What is Passionate Love? Marriage & Relationship Counseling

Neha Mehta
Marriage & Relationship

27 Nov 2020
What is Passionate Love? My Fit Brain

What is love?

Love is that little something extra that happens when you are with a certain person and that does not happen when you are with others. Love is nourished by difference and respect for each other.

What about love at first sight?

Love, at first sight, is love at first sight, immediately very strong. This love can evolve into a deep and lasting relationship after this first phase. It can also stop as soon as we know each other better because the other does not seem more interesting after some time as if we had been in love with an image that reality destroys after a while.

How do you know if it's love?

Love often comes by itself, sometimes without warning. You can seek love and not find it, do not seek it and find it. Love is sometimes born suddenly, and other times, little by little, over time. Love can be fusional (seeking to become one with the other), it can start with a friendship or can first be a great physical attraction. There is nothing to search for or copy in this area. Simply being good with others can already be a sign of love. Love is magic. When you love, you feel like you're feeling good. Love feelings build self-confidence and boost self-esteem. It is rewarding because we read in the eyes of the other that we are attractive or attractive. We discover that we can also be important outside the family circle and that other people than parents can encourage us and understand what we are going through. We create a strong bond, we learn to trust a new person, we gradually reveal ourselves and we talk about intimate things that we had never dared to discuss with anyone.

Long-term love

Long-term love requires a longer relationship. It can start with a thunderbolt, but not necessarily. Time is essential to love: it allows two people to get to know each other and discover commonalities. A romantic relationship is more likely to last over time when the two partners feel good together and share common activities.

What if love is not reciprocal?

Sometimes the feelings are not mutual. You love a person, but they don't love you in return. It is a situation that everyone can face one day. You can't force anyone to love you. When the feelings are not shared, accepting this situation is the only solution, even if it is painful. The feeling of love comes or does not come, no one can force it.

The stages of love

How to explain that crossed by a sudden thought, one can find oneself overwhelmed by an impression, a smell, an image, a memory? This phenomenon is based on the fragile balance which exists between excitatory systems and calming systems, which makes our behaviors often spontaneous and immediate. At the heart of the urge to connect with others is an essential brain messenger: dopamine, the true desire hormone. Love takes place in several stages, which are spread over time. It all starts with attraction, this subtle alchemy that is the sign of a successful meeting. The desire for seduction and the resulting desire often materialized by sex, can then lead to passion, then evolve into a lasting attachment.

What is Passionate Love?

Passionate love is a love that is in the collective imagination linked to love, at first sight, fantasy and desire, above all physical. The members of the passionate couple are overwhelmed by their mutual attraction beyond all reason. Considered as a love of incredible intensity, it is also generally short-lived: the soufflé falls. Despite its short life, passionate love has a very good image with all lovers. It is often assimilated to love without boredom, rhythmic, and more intense despite its limited duration. Many people say they would like to have passionate love in their lives. This desire is also linked to the cinematographic image of passionate love which is often treated to accelerate the history of the film.

Passion is a stage of love, it doesn't last

However, passionate love is also a source of suffering. Indeed, the excitement brought about by this love is generally as dazzling as its fall. Because unfortunately, the passion does not last, the hormones secreted at the start of a love story quickly cease to be produced by the brain and give way to attachment which is certainly less intense in strong emotions, but longer duration. And if passion can be the first step in a love story, some people refuse natural evolution and only want this step. But be careful, you shouldn't confuse fusional love with passionate love. So let's take stock. Passionate love is above all linked to physical attraction, excessive and generally short-lived. The fusional love is calmer and more complex, it is partly based on affinities of thoughts and tastes, therefore more of the intellect, then towards a symbiosis of the two beings which is reinforced over the weeks.

Passionate love is a particularly intense love that most often appears in the first months of a relationship. This love passion can be an asset or a disadvantage, depending on the relationship. Unlike fused love, the idealized and fantasized projection of the relationship can lead to very intense suffering, when reality reappears after several months of the relationship.

Passionate love: characteristics

Passionate love generally lasts between 6 months and 2 years. It breaks with a sometimes routine daily life and awakens an unexpected emotional intensity. Passionate love is often destructive because it is the projection of an idealized and fantasized love, which comes to fill an emotional lack.

When reality does not match the imagination, the disappointment is so great that it can lead to very intense suffering. The partner, who was the remedy for a gloomy daily life, then becomes the cause of insurmountable pain. Passionate love is characterized by: an exaltation of feelings; fear of losing your loved one; physical desire; the haunting lack; an intense desire.

It is sometimes described as love at first sight, the partners are so overwhelmed by their mutual attraction beyond all reason. Passionate love is generally short-lived, but particularly intense, rhythmic, and without boredom.

This type of love, present at the beginning of the relationship, makes the partner an object of love, and a projection of his ideal love fantasy, coming to fill his own emotional lacks. It is then often difficult to accept the reality, the boredom, and the faults of the other after several months.

