Do You Believe in Love at First Sight, or Should I Walk by Again?


Photo Credit: Madalena Pestana

“When I met you I fell in love, and you smiled because you knew.”~Arrigo Boito

If you ask me if I believe in love at first sight, my answer will unequivocally be YES! The reason I feel so strongly is because I’ve experienced it myself. Now I know some of you might be skeptical, but if you don’t take my word for it, many well-respected scientists will back me up that love at first sight is an actual phenomenon.

While observing partner selection in the animal kingdom, Charles Darwin noted that animals not only are capable of feeling romantic love, but many times, much like humans, they fall in love immediately. Anthropologist and human behavior researcher Dr. Helen Fisher says, “Indeed, feelings of intense romantic passion can awaken the first moment you see someone who fits within your mental concept of the perfect partner—love at first sight.” She says it only takes one second to decide that you are attracted to someone and three minutes form a strong opinion about the person. Other scientists say that sometimes it only takes one-fifth of a second to fall in love.

I realize that when you first lock eyes with someone, you can’t possibly know his hopes and dreams and deepest yearnings. However, spiritual author Marianne Williamson says that you will never really know a person unless you love him first.

And I believe that, yes, you can look at a person and in an instant see all the magic he possesses inside. I believe that you can immediately feel a sense of inner knowing that this person will have a very special place in your life. It’s not just about the way someone looks; and it’s not superficial by any means. Maybe it’s something about a man’s smile or the twinkle in his eye that provides you with a glimpse of his true nature. To put it simply, spirit recognizes spirit. I believe if you look close enough, you can see right through to a person’s heart and soul. In yoga, we have a term for this, “Namaste;” the divine in me recognizes the divine in you.

Since women are naturally intuitive creatures, I thought maybe we would be more susceptible at falling in love at first sight. A woman might not know anything about a man, but she could look at him and know that she will be falling in love with him. Interestingly enough, research shows that men are equally, if not more susceptible, since they are visual creatures, who naturally tend to fall in love with what they see.

However, love at first sight goes beyond attraction, or lust for that matter. From a biological standpoint, love activates different centers (and chemicals) of the brain than lust or attraction do. Lust and attraction activate the pleasure center of the brain, which by the way, so does food! The brain in love gives meaning to pleasure and creates feelings of euphoria and a desire to bond. So while a man might see a beautiful woman and lust after her, he won’t have the same feelings of attachment that he would for a woman he actually falls in love with. Thankfully, you can feel both love and lust for the same person; and if you’ve only fallen in lust at first sight, it is possible for lust to turn into love over time.

Of course, love at first sight is not the only way to fall in love. Some people are more logical or cautious and do need to spend more time with someone in order to get those loving feelings and chemicals going. That being said, most relationships, including ones started in the blink of an eye, will grow and deepen over time.

In addition to the number of couples I’ve spoken to who told me they knew right away that their partner was the one, Plato’s mythical theory of soulmates left a lasting impression on me. Plato philosophized that humans were originally each born as a “beast with two backs” (and two faces, four arms and four legs). Fearing the power of these earthly creatures, Zeus decided to separate the beast with two backs, splitting them each in half with bolts of lightning. Humans were then forced to walk upright, scouring the Earth for their other half. If they were lucky enough to find one another, there would be an unspoken understanding between the two, and the couple would feel a joy unlike anything they’ve ever known…so don’t you think if you finally found your beast, you would recognize him?♥