Episode 9: Dr Anna Machin

Why we fall in love & how fatherhood changes a man’s brain

HealthHackers Ep 9 with evolutionary anthropologist & relationship scientist Dr Anna Machin

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In this episode, we cover: 

  • why we fall in love

  • how come some people are much better at relationships than others

  • ways that you can best find your most compatible life partner

  • whether you can make someone fall in love with you

  • what men are most attracted to in women

  • what women look for in a man

  • how the smell of your man's sweat dictates so much

  • whether we are meant to be faithful

  • if love at first sight exists

  • how you can keep love alive throughout a marriage

  • the real reason we get jealous

  • what Anna thinks of Meghan and Harry’s relationship

  • how a man’s brain changes when he becomes a dad

  • how new dads can most successfully help their children to grow into happy adults

  • why men get post-natal depression 

  • the biggest mistake a man can make when he becomes a father... plus lots more.


Here's why you fell in love

There were reasons you fell in love with your partner that you weren’t even conscious of.

Instincts, attractions and genetic smells (!) spun your feelings into overdrive without you even realising it. 

If you’re a woman, your waist-to-hip ratio was likely a key factor in whether or not your boyfriend or husband decided he fancied you. 

In fact, it was the first thing he looked at when he met you - but he won’t remember this because it was an unconscious behaviour (he was assessing your fertility and the ideal ratio is 0.7, just so you know).

If you’re a man, the width of your shoulders may have attracted your lovely lady. The most attractive shoulder to waist ratio is 1.4. If that’s you, it indicates strength and athleticism. That means you’ll make a good dad who can protect your family.

All of these details stem from the way our animal brains are hardwired. 

It’s complex stuff but thankfully, super savvy evolutionary anthropologist and relationship scientist Dr Anna Machin is brilliant at explaining what it all means and how you can use your many attributes to attract the best mate.

Anna has been studying relationships for over ten years and knows all about the neuroscience and psychology behind our deepest and closest bonds.

In #HealthHackers episode 9, Anna tells me how evolution drives us to reproduce. We are attracted to partners that we deem most fertile and love is the glue that makes us stick around throughout the testing times that inevitably come within a romantic relationship.

In the episode, Anna offers great tips and advice on finding a partner, keeping the love alive in your long-term relationship and explains how jealousy is actually a protective mechanism. 


New dads need to listen to this

Anna’s not just an expert on romantic relationships - she’s also written a fascinating book about fatherhood: The Life of Dad: The Making of a Modern Father after studying new and expectant dads extensively.

A lot changes when a man becomes a father and we don’t often hear many people talking about how vital their role is. 

Time spent with the baby, including as much skin-to-skin touch, and rough and tumble play as possible is essential because it's through interaction that a father forms a bond.

It’s not all fun and play for dads - according to Anna, 10% of men get post natal depression. The figure for women is 14%.

I asked Anna what would be the biggest mistake a man could make once he becomes a father. 

“To think that you don’t matter, " she told me.

“You have a unique input into your child’s life and you need to take that and be reassured by it but also be empowered by it.”

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