What can the social and life sciences tell us about the most fundamental and unquantifiable human experience—love? Join us as we chat with Dr. Anna Machin about why we love and the science behind our closest relationships. We discuss the importance of not just romantic love but the love we share with friends, family and even pets, why we're all wired differently from how we love to when we say the l-word, and why it's essential love bravely even in a world where it feels like dating sucks.
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S14E21: Why We Love w/Dr. Anna Machin
00:00:00 - 00:05:00
This episode is made possible by drizzly. We're always celebrating something in the summer. Weddings, birthdays, showers, graduations, Wednesdays, the list goes on. And finding the perfect gift for those celebrations can be tough, or at least it was, because now there's drizzly, the number one app for alcohol delivery, with drizzly, you can compare prices on the largest selection of beer, wine, and spirits. Then send them out to that special summon in under 60 minutes or scheduled up to two weeks in advance. It's basically the ultimate gifting cheat code because drinks are basically the ultimate gift. Think about it. When's the last time you returned alcohol? Never exactly. So if you're looking to spend more time celebrating and less time gift shopping, download the drizzly app or go to drizzly dot com that's DRI dot com to find their perfect drinks without breaking the bank today. This episode is made possible by sugar break. I have a confession. I have a sweet tooth, and every year I make it a goal to eat less sugar. And I'm not alone, 90% of Americans are actively trying to reduce our sugar intake. Now, this year, I may actually accomplish that goal with sugar break, a plant based natural solution that helps people manage their blood sugar as part of a healthy lifestyle without completely altering their daily lives or costing an arm and a leg. There are three core products, the sugar break resist as a natural minty fresh breath strip that blocks sweet taste in food and curbs sugar cravings on the spot. Sugar breaks stabilize is a pre meal capsule made with white mulberry leaf, a powerful plant ingredient that helps block carb and sugar absorption and slow down digestion. And then there's sugar break reduce, a daily capsule that helps maintain healthy, balanced blood sugar day in and day out. Of course, please consult your doctor before starting any supplements. Now for our listeners only get 15% off your entire order, just visit sugar break dot com slash dateable and use the code data for 15% off. This applies to any products on the site. Again, just go to WWW dot sugar break dot com slash dateable and use a code DA TE ABL E for 15% off your entire order. The data podcast is an insider's look into modern dating that The Huffington Post calls one of the top ten podcasts about love and sex. On each episode, we'll talk to real daters about everything from sex parties to sex droughts, date fails to diaper fetishes and first moves to first loves. I'm your host UA Shu, former dating coach turned dating sociologist. You also hear from my co host and producer Julie Kraft chick as we explore this crazy dateable world. Hello, beautiful Friends. Welcome to another episode of the dateable podcast. We have so much to celebrate on this episode because it is our season finale for season 14. Doesn't mean we stop the content, it just means we stop the interviews for now. We can take a little breather, you'll still hear from us, but it's just a wrap up of a nice, beautiful season, but additionally, we're also celebrating Julie's birthday. Oh my God. By the time this airs, you'll already be old, so let's just celebrate the fact that you're still not old yet. It's all relative. I have to go real issue at my age this year. I don't know. You don't know your age or no. I wish. I wish that was the case. I don't know. And I know I'm not old and I don't want to say that I'm all because I know people will be like, you're not old. I've turning 39, but I don't know what it is. I just have this gut this year. Feeling of just being a little, I don't know. You know, like sometimes with your birthday, it brings up, where are you in life? All that stuff. But I did stop out of it and just get into celebratory mode. Yeah, 'cause I'm coming into town. We're gonna party until 10 p.m.. Yes. That's how we do it. About to do more shots for egg freezing. So yeah, it's gonna be a real party on my birthday. Should we be there for the shots? Julie texted me. It was like, okay, we can hang out Wednesday. Let's go out to dinner, but I have to do shots first. I give my mind I was like, damn, girl, you getting it. That's the difference of aging. What shots means to you? In my mind, I'm just like, oh yeah, this is obvious. I like to read it a couple times. I was like, does she mean she's gonna do shots by herself first? And then we can come. I wasn't sure what's happening. But I was like, yes. And then you're like, oh, no. Oh. Not as exciting, but equally as important. It's gonna be a wild birthday. Shots should be a while, birthday. Yep, no, I don't think I should be doing shots shots, but I will be supporting you all if you would like to do shots. No, I can't. I can't do that anymore. Even outside this. I one of my friends God bless her. She has a kid, but when she's off mom duty, she is like, she's ready.
00:05:00 - 00:10:00
She's ready. And we went to her birthday brunch, and I forgot. Wait, at 11, we're doing this. Yeah. Nope, I can't hang like that. I can't do it anymore. I can't do it anymore. But I'm looking forward to your birthday. I think 39 is a really big birthday. It's not the 40 or the 30th it's not really the decades. I think it's the year before the new decade. I think that's the most important birthday because you get to reflect on this decade, what has been happening, what you want to go in to your 40s with. So you have a whole year to figure that shit out. This is very therapeutic because I need a shift. I need to get out of this, oh, I'm getting older mentality to this celebrating mentality. And the episode we're doing today, you ate originally. We're like, oh, we'll save this one for next season. It's gonna be a great beginning one. And then we were like, we need to air this actually. We're gonna make this the finale. And it's a reminder of, you know, one, why are we even doing what we're doing in the first place? Sometimes when we're in the thick of dating in the parts of dating that maybe aren't as fun. We forget why is it that we need love? And I think the other side of it too is it's not just celebrating romantic love. It's celebrating all the love that we have in our lives. Yes. And I feel like that's such an important reminder that in society we have such the emphasis on romantic love. We talk about this in the episode. You know, friendship. I feel like friendship has been so essential to me for my own growth for just feeling loved and feeling like not lonely in life and feeling like I have people on my side and I can be there for them as well. And I think friendship is a very underappreciated form of love and pets. I know you feel strongly about pets. We go into that very obviously family. Like there's just so many forms of love and oftentimes, you know, especially when we're seeking that big love, we forget about the rest of the love that's already there. I'm glad you brought that up because I think that's been huge for me to realize is that love is more than just romantic love and in case you didn't know this episode is about love, but also why we love. And I like that this season. I feel like there's been an underlying theme of getting to the why. Why do you date? Why do you love? Why do you have sex, getting to the why is so important because then it gives us a north star. For so long, I think for me, it was just like, I should be in love because society tells me I should be a love. That's when I'm whole. That's when I'm complete. It's not necessarily the case. I realize I want love and I want to love others because it makes me feel like I'm connected to other people and I'm connected to this earth and it makes it just makes me feel more present. And so getting to the why is so important and I think there's something very intriguing about saying like loving, loving things around you, even if it's not a person or a living thing too. Loving giving love to your plants has shown that your plants grow better because you show that love, but also this idea of like loving the thoughts that come into your head, you know, even negative thoughts just being like, I appreciate that thought. I love that thought. I'm not going to accept the negative thought, but I will accept the positive thought too. So it's like, love can be in so many dimensions, not just physical, human love. Definitely. And it just relieves so much pressure too. I feel like, you know, want to even find that one love. But also, even when you're in the partnership, once you actually have found someone to love and have that romantic love, I hate when people just drop all their friends the second they find love. Like that to me, it's just like, why? Is this just a filler until you found love? I don't feel like my friendships, the point is people I can go out with so I can meet guys. Like, that's never been my mentality. And sometimes it's important to have friends that are in the same life stage as you. When I was single, it was good to have single friends just so we could talk and they could understand where I was. But I don't think I'd ever be like, oh, I can't hang out with you now, 'cause you're not single or like when I was single, oh, my married friends or friends in relationship. I'm not gonna hang out with them. I think it's not related to that. It's more of like what bond that you have and you can learn from people that are in the same stage of life as you, in addition to people who are in different stages of life. And so for everyone listening, you can probably guess why we want this is our season finale because it's making me feel warm and fuzzy and also just ready for the rest of the summer, just summer they show is the time for love. Again, it doesn't have to be romantic love, but how can we activate more of those love muscles inside of us? And our guest today, Anna is going to show us how we can activate more of that love, totally. I really believe if you are single, if you are activating all the other love in your life and you have a full life.
