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Dating Advice: What is ‘Love at First Sight’?


Is ‘love at first sight’ real, and could it happen to you? If you are hoping to experience this age-old phenomenon while dating, read on to find out more about what it means and how to tell if you might have experienced love at first sight when you first met your dating partner, and whether you should even aim for lightning bolts when dating or simply relax and go with the flow.

Where does the idea of ‘love at first sight’ come from?

The concept of ‘love at first sight’ is thought to have originated in the classical world, where it meant an intense, passionate love delivered by the mythological character Cupid and his arrows when a person beheld the object of their affections for the first time. The Greeks described it as ‘madness from the gods’, and also came up with the idea of ‘love sickness’, a feeling of overwhelming longing and desire, arising when one of Cupid’s arrows pierces the heart.

What we believe now

These days, while we may not imagine Cupid to be so intimately involved in our choice of dating partners, many of us still hold true to romantic ideas of ‘the one’ – the idea that there is one perfect partner for everyone – and to the notion that for some people it is clear who this one perfect partner is from the moment they set eyes on them. But are these concepts based in reality or are they just wishful thinking, and how helpful are they when it comes to navigating today’s dating scene?

What is happening with ‘love at first sight’?

According to research, the intoxicating sensation of love at first sight can, in fact, be explained in a scientific way as a response of the ego to social signals. A major aspect of the experience is thought to be that our narcissistic side responds powerfully to the notion that someone is attracted to us.

Along with being attracted to a person’s appearance, it is possible to tell almost instantly due to minute changes in body language if they are interested in us and to be affected by that, too. Studies have shown that, on a very basic level, we are attracted to people who are attracted to us, and this is a major factor when choosing dating partners.

‘When will waiting for ‘the one’… be done?’

As this quote from fictional love and dating expert Carrie in Sex and the City illustrates, for many the concept of ‘the one’ is unhelpful, and the idea of ‘love at first sight’ can be, as well. If you are unsatisfied with anything but lightning bolts and absolute certainty from the offset that you and the person you are dating are a perfect match, you may reject endless perfectly good dating partners and never find a life partner at all.

In these circumstances it would, arguably, be better for those who want to share a life with someone to ignore ideas of ‘love at first site’ and ‘the one’ when dating, in favour of a more practical approach: ‘I can see myself being very happy with this person’. In the end, it’s up to the individual to decide.

match.com is the uk’s biggest dating site. with thousands of new members joining every day, you won’t have a better chance of finding love online anywhere else.

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Listed: December 14, 2009 12:37 am