335: Dr. Fred Nour: How to Use Science to Understand Love

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Born in Egypt, Dr. Nour left Cairo in 1977 after graduating in the top of his class at the Medical School of Cairo University. Looking for the freedom to study medical subjects of interest to him in the U.S., he made his way to London but got caught in three year immigration process.

After many years of private Neurology practice in the Midwest and due only to an allergy to Canadian Geese, which flourish in large populations there, Dr. Nour moved to Southern California. Happily married with two daughters in college, he is now semi-retired. He is an accomplished painting artist, videographer, photographer and a graphic designer.

He enjoys opera, sailing, tennis, bicycling, and learning about other cultures through travel, all while still enjoying helping patients with complex neurological disorders.

Favorite Success Quote

“With persistence, you can achieve anything your heart desires.”

Key Points

1. “Love” is a Scientific Series of Processes that Occur in Four Distinct Phases

1. Mate Choice

The first phase of love is mate choice. At it’s most basic level, this is the process of meeting someone and (subconsciously) deciding that they are a good match for you and your potential offspring on a genetic level. This phase happens almost instantly.

2. Falling in Love

The process that Hollywood and pop culture have used and abused. This is the phase in a relationship where the two individuals will feel massive attraction for one another and experience a heightened increase in certain pleasure chemicals. This phase will typically last 1-3 years.

3. Falling Out of Love 

A necessary part of finding true love, the third phase of love is where you effectively experience the proverbial “come down” from the neurochemical high that you experienced during phase two. During this phase of the process, you will begin struggling in your relationship and find your partner less appealing than you did before.  This phase will typically last around a year.

4. True Love 

This is where the rubber meets the road. During the final stage of love, “True Love”, you have experienced falling out of love, made a conscious and informed decision that your current partner is right for you, and you now experience a release of a new set of pleasure chemicals that are slower forming but longer lasting, leading to the much desired “Happily ever after”.

2. Falling Out of Love is Essential to True Love 

Many people assume that if they are falling out of love with their partner it is a bad thing.

However, they should actually get excited.

Falling out of love is an essential, if not the most essential part of the four phases of true love.

You see, the first two phases of love cause people to experience such an overwhelm of pleasure chemicals being released in the brain that they quite literally cannot see the other person for what they really are.

Thus the phrase “Love is blind”.

However, because your genes are hardwired to help ensure that you are able to survive and procreate with the highest levels of success possible, phase two begins.

During this phase, your genes are working behind the scenes to help you determine whether the person you are with is truly the best match for you in the long run.

If you do not have this phase, you cannot have true love.

Read that again and write it down.

Unless you fall out of love with your partner, you will scientifically never be able to experience true and lasting love. 

This is not an easy reality to stomach, but the knowledge and foresight of what is to come will allow you to make informed decisions about your relationships and truly determine what is best for you in the future.

3. If You Do Not Fall Out of Love with Somebody You Cannot Fall in Love With Someone New

Many men beat themselves up and feel battered down because they are unable to move on after a bad breakup or divorce.

Gentlemen, I have good news for you.

It is not your fault.

Despite what we have been lead to believe by the pop culture surrounding masculinity, on a chemical and neurological level, you cannot just get over it whenever you experience a traumatizing separation.

You see, whenever you are caught in the second phase of love and your partner ends the relationship (often because they reached the third phase and did not know how to handle it), you are still caught in love on a chemical level.

Your brain will literally not allow you to move on until you have experienced the biological and neurological effects of falling out of love.

So what does this mean for you?

If your wife or girlfriend ends things while you are mid-phase 2 are you doomed to an eternity of lovelessness?

No.

Even though your brain and genes are working “against” you, it is possible to recover.

Typically this will occur whenever you maintain an amiable (or nonamiable) relationship with your previous partner and allow yourself to naturally fall out of love with them.

If they have been removed from your life completely, you will often need to seek professional help to truly recover and move on to your next love in a healthy way.

4. Love and Sex Are Not the Same Thing

A common fallacy among the uninformed is that love and sex are the same things.

They are not.

While love and sex are complimentary in their nature, they serve two completely different purposes.

Think about it this way.

Sex is all about satiation.

It’s about achieving the goal of orgasm and there is a set amount of sex that any given person can handle before they are done.

Love, on the other hand, does not have an inherent goal or “climax”. It is an ongoing process that can and should feel like a bottomless well.

Have you ever heard anyone say “No thanks, I don’t want any more love today. You can take your love and go give it to someone else.”?

However, love makes sex more intense and emotional and sex makes loves more binding.

Like a doctor and a nurse, they work together, but serve very separate roles.

5. Your Capacity for Love Depends on Your Genes

And now, the big one.

This particular point will be uncomfortable for many of you and might even make some of you angry.

But like the famous scientist Neil DeGrasse Tyson said, “The great thing about science is that it is true whether you agree with it or not”.

Your capacity for true love, connection, and monogamy are all highly dependent on your genes.

There are some people who due to their genetic variations quite literally cannot experience true love.

The chemicals are there, but the genetic wiring to receive the “true love” chemicals are not.

This is a hard pill for many to swallow.

The fact that monogamy, fidelity, and the quality of your relationships can actually have anything to do with your genes, let alone everything to do with them, is not something that most members of society understand and accept.

And while this truth may not be comfortable, it is the truth and it’s important that you remember this on your quest to find your own true love.

Influential Books

1. Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

2. The Basic Works of Aristotle by Aristotle

3. Gray’s Anatomy by Richard Drake

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Connect with Dr. Fred Nour

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