- That “first date feeling” is actually a chemical response.
- Over time, the feeling fades away naturally.
- You can re-create that feeling by doing something new for the first time with your partner.
At the start of a budding relationship, many people experience butterflies and first-date jitters. As time passes in a relationship, however, that feeling can begin to fade away.
INSIDER asked experts to find out how you can reignite that spark and maintain the excitement you feel when you first meet someone special.
The first date feeling is actually a natural human response to an evolving romance, courtesy of your hormones
“When you are looking forward to that first date with that special person, your brain’s hormones are already at work,” licensed clinical therapist,Dr. LeslieBeth Wish told INSIDER. “If you are a woman, your brain has released oxytocin, the ’emotional attachment’ – the same neurochemical that bonds mothers to their babies. If you are a man, your brain activates vasopressin that aids in sexual desire and attachment.”
There are also feel-good hormones like serotonin and dopamine at play, too. The physical reactions to that first date feeling, however, are the work of adrenaline, a hormone released by your adrenal glands during times of stress, high blood pressure, and quickened breath, Clarissa Silva, a behavioural scientist and relationship coach, explained.
“Increased adrenaline levels is what makes you start to sweat, your heart race, ‘butterflies in your stomach’ and/or your mouth going dry whenever you are around the person,” the creator of Your Happiness Hypothesis: Breakup Recovery said. “This is what most people think of as ‘love at first sight’ with this phase of euphoria lasting a few months.”
The human body isn’t capable of feeling that much intensity for too long
Getting comfortable in long-term relationships don’t necessarily mean the spark is gone, or that you’re any less attracted to one another than you were that very first night. In reality, the human body just isn’t meant to or capable of feeling that sort of intensity for so long.
“Because there is such an intense firing of hormones and neurotransmitters going on during the beginning of a relationship, after a while, the brain just simply cannot keep up with the excitement,” mental health counselor, Dr. Danielle Forshee, LLC told INSIDER. “It naturally has to slow down. It’s like running a marathon; after a while, your body runs out of steam. So, the intensity starts to fade.”
The answer to getting that first date feeling back with your long-term partner is newness
Romance is only one part of that first date feeling. A lot of it stems from experiencing something for the first time. So, in order to feel the butterflies again, Forshee said that scheduling time to experience something new together should trigger those same neurological (and therefore emotional) responses.
“Every so often (every few months), plan an experience for the both of you that you have never done before. Something exhilarating, fun, riveting,” Forshee told INSIDER. “These types of experiences will turn on those parts of your brain and give you a shot of that fire you remembered from earlier on in your relationship.”
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