The Psychology Behind Love at First Sight and What You Should Do Next Time You Feel It

The Psychology Behind Love at First Sight and What You Should Do Next Time You Feel It

"It takes more than just a rush of dopamine to say that this is the one."

By Jen Glantz
Digital Series
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We hear love birds confess all the time that the moment they laid eyes on their spouse, they knew that person was the one for them and they instantly fell in love. But is the feeling of love at first sight a real thing or are we giving into our senses, nodding our head at the look, the sound, the smell, or the taste, of a new potential lover, telling ourselves that they are as good as it gets? 

Silvia M. Dutchevici, a LCSW and the founder of Critical Therapy Center, says that love at first sight is a very interesting concept and instead, it should be called attraction at first sight. 

“When we ‘fall in love at first sight’ we are most likely picking someone that reflects something about ourselves and something we need to work through,” Dutchevici says. “What is unique about love at first sight is that it offers us an opportunity to project, to fantasize about who this person we just met might be.  In most cases it is a projection of our desires and when we get to know the person turns out to be some disappointment.” 

Dutchevici brings up the fact that love at first sight could potentially be something that a person creates in their mind, based on what they’ve been told to believe. 

“It also fits into cultural narratives which we have been told (especially as women) regarding love, closeness and intimacy,” Dutchevici says. "It’s about finding the one. Of course, in reality there is no one, but many ones whom we have to learn to have a healthy mutual relationship with over time." 

But if you do believe love at first sight is real and you’re wondering what is going on in your head and your heart when you experience that feeling of sudden love, Michael Salamon, author of Enhancing Your Ideal Relationship, has an explanation. 

“A "reverberating circuit" is triggered when people are attracted to one another and fall in love "at first sight”, Salamon says. “The research supports, that this attraction occurs when there is significant similarity in personality. It's almost as if there is a release of certain neurotransmitters, brain chemicals, that say that we are right for one another. Dopamine surges and the push is on to have something happen. After all, it's quite difficult to befriend someone whose personality is dissimilar to your own and our brains know that."  

So the next time someone walks into your life and you get that buzzing sensation all over your body, Salamon suggests giving in to that feeling of attraction, rather than pretending you’re feeling some other way. 

“Do not be afraid to act on the feeling of attraction,” Salamon says. “Start a conversation try to make sure that it is more than just the chemical surge and there truly is a personality attraction that goes deeper. It takes more than just a rush of dopamine to say that this is the one.”

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