You might think that you are perfectly in control of all of your senses and therefore believe that your ‘unconscious self’ has very little to do with choosing the person who becomes your life partner, but you might be surprised to discover just how science and love are connected.
Thinking about our sexual health and wanting to learn more about testing options are conscious relationship decisions we make, but what role does your unconscious mind play in choosing your partner in the first place?
A couple of theories to contend with
Scientific thinking on the subject of how we might choose our partner is heavily influenced by two specific theories.
Evolution is believed to play a big part in your decision-making process, even if you don’t realize what might be steering you in a certain direction. Evolutionary theory is made up of a number of different aspects that subconsciously come into play, such as physical characteristics, certain behavioral tendencies and personality features that we are considered to be hardwired to look for.
It all goes back to early human life where you had to work hard to promote your chances of being a survivor and having good prospects for reproduction. Survival of the fittest really was a factor then. Some scientists are of the opinion that even after all these years of our evolutionary development we are still subconsciously looking out for these qualities and characteristics.
The evolutionary theory works on the basis that the obvious biological and anatomical differences between men and women will ultimately dictate your preferences for partner selection, leading you to look for certain qualities, depending on whether you are looking for a woman or a man.
Social role theory
The other mainstream scientific theory put forward is more concentrated on social rather than purely biological processes going on in our brain.
The main thrust of the argument supporting this theory is that our mate selection process is subconsciously influenced by the distinctive roles that men and women occupy in society.
The most obvious example of this theory in action is when you see a woman choose a man because they are attracted by the level of power and money that they have, and their position in society because of these factors.
Back in the 1950’s, barely 30% of women had any sort of job at all, but that is much closer to 60% these days, which means that the majority of women now enjoy financial independence.
Current changes in social norms where women are increasingly just as likely to occupy a similar role are obviously challenging those previous rules that allegedly defined the laws of attraction.
It is probably more accurate to say that the ‘perceived social role’ stereotype needs updating when it comes to ideas about how we might choose a partner according to their financial and societal status.
We have all heard of the so-called phenomenon of love at first sight, and some couples who go on to enjoy a great life together can often say that they instantly knew that they were “the one” as soon as they set eyes on their partner.
The interesting point here is that physical attraction certainly does appear to be a factor and something that can subconsciously persuade us to pursue someone as a potential love interest.
Physical attraction is still viewed as an advantage and it is believed by a number of scientists, that it is a key factor and very significant for those playing the mating and dating game.
Perhaps that love you felt ‘at first sight’ was a strong physical attraction going on in your mind, that has then gone on to develop into love on an emotional level.
Chemistry plays a part
Beyond the evolutionary theories, there is plenty of evidence relating to the chemistry that seems to make us almost literally go weak at the knees when we are strongly attracted to someone.
There is a biological reaction going on that can produce those light-headed feelings that we can interpret as love.
Dopamine is the guilty party in this scenario and it produces a series of responses with your body that you are biologically hardwired to experience, without you having much say in the matter.
Dopamine is created in your brain and adrenal glands and enhances the release of testosterone. It affects various organs in your body, including your genital region, as well as your sweat glands and senses, so the physical reaction of attraction is pretty hard to miss or ignore.
There is basically a lot going under the surface inside our heads in terms of subconscious physical responses that often give the game away as to how we are feeling on the inside.
Attitudes and relationships have evolved in modern times but our physical and emotive responses are still seemingly entrenched in the science of love and arguably play an influential part in our search for a partner. This holds true even when our roles and partnership status may have changed.
Photo is pixabay Public Domain
Guest Author Bio
Oscar Coles has worked as a relationship therapist for several years now. He also spends some of his time penning articles for a growing online audience as he discusses matters of the heart.