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Dating Advice: 10-Second Test For Love at First Sight?


How long do you need before you can tell the person you are dating thinks you are ‘the one’? A year? A month? Just a few weeks?

According to academic journal ‘Archives of Sexual Behavior’, we should be able to tell if the person we are dating is really, really into us in less than 10 seconds, at least if that person’s a man. Because if a man looks into a woman’s eyes for over 8.2 seconds, says the journal, they are smitten.

But while it seems the longer a man looks into the eyes of the woman he’s dating, the more interested he is, the same is apparently not true of the fairer sex…

The research:

Researchers used hidden cameras to track the eye movements of 115 students while they met and spoke to actors and actresses. They then asked the students to rate how attractive they found the person they were speaking with.

The results:

The study revealed a stark difference between the men and the women who were tested.

The men in the study held a woman’s gaze for an average of 8.2 seconds if they found them beautiful, going down to just 4.5 seconds on average if they did not find them particularly attractive.

Women, however, looked at their male counterparts for the same amount of time whether or not they found them attractive.

Why the difference?

The researchers concluded that while men use eye contact to look for fit and fertile mates, women are more wary of attracting unwanted attention since they can risk unwanted pregnancy and the potential to become a single mother.

What we think:

It’s all very well trying to measure how long the person we are dating is looking at us, but other environmental factors could be at work which might lead to a big misunderstanding if we take this research too seriously when dating.

The problem with this outcome…

While a non-stop gaze might be one way to tell if the man we are dating is in love, a continuous stare for more than eight seconds can come across as a little unnerving for a woman (count it out – eight seconds is actually a really long time to look into someone’s eyes).

And what about if you’re a woman who wants to show the man you’re dating that you’re interested? Evolution seems to have removed our ability to give naturally clear signals in case we might attract the wrong type of mate.

How to give the right cues if you like someone

Body language is a really good way to show how you feel, whether you are a man or a woman. A simple touch on the arm or, if you’re a man, a touch on the lower back to lead your lady through the door, for example, speaks volumes.

Small bits of physical contact give a strong signal to your dating partner that you feel comfortable in their presence and perfectly prepared to relate to them physically – a great start for a more informal kind of relationship.

Smiling is another great way to show you enjoy the company of your dating partner and it’s easy to forget to do this if you’re concentrating too hard on making a good impression with your words – in this situation, actions really do speak louder.

match.com is the UK’s best known dating site where someone meets their match every ten minutes. Start your love story at match.com.

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Listed: April 15, 2010 4:38 am