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Love Not At First Sight

The science of love at first sight. Research has shown people do tend to decide whether they are romantically interested in a person within seconds of meeting them, and that near-instantaneous decision depends on a mix of physical and psychological cues they pick up about the person at a first glance.

As for actually falling in love, a set of researchers set out in to study love at first sight as soon as it happened. They staged meetings with potential romantic partners for some men and women and then asked about the feelings they experienced during the encounter.

A small number of people did report falling in love at first sight, but those feelings didn't include high passion, intimacy, or commitment—all the classic hallmarks of romantic love psychologists look for, according to Sternberg's triangular theory of love. The main factor that predicted falling in love at first sight with a stranger? Physical attraction.

In fact, rating a person one point higher in attractiveness was associated with a nine times higher likelihood of reporting love at first sight. That suggests a great majority of people who claim to have fallen in love at first sight are actually experiencing lust at first sight. The intense, all-consuming feelings of passion, exhilaration, and longing associated with falling in love are the product of a series of neurochemical reactions in which the brain's reward system, fueled by the neurotransmitter dopamine, motivates the person to seek closeness and intimacy with the object of their affection—similar to the way the brain behaves when a person is experiencing drug addiction.

Research by behavioral anthropologist Helen Fisher, Ph. That said, other research has found differences in the brains of people who've recently fallen in love compared with those who've been in love for decades. While the brain's reward systems lit up for both groups of people when thinking of their beloved, the newly-in-love couples had some additional parts of the brain activated: the ones associated with fear and anxiety. Reasons people might feel like they fell in love at first sight: Physical attraction: People are much more likely to fall in love at first sight with people they find physically attractive, according to the aforementioned study.

Confusing love and infatuation: Infatuation involves intense feelings of attraction and fixation for someone without knowing them well, usually by way of actively ignoring red flags in favor of a fantasy.

Openness to love: People who are looking for love might be more likely to lean into an intense initial feeling, according to Henry. Think of it like remembering their first meeting with a positive glow. Advertisement This ad is displayed using third party content and we do not control its accessibility features.

Is love at first sight dangerous? Love at first sight isn't necessarily dangerous or unhealthy, and there are plenty of happy couples in healthy relationships who claim to have fallen in love at first sight. That said, because the feelings associated with love at first sight are usually more based on physical attraction and infatuation—as opposed to the enduring, committed care and intimacy that are hallmarks of lasting love—it's possible to get invested too quickly in a relationship that may not actually be healthy or with a partner who might not actually be compatible with them.

Early feelings of love don't necessarily mean two people are a good fit for each other, Cullins emphasizes.

You feel an immediate connection to this person, even though you've just met. You feel drawn to this person, wanting to be around them more. You don't actually know anything about this person, or you know very little about them. Everything you're learning about this person in this first meeting has you captivated.

You already know you'd be down to be in a relationship with this person. You'd be OK learning that this person does have flaws, shortcomings, or qualities you dislike—it wouldn't change how you feel. Love at first sight means that you feel an instant connection to another person, according to Dubrow. It's the feeling you get when you don't want a moment to end because you feel a connection with another person that you haven't felt before.

You need to be able to take the time after that first meeting to really get to know each other, explains Dubrow. It is an exquisite feeling. But it isn't love—not the kind of love that marriage requires over the long haul. O'Neill has found from her time with clients that the concept of love at first sight is much more about an immediate physical attraction, which often plays out.

It certainly can lead to marriage, but the better question is can it sustain it? It is possible that love at first sight could lead to a lasting marriage but the odds are, unfortunately, against it, according to O'Neill. This is due to a myriad of reasons, including having children, health issues, and careers that cause ups and downs, stretches of little or no sex, and periods when partners are just not on the same page.

What this looks like, according to Dubrow, is spending time going on dates virtually or in-person! So what else do people tend to get wrong about love at first sight?