00:10:00 - 00:15:01
That doesn't mean that you can't want that partner. It's not distracting from that. But it makes dating just so much more enjoyable when you're like it really does. It really does. For me, I know when I kind of made this boundary essentially, I don't love that word boundary, but it is a boundary that I made this, I never went on dates on Friday nights. That was always my thing when I was first meeting people. I saved that for a night out with Friends because I knew that I needed that. I needed that nourishment that that love gave me, right? And I knew if I was just going on date after date and they weren't working out, I would just feel lonely and upset and I needed to rely on the people that have been there for 15 years, you know? That's true. That's who knows and loves me, and I'll always remember Amy Spencer episode. We did a long time ago, finding your half orange. And she had very extreme views on this that basically should stop looking completely, which I don't know if I fully agree with because I do think you kind of did put yourself out a little, but she was saying she would not go to certain events because she knew there wouldn't be single people there. And then she's like, wait, why am I doing this? Because if I'm looking for relationships to make me happy, I already have relationships that make me happy. I might as well have that be an emphasis in my life and then let whoever else comes in come in. And I think there's a lot of power of that of dot putting so much pressure and so much emphasis on what you don't have, but rather looking at what you do have. It's sort of related to our last week's episode with Ian kerner about sex and intercourse versus outer course and if you haven't listened to that episode, the whole point of that episode I think is to not put intercourse or sex as the focus, but putting pleasure as you focus and pleasure can be a whole plethora of different intercourse and outer course of foreplay as core play. Just listen to the episode, but I feel like finding love is in the same vein where we're so focused on finding love that we neglect everything else in our lives that we lose focus, the focus is not about finding that one single love. I think the focus is to build as much love as possible in your life, right? So if we don't come into an event or go to the bars with that focus of like, oh, I must find the one for me. Then you can see love everywhere and when you are fulfilled, that's when you're most ready for a relationship. When you are so full of love, to give definitely. Yeah, I think it's a good segue to summon announcements, but I feel like one of the things that really cracked me up this week was in our Facebook group, love of the time of Corona, our moderator Janice always puts up, you know, questions about the episode. It's a way to chime in. I love it. It's like a 360 way to like comment on what's you're probably thinking in your head adhere from others. But a lot of times there's poles involved too, which is really fun for us too to get a pulse of what where everyone's at and what's going on in the world of modern dating. But she put one up about so tell me about the last time you had sex, which is that of our episode with Ian Kurt, which is also the name of his book. In the way that we wrote it was tell me about the last time you had sex with Ian kerner because that's the guest. It didn't even register to me. Until someone put that as a whole option, you can add like, I've never had sex with the encore. I do not know Ian kerner like that. It really made me laugh. So anyways, that's our plug, joy, love at the time of Corona at dateable podcast is our Instagram. You could add to all the polls, polling is one of our favorite things to do. So, you know, be part of it all. It's so much fun. There's some funny things that happen in the group. And it's a good chance to put your brunch talk questions too. That's kind of the other announcement. If you are new to the show and haven't been following for a bit, we have this primary episode that is every Tuesday night Wednesday, depending on your time zone, it drops at midnight on EST, so technically Wednesday there, but for all intents and purposes we'll say Tuesday night. And we do this new episode. That's, you know, 20 minutes, a little shorter than this one. It's just a good way to get your weekend going. We call it brunch talk. Depending again on your time zone, but around brunch time, give or take, and it's a good way to get some of the questions that have been top of mind for folks. And you can always reach out to us at dateable podcast on Instagram. We get a lot that way. Hello at data will podcast dot com through the website through the Facebook group. There's many ways to feel these questions and we love all the ones coming in and it's been really great to do this extra episode. So we're pumped to get all of your dating sagas in. We love reading the questions. And like you said, we are going on the off season that does not mean we're going away.
00:15:01 - 00:20:01
We will still have episodes every week until season 15 season 15. So skip ahead. I was like, wait, what are we? Season 15. I say this all the time, but I just can't believe it. We say 50. And we have a lot of good stuff in store for 15. We've actually been already recording a lot of teeth. We're like a little ahead of the game right now, which is a good place to be for us. But of course, we're still looking for people that have stories. So you go to our website and submit any of your personal stories or, you know, make a post DM, all that. You can get in touch with us. We're here. Just don't show up at our doorstep. Yeah. Exactly. That's the only thing we have. It's the only thing. That's the only thing we ask. Okay. Well, before we get into it, let's take a minute to hear from our sponsors. This episode is sponsored by Kensington books, and we've got two books to highlight. First up, the last mile by Kat Martin. Channeling Indiana Jones, New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin, pairs a woman in search of her family's truth with a hard hitting professional treasure hunter for the second blood ties romantic thriller. As an unknown assailant stalks them across a treacherous Sierra madre wilderness, they race to follow their treasure maps directions to a hidden trove of gold, a novel of taut suspense and danger. Another great book by Kat Martin is called the last good night. From Colorado's cattle country to Denver high rises in the posh mansions of veil, a female PI and the rancher who hired her, race to deliver justice in this sexy, high octane romantic thriller. Can she find a killer before he finds her? It's no doubt that cat Martin's tightly plotted action packed romances are just a steamy as they are thrilling. By now more about the last mile and the last good night on Kensington books dot com or wherever books are sold. Okay, let's hear it from doctor Anna mechan. What is love and why do we love? Those are the some of the questions we ask, right? And I'm sure we've all talked about it with our friends and our partners, but what is love and why do we love? That is the focus of our conversation today with our guest doctor Anna machin. How are you, Anna? I'm gay. Thank you. Thanks for joining us all the way from the UK. She's 46 years old, lives in Buckingham. She's been there for 11 years, originally from Oxford, and she is married. Now she's an evolutionary anthropologist at the department of experimental psychology at Oxford University. She's the author of a book on fatherhood, the life of dad, the making of the modern father and her recent title why we love the new science behind our closest relationships really peaked our interest. So let's get right into it because our listeners love talking about science and data and numbers and anthropology. So in your words, why is love the most fundamental and unquantifiable human experience? It's the most fundamental because without it we don't exist as a species. So it evolved because we needed it because it infiltrates every aspect of your being. Every fiber of your biological being, every aspect of your psychological being, every aspect of your cultural life is infiltrated by ideas about love. And I think it's unquantifiable because however much we know about love from a scientific point of view, which is quite a lot now. There's always a bit of it we will never be able to touch. And that's the bit that is subjective, because I don't know whether what I say is love is the same as what you say is love. How you're feeling, are they even in the same ballpark? We will never know, because I can't experience your love. That's the bit that we'll never be able to touch, which I actually quite like that. I think it's good that there's that little bit of mystery left, however much we dig into the science behind it. That's why we want love, right? So there is growing evidence. That humid happy this comes down to the quality of our relationship. So there's been a lot of studies about being lonely and loneliness is the big endemic and it's more dangerous than smoking, it being obese. Why do you think this is the case? Why is love so essential to our core being? The several reasons. I mean, as you're completely right, there's a lot of evidence now about that. Lots of studies are coming out, which are showing that, yeah, the key factor in your longevity, your physical mental health, your life satisfaction, your happiness is the relationships you build with other people. And there's several reasons why that might be, it might simply be that having all those people around you supports you in times of need. So it might be that they support you practically, they might support you financially, they might support your emotionally. It's probably because the neurochemistry that's released when you're with them is just so many happy chemicals and it really underpins your mental health. And it's the newest angle on this is the possibility that particularly something like beta endorphin, which is released when we interact with each other. Actually underpins your immune system. So there is actually a role in B 20 endorphin making sure that your immune system is sort of in tip top shape. So those are probably the main reasons why it's linked to all these positive results we're finding about social contact and health going forward.
