry first before anything can happen . Not to add no sex and no spending to much time with each other and absolutely forget living together

  22. that explains why the average length of a marriage is less but it doesn't explain why the divorce rate has gone up

  23. Hahahaha, if all this is true, I am the perfect man for a healthy relationship. Welp, back to watching porn and cuddling my kitten 🙂

  24. a lack of commitment to marriage is what causes divorce. studies show that sliding into a relationship is the antithesis to committing into a relationship.

    it's not a true "test drive" analogy that people think it is. when test driving a car, the car doesn't change over time. So you get a good feel of what the car will be like in 5 years.

    however, people change. so long term relationships, like marriage, require commitment in order for it to succeed. I'm not saying marriage is required for a relationship to succeed, but commitment to each other is vital.

    i like her comments on dating good things to each other everyday. there is good brain science behind that.

  25. OK, I completely understand and agree about the part that you need to get to know someone long enough before you decide to tie the knot. But how is that in any way similar to having one-night-stands?

  26. Why are there only white people who are doing the talking? It seems like everything authoritarian and noteworthy is presented by whites… I would like to see more diversity one day in media

  27. I'm not sure about what this woman has contributed to us… her scientific findings are like "love is an addiction", stuff we already know. and otherwise ripped of personality systems predicting compability while at the same time saying every type is compatible with every type. many claims she does about love are nothing but her biased "intuitive" opinion without any backup. strange that all her "scientific findings" perfectly align with her worldview, for example that the two genders' brains are so different but when it comes to race there's barely a difference, that technology hasn't changed love while she is promoting the dating site she has worked with… god is this woman annoying.

  28. Why bother getting married in the first place is what I don't understand. It is such an outdated concept. True chemistry does not require a certificate. No certificate will hold people together if they are not compatible.

  29. I'm comfortable with the idea I will likely be alone as I'm nearly in my mid-30's and have never had sex, though it has been presented to me in past relationships, due to the fact that I really feel no desire for it; I personally find it distasteful the same way people find certain animals or life-styles distasteful. Because you can't have a relationship without sex, it's pretty much a "that's gonna be a 'no' for me, bro" situation. If I had a choice, I'd rather live my life with a good friend. The best memories for me were always when I was a child and with my friends: there were no pressures, biological or otherwise, to physically please yourself or someone else in the relationship just to feel happy and fulfilled.

  30. …but isn't there something repulsive about the de-mystification and calculation , say 3-5 nice things each day, driving up the oxytocin levels and the brain science explanations etc. ?

  31. What would be the difference between Live-in and married except the easy breakup and difficult divorce . I think this is basically same

  32. This all seems very good and positive but on the downside it also seems if it fails then you’ve set yourself up to have a terrible experience if you break up after giving yourself to your partner like the way she describes.

  33. This is only valid in US. Not for other cultures. The factors this lady has mentioned could be and it is completely different in other cultures, which drives obviously a different dynamic about couples.

  34. Love is the best tangible human manifestation of Hope (not its result) for Happiness; shared innately by all as the variable choice.
    (Global Love Formats) https://facebook.com/notes/book-readers/acx-audible-now-available/1137301952979399

  35. Her talk doesnt include a fondamental truth about why we fall in love so quickly and intensely – it is to give us (and mainly to women who have stronger biological pressure) the opportunity to have children. Being cautious and taking years to make up your mind on marriage may help some couples avoid the horrors of divorce, but at the same time it limits our chances of having offspring, a fondamental biological need and it influences enormously our state of mind. So no, I don't see it as a positive thing and I believe it has – for most people, not all – negative psychological consequences on a long term.

  36. Very true, I'll remarried my partner over again and again after 25 yrs. He let's me be myself and loves me the way I'm crazy, impulsive, kind, caring, funny, stubburn, determine, and strong woman but respectful and loving. He tells me nice things all the time even when I have not been at my best and overlooks at what he doesn't like but focus on the positve.

  37. Fell in love with someone on the literal other side of the planet and we for sure worked it out! Coming up on our tenth wedding anniversary and still in love with each other.

  38. "Maybe it's not recklessness, maybe it's caution." I can't believe how much more sense this makes to me than to frown on early sexual and intimate behavior (including living together). Such a simple comment, yet the viewpoint behind it is so profound. I really think today's couples are making wiser decisions in how they approach relationships than they did 50-70 years ago.

  39. So how come the divorce rate us higher than it was when people married earlier? If you waited two years then break up too many times you would end up with a lot of people waiting longer to have kids.. oh wait that's already happened.

  40. I despise how PC makes mention of Xmas to Hannakha – Please!!
    Xmas is biggest holiday for Christians & for Jews Hannaka is smallest holiday. Ugh

  41. 00:06 Assuming that everyone wants or feels that they want to be in a romantic relationship/marriage is untrue. Some people, seeing who is out there, realize they are better off, remaining celibate & single.

  42. I am still trying to figure out who I married 40 years ago. But I have figured out two things. 1) we have a Christ centered marriage; and 2) a day does not go by that we don't get silly with one another and have a good laugh. Seriously, we really enjoy ourselves and each other. I can not tell you how many times our grown daughter rolls her eyes and gives us that 'Oh God there they go again' look.

  43. A RELATIONSHIP BEFORE AND AFTER MARRIAGE IS A TOTALLY DIFFERENT RELATIONSHIP….SO WHAT YOU SAY IS NOT ACCURATE. From the astrological chart *I do relationhip charts for people) a love affair is different than the marriage house….a different relationship….a love affair can be great even for 19 years but as soon as the relationship goes into the marriage house…it becomes no longer two people but one entity…a separate chart for the relationship..and it is different…so there is no amount of time that can predict that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *