Photo: Joshua Rawson-Harris

Why Guys Like You More When You Stop Giving A Damn

Turns out we may have misunderstood the “cuddle chemical.”


Have you ever noticed when you cool things off a bit in your relationship – or even have a break – your man suddenly wants you more? Or the other way around: you can't shake the feels for a guy even though you can see he's clearly not so into you anymore, or he's stopped treating you right. Yeah, relationships can be pretty fucked up sometimes, but it turns out there's some science to save your sanity.

According to a recent study, oxytocin – the “love hormone” that's released during sex or just intimate cuddling moments with your partner – might not be as lovey-dovey as it sounds, playing more complex roles than simply helping us bond. Hold up guys, time to delete that oxytocin nasal spray from your Amazon basket. The new theory suggests the hormone is released when there are perceived threats in the relationship.

Researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and the University of New Mexico conducted two separate studies which both found that a person's oxytocin levels were more likely to increase if they thought they were more invested in a relationship than their partner. “Consistent with our predictions, increases in oxytocin across a thought-writing task were predicted by high levels of individuals' own relationship involvement, but also by low levels of partners' relationship involvement,” the study states. “Accordingly, the difference or discrepancy between self and partner involvement was a significant predictor of oxytocin change in both studies. This pattern was upheld in both male and female subjects.” Basically, it seems we're hardwired to want to do something about a perceived threat in the relationship.

The results could be the answer to the “haunting” phenomenon – you know, when a guy who ghosts you sees you're not interested anymore and tries to get your affection back. And it's a pretty good explanation for why you always seem to fall for, or continue to tolerate, guys who treat you like shit. Just saying, but neither situation is ideal; we'd rather have our oxytocin served up as a side order to romance and mind-blowing honeymoon-period sex, thank you very much.