Do you believe in love at first sight? If you do, you’re not alone. Most men and women say they believe in this amazing phenomenon. But scientists aren’t so sure that it’s actually a real thing.
With so many people saying they both believe and experience love at first sight, it’s time to get to the bottom of it. Does it exist or not?
Who believes in love at first sight?
A poll from the dating site, Elite Singles, revealed that 61 percent of women believe in love at first time. But what about men? Believe it or not, 72 percent of men believe in love at first sight.
The data also revealed that the younger the woman is, the more likely she is to believe it love at first sight, but as she gets older, the more skeptical she becomes of the whole thing.
What is “love at first sight?”
If you’ve experienced it, you probably already know what that immediate love feels like. But just so we’re all clear, love at first sight means:
- You feel those butterflies in your stomach
- You want to know everything you can about the other person
- It feels like they’re the only person in the room
- You feel like you’ve met before
- You’re attractive to their mannerisms
Do you really see someone for the “first” time?
The whole idea of love at first sight says when you see someone for the very first time, you fall head over heels in love. But some argue that this “first sight” isn’t actually the first time you see the other person.
Instead, some believe that you know people in another lifetime, and so when you see them for the first time, it’s more like you’re recognizing them for the first time.
Plato, for example, taught that before people start their lives here on earth, their souls divide. So, when they see someone for the first time and fall in love, it could be that they actually are re-finding their other half.
This strong connection or recognition could actually feel like you’re connecting with someone from your past. However, psychologists have something else to say about this “first-sight” recognition.
“First sight” versus “impression formation”
In psychology, the term, “impression formation” refers to how the subconscious mind interprets facial features. You see, the subconscious mind is working all the time, forming opinions and values for different people, places, things, scents, etc.
We don’t even realize this is happening, but it does and these opinions and values enter our conscious thinking and inform our reactions to other people.
For example, your idea of beauty can emerge from your subconscious mind, where images of your mother, a former lover or a dear friend have been deeply planted. Now, they are a reference point for what you find “beautiful.”
In other words, when you see someone for the first time, your subconscious mind immediately compares them with someone you used to know (or still know).
And when it comes to impression formation, it’s not just that you find someone beautiful thanks to your subconscious mind. You also connect “beauty” with good characteristics.
So, you may think you’re instantly falling in love, but it may really be your subconscious mind recognizing a familiar face and it’s accompanying good qualities, and “falling in love” with him or her.
Is love at first sight just an “illusion”?
What we remember tends to change over time. This is normal, and this also impacts how we remember falling in love with a partner.
In fact, researchers at the University of Groningen say that this whole “love at first sight” thing actually is an illusion. A positive illusion, but an illusion nonetheless.
That is, you and your partner will remember falling in love at first sight because you are so in love with each other all those years later.
In a way, the two partners return to their origins and continue to create a beautiful love story out of it, a positive illusion, a and the beginning of there story?
Instead of “Once upon a time, “ it reads, “Love at first sight. The more you return to your first meeting, the more your illusion can grow and feed on itself, making you feel more in love and more excited about finding each other.
Why “love” can’t happen at first sight
There’s no denying that people feel an instant attraction, but does that actually qualify for love? Research shows that the brain does change when there’s an initial attraction. And some argue that without this initial attraction, you can’t actually fall in love later.
But are we mistaking love for lust?
Lust can definitely happen at first sight. You know, that deep physical attraction you have to someone. Lust happens in an instant, but not love. It’s something that has to grow and evolve over time.
It moves past casual – yet intense – physical attraction, to caring deeply for another person. It goes from being selfish to selfless.
So, you can have instant physical chemistry but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have long-term success. But you certainly can. It just depends on the two individuals. Are they compatible once the get to know more about each other?
When “love at first sight” fails
It’s completely fine to feel an instant attraction to someone. But it can be problematic when you encounter this exciting feeling when you’re not emotionally ready for it.
The thing is, many people are not satisfied in their lives, nor do they feel complete in themselves. And they mistakenly believe that in order to be complete, happy and whole, they need someone else to fulfill them. This is where that insidious saying, “My other half” or even worse, “My better half” comes from.
So, someone may make you feel like a million bucks when you first meet them, and they may satisfy a lot of your deep needs for fulfillment and nurturing. However, they may not be right for you in the long run.
After all, we can’t expect someone else to complete us. That’s work that the individual must do.
So, what’s the conclusion? Does love at first sight actually exist? It’s safe to say that “something” happens at first sight. Maybe it’s lust. Maybe it’s recognition. And if you follow it, you may fall in love, too.