Lust at first sight, not love

You saw him, he saw you. Your heart beat fast, faster and then you thought you would faint. You heard music in the background, saw stars in daylight and felt intense happiness. Naturally, you assumed you were in love. “It was love at first sight,” you gushed to your friends.

You were wrong.

A study conducted by psychologists at the University of Groningen in The Netherlands has proved, once and for all, that “love at first sight” does not exist.

Love at first sight is just physical attraction

After numerous experiments and reams of data, they concluded that what we often think is love at first sight is, in fact, physical attraction. The team of researchers conducted studies on nearly 400 participants, 60 per cent of whom were women.

The participants were shown pictures of various strangers and asked to rate their attraction to them, feelings of love, including intimacy, passion, commitment, and so forth. They were also asked whether they felt that they were experiencing “love at first sight”.

Two other studies were conducted that involved speed dating, where participants spent 90 or 20 minutes getting to know each other. Again, they were asked to rate their feelings for the people they speed dated. At the end of it all, 32 participants, mostly men, described 49 experiences that they would rate as “love at first sight”.

But here’s the twist.

Their feelings of “love” were strongly linked to finding the other person very attractive. With every point increase on the five-point attraction scale, participants were nine times more likely to report love at first sight. At the speed dating events, none of the instances of reported love at first sight was mutual.

The researchers said that their findings suggest that love at first sight reported at actual first sight resembles neither passionate love nor love more generally.

What now?

So, here’s the bad news: while you may be convinced that you experienced love at first sight, it was more likely an instant sexual connection or attraction. Interestingly, those who are actually in love with their significant other (a process that must have taken quite some time) tend to project their current feelings to past memories. So, they believe they felt love at first sight just because they are presently in love!

Where does that leave you?

Don’t worry, confusing sexual attraction for love is very, very common. Work on that feeling and build your way to actual love.


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