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Falling in love = infatuation = limerence (Tennov)... up to 1.5-3 yrs

  1. inception, usually a dramatic effect (a person becomes special). Intrusive thinking (what will the loved one think of this book), at first irregular.
  2. Obsession grows: 85-100% of day/nights they are influenced by their love.
  3. No idealisation but crystalisation. Stehndal → crystals are forming around a core. People are aware of lover’s faults.
  4. Emotions & reactions: ecstacy and angst to loose the person.

Why do we fall in love?

  1. odor lures
  2. love maps/images (constructed from a young age; influenced by family etc.)
  3. averageness is attractive (why? Symmetry...)
  4. the chase
  5. chemistry of love (→ kafka)
  6. romance junkies

Liebe vs. Partnerschaft


  • Anfang/Ende ist willentlich nicht beeinflussbar, nicht vertragsfähig
  • Irrationalität
  • Bedingungslosigkeit, Ansprüche sind nicht ableitbar, es wird nichts geschuldet
  • Verzicht auf Gerechtigkeit


  • Willentliches Ein- und Austreten
  • Vernunft, Verständnis, dauerhafte Kooperation
  • Bedinungen werden ausgehandelt, Kompromisse geschlossen, Regeln festgelegt
  • Anspruch auf Gerechtigkeit

3 systems in the human brain:

Helen Fisher:

  • centres for lust/sex drive
  • romantic love
  • attachement/long-term relationship

One can feel deeply attached to a long-term partner while beeing in love with another person and feeling sexual lust towards yet other people.

SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) → +serotonine level → - dopamine levels → - romantic love (siehe Psychopathologie der Liebe ).

Changing sexual behaviour? Women more powerful, less sex in the last 20-30 years

University of Göttingen: people in relationship: 17% no intercourse in the last 4 weeks, 57% once, 25% 1-2 times

1 hypothesis: pill hormones?

number of divorce rates decrease but marriage rates as well.

Relationship fail (26.5)

v. common: infidelity. why do they stray? investigation, asked people:

  1. want to get caught to patch up the relation!
  2. outside fulfills (AE,BE: fulfill) needs
  3. craving for drama, danger, excitement
  4. want to find the perfect love outside

Broken heart syndrome

Transitions in love-sickness

  1. threatening - the instability of the old identity (omits any mention of denial)
  2. numbness - internal breakdown
  3. negotiating - trying to keep in touch with ex partner
  4. regression
  5. acceptance

transitional objects_

  1. oral factor - some people eat a lot, some little
  2. addiction factor - alcohol, nicotine...
  3. sex factor - looking for substitute + activity to satisfy desire for intimacy
  4. substitution factor - increase social contacts, activity, hobbies...
    ⇒ leads hopefully to a new happy relation