00:20:01 - 00:25:06
And I think also just from my point of view, looking at all the different mechanisms that are involved in love, just because it just engages every part of your being. So when you're in love, every part of your being is tuned to be with that other person to be as close to that other person as possible. It's actually known as bio behavioral synchrony, and we might talk about that later, maybe. But when you're with somebody else, everything is sort of angled towards them. And I think that's probably got something to do with it as well. It's how we're supposed to be. We are a social species. We are supposed to be with each other. And speaking of love, I mean, there are different kinds of love. There's romantic love, but there's all kinds of platonic love, Emilio love, there's animal love. Is there a hierarchy in terms of which kind of love we prioritize? This definitely won until what we prioritize and I kind of, I get a bit like ranty about this. So romantic love is definitely privileged. Okay, we place it on top of the hierarchy. If you think of all the messages we get from the media, even from our cultures, the idea is you couple up and you know you end up with somebody and if you don't do that in your life then you're some sort of lonely sad figure. But that's kind of how we prioritize it. And it's strange because there's nothing biological to underpin that, to be honest. So in terms of the benefits of love to you, you will get those from, if you love your Friends, if you love your family, possibly even something like if you love your God, we need to do a bit more research on things like that. But certainly, it's more like a flat spectrum of different sorts of loves rather than a hierarchy. And that's one of the reasons I wrote my book is because I wanted us to re-engage with that spectrum, because a lot of the books that have been written before have been unraveling romantic love. And obviously that's really helpful. But they disregard the other sorts of love and one of the things that makes us human is this amazing array of people and beings, we can love and no other species does it to the extent that we do it. So I definitely I feel like as someone that was single in their 30s, what a lot of my Friends were coupled up. Having friends filled a lot of that void of loneliness and I definitely agree with that, but I also hear people arguing and now being in a couple, I do see how it's a little different. Like you have this person that does life with you more and it's your partner where your Friends kind of have their old lives and it's not intertwined as much. How would you respond to that? Would you feel that, you know, is it still important to find that romantic love or can you do life without it? You can certainly do life without it. I've written recently a lot on things called platonic life partnerships and perhaps sonic life partnerships are all about aiming towards having that companion in life. That person that your life is intertwined with, that person you live with, possibly even decide to have children through assisted fertility, but it's based on platonic love. And this is certainly something that's starting to happen more within the queer community. Particularly amongst aromantics and asexual people, but it's something that's starting to spread into wider communities into the straight community where you, yeah, you want obviously we want someone to grow old with. We want someone to maybe share a house with share a life with shared memories with in that very close way. But again, tell ri we recently, that's always been, well, that person has to be romantic. That person has to be a romantic partner. And actually, we're starting to think about that in a different way. It's actually could that person be a platonic person. Someone who because platonic love is very powerful. Very, very powerful. And certainly we know for women, if we look at things like emotional intimacy, quite often women are more emotionally intimate with their female best friends than they are with their romantic partner. So I think we disregard close platonic love actually. It's more about as re orientating our ideas from our culture than necessarily because it's a lesser form of love. So I think what I'm hearing from you is it's less about romantic versus platonic, but more about someone that's going to be your life partner. Intertwined, where I think what happens in platonic love a lot with friendship is it's two people that, you know, there is a love, but they're also on their own past, but I heard like some of my friends were joking. Like, we're just going to go Golden Girls style and I'll get a home together. And I feel like that you're saying could be could give you the same biological effects of romantic love. Absolutely. And it's something that we have had in history before. And certainly some cultures definitely do it, but even if I look at like British history, in the Victorian era, there's this thing of spinsters becoming companions for each other. There was this understanding that these spinsters did not want to grow old on their own. And for what, you know, then there were very strict rules about, you know, if you hadn't got married by the time you were 22, then you would definitely on the shelf. And so, you know, so they would become companions for each other. And they would grow old together. Now, I must admit for some of them, it was the front for being gay. When that was unacceptable. But for some, it was very much a platonic relationship that they lived their lives together. So what do you think is a downfall of, so we observe this, and I've definitely done this myself, is that when you're so focused on finding romantic love, you close yourself off to platonic love or maybe you just don't work on those relationships as much.
00:25:06 - 00:30:00
What do you think as a downfall of that is when you're so laser focused on finding romantic love? You're right. I think if you're very laser focused and you spend a lot of your time trying to find that romantic love and obviously there are so many tools now for helping you do that. I think we do then start to neglect our friendships. And I think we do underestimate the importance of our friendships actually in our society. And they're kind of like the backup relationship. You know, the one you fall back on when you can't find your romantic partner or your boyfriend or your girlfriend's not around to do something with it. I know, I'll go out with my friends. So I think we do, I think we do neglect it. And I think it's, again, it's just about a change. And again, that's why in the book I say this is a whole chapter, which is just about friendship. Because I think we need to re-engage with that, that body of people, that group of people, because they are really, really important. And they're important, not just as maybe a counter to romantic love, but for a lot of people, counter to family love, not everybody gets on with their family. And I spoke to a lot of people who have chosen families, and they're chosen families are their friends. And these people are as, if not more important to them, than their blood family. Yeah, I mean, I think even if you don't not get along, but I know for myself, I live across the country for my family. So it's just proximity alone doesn't allow me to be as close to them. I think my biggest pet peeve is what people are like, I'm gonna drop all my Friends when I find a romantic partner. I think the worst and I guess how do you start appreciating people, it seeing that value that you're saying, that this is just as valuable to my overwhelm by overall, well-being and also not even just the selfish side I value my love with this person. I think you need to reflect on those relationships and I'm as guilty as anybody else have not doing that. But for example, my relationship with my best friend, apart from those I have like with my parents and my sibling, it's the longest relationship I've had longer than I've been married. So we met when we were ten. 36 years ago. Wow. And she is still my best friend. She actually does live in Los Angeles. She lives over there. But I saw her again after two years because of COVID a couple of weeks ago. And it was just so amazing. And it was kind of like really emotional. I wasn't expecting it to be as emotional, even with what I study. I think you have to kind of reflect on that. You have to, you have to think of the benefits of that relationship. One person, if you're can not bring you everything. No. They just can't in a romantic relationship. That's not possible. And you need that hinterland of friendship. So I think it's about positively really thinking about, what do these people bring to my life? What is it that's different about them? Why do I need them? Why do they have to fit together in the jigsaw of who supports me? And certainly, you know, we know again from studies comparing sort of romantic relationships and best friendships. And men and women actually, that friendships bring kind of an un judgmental, uncomplicated, relaxing reassurance. Yes. Because the thing about romantic relationships is that there's always a very even in the happiest romantic relationships. There's always a tension there. Just a very slight tension. And that's because you kind of both know even unconsciously that there is competition out there. If you see what I mean. It's conditional love. This conditional. There is. If this person doesn't do this a 100%, I may leave with my friendship, you would never think that. You would never think that. It's very rare for you to think that. I think a friend has to do something pretty awful for you to go. Actually, this is we're not doing this anymore. So I think from our studies, certainly that's what that shows, you know, women get this emotional intimacy and a lot of the women I spoke to for the book, it was all about that nonjudgmental support. Whereas maybe their families judged their decisions or romantic partners had judged them all and not been good for them or whatever it was, but their friends had always been there. Like this rock that you could return to. And one woman said to me, you know, they've seen me at my worst. They've seen me at the most vaulting at just the most unpleasant side of my character and they're still here. Do you believe in because I certainly have seen this in myself is that when you work on love and other areas of your life that aren't romantic, it actually helps with romantic love. And something that you have research backing this up is our love for our pets. When I got my first pet mojo and I talk about him all the time, this was 5 years ago. I've never felt that kind of love before and that's when I really open myself up to find my current partner that I can fully love. So I guess it's a twofold question is what is the love we feel for our pets and how do the different kinds of loves affect romantic love? I think certainly, yeah, you can because again, as you said, romantic love, we might be scared of it. We might have been hurt by it. We might. There might be various things or reasons that it makes us quite anxious. I think the thing about pet love or animal love is it's pretty pure, actually. It's pretty uncomplicated. This thing, I mean, particularly I don't know what is mojo, a dog, a cat. He's a dog. He's my son. Absolutely. Well, there we go. So he's a dog. Okay, so dogs are amazing because they live in the moment. They are always pleased to see you.
