Love is addicting.

The butterflies, the rush of goodness, the feeling that you are floating on top of the world…

Did you know research has identified 3 different stages of love? Not only have we found that there are distinct romantic phases, but they are also tied to different hormones!

Check them out:

Stage 1: Lust

Lust is that wild with desire stage. It is dominated by the sex hormones testosterone and estrogen. Testosterone pumps in both men and women pushing sex drive, attraction and mating tendencies. Both men and women highlight their levels of testosterone and estrogen to show off their fertility and attract a mate. Here is a video on some of the differences between men and women’s lust signs:

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Stage 2: Attraction

During the attraction phase couples are heady in love and are overcome with their feelings. Typically people can’t think of anything else—forgetting to eat and sleep. There are important neuro-transmitters that come into play during this stage.

  • Dopamine – Is released in our rewards center of the brain and makes us feel like we are winning a prize when we are with our beloved.
  • Norepinephrine – This is also called adrenalin and it causes us to literally feel our love by getting our heart pumping, making us blush and sweat around our new beau.

Discover how good you are at reading body language of your date with our Nonverbal Quiz.

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Stage 3: Attachment

After the wild feelings of lust, and then the excitement of attraction, then comes attachment. The attachment phase helps couples grow bonds and feel connected to each other. It is where people decide to depend on their partner. Two hormones come into play here:

  • Oxytocin – This is also called the ‘cuddle hormone’ because it is released when we are touched, make eye contact and feel connected to someone.
  • Vasopressin – This little chemical comes into play to help us feel long-term connection with someone and preceded commitment.

About Science of People

Our mission is to help you achieve your social and professional goals faster using science-backed, practical advice. Our team curates the best communication, relationship, and social skills research; turning into actionable and relatable life skills. Science of People was founded by Vanessa Van Edwards, bestselling author of Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People. As a recovering awkward person, Vanessa helps millions find their inner charisma.

7 replies on “The 3 Stages of Love”

  1. Chris

    What is the word for the feeling between Like and Love? You really Like the person and you know you are on that path to Love and if all goes well you’ll get there but what is that? Not ready to say to them that I Love them but also don’t want to minimize the feeling by saying I Like them. If I were to say I Love them, this could be perceived as premature and scare them away. Likewise only saying I Like them may impart the idea that it is a friends only thing and not going anywhere and therefore scare them away. I want to say I _______ You! Is there such a word? Or is there no simplifying it to one word?

  2. Lilah Sullivan

    what if its long distance? me and my boyfriend are about to hit 6 months in a long distance relationship, do these stages still apply?

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