- Gender and Relationships
Why Someone Falls in Love With You and How to Help That Happen
What is This Thing Called Love?
Definitions of Falling in Love:
Wikipedia states that in romantic relationships, falling in love is primarily a Western concept of moving from neutral feelings toward a person to love.
Dictionary.com tells us it is to become enamored.
William Shakespeare (16th Sonnet) defines love as:
"O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken...."
Recorded history tells us that people have lived and died in pursuit of the overwhelming feelings experienced when we've met "the one". Ancient books and manuscripts contain hexes and spells guaranteeing the affection of the beloved. Movies and myths tell stories of people who have all but been consumed by love. From Romeo and Juliet (William Shakespeare) to "The Notebook" (Nicholas Sparks, 2004), our love affair with love has not abated even a little bit.
But Why Do You Fall in Love - and Can You Control it?
When it comes to the subject of romantic love, most experts on the subject of emotions agree on certain "falling in love" facts:
- Timing is everything
- It is heavily associated with pleasure triggers in the brain
- "Chemistry" is real
- Falling in love is actually short term
- It is possible to create - and re-create - the initial excitement
Meeting at the right time makes all the difference:
You can meet Mr. or Ms. Right when they are happily married or otherwise preoccupied and all of the good advice in the world won't make them fall for you. Then again, six months later they could be divorcing or experiencing some other life change and will warm up to you immediately.
We are drawn to things which are pleasurable:
First and foremost, no emotionally healthy person will fall in love with a person who is constantly critical, argumentative, or abusive. This doesn't require becoming a doormat. It simply means that humans are strongly attracted to people who make them feel good and especially feel good about themselves.
There are volumes which have been written about how this principle is different for men and women. For instance, men are drawn to partners who make them feel needed. Women need to feel safe. Books like "Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus" (John Gray), do a great job of describing exactly how men and women operate romantically.
Both sexes need to feel appreciated and wanted. Many a Don Juan or seductive woman gets any lover they want simply by making each person feel like they are the only person in the room.
Yes, Chemistry is Real, But...:
There is strong evidence that our first reactions to other human beings are based on subconscious cues. Biologically our senses of smell, sight, and even hearing work at light speed when we first meet someone. We often decide within seconds whether or not we are attracted to another person. The question is, can we influence that initial impression?
Let's face it, at first looks do count. It is just not possible to be attracted to someone you find repulsive, But beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder and everyone's idea of good looks is a bit different. In addition, it's fairly easy for most people to enhance their appearance and demeanor to attract potential mates. The booming cosmetics, clothing, plastic surgery, and physical fitness industries are proof enough.
Does this mean we all need to be physical clones? Good news: We don't. Fortunately those subconscious cues which draw us together are also triggered by early childhood memories, learned preferences, and plain old affection.
The Really Big Guns: Mirroring and Reverse Psychology
For the most part, the basics of getting someone to fall in love with you can be summed up in one sentence: "Be as physically attractive as possible and fun to be around."
However, there are many behaviors which almost guarantee another person's immediate interest and can capture their emotions before they're even aware of it. Two of the most effective are also so time-honored they are cliches:
This is the practice of reflecting back at someone their gestures, looks, and even style of dress. The theory is that everyone loves validation and when we mirror another person, we are also giving them a big thumbs up. We are approving of them.
Some ways to mirror include watching a person's body language and carefully copying them, or using the same phrasing they do. Some people even subtly mirror the beloved's taste in food, pets, and style of dress.
Obviously much of this feels insincere and you wouldn't want to "fake" many of your likes and dislikes. However, just paying attention to and emulating someone's gestures or favorite phrases is certainly not selling out. And, it's amazing what these small things can do. After all, it's been said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
Reverse psychology can be as easy as - don't give too much too soon. People tend to appreciate what they can't easily get. More than one man or woman has snagged a lover simply by appearing disinterested. This seems to work especially well when trying to attract popular men and women, who often can't resist a challenge.
The idea also suggests that you do not give a potential lover everything early in the relationship. No cooking him a 3-course dinner on a first date. No taking her home to meet the parents on the 3rd date., etc. Human nature is to treasure what we have to work for and take for granted what is given easily. Not only does this leave a little mystery, but it quickly establishes your own confidence - and who can resist confidence?
Another cliché that still works surprisingly well is dating someone other than your heart's desire. Studies have shown that people - and men in particular - are much more interested in someone they think is attractive to others.
Rekindling Love When the Flame Begins to Flicker
Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. ~Marcel Proust
It is one thing so catch the attention, and even affection, of someone we desire. It is quite another thing to keep them interested. It isn't always wise to try to reignite the original flame (after all, fire can destroy as well as warm). A nice, steady simmer will do. But how to do that?
Assuming you chose well and are compatible with the object of your love, there are a few things you can do to keep things interesting.
- Add novelty: Keep the "newness" in your relationship. Change is not only inevitable, it is your friend. Trying new things together not only bonds you, it keeps things exciting.
- Yes, sex does count: For most couples sex is a fairly big deal; so it's important to pay attention to your partner's needs. It doesn't hurt to spice things up now and then, either.
- Go back to go forward: As time passes, it can be easy to forget why you fell in love. Sometimes revisiting places or activities you enjoyed when you first met can relight the spark of romance.
Falling in Love is a Wonderful Beginning - But Not the Whole Journey
Lust is easy. Love is hard. Like is most important. ~Carl Reiner
Falling in love is actually easy, especially if the attraction is mostly physical.
Nor is there a shortage of instructions on love. There are excellent books, magazine articles, and Websites to walk you step-by-step through the process of influencing another person's feelings for you. And they work.
Are there ways you can adapt your personality, looks, career, even religion so someone will fall in love with you? Definitely. Do you want to? If you're pursuing the wrong dream, you could end up like Cinderella, with your your coach becoming a pumpkin one day.
However, If you are confident you have found someone you like and respect and who feels the same way about you, there's something to be said about giving love a little nudge.
Keep in mind, though, that experts tell us initial attraction typically lasts three years at most. This means that you will need to continue to be love's servant for a very long time if you want to keep your beloved.
There can be no taking them for granted, always putting yourself first, refusing to compromise, constant criticism, or any other classic relationship killers. In other words, you need to remember your manners and continue to romance your partner.
For those who are willing and interested in a long-term commitment, it is entirely possible to create fertile ground where love can grow. Just keep in mind that weeds grow well in fertile ground, too, so fall in love wisely if you decide to pursue that most ancient desire.