00:30:01 - 00:35:03
And the love they have for you is unconditional. Unconditionally adore you. And it's very pure sort of love and you mentioned that he's your son where when we put people in scanners and we get them to interact with their pets, particularly with their dogs. The bits of the brain that light up are the parental bits. Oh. So relationship we have with our pets is very much a parental child relationship. It's not a sibling relationship. It's not a friendship. It's a parental child relationship. Is that why people do it like a trading? They'll get the dog before the kids. Oh, I know. I know, well, I've got my stepdaughter is currently in there. She's got a plant, and she's going to keep the plant alive. Then she's going to keep the animal alive. Then she's going to have children, apparently, but anyway. So yeah, it'd be so, can you because the thing about particularly something like a dog which is actually very reliant on you and very bonded to you and very attached to you and does genuinely love you. We know that now. They are a bit like a child because you have to be there for them. They are useless at looking after themselves, dogs. Whereas a cat is can deal with it. Dogs are useless at looking after themselves. And that is a pure love, and maybe that's why I opened your heart because there's no games, dogs don't play games. You know, they just want to be with you. And for you to love them. And I think that, you know, I have three dogs, and they really are the loves of my life. I adore them. They are just beautiful. And they bring something. They bring that absolute just calmness and care. You know, we know all the health benefits of being with dogs and being, you know, and the wonderful neurochemistry you get. So absolutely. I think other forms of love can show you maybe the different sorts of love and they can feed into a more primary relationship, definitely. Definitely. I'll kind of just like, you know, tied together some of what you're saying. And do you think sub of the reason why there's so much pressure on Roberto glove is that we're supposed to find that one person where with family and friends and pets, like you were saying earlier, like a friend would have to just really terrible to leave and I think it's because it doesn't have to be the only friend we have. We have more leniency towards it. How do you think love with the one or the way monogamy is set up is challenging to love? It is challenging because we aren't as a species supposed to be totally monogamous. There's actually no totally monogamous species in the world. At all. Even though people go, oh, birds are monogamous, no they're not. If you watch them, they're always sneaking off a mating with somebody else. So you know they're not. So monogamy is difficult, and it's mainly a cultural imposition on this biological phenomenon that is love. And it is reproductive love. It's very hard because you've got this tension between that social construct that is monogamy and, you know, most religions, preach monogamy, most legal systems preach monogamy, you know, most of the images you see in the media are about monogamy and that's the structure that we base our families on in most in most cultures. And it's very powerful message, but there's this tension because your biology is not quite pushing you in that direction. And also the idea of the one, this romantic narrative we have is quite unhelpful because I think it puts a lot of pressure on. There's one person. You've got to find the person. And that's not true. It's not like that. It's an algorithm like everything else is. And there's lots of people out there who will fit you because it's very attraction is very complicated. But we have this message of the world and we also have this message of that it's all going to be sunshine and roses and butterflies in Disney and all this kind of thing. And again, it's not. It's hard, all relationships are hard and all relationships take work. And also, again, within romantic relationships, there is a spectrum which goes from polyamory at this end, where, you know, you love many people romantically. Write down to a romantics who don't feel romantic love at all. And there is a spectrum. And again, monogamy is one bit of that spectrum. And I think we need to understand that we're a slightly more complex species than our cultures would say we were when it comes to romantic love, I think. Do you think love can disappear can just be gone in a relationship? I don't think it happens in an instant. I don't think you can, I mean, some people say, I woke up one day and I decided I didn't love them, but if you, if you look at that trajectory that reaches that point, there will have been a general withdrawal has occurred. But yeah, certainly love can completely disappear. Yeah, there are two elements. If we look at the biological dimension of blood, there are two elements really. There's the neurochemistry, which addicts you to the other person. And then there's the cycle logical role within that, which is that when we fall in love with somebody, we subsume them into our identity, that relationship becomes part of our identity. So suddenly, your identity is not single woman, it's person in a couple and the fact that you're in a couple with that particular person becomes part of your identity and your identity changes because of that. So when you fall out of love, generally if you are the one that's kind of ultimately going to call the end to the relationship. What you tend to see with people when you observe them is they slowly start to physically withdraw, and it might be because there's something about the person that's ignoring them or they've both changed too much or whatever. When I was calling them to be fitting together they're not feeling together. And so first of all, you get this withdrawal of neurochemistry and that is like going cold turkey very slow. You know when you come off like an opiate of heroin, you withdraw slowly. That's what tends to happen in relationships as you slowly withdraw and those levels go down.
00:35:03 - 00:40:04
And you're just not addicted to the person in the same way anymore. And then you have the psychological withdrawal as well. Which can mean even if you are the person doing the dumping, as we call it, you still will feel a form of grief you sell light and feel some psychological pain because even though you've decided that this is not what you want, you still got a detangle that person that relationship from your identity. And so that can still be quite difficult. And then obviously, if you're the person who just comes completely out of the blue, you had no idea there was a problem with somebody suddenly says to you, this is it, I don't want to do this anymore. And that's incredibly painful because you go from being up here with all your lovely neurochemistry, feeling wonderful, feeling euphoric, all your aches and pains are being hidden by lots of lovely neurochemicals and there's something you're right down here you crash and you go completely cold turkey immediately and that is why if you are dumped, it's so psychologically and physiologically painful because one of the chemicals underpins love is beta endorphin and that's your body's painkillers. So when it's gone, it really, really physically hurts as well. And then obviously you then have the psychological grief. But when the love is gone, can you get back the love? Can you fall back in love with someone? Depends, I think it depends how badly it's gone. I think, yeah, there's always a reverse, people always change again. People at different, you know, we all, I think know of people who are at different stages of life and maybe right now it's not working, and then they meet again in 20 years time and it's like, oh, actually. Now we are at the right. Because coming together is not just about all those chemicals in that physical attraction. It's about all those other things that are also in the mix. The right stage life, do we want the same thing? Does my family is my family happy with this relationship? What are my friends think? Oh my God, I really want to do my career. So there's so many different things that come in that at this point, this might not be right, but in 5 years time, it might be, or you can do a lot of work on yourselves. And you can become slightly different people and then that. So I don't think falling out of love means it's forever. I think in some cases it can come, you can really, or even if you stay together and your right close to the abyss of it ending. You know, you can pull it back, but I think it takes a lot of work at that point. So let's talk about heartbreak for a second because we're going to go down that path. So you said it yourself like heartbreak could be completely brutal because it's grief. And it's plague on our biology. And psychology, everything aspects of all of it. Is there a scientific way to get over it, or do you kind of just need to go through it? There are certain things you can do. So for example, try not to shut yourself in your apartment to never emerge again. Because actually, what you need to do is you need to try and get that neurochemistry from another source. So yeah, fall back on your Friends. See them, get that interaction from them. I always say to people, there are many things that produce those neurochemicals which aren't love. So for example, dopamine, so dopamine is one of the hormones of love. You can get dopamine from lots of other doing anything you really like. So for example, hugging your dog is really good, yes. Because you're going to get that head of neurochemistry from your dog. Eat some chocolate, chocolate produces dopamine, red, wine, produces tofu. All these things. Exercise is really good for beta endorphins, so if you can go out and exercise and it's a case of trying to get that neurochemistry from somewhere else to allow you to withdraw nicely. The psychological thing is really hard, I think, to deal with. And for some people, that's just about processing in their own time for other people that is really about talking it through. It's really talk it out. And that's again, when your friends can be really valuable, that sort of rock that's always been there. You can go, you can go. And sometimes people find, you know, reflecting on the relationship, you know, is it a pattern of relationships? Am I doing the same thing over and over again? Okay, well, if that's not helpful, what do I want to do about that? So that, you know, that can be helped. But the psychological bit of falling out of love is generally much harder than the neurochemical bit to deal with. Do you think that love is relative to our life experiences? Because I think back to when I was even in high school, I was so in love with my first boyfriend. But now looking back, I'm like, was that even love? Because that's not the love I recognize today. I guess it's like sometimes we question we are in love, but I guess if you feel like you are, then you are, right? That's the state of being in love. Yeah, I mean, this is the difficult thing, because we, as humans, if I say to somebody, are you in love and they go, yeah, I go, okay. And the thing is, as you say, compared to, yeah, that's, again, it's a point I make in my work and in my book is that we can't question somebody else's pronouncement that they are in love. If at that moment they say they're in love, okay, fine. Now it could be that later on in life you discover a more intense love and then you go, oh, oh, actually maybe that wasn't. But in a way, it was. Love is not a, it's here it's not here thing. There are different levels of love in the same way, for example, you know, yes, dogs and people. It's a parental child love, but most people, when they have kids, do feel more powerfully for their kid than they do for the dog. Okay. So there are intensities of love. So I think it's difficult to say that you weren't in love when you were at high school. Because you were in a form of love, a form of your spectrum of love. But in the intensity of love, maybe you feel later, is more powerful. Because there are different, you know, I have two children, the love I have for them is really powerful. And you know, yeah, I mean, you know, I'm that mama bear who would literally kill for one.
