Elite Introductions’ Trudy Gilbert Goes in Search of the Elusive Myth
Since the dawn of romantic novels and films there has been an aspiration for something magical to happen in the immediate moments two people meet. Many in fact claim to have experienced it and are now laying in waiting for the fireworks promised by the elusive concept of Love At First Sight.
But does it really exist? Is it worth me holding out for something of so much promise or am I kidding myself wishing or expecting some supernatural occurrence all the while letting possible legitimate candidates slip by.
After 14 years and tens of thousands of conversations about love and relationships, I felt it was worth throwing my hat into the ring and getting to the bottom of this magical mystery.
Putting any preconceptions aside I was interested to see that there has actually been a little science around the subject. Fascinating as it sounds, how would you even begin to track and measure something so invisible, that cannot be truly explained? Well lucky for me, some crazy Northern European Scientists couldn’t help themselves and now there has been some interesting data gathered around the subject.
The general consensus is that something exists that some could call love at first sight. In fact, in case studies and experiments, some data suggests that up to 60% of people report experiencing what they call love at first sight at least once in their lifetimes.
But is what you would call it, the same experience and emotion as what they are experiencing? I mean we’ve all felt pangs of something when coming across certain humans in our lives. What do they really mean? The concept of ‘love’ itself is hard to define. It’s an organic and ever-changing concept. Forget the fact that the love we have for chocolate, Beethoven, dirt bikes, our dog, child, and partner are all vastly different but all called love, the list of emotions attached to romantic love alone are still endless. Passion, desire, partnership, adventure, stability, connection, communication, significance, commitment… All these things can contribute in different quantities to what we might call love in any moment.
So if ‘love at first sight’ has been claimed to have been reported, what are we really experiencing and is it worth elevating our expectations beyond reality? After considering my own memory of magical moments, hearing countless stories over the years and looking at what the scientists say I find myself… not so much skeptical of its existence, but rather its value.
The Science of Love… Hardly
Here are some interesting points around the studies that have me question the validity of ‘love at first sight’ (LAFS)
- People who are physically attractive are 9-10 times more likely to have someone experience LAFS with them. Implying people are confusing it with “lust” at first sight.
- People who have claimed to have experienced LAFS generally have experienced it multiple times. This implies that it may be more about being a hopeless romantic than something magical about the actual person before them.
- In a long strong relationship, people were found to value intimacy, commitment and passion over other emotions and these were found to not be anywhere near as strong in early encounters. This implies that the excitement one might feel in the initial moments will pale into significance to values that come to the fore later on.
- According to the studies, on the rare occasion that it does occur, it’s highly unlikely that it is reciprocated. (although sometimes one person’s enthusiasm has been proven to be infectious). This prompts the question, why would you hold out for something that you feel when its likely you’re the only one feeling it. Isn’t love about sharing emotions?
Drawing my own conclusions
There’s no doubt I have come across people in my life that sparked something immediately in me and I’ve heard many stories of these moments by my members. But I’ve also heard reported that what made any relationships successful or not had little to do with what was felt in that initial moment. With that in mind why would you add this elusive, questionable and unmeasurable requirement to your already too long list when you are considering your potential mate?
Important decisions that have life long consequences are hard to make for obvious reasons. Its easier to defer to a higher power to take the pressure off something magical, a horoscope, a clairvoyant or a sign from the universe to convince us we are on the right path. If you are a neurotic and have little faith, confidence or trust in your ‘self’ to make the right decision, waiting for love at first sight, a mystical unexplained almost magical occurrence could seem a valid rational.
My suggestion would be to put away any prerequisite of immediate magic. Remain open to all positive emotions when meeting and cultivating a relationship. Love the buzz and excitement you feel around them. But understand that love comes in many ways and generally takes time to develop. The things that really fulfill you emotionally cannot be measured in initial encounters, thunderbolts or not. Breathe… share physical, mental, emotional and spiritual space with someone. The most precious gems take a little digging.