Does love at first sight really exist? And if it does, will it last?
Many people swear that they fell in love at first sight. And there appears to be some evidence that love at first sight does exist.
Neurologists at University College, London, have shown that when we make eye contact with a person who we find attractive, key regions of our brain light up. Their research provides a biological basis for instant attraction.
Can this instant attraction be the beginning of long term love?
Yes, according to a study on love at first sight conducted by Dr Earl Naumann, and published in his book Love at First Sight: The Stories and Science of Instant Attraction. Dr Naumann interviewed 1500 people and found that 958 of them believed in love at first sight. More than half of these had experienced love at first sight. The information provided by these 558 people gives us some answers about love at first sight.
How do you know you are experiencing love at first sight?
Participants reported a bodily surge of excitement and electricity at their first meeting with the person who they described as loving at first sight. Some said they felt a sense of wholeness or completeness being with this person.
Does love at first sight last?
If the relationship gets off the ground, it has a great chance of lasting. The first few months are the real test. Seventy-five percent of those people who fell in love at first sight went on to develop a long-term relationship. Only 15.9% ended in separation. Of the women who fell in love at first sight, over sixty percent went on to marry the subject of their affection. Only 7% of these marriages ended in divorce.
With between one-third and one-half of marriages ending in divorce, these statistics are surprising. If they are representative of the general population, then we should be placing a lot more trust in love at first sight once the relationship is established.
Do you need to believe in love at first sight to experience it?
Most people in the study did not believe in love at first sight until it actually happened to them. And for nearly all, it only occurred once in their life.
When in your lifetime is love at first sight likely to happen?
Love at first sight takes place when we are young. Over sixty percent had their love-at-first-sight experience between the ages of 16 and 25. Perhaps as we age we label instant attraction as infatuation. By then many of us have been burned by love and we are more inclined to resist the feelings associated with love at first sight.
The experience of two happy Brisbane couples who fell in love at first sight concurs with the research. Here are their stories:
Sheree and Gary
Sheree, 28 and Gary, 36, say their love was destined to be.
The night before they met, fourteen months ago, Sheree had a dream. “In the dream, I was walking past a group of colleagues having drinks after work. They called to me and waved…I noticed a strange male face…it was very vivid…I honed in on the face…he was smiling.”
“The next morning I woke up with no memory of the dream.”
Sheree worked at B105, a local radio station. She was taken to be introduced to her new manager. Immediately she felt she knew him and said, “Haven’t we met before?” Gary replied that it was impossible because he had just arrived from Melbourne.
“I was puzzled. I felt a real connection to him. It bugged me all day. Eventually I remembered the dream. The face was Gary’s.”
Gary says, “We were immediately drawn to each other. I tried to fight it because I was her boss but it was impossible.”
They decided, because of the romance, it would be best if Sheree followed her passion for television. She now works at Channel 10.
Both Sheree and Gary say they can read each other’s thoughts. “I think of something and before I can say it, Sheree comes up with the same idea.”
Sheree says that from the beginning everything seemed right. “I felt that this is where I should be at this time. I feel really comfortable with him… I have never had a doubt.”
Gary feels they are very lucky they found each other. “Being with Sheree is like talking to an old friend. I feel contented.”
Sheree and Gary are counting down the days to their wedding day on the 10th of November. “Every morning Gary reminds me that it’s only seventeen days to go or whatever it is that day,” Sheree says. “We can hardly wait!”
Fay and Andrew
Fay and Andrew are a quiet, retiring couple married for 49 years. When they met on the Gold Coast, Fay was 19 and Andrew was 17. She was involved with the National Fitness Camp at Tallebudgera and Andrew was a lifesaver.
Andrew came out of the surf club and saw Fay on the beach.”I was about 10 yards away from her and as soon as I saw her I thought ‘She’ll do me.’ It was definitely love at first sight.”
Fay didn’t miss Andrew either. “He looked right at me and I felt this electric tingle.”
The relationship grew as they spent their leisure time together playing tennis, going to balls and relaxing on the beach. “No matter how many friends were there, we were always drawn together,” says Fay.
“Don’t worry, I still had to chase her. Made a nuisance of myself,” says Andrew.
Fay admits she wasn’t a pushover. “It was different back then, a girl had to have some decorum. It’s true though. For a while, I couldn’t get rid of him – not that I really wanted to.”
They agree that they’ve been very lucky because they see so many couples divorcing these days.
“We have the ups and downs like every one else, but the thought of leaving never enters your head,” Fay says. Andrew agrees, “We’ll have had fifty years together next March. We are truly suited.”