The Evolution of Love

This paper explains a thesis containing the history of the evolution of love and how it branches out to explaining multiple points on to how humans choose their mate to lead to reproductive success. The main points this paper will be covering is how pair bonds have two important components, social and sexual, and how they are measurably different in forming relationships. Also, a slight biological aspect as to how hormones play a role in how humans fall in love and how we feel the way we feel towards the other mate.

Third, we explain how mate and partner preference such as monogamy can be beneficial to reproductive and relationship success. Lastly, we conclude by explaining in depth to how women long term mating strategies plays a role in the evolution of love in humans and how it leads to the overall success by describing points such as status, investment in children, and appearance preferences.

Love is a unique emotion that humans and animals feel and has been adapted throughout the years of evolution to ensure a long-lasting relationship with a mate that is successful for natural selection and offspring production.

Humans differ in the sense that our minds and communication are more complex than any other living species. In an article, it states that “The evolutionary theory of love proposes that love functions to attract and retain a mate for the purpose of reproducing and then caring for the resulting offspring. In other words, our ultimate goal is successful reproduction, and the feeling of romantic love that we experience is merely a tool to help us reach that goal.

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” The father’s involvement in parental care became necessary to raise a child successfully so it was believed that evolution created a way for mates to bond together and with one another.

Evolutionary psychologist, Maestripieri (2012) explains this in his article on The Evolutionary History of Love by stating, “…the father’s involvement and bi-parental care became necessary, natural selection had to come up with a way to motivate men and women to stay together for as long as it took to raise a child successfully.” When choosing a particular mate, both genders are choosy but women are more likely to be more discriminatory. Because of the fact that women have naturally valuable reproductive resources such as nurturing, protecting, carrying, and lactating, women are more selective of their mates. This is later explained through long term mating strategies and why both sexes are very choosy in picking a potential mate.

Pair bonding is what humans experience in their lifetime between a pair of a male and a female. The two types of pair bonds are social and sexual. In an article (Fuentes, 2012), social pair bond is stated as “a strong behavioral and psychological relationship between two individuals that is measurably different in physiological and emotional terms from general friendships or other acquaintance relationships.” Sexual pair bonds differs in the sense that it’s the “a behavioral and physiological bond between two individuals with a strong sexual attraction component.” This is one of the natural reasons as to why two people are involved in romantic or sexual relationships and it can be an emphasis on mating or parenting efforts. These relationships are classified as either polygamous or monogamous.

Polygamy is defined as to having multiple partners while monogamy refers to having one partner. The exclusiveness can be towards either social or sexual behaviors. Although animals have a huge range of polygamous relationships, humans are more prevalent into having monogamous relationships which tend to form long lasting relationships and bonds. In the past, evolution has sculpted the brains of our ancestors to provide the necessary wiring for pair bonding. In an article (Maestripieri, 2012) it was believed that human brains were changed to become socially monogamous due to the fact that our ancestors, the chimpanzee, were sexually promiscuous and led to more aggressive behavior. Now that humans are monogamous, we express emotions that are non-aggressive and soft nurturing towards one another.

Hormones also have an impact as to why humans fall in love and form bonds with one another. Romantic love is formed when the limbic system plays a key role. After the lighting up of multiple parts of the limbic system such as the ventral striatum and the insula, it pumps out different hormones such as dopamine and oxytocin. The hormone dopamine is a feel good neurotransmitter and gets the reward system firing. Oxytocin on the other hand is stated in an article as “known also as the love hormone, provokes feelings of contentment, calmness, and security, which are often associated with mate bonding (2018). Although people fall out of love, the increase of oxytocin from sexual activity and rewarding of the brain circuit can make couples desire each other more and rekindle what they used to have. These hormones are important factors in the formation of pair bonds. The attraction towards a partner can decrease and pair bonds will not the same as it started, but these can be increased again sexually or emotionally.

Before selecting a mate, it requires the psychological mechanisms that make it possible to add up attributes that leads to a final decision. Women are more likely to look for one partner rather than several temporary partners because the resources provided are more likely to be secure. Cues such as health and status helps in the conduct of different preferences that women are looking for in a partner. Although financial aspects aren’t the top thing that women are looking for, it is still a prominent factor that women look for. Multiple studies have shown that women are more likely to go on dates with those that show they have high levels of economic success rather than those that do not.

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The Evolution of Love. (2022, Apr 25). Retrieved from

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