As children, we are often led to believe that one day, we will fall in love and live ‘happily-ever-after’. As a result, the reality of navigating romantic relationships can come as a shock. Some people experience several happy-ever-afters. But how about love at first sight? Is love at first sight a real thing, or a fanciful myth? Here, we ask, can you fall in love at first sight and what are the signs of that instant connection?
What is Love at First Sight?
Let's start by defining love at first sight. In movies, it is often depicted as two people's eyes meeting across a crowded room, but is that really the case in real life?
However, love at first sight is a subjective experience there is no one definition for it. It is simply a phenomenon that some experience. The experience itself is often described as an intense and immediate attraction to another person, without knowing them very well. A feeling of deep connection and understanding.
So what are the Signs and types of Love at First Sight?
There are several different types and signs of love at first sight, each with its unique characteristics that you may have experienced.
The most obvious and perhaps most common physical attraction to another person, often purely based on their appearance but could also be their body language. This can include feeling a rush of heat to your face, your heart racing, or your palms sweating.
An emotional connection is characterised by a feeling of deep connection and understanding. Even though you may not know each other very well, you feel like you can tell this person anything and that they understand you completely. It is often described as a very powerful feeling in your soul.
An intellectual connection or a sense of familiarity, may feel like you've known this person forever, even though you just met them. You share an interest in ideas and a deep appreciation for each other’s intelligence.
A spiritual connection, often associated with the desire to be around them all the time. You can't stop thinking about them and want to spend as much time with them as possible.
Note that not everyone will experience love at first sight in the same way, some may feel all these signs or types of love at once, while others may only feel a few of them.
The Science Behind Love at First Sight
Let’s look at this from a scientific point of view where evidence suggests that it is possible to experience love at first sight.
In a 2015 study by neuroscientist Stephanie Cacioppo, it was found that twelve different areas of the brain work together to produce the cocktail of chemicals and hormones that create a giddy, ecstatic sense of love at first sight.
This process happens so quickly it can feel like a wave of powerful emotion has hit you the moment you lay eyes on someone. Our brains buzz with adrenaline and cortisol, causing butterflies, sweaty palms etc. A study by The University of Groningen called this process a ‘positive illusion’, meaning that these feelings are not love, they are merely a stimulating physical reaction.
When couples look back and remember those feelings, they may interpret them as ‘love at first sight’. This is related to a phenomenon called confirmation bias. With over half the adult population believing that love at first sight is possible, it has become a powerful cultural phenomenon.
How to navigate the feeling of falling in love at first sight?
If you feel as though you’ve fallen for someone instantly it’s important to remember that physical attraction is just one element of love. If you are truly falling for someone, you will feel a deep need to emotionally connect with them. You will want to understand their wants, needs, likes, and dislikes. You will be happy to meet their family and friends and learn about their stories.
During the early stages of attraction, our minds can become laser-focused on the object of our affection. In short, we just can’t stop thinking about them! We plan wonderful things to do together and imagine a future together. It is a surreal time when everything else can feel unimportant. New couples can often feel as if they’ve known each other for a lifetime. This is because our brains are looking for ways to make the connection stronger. You must be willing to put in the work to succeed in making this connection stronger.
So, Can Love at First Sight Lead to a Lasting Relationship?
Honestly, relationships that peak too fast, often burn out. It’s good to remember that your mind is playing all sorts of mischievous tricks on you and to pace the relationship healthily. Instant attraction is fun, exciting, and incredibly stimulating. It can make us feel youthful, beautiful, full of hope and positivity. But in time, shared values, respect, honesty, and trust are the things that strengthen bonds.
Love is based upon caring about how our partner feels, and not just how they make us feel. There will be highs, lows, and everything in between. Sometimes staying together will feel almost impossible. But genuine, healthy love encourages us to work on relationships and to stay true to our shared hopes and dreams.
To answer the question does love at first sight exist? Science says that the feeling of love at first sight is just a "physical reaction." However, we believe that people do experience this intense rush of feelings when meeting someone who may become important in their lives. The true test, though, is whether you are willing to put in the work to make this "love" a successful relationship.
If you're looking for the one, contact our advisors and dating coaches today to get started on your journey.