Why love at first sight is a myth

Many people insist that they fell in love with their partner at first glance. But the reality is that it takes more than a cursory look to fall in love with someone.

It's true that we can feel instant attraction toward someone we see for the first time. You feel enraptured by the person's eyes, skin, smile, eyes, body, style of dress. You might even find yourself drawn to his or her gait and mannerisms.

But this isn't love -- not by a long shot. It's merely physical attraction. You might "love" how a car looks on the outside, but if it's constantly breaking down, how much do you suppose you'll love it then? To give you yet another metaphor, just because a book has a colorful, eye-catching cover doesn't mean the story inside will make as great an impact on you.

In order to fall in love, you need to get to know the person on a more personal level. What are the person's beliefs? Values? Hobbies? Goals? The more closely ours align with theirs, the more likely it is for us to experience deep feelings that go beyond the physical.

Even if the attraction is off the charts, little to nothing will come of it if both of you have completely different personalities. For example, a long-lasting relationship between a shy bookworm and a brash club hopper is possible, but very unlikely.

Many of us have felt a certain level of attraction toward people we know we'd have no shot of becoming involved with: our 3rd grade teacher, our best friend's fiancee, the company CEO. To describe this feeling as love just doesn't hold water -- it's nothing more than infatuation.

The ideal, of course, is to feel deep attraction toward a person, then find that you both click on a more intimate level -- and I'm not just talking sex here. However, I wouldn't say that physical attraction is necessarily a prerequisite for falling in love. Think about all those couples who started out as friends and didn't becoming romantically involved for many years. The physical was obviously not the primary element that brought them together -- it was a deep bond they shared after being close friends for a long time.

I think too much is made these days in the media and elsewhere about looks. While they do play a role in bringing people together, things like intelligence, self-confidence, and sense of humor are more critical in determining whether two people can actually fall in love and forge a fruitful relationship.

So the next time you hear "love at first sight," it's probably "lust at first sight."

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