00:40:05 - 00:45:01
So it's kind of like, that's a really, but I wouldn't say that then D values the other loves in my life. I love I have my husband, for example. But it's just different. Yeah. Different love. Different sorts of love, I think. The most time I've been challenged by the idea of whether somebody is in love is when I've looked at people who live in abusive relationships into my partner violence. And I talk about this in the book because I think the darker side of love is important to look at. Talking to people who've been in those relationships, looking at studies of people who talked about where love is in those relationships. And they will say, well, yes, I love them. Even though the partner's doing awful things to them, they will say, yes, I love my partner. Now, a lot of people go well, of course they don't. There's no way, because that's just, how could you love somebody who would do that to you? But I don't think you can discount someone else's experience to say that's not a lot. So what I go into the darker side of love because abusive relationships verbal abuse is a thing and physical, of course, it's not just physical. And then there's the deception, the lying, all these aspects that, you know, is not good things to experience yet. They're kind of maybe sometimes the outcome that happens in some love instances. Can you kind of describe I know every instance is different, but like what happens with someone's like chemistry like brain chemistry when they're in a situation like this of like how do you balance kind of the good aspects of love with these parts that you know deep down aren't good, but you're still in it. That's really difficult to unpack to be honest. I mean, the dark side of love comes from the fact that we are so evolved to look for love and to keep love and to want love. It's kind of like a visceral part of us. And if we don't have it, then we are like half a person. But because of that, because we need it so badly, people can use love to manipulate us. And we are the only animal on earth that uses love to manipulate. No other animal does it. So because of that, you know, you can, you know, the classics, if you loved me, you would do this kind of thing. Some of us might have said jokingly, but some people say that very seriously, you know. And that's why it can be used to control. And someone asked me about this the other day. We said, well, surely that's like maladaptive. Because that's actually going to threaten your survival. It's like, well, yeah, no adaptation is a 100% positive. And so the vast majority of love is a good thing. But this is part of it, that is negative. That is survival threatening in certain circumstances. It's really hard because some of us are more predisposed maybe by our upbringing in particular to be drawn to people who are more likely to do that to us. And we might be less equipped to recognize it and to be able to go, okay, this is not this balance is wrong and this is not healthy. So it's a really the question as to why people stay in abusive relationships is a really difficult one. A really interesting study recently, which is done in South Africa, said one of the things that might keep women in romantic relationships, particularly young women who are in abusive relationships, is the romantic narrative, and this idea that we tell them that, you know, romantic love is difficult, and it's a bit like a roller coaster. And you have to get over all these hurdles to have romantic love. And you might have to, yeah, exactly. It's hard and you might have to go against your family's wishes, but real love will triumph and all this kind of rubbish. And we tell people this, and so that when they're in this relationship and you know, like, for example, you know, the hurdle is actually, oh my God, I get beaten every day, or my family, I'm defying my family, even though my family is saying this person is so bad for you, you have to leave. Right. So the romantic narrative itself is quite unhelpful. Or the idea that there is one, well, my one happens to hit me, but this is the one. And you know, you hear that. There's a very good study of women who are in abusive relationships along those lines who say things like, you know, but I know him and I know who he is and first of all, I think my love can change him. So they feel this amazing power that their love can change this person. I can rescue him. He's a really good person. He's just not understood. And I can rescue him. And there's all these stories about the power of love. And it's really difficult. But I think it's something you have to recognize that as with grief is the price you pray for love, then I'm afraid this horrible end of it where people manipulate and abuse using it to trap you is also the price I'm afraid. Don't you think there's also a biological factor to this. I've read research about how love makes you dumb. I mean, literally clouds your judgment and you don't see the red flags and you just want to see this person for their good and not their bad. Don't you think there's an aspect of that that's just like the narrative aside or just biologically also not seeing these things? Yeah, that kind to happen only though in the very early months of a relationship. So people have been in a long-term relationship for a long time. That's pretty much dropped by that time. But yes, when you were first in love with someone, the bit of your brain, which it's called theory of mind and theory of mind is the ability to tell what somebody's going to do next. You need to have my spot a cheat to spot a liar to spot people who are not being who they say they are. So it's that kind of reading mind, who is this person really? That's not a theory of mind.