Passionate love: consequences for yourself and your loved one

Passionate love has both positive and negative consequences for yourself and your loved one. As it exists through a strong emotional intensity, and that it comes to fill an emotional lack, it is often based on narcissism and self-centeredness.

This type of relationship can evolve towards a constructive and peaceful love if both partners accept each other's faults and qualities. Existing one and the other apart from the couple relationship is essential to pass from passionate love to a lasting relationship.

In most cases, however, after excitement, passionate love becomes a source of suffering. The passion hormones give way to attachment, a feeling that is less intense but lasting over time.

Disorders associated with passionate love

Passionate love can sometimes evolve or be associated with mental or psychological disorders. When passion is based on emotional lack and the partner comes to fill it, it can evolve towards a perpetual lack; an abandoned experience; erotomania; paranoia; depression; anxiety disorders, anxieties, panic attacks. Passionate love most often projects a romantic ideal that completely depersonalizes the partner and oneself. It’s a kind of grip that can cause pain quickly when reality merges with fantasy. The disappointment is so immense, that the relationship does not survive.

Why does passion love not last?

Psychologists shed light on the stress and anxiety that passionate love can generate. We have to face the facts: no, passion cannot be lived without stress. The psychologist explains his mechanism to us.

Why does passion also cause stress?

Love-passion triggers a lot of pleasant or painful intensity, depending on whether one of the two people is reluctant to go further in the relationship.

What happens when you live a passion?

The brain produces phenylethylamine (PEA), a molecule that puts you in a euphoric state. It also produces dopamine, the hormone of well-being, and oxytocin, the hormone of attachment. When the passion is reciprocal, there is good stress, but when one of the two doubts the commitment of the other, when he is not sure of his desire, the stress becomes painful.

Why does passion last so short?

Because the production of these hormones lasts 14 to 16 months. After this time, the brain becomes accustomed to it and the passion, which is an impulse, slowly decreases to give way to love, which is a decision.

What if passion leads to separation?

The victim then suffers from the same symptoms as those of a drug addict. She experiences physical and moral pain, overexcitement, palpitations, sweating, anxiety, and insomnia.

Passionate love

The release of dopamine controls desired behavior and slows down, in part, the judgment brain. Consequence: the first evening, one is madly in love and the other has no faults. It’s done, love has risen to the head. Now is the time to go for it, not the time to look at the partner's little faults. After the meeting, therefore, occurs, with varying intensity, a phase of passionate love.

This behavior, which sometimes borders on obsession, activates the cerebral circuit of desire, which manifests itself in often compulsive behaviours: you keep calling your partner, you are impatient, in short, the desire is at its maximum.

However, very quickly, this phase fades, because the romantic relationship allows the arrival of the reward: shared pleasure. It can be combined in different ways, kiss, hug, empathic encounter; sexual relationship. The brain then activates a circuit called? the mechanisms of which are now perfectly known to psychologists and neurobiologists.


If the relationship triggers a sexual relationship, it involves a chemical cocktail: testosterone and dopamine combine, in both partners, to trigger the sexual act. The mechanics of the act are only controlled by a few neurons located in the hypothalamus, even him. Hence the nickname that neurobiologists sometimes give it:? the cellar of pleasures. But what happens during orgasm? The lobe of the island, located near the brain of emotions, a crossroads for the integration of multiple sensory information, begins to strongly activate a whole network of neurons. We are witnessing a real electrical storm: erotic ecstasy.

Once the couple is formed, an intimacy is established and the brain activates the pleasure circuits. It inhibits any stress reaction, and promotes a calm, peaceful relationship, but still mixed with desire. The main triggering chemical messenger is oxytocin, the true hormone of intimacy. It removes stress, and in turn activates hormones released by different regions of the brain to perceive pleasure: endorphins (literally endogenous morphine's?), Anandamide, and serotonin. , Anandamide is special because it is a natural brain substance whose effects mimic cannabis. It removes the memorization of unpleasant facts and provides a feeling of ecstasy and pleasure.

Love passion is not yet fully explained by neurobiologists. It is based on a subtle balance between many molecules, whose receptors do not work in exactly the same way in each other. We are therefore all unequal in relation to the perception of the behaviors it induces, their effects, their course, their effectiveness, their duration.

Anyway, the passion, which runs out after a few years, succeeds in a behavior of trust, empathy, and long relationship: it is the love of couples that lasts. Confidence and empathy, which alternate with tenderness, stimulate and maintain a regular release of oxytocin, the real brain messenger of attachment. Its positive effects, which reduce stress, stimulate communication and empathy, contribute to the perception of a feeling of happiness. So long live love, to consume without moderation.


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    Neha Mehta

    Consultant Psychologist, Mental Health Professional

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    Location: Hisar, India

    Language: English, Hindi, Punjabi

    Area Of Expertise: Child Counseling, Couple Counseling, Marriage Counseling, Parenting, Self Improvement, Sleep, IQ Testing, ADHD, Career Counselling, Adolescent Counselling, Motivation, Family Counseling

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