Y: Have you ever been in love, Don?
D: Well, sure, haven't we all at one time or another?
Y: So your answer is "yes."
D: Yes. I've been in love.
Y: Then you must have been crazy, too.
D: What are you saying, Yael? That you have to be crazy to fall in love?
Y: Kind of. Scientists have found that when you're in love, your brain is flooded with different chemicals, including dopamine. In the right amount, dopamine can make you behave recklessly and become manic and obsessive.
D: So you're saying that being in love is basically like going insane.
Y: That's putting it a bit strongly, but sure. After all, where do you think the phrase "madly in love" comes from? People in love have been known to do things and act in ways that in another context we'd recognize as signs of mental illness.
D: But surely being in love isn't exactly the same as being mentally ill.
Y: That's true. Over time, dopamine levels return to normal. Or, the brain gets used to the extra dopamine and no longer causes you to feel those same giddy, manic sensations.
D: So love doesn't last.
Y: Not in the same form. But after that initial dopamine buzz, over time other chemicals can take over. The hormone oxytocin, for example, is known to encourage feelings of warmth and bonding between people.
D: Oxytocin sounds like a nice hormone.
Y: Yes. It seems to help out when we're no longer madly in love.