The Best Time To Bond

Who knew? A scientific study has revealed an amazing way your body changes when you fall for someone... and how that can bring you two closer than ever.

by Elise Nersesian

or the most part, we've gotta agree with John Gray—men are from Mars, and women from Venus. However, a new study suggests that there is a brief time in our dating lives when men and women are pretty much from the same planet. It's when we first fall in love. For this, you can thank your hormones, which, researchers from the University of Pisa in Italy found out, fluctuate like mad when a new relationship blooms. When guys are smitten, they experience a drop in their body's levels of testosterone, a hormone linked to aggressive, sometimes domineering behavior. Meanwhile, love-struck women get a testosterone boost.
When a new relationship blooms, men become more like women, and women become like men, say researchers.

"Men, in some way, become more like women, and women become like men," researcher Donatella Marazziti explained. And there's a very good reason for this hormonal gender-bending: We're more likely to have a rapport (not to mention sex) with someone who shares our personality traits. "This elimination of differences between the sexes is important because it lays the groundwork for conception, which is essential to our survival," says Helen Fisher, Ph.D., author of Why We Love.

But there's a catch: This blissful, two-peas-in-a-pod feeling doesn't last forever. When researchers tested subjects one year later, they found that men's and women's testosterone levels had diverged and returned to their pre-relationship levels. So if you and your sweetie have been dating longer than that, don't be surprised if you two are no longer on the same wavelength—and take comfort in knowing that life would be pretty boring if you two agreed on everything.

Elise Nersesian is an assistant editor at Redbook where she writes about sex and relationships. She and her guy have been together more than a year, so, yes, he's back to being from Mars.
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