Love at first sight is like two eyes touching.
It is two eyes that meet deep in the soul and make time stop from the first minute. It is also the secret of an encounter where chemistry controls attraction, but where often a connection is formed that restores zest for life and gets the heart beating with hope again.
The idea is fascinating, but the reality is sometimes very different.
Love at first sight sells, pleases, and is an image often repeated in the fields of film, literature, and advertising.
Love at first sight reminds us that more than half of us believe in this phenomenon. We believe that one look is enough for the flame of love to burn, be born and completely conquer us and take our breath away.
“Love exists in the world so that we can forget the world”
– Paul Éluard
Charged with uncertainty, longing, mystery and illusion, this neurochemical spark has its own science. Even if affective matter cannot always be observed through a microscope or in a laboratory room, it can be said that most of the work done so far says the same thing.
Love at first sight does exist, but there are a number of conditions that accompany it that must also be taken into account.
Don’t call it love, call it attraction
There are rushed loves, those who don’t know how to wait, those who show up in the blink of an eye and at the most unpredictable moments.
Love at first sight has always existed and will continue to exist in every moment. However, there is also the “slow burn” love, which is cooked slowly and carefully and suddenly turns from a sincere friendship into a real passion.
Love doesn’t understand norms, criteria and rules when it comes to how it shows itself, we already know that. However, if we are to maintain this unexpected love, we need order, agreement, an intelligently defined affective consent.
If we mention this last point, it is for an obvious reason. With love at first sight, it is attraction that sets the machinery in motion, not reason.
It’s the desire and the illusion, it’s the magnetism, the halo effect, and the chemical mess induced by serotonin and dopamine. It is the gateway that allows for an emotional relationship that offers more opportunities for the first encounter.
It’s a love that comes without warning but that later demands a more precise maturation that must bare the mysteries with the realities, putting aside the illusions to face the facts.
Love at first sight: What the science says
The University of the Netherlands conducted a study on this topic in 2017. The document What Kind of Love is Love at First Sight?
An Empirical Study” observed about 600 people who had experienced what they described as “love at first sight”.
Of that group of people, 92% started a relationship after that meeting, that meeting of looks where most were pretty sure they’d found someone special. The researchers conducted interviews with the couples to find out more about specific psychological dimensions.
Love at first sight is all about physical attraction, no doubt about that.
However, it doesn’t always have to be that outward, undeniable beauty that immediately draws attention. The researchers explain that there is something else, something transmitted through gazes that convey trust and sympathy associated with comfort and without fear.
The Halo Effect
As previously mentioned, when two people are attracted to each other after their eyes have met, a first date is more likely to happen.
However, it is often the case that after the attraction created by the gaze, we begin to create a series of idealizations that do not always correspond to reality.
This attraction, in turn, arises when we project a set of very specific positive traits onto another person. We consider them more intelligent, noble, original, trustworthy and dedicated. We create a halo effect that, together with the passion, amplifies this feeling over time. Sooner or later, however, some more or less tolerable evidence will emerge.
Love at first sight favors the romantics
The University of the Netherlands study found that a significant proportion of the group studied were able to maintain the relationship over a longer period of time. In other words, love at first sight lasts many times, maturing and developing into a satisfying emotional relationship.
In most cases, however, the relationship ends when passion wanes, when reality shatters the illusion and the couple is unable to transform this commitment into a bond based on intimacy, trust, affection and reciprocity.
Likewise, this study shows that a large proportion of the couples who built their relationship from this very significant meeting of looks were staunch supporters of romantic love. For them, aspects such as predestination or soul mates were obvious facts that explained their success in the relationship.
In conclusion, science cannot deny that in certain cases, love at first sight exists and is a success. In most cases, however, when those looks meet, discover one another, and connect, what exists is mere attraction.
Well, attraction is always a channel of inexplicable power that acts as the first step, the first step towards an attachment that has to mature day by day and go through its own difficulties in order to blossom into a successful and happy emotional relationship.