Human attraction, the unexplainable moment when two strangers lock eyes and fireworks fly, has kept psychologists and relationship experts guessing as to why this curious phenomenon occurs. There are a multitude of theories to explain the miracle of falling in love, but regardless of what causes this ineffable spark of connection, there is one undeniable truth: neither person is the same from that moment on.
Love’s mood-altering effect, the sudden rush of dopamine that stimulates the reward center of the brain, completely transforms a person’s brain chemistry. Ironically, dopamine also activates the area of the brain (anterior cingulate) that is linked to one of the most basic evolutionary survival techniques and supports the ability to focus. That’s right! There is scientific proof that the incessant need to check your phone every two seconds because your guy may have texted you is as intense and primal as the mental signal in the brain for essentials like food and water. In this love state, the mind is constantly thinking of ways to get closer to the person who will fulfill that primary goal, overriding everything else. “It’s called falling in love for a reason — it comes upon us quickly and knocks us off our feet,” explains Pamela Regan, PhD, professor of psychology at California State University at Los Angeles.
What tips the scales when a person’s love-induced brain chemistry stabilizes and the newness of the relationship wears off? What make a man take the gigantic leap from falling in love to committing to his one true love? “Men have certain innate needs that must be met before they truly feel connected to a woman,” says Paul Dobransky, MD, author of The Secret Psychology of How We Fall in Love. “When a guy realizes, consciously or not, that you’re ideal on all these levels, that’s when he’ll commit.” Men have four primal relationship desires that determine whether or not love at first sight will become love everlasting: the desire to protect, the desire for freedom, the desire to shine, and the desire for comfort.
1. The Desire to Protect
Men, whether overt in nature or well-hidden, are hard-wired to protect. While the damsel-in-distress act is centuries out-dated and annoying at best, allowing your man to see your vulnerable side will unlock his natural instinct to nurture and protect you in his own unique way. Little things like asking his opinion about vacation sites or stock options telegraph that you value his intellect and feel he has your best interests at heart. Asking him to do concrete tasks like changing a light bulb or fixing a broken step will build his sense of accomplishment and support your high regard for his physical attributes. Playing up your feminine figure with soft, delicate fabrics will trigger his infatuation and accentuate the balance that you provide. Ladies, feel free to traipse about in that lacy, frilly blouse or sashay nonchalantly in that slinky dress. It will drive him crazy!
2. The Desire for Freedom
Support a man’s need to maintain his freedom and identity independent of you. “By making it clear that you don’t expect your guy to change, he’ll feel like you truly understand him but don’t threaten his sense of self,” says Dan Neuharth, PhD, author of Secrets You Keep from Yourself. If you surprise him with the unexpected, you’ll keep him guessing and he’ll be pining for you without even knowing it. Reassure your man that you foster his need for freedom. Men hate feeling “tied down,” so turning down occasional plans with him will let him know that you have a life separate from him. He just might start wondering what you’re doing and pursue you more. Share your own thoughts and fears about commitment so that he feels you identify with his qualms about moving forward more seriously in the relationship. Last, but certainly not least, respect his privacy. Show that you understand that his physical space signifies his independence and stay out of his drawers and away from his phone when it rings.
3. The Desire to Shine
Even the most confident of men have bouts of insecurity and self-doubt. Feed his need to feel respected and appreciated by “increasing self-esteem, both internally and in the eyes of others,” says Dr. Dobransky, “and naturally he’ll want to be attached to you.” Be a source of light even during the most stressful of times by dragging him out of the house when he’s crabby, going to a cheesy movie together, or by taking silly pictures of each other. Brain-teasers like Scrabble, puzzles, and chess challenge his mental skills and prove that you have superb problem-solving abilities, subconsciously swaying his internal desire to carry on his genes with you. Always speak and act with confidence and poise which shows actively that you are a precious jewel to be cherished.
4. The Desire for Comfort
Men want to feel the comfort of having a partner who complements their unique personality and with whom they enjoy spending time. Rekindle the feeling of falling in love by making your man feel like the two of you “just fit.” Primp in front of him to enhance intimacy, since this is a special moment only he has the pleasure of witnessing. In males, the enticing smell of food incites spikes in oxytocin levels. The more often the two of you cook together, the more he will associate you with the good feelings he gets from eating. Whoever it was that said “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” was right! Make him feel welcome at your home by stocking up on brands and items he uses at his own place. Subconsciously, he’ll feel at home and see you as a source of safety and security.
There are a few factors such as career challenges and pure panic that cause a man to take a step back from the ledge of commitment and question whether or not he’s ready to take the leap, but by considering these four male relationship desires, the odds are in your favor that he’ll realize he hasn’t just fallen in love with you but he’s also committed to being with you. Knowing these unique traits that determine a man’s ability to commit doesn’t automatically make the road to a successful, loving relationship an easy one, but it does provide an aerial view of the terrain to help avoid possible potholes and roadblocks along the way. Love in its ability to alter the mental and physical processes of the mind and body proves its power and the need to cherish it as a unifying force.