00:45:01 - 00:50:00
And when you fall in love, that bit deactivates. So love is blind. It's genuinely blind because that bit stops working. And we were having this chat the other day to try and go, well, why would that? Because that puts you a massive risk actually. Yeah. Because you can't detect these people, but we were just wondering that if it didn't deactivate humans are such a neurotic species that we would actually never go out with anyone because we were just simply being oh no. We have to kind of like shut it down for a bit to give us a chance to actually go out with anyone at all, I think. I don't know, we were kind of joking around, but we should look at why, why would it deactivate? But it does. Yeah. And so that's why, you know, you might be in a new relationship, maybe a few months in and your friends are kind of like, really? They're not that great, are they? And you just literally can not see it. Interesting. So, okay, what about unrequited love? Or situation ships where you're really not getting what you want or it's one sided. Why do people still feel love towards this person? Do you know what? That's a really good question, and we don't really know. And we don't know whether any other species experiences one sided love. Because in one sense, we kind of study this in several different ways. Yeah, we study people who are in unrequited love with people like, let's say, like in the office or something or at school and you feel this passionate love for them. And yeah, it's really hard to know and we haven't really put those sorts of people in the scanner yet and done a lot on them. But we do know, for example, if we look at what we call parasocial love and that is love for like a movie star or a celebrity or a character in a book or even avatar in a Second Life game. That's parasocial love. To crash. Yeah, it's a crush. Basically, we're not allowed to call it that anymore. No, that's not acceptable anyone know. I'm parasocial love is a real thing. It's whether or not I'm required love is a bit like that. It is a form of parasocial love. And we are amazing as humans, because we seem to be able to love something without having that interaction without having that physical interaction. It's like religious love. Okay, really just love is really well researched now. And we know when we put people who are in deep religious love in a scanner. So this would be some amazing studies done on devout Christians, like nuns, people like that, put them in a scanner, get them to commune with God and the mystical state. And you see the fingerprint of love in their brain. So they love God. It's a genuine thing, and all the prefrontal cortex, which is what lights up when you interact with another being with another human. Lights up. So they think genuinely, I'm in a relationship and I'm talking to a fellow human, but I can't see him. I can't touch him. I can't commune with him. So we are able to do that. Our brain is able to fall in love with none of the physical presence or activity. So probably unrequited love is maybe a similar experience. It's that you don't actually need to get anything back. I was definitely in a situation like this by 20s where I actually felt like I was in love with this person, even though it wasn't a real relationship. And I've kind of putting it together now. Do you think that I could have just been in love with love? Is that a thing? In law, I don't really know. The fact that you zeroed in on one person is probably unlikely. I think if you're a good lover, you just make randomly like okay, I just love everyone. I love you probably love personal for a reason. There was something about them that attracted them to you. I think you could be in love with aspects of being a love. So we have people when we in the lab who, you know, we always ask people for their relationship history and you'll get those people who are always just having 6 month relationship, 6 month relationship, 6 month relationship, one after the other. And they are quite clearly addicted to the first stage in the real hit of lustful neurochemistry that because the neurochemistry changes as your relationship goes on. The first stage is a slightly different cocktail to when maybe 6 months a year in. And as some people who are just completely addicted to that bit and they just love that bit. And then when it gets kind of starts changing that cocktail recipe and things start to become maybe less based upon attraction and passion and more on what we would actually call love. Then it's not so much. Yeah, what are the stages of love? I know that you go through different stages. But really two main ones. So we have lust at the beginning, which some people, you know, get a different academic on you probably get a different answer, but I don't classify that as love. Is the attraction stage lust is underpinned by oxytocin dopamine and serotonin. It's got a lot of unconscious activity. So a lot of lust is unconscious. It's in the core of your brain, you know, you see a lot of hypothalamus activity because that's where the sex hormones are. And whilst there is conscious contemplation, there's not as much, and then when you move into love, what happens is we introduce a new chemical, which is beta endorphin, and beta endorphin is an opiate. So it's your body's heroine. And it's powerful enough to unpick underpin human relationships for decades, whereas the other ones aren't, so we introduce betray endorphin at that point. And passionate love tends to drop slightly become or what we call companionate love and companionate love is much deeper. It's what we call an attachment. It's very drilled into your psychology. This is when the person really is part of your identity. You see different behaviors. Yeah, some people, I think, find that transition quite difficult because maybe it's less exciting.
00:50:00 - 00:55:03
It's much more conscious. So using much more of your conscious abilities, your cognitive abilities such as empathy and trust and reciprocity and that kind of thing. So it's a very different sort of experience as to the early stages of a relationship. Let's hold that thought for a few messages. Have you ever thought about how much better dating would be if you had a whole army of people supporting you along the way? We know that dating can be frustrating and lonely, but it can also feel fulfilling and fun. Have you recently decided you want to make some changes to your love life? Maybe you've recently reentered the dating scene. Maybe you've gone on one too many dates that went nowhere, or maybe you're just ready to take your current relationship to the next level. That is exactly why we created the sounding board, a true extension of our podcast that delivers a personalized experience, which includes monthly office hours where you can drop in and chat with us about anything. Weekly sound offs with guided discussions and regular virtual happy hours, allow Julie and I to become your dating sherpas to provide real-time guidance and wisdom in a more intimate way so we can all navigate dating and relationships together. Join the sounding board today by going to dateable podcast dot com slash sounding board. Again, that's dateable podcast dot com slash sounding board. What's your opinion about this? Because Julie and I always text back and forth about how we're in a love crisis where I think people are afraid to fall in love because they know there's hurt on the other end of it where they feel like it maybe takes up too much work. Do you feel that if we are indeed in a love crisis if we're not working the love muscles that we could eventually lose the ability to love? I don't think we'll ever lose the ability to love because love is fundamental to our survival. Basically those people who are finding that so fearful and so are not getting together. I'm afraid those genes ain't going down any generations. Whereas the people who do overcome that, their genes will go down and you would probably end up with a lot of people who had a lot of genetics which underpin high motivation to find a partner, that kind of thing, which is a genetic underpinning. So some people are more motivated to find partners to be in long-term relationships to find that they make them happier than others. That's part of your genetics. Influence. Yeah. Very interesting. Okay. So some people are more motivated to be like in a couple than others. Some people find it a much more satisfying and happy place to be. So, you know, I'm afraid those people would carry on down the generations and the other guys who were like, yeah, I don't want to do this. I always thought that was your upbringing Bora that your kids. Do you know what? It's a really difficult and complicated relationship. One of the biggest studies we've ever did at Oxford was on the genetics that underpin love. Wow. And it's a really complicated relationship. So no, you're upbringing is really important, particularly because you're upbringing really influences the structure of your brain and influences things like how much gray and white matter you have in relationship areas of your brain, your baseline levels of neurochemistry, for example, that kind of thing were affected by your upbringing. There are certain things that also have a genetic influence. And then there's this really complicated environmental genetic relationship. So for example, the oxytocin receptor gene, which underpins oxytocin's ability to operate within your brain, has 26 point mutations on it. And each of those 26 point mutations have an influence on your love relationships, okay? So that underpins a lot of the variability we get between people, the biggest thing that interests me in love research is why we are all different. So what makes us different? And part of that is your genes. So there is a part of that, but one of those point mutations influences how motivated you are to be in a long-term relationship. Interesting. I feel like we always talk about attachment, but we don't ever talk about the motivation. Really, really important. Attachment, psychology, all that critically important. And really well influence how you behave in a relationship, how you feel in a relationship to your attachment profile is really important, but your genes are also have an influential role. And sometimes they both interact with each other and then it all gets very complicated. But yeah, your genetics are really interesting area. That's fascinating. What are some ways we can awaken our love muscles or ability to love? I mean, I thought I wasn't able to for a long time. The last time I said I love you was in 2009 and then it took another almost ten years for me to say I love you again and for all those years I thought I didn't have the ability to love anymore until I got mojo. So are there ways we can just awaken those senses more? Do you know what I think it's about being more self aware? So it would be interesting to know during those ten years what your attachment profile was. It sounds like you were probably an avoidant personality. Oh, for sure. A little bit. Oh yeah. So that's always helpful. And I always say to people, if you're comfortable, find out what your attachment profile is because I think for a lot of people, it really helps them understand their behavior. And if you're happy with your behavior and how you feel when you're in a relationship, great, go with it. If you're not, attachment profiles can be changed. You can take quite a lot of work, but for example, one of the things that changed for you, you've got a dog, okay? Maybe suddenly you can't be avoidant with that dog anymore.
