First dates are never typical – some matches hit it off, while others end in horror.
A year and a half ago, Michelle Risley met a guy on dating service Plenty of Fish. When she met up with her (now) fiancé for the first time, he had a something special to share.
“My fiancé told me he knew I was the one when he saw my picture. He explained he just knew,” says Michelle. “He looked at my picture over and over and just kept going back to it. Then he decided to message me, and later confessed, ‘I knew if you messaged me back it was game on.’”
This get together was certainly not a run-of-the-mill one.
“On our first date, he leaned across the table and whispered in my ear, ‘You're going to love me one day and we're going to get married',” Michelle recalls. “I was shocked and wasn't sure if that should make me uncomfortable or not. I just laughed.”
While many women might run scared, she didn’t. And, it actually worked out for these two lovebirds.
Similarly, NaDasha Elkerson, 36, met her husband Kengie, 46, on a chatline, 16 years ago.
“You could talk one-on-one to people without giving out your phone number. We talked on that system for the time limit it gave, about three hours,” says NaDasha. “At the end of that first amazing conversation, he said, ‘If you're really the way you say you are, when are you going to marry me?’ I responded, ‘If you're really the way you say you are, pick a date!’ I felt in my gut that he was for real, and
I felt relieved and happy to know that he was feeling this thing I was feeling too.”
Fourteen years of marriage and two kids later, the couple is still together.
To some, these stories sound romantic. Alternatively, others may align impulsive marriage promises with the term "crazy."
“Depending on the recipient of the declaration – and if the feeling is not mutual – this may seem like the other is coming on too strong and might push the recipient of the declaration away,” says Megan Bruneau, M.A. RCC in New York City and Vancouver. “It may also cause the declarer to ignore ‘red flags’ because of their ‘investment’ in the relationship.”
Choose Honesty’s Dr. Cortney S. Warren, Ph.D. in Las Vegas, notes that what happens in the brain – that "love at first sight’ feeling" – is very similar to being exposed to drugs, like cocaine.
“Brain-based research in the last decade has helped us understand the mechanics of love and attraction. When someone says they have fallen in love, a lot is going on in the brain. Specifically, chemicals and hormones from at least 12 specific brain regions are released that trigger feelings of excitement, euphoria, and bonding, such as adrenalin, oxytocin, and dopamine,” says Dr. Warren. “It is an instant high stemming from how attractive you think the person is.”
Warren admits there are pros to saying such loving things to a stranger – and, undoubtedly, cons, as well.
Pros are that it’s romantic and your partner may melt in your arms when you declare your feelings, it’s bold, which is often attractive to others, and it displays confidence. You are showing you are a desirable partner.
On the downside, it is a lie. Even if you do eventually marry the person, the moment when you say it, you can’t know that it will work (that the other person wants to marry you, that you will feel that way in 6 months, etc.) It puts a great deal of pressure on the relationship: once you declare aloud that something is true, there is a different level of expectation that accompanies the relationship. You don't actually know the person yet andit may be that after a few more dates you don't want to marry them—or even date them at all. Your impression of them when you first meet is, to some degree, a fantasy - you believe that they are who you want them to be. Not who they actually are.
While wedding bells, monogamy, and a life of happiness with another amazing human being could be in the future, it may be best to go on a few more dates and get to know a new love before promising a walk down the aisle.
Of course, as it's been proven, the long-haul route isn’t for everyone.
“People have a sense of intention. Now's the time,” says Dr. Kathryn Smerling Ph.D., L.C.S.W. in New York City. “It's a leap of faith. If two people are at the right place at the same time, that can happen. I knew when I met my husband that I was going to marry him. I just did.”
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