Julie Ferman of YourTango explains why ‘love at first sight’ is almost a myth and how singles keep repeating the mistake of thinking there must be an initial spark on the first meet with some great guy or girl.
Have you ever wondered if you’ve possibly missed opportunities to date someone REALLY great simply because they didn’t dramatically strike your fancy at first glance?
I’m here to tell you … you’ve probably missed out on some wonderful potential partners. And likely, plenty of great people also overlooked you!
I recently read a New York Times article that highlighted how fatal of a mistake it is for single men and women to limit their love prospects only to those who instantly elicit a dramatic, romantic response upon that very first peek.
After many years as a personal matchmaker and dating coach, I see firsthand why it’s smart to look outside the arena of “It Girls” and “It Guys.”
Everyone who’s dating in today’s wacky world grew up with the media, and we’ve all been trained by decades of magazines, billboards, and screens (both, large and handheld) to go for “the Clooneys” and “the Angelinas.”
But, how often does someone fall in love at first sight with someone who looks like that? Oh … maybe a hundred times a day … and does that kind of attention (and stalking) breed heart, soul and rock solid character? Sadly, in my experience, I’d say it’s rare.
If you are waiting to fall in love with someone who grabs you visually from the get-go, you’re undoubtedly missing lots and lots (and lots) of far better partners than the ones who catch your eye right away. All that attention tends to breed entitlement and narcissism, and really who needs that?
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Recent research delivers a powerful message to us, that time spent together can and often does impact romantic attraction.
Psychologists at the University of Texas in Austin conducted the study, measuring the level of romantic attraction that students had for their fellow classmates. More specifically, what the researchers measured was the change in attraction over time, as the students got to know each other over the course of several months — interacting with each other in a small classroom environment.
The findings? The peers that students considered at the beginning of the school term to have the most romantic appeal were not necessarily in the “cream” that rose to the top several months later. In fact, the study revealed that the more time spent together, the greater the disparity between perceptions of who was hot and who was, in the end — not.
Today’s singles are ruthless in their superficiality, and apps like Tinder and Hinge only exacerbate the problem.
With these dating tools, the question as to whether someone is a “Keeper” or not is a decision made in a half a second. I do know couples who’ve met via Tinder and Hinge, but mostly I see a big time sucker that leaves, both, men and women feeling empty, weary, dissatisfied and still alone on Friday nights (with their device, swiping left and right).
I’ve had the honor and joy of working with The Matchmaking Institute, where Dr. Helen Fisher has shared so much of her wisdom. She’s a biological anthropologist, a foremost expert in the Romantic Love and Attraction sciences, hired by Match.com as part of the architectural team responsible for creating Chemistry.com. Dr. Helen Fisher knows as much about the biology of love and attraction as anyone alive today, and she conducted a survey that backs up the University of Texas findings.
Dr. Fisher was looking closely at what she calls “slow love” — when romantic love develops for two people not at first sight, but over time.
As we might expect, the study showed that “slow love” happens more for women than it does for men, but not nearly as dramatic a difference as we might think; 43 percent of women and 33 percent of men reported that they have developed romantic attraction for and have indeed fallen in love with someone whom they had not initially deemed attractive.
Developing a case of “the hots” over time most certainly DOES occur for today’s single love seekers. In fact, it’s happening more now than ever, as the age at which today’s single men and women are coupling up continues to rise. And it’s a good thing that romantic attraction can and does develop over time — as let’s face it — for the vast majority of us, as we get older, our looks aren’t as likely to turn heads.
It’s a smart single person who does less swiping and suspends judgment for a while, to allow a person to fully “reveal” themselves.
What qualities and characteristics did Dr. Fisher’s survey reveal that make a person ultimately attractive and appealing romantically? The inside stuff — humor, shared interests, and the art of conversation. In other words, give each other a chance and take the time to get to know each other.