Have you ever felt the rush, the thrill that is love? Then ask yourself whether love at first sight is real. Well, guess what? Science may have an answer for that!
Is love at first sight real? Well, I once thought so, but now, I’m not so sure. I’ve seen love come in many ways – immediately or after a long friendship. So, it’s hard to say what’s fact and what’s fiction when questioning this chemical/spiritual experience.
When is love at first sight real? Well, maybe this kind of connection is something we’ve cooked up after a while of being in love. Maybe our present feelings have been transported back to a false memory of instant love…maybe… Some people, however, distinctly remember the first time they saw their mate and how it made them feel.
They claim to feel struck by powerful urges and may even tell you they knew their significant other was their soulmate from the beginning. Can science back any of this up? Well, let’s see.
What is love?
I think we can all agree on a few things about love. It gives us butterflies in our stomachs, makes our hearts race, and does many other things to our physical being. There’s no question that something powerful is happening to us. But are these symptoms of love or just lust?
The difference between lust and love
There is a fine line between these two, believe it or not. While lust has three dimensions, love has four. Lust involves chemistry, cognition, and preference/reward mechanisms. Love, on the other hand, has all these dimensions plus one more – the intention to be with one significant other.
With this knowledge, what does science have to say on the matter?
How is it possible to see someone for the first time and know they are the only one for you? Some say this is common and easy, but according to most scientists, love at first sight just doesn’t really exist. Again, it could simply be a trick of the mind.
One reasoning for this is because of the belief that love is a “two-stage process”.
Subconscious feelings of love
Whether instant love exists or not, you do experience a sudden feeling of love at some point when meeting your significant other. These feelings follow the four dimensions of love talked about earlier. Falling in love, in the first stage, is simple and surely an eye-opener.
It’s much like discovering something new and wonderful or finding the answer to a puzzling difficult question. It does feel magical and logical, at the same time.
This second stage includes the four dimensions but includes the strong feelings of desire which can be similar to an addiction. If not for the desire to be with one particular person, this stage would be no different from lust. Love learns to solidify itself at this stage.
Love and the brain
Is love at first sight real according to brain activity? Here’s what scientists say happens to the brain when we fall in love.
According to which kind of love we are feeling, certain regions of the brain are activated. It can be maternal love, passionate love, or emotional love. It comes as no surprise that lust or even passionate love activates regions of the brain that also control addiction responses.
More long-term serious love, however, activates regions that govern attachment and reward.
Studies show that the report of love, at first sight, occurs within 1 in 3 people in western countries. Out of these, reciprocated love is rare, however. Most of the time, when feelings of intense love, at first sight, are documented, the object of the obsession does not have feelings of the same magnitude and this lessens the validity of the idea of love at first sight.
Also, these feelings of instant love are most often associated with physical beauty as well. These facts were published in the Journal of the International Association for Relationship Research.
Is love at first sight real then?
Okay, so the facts weigh heavily against love at first sight, but that doesn’t mean conclusively that it doesn’t exist. Science shows that emotions are primarily chemical-based, but science is still limited. When looking at love from a spiritual perspective, love, at first sight, can seem real as anything else.
But although we may disagree, this post contains what science has to say about this topic. According to science, love at first sight is probably not real. But it still doesn’t keep us from dreaming otherwise.