Love at First Sight: Is It Really Possible?
Love at First Sight: Fantasy vs. Reality
Love at first sight seems to be the fantasy of every woman, to look across a crowded room, see the man of her dreams, and then somehow meet him, marry him, have children, and live happily ever after.
Men don't seem to care as much. Still, we hear the stories every day from women in greeting card and tampon commercials talking about how they met the man of their dreams and it was love at first sight. Is love at first sight real? Does love at first site exist? Let's find out.
Love at first sight is a dream for many women because it eliminates the pain of dating, of performing that uncomfortable dance we all do at the beginning of a relationship when we're getting to know another person.
If it's love at first sight, there's none of that. Instant love means instant acceptance. Love at first sight is also something a lot of us are brought up to believe exists. The idea of instantly falling in love with somebody you meet for the first time is the subject of a countless number of movies and romance novels.
The idea is practically ingrained in us. Yet, our logical brain knows that loving a person involves getting to know them, understanding them, and developing a bond. Love at first sight is based mostly on physical attributes and is ultimately superficial.
We all want love at first sight. But is it really possible? Let's take a look.
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The True Story of Bob and Connie
Bob and Connie are the poster children for love at first sight (in fact, they're the kind of couple that hired an artist to paint a portrait of themselves to hang over their fireplace).
According to Connie, they met at her college sorority twenty-five years ago. Connie was talking to three of her sorority sisters. They were standing in a group chatting as any group of freshman girls might. Bob walked in the room with a friend. Bob was pledging a local fraternity. The second Bob walked in, his eyes met Connie's. He was talk, dark, and handsome. She was cute, short, and perky. It was love at first sight. They've been together ever since.
But what's the real story? My investigative team uncovered a much more complicated tale.
"I was blotto that night," Connie told our undercover investigator. "I woke up the next morning covered in vomit and there was this guy next to me who smelled like beer, cigarettes, and semen. I thought his name was Isiah. He said it was Allan."
Bob remembers it a little differently. "I had snorted two lines of the white stuff prior to getting there. I thought I was Don Johnson. Like, literally. I approached this girl on a dare. She was the drunkest girl in the place and I told her I was Don Johnson and she thought that was the coolest thing ever. She asked me to put her in a miami vice. I don't remember much after that."
Connie missed her period a month later. After a paternity test, Bob was confirmed as the father. He learned he was going to be a dad through a letter sent by Connie's lawyer.
"We both dropped out of school," Connie recalls.
Bob got a job selling Commodore computers. Connie worked nights at a gas station. They moved into a double-wide. When the baby came, the argued about whether to raise it or sell it, eventually opting to dump it on Connie's parents, who raised the baby as their own. To this day, little Owen thinks Connie is his older sister and that Bob is that "weird" uncle who's way more touchy than he should be.
Believe it or not, Bob and Connie are still together. Though they've been in and out of therapy and have been remarried after getting divorced in 1992. Bob and Connie remember that night they met fondly. It was the high point of their lives. They tell everyone it was love at first sight.
- Tell Us: Is Love at First Sight a Myth? | Wired Science | Wired.com
Romance is far from being an exact science. In my book, a phenomenon like love at first sight would be tremendously hard to disprove. Some people will swear
What does science tell us about love at first sight?
Although scientific study on love at first sight has flown under the media radar, science has actually already proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that love at first sight is nothing more than a manufactured illusion. And there's nothing like cold, hard data when it comes to the mythology of love.
On November 3, 1998, researchers at Johns Hopkins tested attraction among more than one thousand rats. Rats were separated by sex and then placed on opposite ends of a small cage. Male/female pairs that got along were then separated from male/female pairs that demonstrated instant animosity toward one another.
Each pair of rats was then placed back in a box and their interactions were recorded. Researchers found that there was no measurable difference in the time it took for the rats to copulate between the rats that demonstrated attraction and those that demonstrated animosity. In fact, in many instances, the rats who were fighting copulated faster than the rats that got along.
Does a rat study prove anything about humans?
While it might seem that a study on rats has little to do with humans, it provided the basis for the same researchers to conduct a study in that most rat-like of human hang-outs: the bar.
Over the course of one year, researchers monitored the interactions of various couples who met and paired off. They then interviewed those men and women separately one day after they met and then one month after they met.
Of the one thousand cases where the couples went home together, sexual intercourse was the result approximately 50% of the time. Of those 500 or so couples, women reported "love at first sight" after the first night 30% of the time while the men reported "love at first sight" only 3% of the time.
After one month, the "love at first sight" report among women had declined to 1% and among men to 0%. Of the 5 women who clung to their "love at first sight" claim, all five were raging alcoholics.
Perhaps a more convincing study was done by researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle in 2008. They sent questionnaires to more than 10,000 couples who had been married a month to a year. Of the 10,000 couples, 20% or 2,000 claimed "love at first sight".
Those couples who reported "love at first sight" generally weighted toward the lower end of the scale in terms of time that they were married, averaging a little over three months of marriage. The researchers then revisited all of those couples three years later.
Of the 2,000 couples, an astounding 99% no longer reported that they had fallen in love with their partner at "first sight". Notably, 55% of the couples were divorced. And 1% of the couples had gotten into fights so loud that their neighbors were forced to call the police on them.
Said one of the researchers about the study: "Lust is like any other drug. It's very potent and users who fall under its influence say strange things. However, it wears off and usually those who took it see things more clearly once that happens."
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