Love At First Sight: Does It Really Exist?

Medically reviewed by Paige Henry, LMSW, J.D.
Updated March 20, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Love at first sight is a concept that’s often prevalent in music, fantasy, and fiction. In movies, the characters' eyes meet across a crowded room; the rest is history.

Do you feel like you’re falling too fast?

While the idea of finding true, lasting love when first meeting someone can sound wildly romantic, the concept of love at first sight is generally not backed by science or research. The initial chemical reaction of sexual attraction, excitement, and euphoria that frequently come with infatuation may indicate the possibility of a relationship. However, feeling warm fuzzies when you first meet someone may feel one-sided. Looking back, the person experiencing love at first sight may have selective memory bias. When they look back at the initial encounter with their love interest, they may ignore any negatives, potentially leading to feelings of anxiety or desperation. If you’re experiencing these types of feelings, it can be helpful to speak to a licensed therapist online or in person.

Love at first sight vs. strong physical attraction

Love at first sight, is commonly described as an instant feeling of initial attraction, instant connection, and chemistry. A poll conducted by Gallup determined that over half of Americans believe in love at first sight. Still, there has been little research conducted that backs up the validity of the concept.

Though it is not uncommon for someone to have an instant attraction to a person based on physical appearance alone, those initial feelings of lust or longing do not typically constitute real love. It can be important to remember that real, lasting romantic love is usually cultivated over time. 

If you feel that you have fallen in love at first sight, it is very likely that you have fallen for an idealized version of a person that you have created in your mind. People who experience love at first sight feel like they instantly know they are in love, but getting to know an individual you would like to pursue a relationship with is usually essential. They likely have more positive characteristics that you will be attracted to, but things about them may turn you off. While early feelings of love at first sight can be fun and exciting, it is typically important to remain grounded and consider the unique needs, traits, and comfortability of the other person. 

Is love at first sight real? What science has to say

When it comes to science, very little formal research has been conducted regarding the existence of love at first sight. Still, some psychologists have explored the topic, and there are some scientific facts that could better explain why so many people may experience this sensation in their lifetime. 

In 2017, a study was conducted using a combination of online dating, a laboratory study, and multiple dating events. The results showed that feelings of love at first sight were not only common amongst participants but largely predictable based on physical attraction. While these findings did not link the sensation to long-lasting love, there is additional science that could help explain why love at first sight could feel like true love. 

According to research, when a person experiences intense attraction, intimate physical touch, or emotional bonding, it is common for certain hormones to be released, particularly oxytocin, which is commonly referred to as the “love hormone.” An influx of this hormone can elevate your mood and create a heightened sense of safety and emotional connection. 

For this reason, the release of oxytocin upon feelings of an immediate and intense romantic connection could cause someone to feel as if they have fallen in love at first sight. 


What to do if you have fallen in love at first sight

If you believe you have fallen in love at first sight, it may be best to take a deep breath, step back, and evaluate the reality of the situation. You may feel a strong attraction, but if you have only just met this person, you may want to take the time to have conversations early in the relationship to get to know them. It can be especially important to determine whether or not the other person is available or interested in pursuing a romantic relationship. 

It may also be helpful to take the time to identify and understand your unique attachment style. Someone who tends to get very close to someone very fast may possess an anxious attachment style. An anxious attachment style can often be present in adults who have previously experienced abandonment or a lack of nurturing from parents or caregivers.

While it can be fun and exciting to indulge in feelings of love at first sight, it can be highly beneficial to remain grounded. If you do pursue a relationship with the object of your recent affection, it can be helpful to pace yourselves when it comes to big milestones like moving in together or making other long-term commitments. 

If you feel overwhelmed by intense feelings of love or notice you tend to fall in love very quickly, it may be helpful to speak with a therapist. A licensed professional may help you identify your attachment style, navigate your feelings, and strive for a healthy relationship. There is support available for many types of relationship issues. For example, if you have concerns about your attachment style, consider talking to a family therapist. If you and your spouse have grown apart, a licensed marriage counselor may be able to help.

Whether or not you believe in love at first sight, a therapist can often provide helpful guidance in matters regarding personal relationships and falling in love. If you feel you have recently fallen in love at first sight and would like to receive guidance from a professional, online therapy may be more effective than in-person therapy. 

Someone with a tendency to fall in love at first sight may do so due to an anxious attachment style. Because of the complex and unique situations that can lead to a person developing an anxious attachment style, it can be especially beneficial to explore these particular behaviors with a mental health professional. 

Getty/Vadym Pastukh
Do you feel like you’re falling too fast?

Recent studies have shown that internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is equally as effective as in-person CBT. Cognitive behavioral therapy, commonly referred to as “talk therapy,” aims to reframe the negative thought processes that can contribute to symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses. This type of therapy may be used to help those with anxious attachment styles and those who wish to adjust their thought processes related to love and relationships.


While initial feelings of attraction or infatuation can feel similar to those of falling in love, these feelings can often be related to the release of hormones that occurs with physical touch or emotional intimacy. Still, if you feel sparks fly with someone who is similarly interested in pursuing romance, it can certainly be worth exploring. Love at first sight may lead to actually falling in love, becoming a self fulfilling prophecy. However, if you frequently fall in love at first sight or encounter other relationship challenges, seeking guidance from a licensed therapist online or in person can be helpful.

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