DOES LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT MAKE SENSE?
Dr. Deb would love to answer your burning relationship questions.
Today’s Advice Highlights
- Is there really such a thing as love at first sight?
- What are the signs that it’s the “real thing”?
- Can a relationship that starts with love at first sight last?
I have a silly question for someone already in their 50s: Is love at first sight real? Can people who have met for the first time simply know that they’re meant to be?
As you can guess, I’m asking because I feel like it happened to me: I locked eyes with a beautiful woman at a party and almost instantly felt that she’s my soul mate. I don’t know how else to describe it: the sudden and intense pull that feels like the truest love.
As a successful entrepreneur who has been divorced for four years and with two adult children, I feel a bit foolish asking for advice about this. But this is something I’ve never felt with anyone else before: Something in my heart felt at home. I just felt safe, loved and comfortable in her presence. Suddenly, everything in the world seemed perfect.
When she introduced herself, I felt my busy mind go blank. We talked for hours, but the whole time I was hyper-focused on how I was so attracted to her: how she looked, her mannerisms, the way she talked. I had major butterflies, and my heart was pounding like I was back in high school!
After our first date, it felt like I had known her for a long time, but still wanted to know much more. All I can do is think about her and the very real possibility of a future together. I am finding it hard to focus on anything else.
This is a new feeling for me. I didn’t feel this attraction with my ex-wife. Back then, our relationship blossomed as more of a slow-burn romance.
I believe I have found my match. If this attraction isn’t true love, I don’t know what is. Dr. Deb, as an expert in love and relationships, what’s your take on this? Is love at first sight the real deal?
Out of My Mind.
Dear Out of My Mind,
You might be surprised to know that I’m personally very familiar with love at first sight. In fact, the two most important romances in my life sparked from there and turned into long-term, committed, loving relationships.
I think what you may really be asking is whether it is inevitable that this type of fairy-tale encounter becomes a long-term relationship.
Part of the answer to that question involves the chemistry of romantic love: an MRI of the brain of people in the throes of love shows that their brains release large amounts of endorphins called oxytocin and dopamine. Oxytocin helps you trust someone new in a way you might not normally do, and dopamine, the “feel-good” endorphin, creates a euphoric feeling.
The other part of the answer is this: there’s no way to know it yet whether what you are feeling is true love. It’s all up to you. All things that are good and worthwhile take time. Love is no exception. To know for sure, you need to know much more about her. You can’t truly love someone unless you truly know them.
First impressions are important, especially for someone like you, who already knows exactly what you want. But meeting someone who creates this type of lust in you doesn’t guarantee that it will be a relationship that stands the test of time.
As uncertain as the future of love at first sight seems, there are also sensible ways to give it a good chance to flourish into something deeper. One way is to honestly and regularly reflect on how things are going so far. You might use these questions to help answer if yours is true love:
- Does she challenge you to be a better person?
- Can you lean on her financially and emotionally (or is she stable in both aspects)?
- When you have a disagreement, do you feel that she deals with it with unflagging consideration and care for you?
- Does she appreciate and respect you for who you are?
- Does she keep the promises she makes?
I’m happy for you, Mr. Out of My Mind, and there’s no need to doubt your strong feelings and connection with each other. Don’t let me, let alone science, tell you otherwise.
Prince Harry said he knew Meghan Markle was The One the very first time they met. If it can happen to him, why can’t it happen to you, too?