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Psychological Facts About Love and Crushes

by Danielle Wright

Ever wonder why you may like someone, develop a crush on them, or suddenly can’t seem to get them off your mind, no matter how hard you try?

Image Credit: Hector Roqueta Rivero | Getty Images

Perhaps you’re together, maybe you’re not—specifically speaking, you’re not. There is a psychological explanation if you’re not too big on spirituality. According to Certified Sex Therapist and Relationship Expert, Aliyah Moore, “Psychologist Dorothy Tennov introduced the term “limerence” to describe a powerful and involuntary emotional state that often characterizes the initial stages of romantic love.” Limerence is also known as being a near-obsessive form of romantic love.

“During this phase, people may develop an idealized perception of their romantic interest and become more emotionally sensitive about them. Recognizing the experience of limerence can help people distinguish between infatuation and a more mature, stable form of love."

When we discuss the significance of emotional stability in both men and women, it’s more than simply communicating one's feelings or deciding not to chase someone once they’ve blocked you—it’s far more intricate. The people we love are the people we naturally protect, nurture, and provide for—whether that’s making them breakfast every morning or ensuring that they have a roof over their heads. Love is a natural feeling that typically follows a crush—but how we arrive there differs by gender.

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Psychologist Rod Mitchell, MC, tells us, “While the fundamental process of attraction is similar for both men and women, societal norms and evolutionary psychology suggest some nuanced differences. Men might be more visually stimulated and seek physical attractiveness as a sign of fertility, whereas women might prioritize emotional security and stability. However, it’s important to recognize the wide spectrum of individual differences that defy these generalizations.”

To further elaborate, cultural differences play a role as well. Some women are not taught to seek emotional security and stability prior to marriage or as a way to determine attraction to the opposite sex. These women tend to have a hard time navigating relationships and finding a stable partner. It’s rooted in low self-esteem and a lack of knowledge. On the opposite end, men are the same across the board in terms of the aforementioned. However, it’s usually later on in life that some men develop a sense of individuality that leads them to correlate attractiveness to personality and femininity over fertility.

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How do the psychological facts about love and crushes correspond to parasocial relationships? I’ve always pondered this, which is what led me to pitch this idea to my editor for approval. When we watch past clips of Michael Jackson performing on stage and fans fall to the ground, scream, cry, and emotionally fall apart, essentially for a person who simply does not know anything about their existence, does it make them crazy?

These people do not have access to him to even have the ability to modify their relationship, and yet, they are enamored by him. Irina Baechle, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, says, “Falling in love may trigger the release of certain chemicals in the brain, including dopamine and oxytocin, which are associated with safety, pleasure, and bonding.” Then it hit me—it’s all about the pleasure we get from the people around us.

“When I listen to her music, I feel unafraid, motivated, confident.”

“When I see her face at work, I feel happy and satisfied.”

“When I see him across the street from my window getting dressed for work, I feel like he’s the most beautiful man I’ve ever seen in my life.”

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Having a crush or falling in love can serve as extrinsic motivation. When you have a crush on someone at work, you’re motivated to go there because seeing them makes you feel good; having that relationship brings you peace. Similarly, when you’re in love, you’re motivated to do the things that make your partner happy. It’s a common conception that when a man loves you, he will not want to see you struggle, and when a woman loves you, she will not want to see you hungry.

We’re all motivated by the things that bring us joy, even if it’s money. In that case, you’ll work extra hours, study more, and spend more time building your knowledge to have a better future for yourself and the people around you who bring you joy. All in all, our motivations are always self-serving. We do not do anything that doesn’t bring us results.


The concept of perpetual singlehood is convoluted because some may interpret this to mean that you’ve never been in a relationship and one does not appeal to you, or for others, it could mean that they do not like the idea of having to pursue a potential partner or crush. It’s easier to allow things to unfold naturally if at all. “It is possible to maintain perpetual singlehood and avoid dating or having a crush altogether.

This can be accomplished by focusing on personal development, forming solid relationships, and seeking alternative sources of happiness and fulfillment,” Gary Tucker, Licensed Psychotherapist, shares. “The hormones you would naturally feel from having a crush can come from something like sweating, so hitting the gym is a great place to start on your journey.”

Just remember, life is worth living, and as always, do what makes you happy, as long as it’s not at the expense of another person’s happiness.


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