Love at first sight
April 16, 2013
Love is not an in the moment emotion, but a long lasting affection for someone. I believe that you can be strongly attracted to someone within a matter of seconds, and what you’re experiencing is lust, but I’m not convinced that you can really love someone romantically just by judging their appearance. You need time to make that bond and judge whether or not a person is more than their beautiful eyes and god-like hair. In order to say, “Okay, I really love this person,” you need to develop more than just a physical connection or attraction to them.
What you see isn’t always what you get. I think often times people confuse those feelings of lust at first sight and mistake them for feelings of love. They dive into a relationship, without taking any time to get to know the person and then wonder why their shallow relationships start off great but quickly fizzle out. When the philosopher Julian Baggini was asked about his theory on what love is, he writes, “At its best, all love is a kind a passionate commitment that we nurture and develop, even though it usually arrives in our lives unbidden. That's why it is more than just a powerful feeling. Without the commitment, it is mere infatuation. Without the passion, it is mere dedication. Without nurturing, even the best can wither and die.” (What is Love?)
People will argue and say, “Well, I fell in love with my child as soon as I saw them.” My response to this is that, yes it may be possible for parents to feel that way about their children, but they have already developed that bond that you need in order to love another person through the nine (or however many) months of pregnancy. They’ve heard their heartbeat, felt them moving around inside of the womb and made a certain nurturing connection with your child long before ever actually coming face to face with them.
In the Online Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, lust is defined as having an intense or unbridled sexual desire towards someone, so the first question that came up for me was, “Why do we lust after someone after .10 seconds of seeing them and then confuse it for falling in love?” My idea is that, it’s more of a basic animal instinct to want to imagine you could love this person that you don’t know because of their physical attributes. Maybe, you imagine them as being an ideal mate because of your instinct to look for someone that is going to pass on their appealing genetics to your children.
According to Helen Fisher, a prominent anthropologist known for her research on attraction and love, three minutes is all you really need in order to tell if you want someone to be in your life for a long period of time or not. In order to understand her theory, we have to realize that our ancestors lived shorter lives than we do now. Back then, they had to size up a potential mate very quickly because it was important to find a person and produce a healthy child so the race would live on. Fisher believes our evolutionary past wired our brains so that we know pretty quickly whether we might want to mate with someone. Meaning we can tell whether someone will give us a cute, healthy baby by the ancient ideals of fertility (How Stuff Works). We lust after the person because they look like someone who could pass along their genetics and confuse it with love at first sight because we want them to be a match so badly.
Another question that I had when thinking about the possibility of love at first sight was if a chemical reaction was happening to trick you into thinking you were actually in love, when in reality it was something else. Fisher points out that the sections of the brain that respond to love and lust are different, though they can light up at the same time.
Some researchers have done studies to prove that while we’re looking at someone and “checking them out” we're also