Neither of us was looking for a relationship, so liking each other so much - after just knowing each other for a night - took us by surprise. I was wondering if those feelings could be real - and if love at first sight really exists? I mean, love is such a complex and strong thing... and to love somebody, after just meeting that person, seems like something straight out of a Disney movie (and too good to be true!)
The annual "Singles in America" survey of more than 5,000 singles (sponsored by Match.com) suggested that 59% of men and 49% of women in 2014 believed in love at first sight, and 41% of men and 29% of women said they have experienced it already.
Falling in love is a process
So can you really love a person at first sight? Unlikely, since falling in love is a process. You need much more than what your eyes can see and your ears hear during a short amount of time to develop these complex feelings.
So why do we experience something so dramatic, intense and almost overwhelming as the feeling of love at first sight? Well, to answer this we probably have to go way back in time, when finding the right mate was much more necessary and when how fast you choose your partner could mean the difference between death and survival.
Attraction at first sight
It's in our nature to almost instantly sort out possible mating partners based on attraction and matching personality traits. Helen Fisher, an anthropologist at Rutgers University, explains that it takes less than one second to decide whether you find someone physically attractive. Talk about attraction at first sight! The next requirement is the voice, to which again you respond in only seconds. Also, we tend to like people who use "the same kinds of words we use" and who have a similar degree of intelligence, share our religious and social values, and come from the same economic background. So yes, we can instantly be drawn to a person, depending on certain traits and shared values.
Still, an instant connection, even if it's experienced on both sides, is not necessarily a guarantee for a successful relationship. You still have to go through the process of falling in love, which is about so much more than attraction and a first impression. The longer you are with a person, the more you get to know about him/her - about the good, the bad, and the ugly (and the wonderful!). This is the time when it's revealed if you are really a great match and if the first attraction you guys shared is more than an instant reaction to each others looks and words.
Falling in love with each others personality is such a beautiful thing - at least if you do. If not, your "attraction at first sight" remains just that: an attraction. The truth is, it can take years to fully get to know a person and to really appreciate somebody's personality. Still, this instant attraction, an instinct given from our ancestors, is an important one and essential for true romance.
|Daniel and I got engaged after less than 3 months of dating (photo taken in London, UK - 2011 - how young we look!)|
So how did "love at first sight" turn out for me and my husband? Well, thanks to our instant attraction and connection we grew close to each other really quickly, getting engaged within less than 3 months. I eventually packed a handful of belongings and left my small hometown in Germany to live with him in the U.S., after spending a year apart from him when he was in Afghanistan.
Today, we still share a wonderful attraction and a connection stronger than anything I have ever experienced. But what really makes our relationship is the fact that we fell in love with each others personalities - our qualities and flaws - and accept each other.
|Day of our church wedding, 6 months after moving to the U.S. (photo taken in Germany)|
Image source: Flickr, Nathan Congleton / Tina Hernandez