00:55:03 - 01:00:00
You have to be there for that dog. You can't just decide you don't want to be there. And that starting to change your attachment profile. My attachment profile when I met my husband, I was anxious, really anxious, preoccupied, had high anxiety about being abandoned. It was really clingy, nightmare person. He's secure and I am not secure because I've been with someone who disproved all of my fears. And I'm not secure. So you can change that. So that's always really important, I think, in exercising those muscles. I think trying to maybe practice some of the behaviors which make you more open to letting people in. So emotional vulnerability is really important in finding relationships and also maintaining them. So we know that people who are more emotionally vulnerable, more willing to share their deepest thoughts and fears and feelings about something. Are much closer to the person they're in a relationship with than those who can not do that. And so it's always about exercising that bit. It can be really scary. Yeah. But, you know, there are sets of questions that we give to people to try and help them do that. Starting at really gentle levels of emotional intimacy and vulnerability right down to something that's really quite intense. And you can slowly work your way through and slowly open up that bit of you that allows that person in. So there are things you can do that can certainly get exercise that muscle and also find the love that you want to have. It might not be that actually romantic love is your thing. It might be that dog loves your thing or friendship loves your thing or God loves your thing or you know, so look at the full spectrum and think, well, actually, what kind of love do I want in my life? Interesting. Well, it's so fascinating that love is so different for everyone. You know, that's what makes it hard. And UA's example about taking a ten years to say I love you again. I think this is a pride one. I know we put a lot of weight on those words. I love you. But some people have no problem saying, I love you. Sometimes it can be said in a month where others, you know, it's a struggle, it takes years to actually mutter those words. Does that just all come back to your biology or how you're raised or. Think about love? Is this really complicated? There's never one answer to any question. So it kind of partly is what you believe love means. So what do you think love is? Because we all define love in a slightly different way. Part of it is how we were brought up and how we were showing what love was. Part of it is cultural. There's been some amazing studies. And again, I talk about them in the book about asking people in different cultures to answer the question what is love? Yeah. And you'll get really, really different answers. What are some that you've heard? For example, if you ask about love is somewhere like Russia, not a good choice, but Russia. The Russians love is actually quite a difficult hard can be quite a negative feeling can be about distress and abandonment. They're kind of so love is not necessarily this joyous thing and defined in Russia. It's a difficult thing. If we look at some, for example, some Kenyan cultures, their love is very much tied to God. So love is a spiritual thing. Love is about being on a higher plane. Love makes you closer to God, it puts you on this higher moral plane. So it's very delighted to religion. If you look at someone like Brazil, love is the family. Okay. So love is about loving your family, providing for your family. It's attorney to your family first. So it really depends where you come from is first of all, what you think love is. It's a major cultural component. Some of us are more able to be emotionally vulnerable and set others find it a really scary thing to say and that might be again because of what your experiences of love have been when you were younger, maybe you loved somebody very much, maybe you loved your parents very much and you didn't feel that that came back. So, you know, there was lots of reasons why people thought and some people just don't put a lot of weight on it. For some people, it's not a very valuable word. To be honest, it doesn't mean that much. So that's always difficult. And I know I'm not a therapist, but I know therapists talk a lot about love language. Okay, what are we both mean by love? Because it could be you mean completely different things. And it's about trying to work out, you know, what we actually mean when we say love. What about the word folly and love, like that phrase? How do you feel about that? I could see you cried Jake. It's fine. Just in a way, it does feel like, I mean, maybe the falling bit comes because it is such a rush. Because the neurochemistry, particularly for some people, is such a euphoric, high, all of these chemicals are made to make you feel euphoric and high and happy and all of these different sorts of things. And so I think for some people, particularly people who maybe exist quite a high level of them, it is a rush. It is a falling, you know, you feel slightly out of control, you know, particularly because that's over my bit has turned off, you know, you are out of control. You can't quite assess what is going on. So I think falling in one sense is maybe just somebody trying to explain what the hell it feels like when you get this rush of attraction. For other people, you know, it's more of a slow burn, isn't it? Some people get that rush and fall in the love they think immediately, others, it takes much longer to realize that actually.
01:00:01 - 01:05:12
I am attracted to this person and I do like this person. That's an interesting you say that because to me falling in love is a transitional period of when you're not yet in love, but isn't it that you're either in love or you're not? Is there an actual period of maybe I'm not? Maybe I am? No. That's gross. Love certainly grows. But again, it's about we have no absolute definition for love. It's interesting that you ask that. When I do a lot, I do a lot of public talks about love. And I quite often get asked for the timetable. So if I meet this person on this day, at what point does this happen? And then what point does this happen? And at what point do we transition from attraction and lost to love? And it's like a hundred and a day. There's no day, it doesn't work like that. Everyone's different. Some people fall hard and fast, other people, it takes a really long time. There's no absolute, because your experience of love is multifactorial, there are many different things that feed into it, which are unique to you. So we can never say that day you weren't in love that day you were in love. I think people who say, oh, I woke up and I knew I was in love. I think they've just come to that conscious realization. They're body and their mind have been doing a lot of stuff behind the scenes. Would you read a long-term relationship? Are there ever days that you're just not in love? Could that just go away for a day or an hour? How does that work? Yeah. So there's a difference between being in love and experiencing a love, I think. In love is a very active thing where, you know, you stop and think, yeah, wow, I really do love you. And certainly, you know, there are days where I look at my husband and go, I really do not love you soon. Whatever reason. But love, I think the problem is we misclassify love as an emotion. Love is not an emotion. It's not even a secondary emotion. It's just not animation. Love is a motivation. It's like hunger first. So if you speak to a long-term couple and you say to them, are you in love, I'll go, yeah, but they don't feel love all the time. In the same way you don't feel first to do all the time, you don't feel hungry all the time. You feel those things when they are in short supply. So you might feel a desperation for love in a long-term relationship because you've not been with the person you're in love with. And there's some really interesting new work on this that love is actually a fundamental life need. So there's a thing called Maslow's pyramid of needs and right down the bottom are things like food, water shelter. And then above that we have security, so the ability to feel and be made safe. And then up there, massively, this was 1940 by the way. But that's why I placed relationships and love in the third tier as a psychological need. Well, we now know that actually it's a fundamental physiological need. If you do not have love in your life, particularly let's say as a baby, you don't have love in your life. That causes a lot of issues. And it's highly, highly detrimental to your survival and your health. So actually, love is a fundamental life need. It's a multiplayer that makes us do stuff, but it's not something that's always being experienced all the time, because it doesn't need to be experienced all the time. You know, what about, okay, in today's world, people are getting buried later. If at all, choosing to maybe not even have relationships, not having children. You know, we talked about it up front is that love can come in different ways if you have friendship and family. Is there a world where you could have zero love and like what does that mean for our species if that continues or do you believe you'll just continue to find it in different ways? I think we continue to find in different ways. There is a real individual variation in this. Some people really do not require many people in their life. And that's partly an attachment style. They're dismissing avoidant. It might be that they live very low levels of neurochemistry. It could be a genetic underpinning, it could be something again that's come from their childhood. And there are some people who are very much islands. And as far as we can tell, they don't seem to suffer that much detriment from being like that. So it is a spectrum in terms of how much people are loving and a number of people they are loving. However, I always say to people to have absolutely zero love in your life is a really, really bad idea. Really bad idea. And the main reason behind that is because of that very strong statistic now between love relationships and mental and physical health and longevity and all that kind of thing. We know that people who don't have love do suffer detriment. We know particularly children who do not have love are set up for a tricky life, it doesn't necessarily mean it's going to be really hard, but they are much more likely, for example, to not have the skills to deal with relationships when they're older, so it's kind of like a lifelong issue. They're much more likely to suffer issues with addiction, they're much more likely to have mental health issues, they're much more like to struggle in social context. So having zero love, I think, is a tricky, tricky thing, and it's a very risky thing to do. So it is a case of finding that love where might be. It might be that you find your love volunteering in your community. So it may be quite a high level, but you find it with lots of different people, and you find it with that process of helping others. It might be something like that. It might be that you're not into like really intimate, like two people relationships. But there's something about being within your community, for example, that you feel loving. Or you might just be absolutely animal obsessed and have yourself animals or whatever it might be. You need that. You do need that interaction with something else as a human. Love is important. I think that's a main message we're taking away from this is actually a basic need, and going back to romantic love, what advice would you give to couples, where people dating, where they feel like the barrier to love is the three words I love you, who says it first.
