Is Feeling Butterflies in Your Stomach for Your True Love Normal?

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Siffat Kaur Arora

30 May 2023

5 Mins

I wonder why I go shaky and fidgety whenever I see him! What is it that happens to me which makes me go super nervous in front of someone who probably is also the reason why I am constantly smiling?

Well, what I have read in the past few days is enough to cater to my confusion, and probably yours as well. A shaky nervous feeling, which we often refer to as feeling butterflies in my tummy very often experienced in situations like that of appearing before an exam, getting on a stage, or like we all know, the moment we confront our crush has a legitimate scientific explanation to it as well.

Who’d know that there’s actually science behind what we call ‘love’!

Is Feeling Butterflies When You’re with Your Partner Always a Sign of Love?

how do you know if you’re in love or if you have a crush

The body's fight or flight’ response, controlled by the autonomic nervous system, prepares us for emergencies by increasing heart rate, widening airways, and causing physical symptoms like sweaty palms and pupil dilation. When it sees danger, it triggers the release of adrenaline and cortisol, and increases your heart rate and sends blood to your heart and leg muscles — and directs it away from the digestive system. The blood vessels in and around your stomach and intestines constrict and the digestive muscles expand. It's that sudden drop in blood flow that makes you feel like there are winged insects fluttering around in your stomach.

But the question remains unanswered as to why do you get the same fluttery feeling when you go on a date? The latter is not an emergency, but it appears that nobody alerted your sympathetic nervous system. Considering that procreation is the end goal of evolution, it makes sense that looking at a potential mate is an emergency situation for organisms like us.

When experiencing intense romantic love, two sections of the brain are activated which are associated with pleasure and the recognition of pleasurable and life-sustaining activities. This means that love fills us with pleasure and joy-inducing chemicals, and encourages us to maintain that attachment, as this was often important for the survival of early humans.

What are the typical physical sensations experienced when in love?

how dopamine works

Apart from just feeling butterflies in our stomachs, there’s a lot more a person may experience physically! Here are a few common physical feelings of being in love:

1. Love can be addictive

Researchers concluded that falling in love is very much like the feeling of being addicted to drugs because the same sensation of euphoria is released, including brain chemicals like dopamine, oxytocin, adrenaline, and vasopressin.

2. You’re turning red

It’s so common to turn all red whenever your friends take their name! It's not just a nervous tick that leads to a rise in anxiety; it's actually the stimulation of adrenaline and norepinephrine, which eventually causes a physical sensation of craving and the budding desire to direct all your attention to that one person.

3. Sickness is nothing but love, sometimes

It’s okay if you don’t feel like having your wedding cake, or your favorite dish on your 1st date, because that's your body's way of telling you that you really like that person. "Love sickness may actually be the stress hormone cortisol contracting the blood vessels around your stomach, making you feel sick," Dr. Kirk says. This usually fades over a short period of time as you become more and more comfortable with your partner - but could also partially explain why many brides and grooms feel like they can't eat at their wedding.

4. Worrying about their whereabouts is common

When we're separated from our partner for a brief or extended period of time, we respond the same way a drug addict would while coming off of their addiction, says Serena Goldstein, a naturopathic doctor in New York City. "Corticotropin releasing factor is increased as part of a stress response when we are away from our partner, contributing to anxiety and depression," she states.

5. Sleep cycles go for a toss, we all know it

Staying awake talking for hours with your partner? Those feel-good crush-like symptoms may cause disruption in sleep. According to a study on adolescents, when you're in those starting stages of love like euphoria, you feel more energy and positivity in the early morning and evenings, causing you to lose sleep, or have restless sleep.

Share Your Feelings on Now&Me

And so when love is in the air, you’d know it. Whatever we may feel, be it positive or negative, all of our feelings and emotions are also conveyed by the physical changes in our body. That is what is unique about us humans, all of our experiences are not just mental, but also physical.

You can share your experiences of being in love with us.

Now&Me provides a safe and supportive platform to connect with experienced mental health and self care professionals who can offer you guidance and support.

Our peer community is welcoming, non-judgmental, and inclusive, creating a warm and supportive environment to share your thoughts and feelings.

You can interact with like-minded peers or seek guidance from experienced experts like therapists and life coaches, instantly. What are you waiting for? Download for FREE!

FAQs

Feeling like butterflies in your stomach is often associated with all the mushy yet nervous feelings you have at the start of something ‘romantic’, or ‘beyond friendship’. More often than not, these feelings usually reduce with time, as you get comfortable and even habitual with that person. But if you want your partner to feel those emotions all over again, you can try taking them on a date, or plan something to do together, probably cook or maybe watch your favorite movie.

Often also known as the nervous stomach, one can get rid of such a feeling with both natural remedies as well as a few lifestyle changes. Avoiding caffeine, finding space for yourself to relax, and more physical activity are some of the steps you can take to see a change.

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