Love At First Sight: Does It Really Exist?
Love at first sight is a concept prevalent in movies, music, fantasy and fiction. It’s possible that you or someone you know has personally experienced feelings of love at first sight. While the idea of finding true, lasting love in a single moment sounds both wildly romantic and ideal to many, the reality of this occurring is highly unlikely.
The concept of love at first sight is not one that is backed by science or research. Still, the initial feelings of attraction, excitement, and euphoria that come with the concept still have the potential to indicate the possibility of a relationship. On the other hand, the feeling associated with love at first sight can often be one-sided, leading to feelings of anxiety or desperation in the person experiencing them.
In this article we will explore the validity of love at first sight as well as what science has to say about the matter, and how to navigate the feelings that come with it.
Love At First Sight Vs. Infatuation
Love at first sight is commonly described as sudden and intense feelings of attraction, connection and chemistry. Interestingly, a poll conducted by Gallup nearly two decades ago 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.
While seeing a gorgeous stranger from across the room can elicit a reaction that feels similarly to falling in love, “love at first sight” can most commonly be chalked up to infatuation. Falling in love and experiencing intense physical attraction tend to mimic each other in terms of sensation.
Though it is not uncommon for someone to feel drawn toward a person based on physical appearance alone, those initial feelings of lust or longing do not constitute real love. It is important to remember that real, lasting love is cultivated over time.
If you do 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. Getting to know an individual you would like to pursue a relationship with is essential. While early feelings of love at first sight can be fun and exciting, it is important to remain grounded and consider the unique needs, traits and comfortability of the other person.
What Science Has To Say
Again, when it comes to science, very little formal research has been conducted regarding the existence of love at first sight, but there are some psychologists who have explored the topic, as well as scientific facts that could better explain why so many people experience this sensation in their lifetime.
In 2017, a study was conducted from 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 the real thing.
According to research, when a person experiences intense attraction, intimate physical touch or emotional bonding, it is common for certain hormones to be released. Namely, 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 step back and evaluate the reality of the situation. If you have only just met this person, you may want to take the time 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 at all.
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 a lack of nurturing from parents or caregivers, or abandonment.
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 have a tendency to fall in love very quickly, it may be helpful to speak with a therapist. A licensed professional could help you with identifying your attachment style and navigating feelings.
Benefits Of Online Therapy
The desire to find true and lasting love is prevalent in many. Whether or not you believe in love at first sight, a therapist can often provide helpful guidance in the matters of relationship 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 can often provide a more accessible option than in-person therapy.
Someone with an increased tendency to fall in love at first sight may do so based on having an anxious attachment style. Due to the complexity 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 licensed therapist.
Effectiveness Of Online Therapy
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.
When it comes down to it, the existence of love at first sight is really a matter of personal opinion. While initial feelings of attraction can feel similar to those of falling in love, this can often be equated to the release of hormones that occurs with physical touch or emotional intimacy. Still, if you feel an immediate connection with someone who is similarly interested in pursuing romance, it can certainly be worth exploring!
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