The scientific view of love and romance can seem anything but romantic, and we can’t even let you have the scientific explanation without pointing out our current uncertainty and the need for more research. The fact is – love and romance are biological/neurological phenomena. They are being studied and we are slowly building a reductionist picture of exactly how and why we feel and act the way we do.
This view, however, is not incompatible with romance. It is a rationalist romantic view. Understanding biology is not inconsistent with embracing and even reveling in the human condition. Feelings of love and attraction are not diminished at all by an understanding of the possible evolutionary advantages of those feelings, or the underlying brain chemistry, any more then they are enhanced by ascribing those feeling to fate or magic.
Understanding the biology of love, rather, can be empowering. Sometimes we make decisions that are not in our best interest because we are in the grip of neurotransmitters and evolutionary signals of which we are not consciously aware. Thinking that those feelings are due to some magical design of the universe or something akin to fate, or to forces outside of your control, are convenient justifications for giving in to feelings that may be leading you to bad decisions. It’s helpful to understand that evolution does not need you to be happy, just prolific. You, however, may prefer to be happy, and therefore may wish to make more reasoned decisions. It’s also helpful to understand the power of neurochemistry, and therefore perhaps it’s not a good idea to make rash decisions when you are in the grip of “romantic psychosis.”
A scientific understanding of our own brains does not lessen the feelings of love and attraction, but may help us to enjoy and embrace those feelings without being ruled by them.”