01:05:12 - 01:10:01
We hear this from our listeners. It's like, I don't want to be the one who says it first, that I've lost this game of love. I mean, for my partner and I took us over a year to say I love you and that took a lot of drugs. Because we were so afraid to say it to each other, what advice would you give to people who are just afraid to say it first, even though even though they feel it. I think try to lessen the importance you place on it. I know that's really hard, but it is three words you could be saying completely different things when you're saying it. And I actually think you read people by that actions more than whether they say, I can't remember when I said I love you to my husband. No idea. I just don't remember it. I really don't. And that's not what you remember, what you remember. I mean, I've been married for like 20 years. What you remember is what that person has brought to you, what they've done for you. So I think try and don't get so hung up on it. And also please don't see love as a game. It's not a game. So all these books we get out here. Oh, you know, you have to wait this many days before you message back and you have to do this and you have to do this. It's like, it's not a game. It's two people who have to find a way to fit together and ride this journey. And that's going to be really individual to you. So please just go with what works for you. And don't try and see it as a game. I think if you see it as a game, you've got a problem because it's not a game. It's a relationship. It's a give and take. It's a moving living being and you kind of have to look at it that way, I think. Yeah. And what about for the people that are feeling like they're giving up on love, you know? Like I think what you just described is actually the opposite of modern dating, you know? It is more of we try to minimize the selfless podcast this game because we fully agree with you, but we've been drilled for years about how you play this game and you know you also are kind of like courting each other and only showing your best sides. So then when things don't work out, there's this feeling like things aren't matching up or I'm not destined for the real deal. What advice would you have for people that have almost given up? First of all, I would be like, if you really, really want romantic love, then please don't give up. If you aren't that bothered but you just want some sort of love, find another one on the spectrum. There are many different sorts of love. I would say yeah, dating apps, the whole thing, they have gamified it. They've kind of made it as something else we can do in the really efficient way, which we can just tick off our list, and we just flip, we flip it and we go, okay, you know, we might, you know, I've talked to people who've had like four or 5 dates in a weekend, not given anybody really more than like 20 minutes half an hour to decide whether they want to be with this person, just stop, okay? Because think about human love is humans were designed and evolved to love in person for a start. So I always say to people, dating apps are fine if you see them as a tool, you need to control them, not them you. So you need to set yourself some rules, okay? So you need to say, I will have a foot certain number of messages with this person, and then I would side, I either see you in person or we forget it, because otherwise what you get stuck on is messaging messaging messaging, I never meeting them. And you don't allow your brain to do its job. Your brain is the most amazing dating algorithm. Okay, it's really good at taking a load to sensory information and deciding whether or not this person is for you. You can not do that through a screen, okay? There's no way you can do that. The other thing it handicaps you with is that ability to spot a cheat or a liar. All those really good skills you have that you can't use them online. They don't work. You need to be in the room. You need to use your instincts. Okay, is this person genuine? Is this person I want someone I want to go further with? And you have to, I think, try not to prevaricate too much. Trouble with all this amazing opportunity of all these different dating apps and is you always feel there's something else out there and maybe something better. It's called the paradox of choice. We are not involved to take decisions based upon picking so many different things. It's like, ah, I can't actually tell. So again, it's about maybe taking more time, deciding again, set some rules. I'm not going to just constantly flip. I'm not going to prevaricate. I'm just going to take a decision. And if you can give them more time. People are a little bit obsessed with quite often what I will hear is I didn't get that chemistry. Yeah. I didn't get that feeling. 50% of cases don't give that feeling. There is no instant chemistry going on there. What it does is that's just one aspect of attraction that instant chemical feeling. And that's that unconscious algorithm in your brain which is lost, which has gone picking. And giving that chemical feeling does not actually predict whether you will have a long-term relationship with that person. That's just lust, okay guys. What you need to do is realize that for some people, it takes much longer. You might be the kind of person who's actually more drawn by someone's brain. What are they going to say? What are they funny? Do they read good literature? Do we have a lot in common? What do they talk about? Actually, the brain is the sexiest organ in your body. So for some people, it takes much longer to get that chemistry than those initial ten seconds. So give people space and time.
01:10:02 - 01:15:02
And maybe we've kind of made it into a real chore, I think. Yes. It's a job. Yeah, it's a job. And I think maybe the apps have made that happen. I think maybe if we can step back and reevaluate that a little bit. So it shouldn't be a chore. It's not something on your tick list to go. By the age of 30, you know, I've got the partner moving on to the next thing. If you can, try to chill a little bit about it. Definitely. Well, I love that the brave is your best algorithm. I think everybody needs to live by that. And sexiest organ, those two. I mean, this conversation has been so incredible. I mean, there's so many takeaways. I think the first one that comes to mind for me is that love is everywhere. I think we do. There's this, you know, I'm not going to argue. I think romantic love is wonderful, but also the love that you have with your friends and family members at pets everyone that all deserves the same about of recognition almost. You know, we hear so many people that are on this quest for romantic love that it's like, I don't need to spend time with my friends. I need to just go date after date, but I loved the conversation we had too. Like UA, even you say, by getting mojo, it helped open me up. And I think the more we could let love it, a different ways. It would reduce the pressure to find that romantic love. So you'll likely actually probably find it faster because you don't have all your eggs in one basket. The deed of just having this is that second, it just makes you more of a lovable person, so your energy is attracting people that recognize that value. So I think that's the biggest thing I have is that love comes in all shapes and forms and instead of focusing on what we don't have, let's focus on what we do have and build up that abundance. Other piece too is just that we all experience love differently. That could be person to person or even us to different type periods, and I love there's no right or wrong. And I've definitely been here before too that I'm like, did I actually experience love with my ex where I thought he was the one? But compared to my card partner, it's not, but it's good to know that it's just a way that you're evolving. Your definition of love is evolving. And you need all these experiences to get you to love the way that you're meant to love. So nothing is wrong in terms of love, it's more of how do you see it, what value can it break to your life? Absolutely. Definitely. My big holy shit moment was the fact that our predisposition to love can be affected by so many factors, including our genetics, which just proves that we can't be on other people's timelines for love. It's not like I went on 5 dates, I should be in love. We should be saying we're in love now that we're 6 months in. It's like we're all so wired differently that we have to listen to our brain and our heart and our gut of when we feel like we are in love. From our conversation and I just feel like we often talk about finding love, but love is not something we can find. It's not something we can just go on a website and be like, I'm looking for love today. Love is something we need to feel. And in my example, again, with mojo's, the moment I felt the love was the moment I found love. And so maybe we can kind of switch up our verbiage a little bit. I'm not here looking for love. I'm here to feel love and we can feel that love in so many different aspects of our lives and it's not just romantic. And I love this idea of not having a hierarchy of love and not placing romantic love above the other kinds of love is just a spectrum and we should not should. I don't want to use should. But we can always encourage ourselves to feel the spectrum of love instead of prioritizing that romantic love. Absolutely. You got it right there. Well, thank you, Anna for this conversation. If people want to learn more about your research, where can they find you? Okay, they can find me. I have a website, which is just animation dot com. I'm on Twitter and yeah, and also so there's loads of articles and podcasts on the website. And obviously, yeah, why we love? My new book is out in America too. So yeah, it's all summarized in there. It is fantastic. So definitely recommend reading it so thank you. Fabulous. The kind of love that we love feeling is 5 star rating a review in Apple podcasts. We truly feel that love. And it's romantic. It's platonic. It's every kind of love that we could possibly feel. So if you want to show us some love, you can go into Apple podcasts and give us a 5 star reading and review, and we will always reciprocate that love. It's not a one sided, unrequited love at all. Definitely. We definitely reciprocate with good content and awesome guests like Anna. So we're going to wrap up this episode. The dateable podcast is part of the frolic podcast network. Find more podcasts you'll love at frolic media, slash podcasts. Want to continue the conversation? First, follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter with the handle at dateable podcast.
01:15:02 - 01:16:14
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