Love at First Sight? Is It Nothing More Than a Fairy Tale?

Many people believe in the idea of the “fairy tale” romance and “love at first sight.” It would be so thrilling to come across “the one” while waiting in line for our morning coffee or during our morning commute. It would certainly take the work out of dating, being rejected, and dealing with the uncertainties of new relationships. However, the truth is, is that there is no such thing as genuine “love” at first sight. While you might want to sit and wait for it to happen to you, the odds are that what you may experience is “lust” at first sight.

Is It Love, or Is It Lust?

A study conducted in 2017 found that most participants who reported experiencing “love at first sight” during a speed dating session also scored their potential mate as “physically attractive.” In other words, they decided straight away that they were good-looking and, therefore, determined they wanted to get to know them better. Of course, two people can experience mutual physical attraction. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean they will be compatible in the long run. More likely, this initial “love at first sight” feeling is lust and has little to do with a couple’s chances of a successful relationship.

How to Tell 

Wondering how to tell if it’s love or lust? Here are some important indicators of a successful relationship. 

Physical Attraction

A 2014 study found that male partners in a long-term relationship tend to show higher satisfaction levels in their marriage if they find their partners attractive. However, physical attraction changes as we age, and just because you experience physical attraction to someone doesn’t mean your relationship will be successful. A study conducted in 2020 found that the most successful relationships weren’t determined by perceived attractiveness. Rather, the most important predictor of a successful relationship was the partnership built over time.

Healthy Communication 

The most important predictors of a successful relationship have more to do with how you treat each other, whether you appreciate the time and effort put towards your partnership, and your ability to navigate conflict and establish healthy communication skills. 

Conflict Resolution

Most, if not all, couples will experience periods of conflict in their relationship. A good predictor of a successful outcome is whether you both put forth the effort to work through these challenges.

Similar Interests

Yes, the online dating scene is tricky, and it takes plenty of effort and time to decide what your needs are within a romantic partnership. While it’s nice to daydream about running into “the one” and enjoying a fairy tale ending with minimal effort, it’s simply unrealistic. Physical attraction is important, but it is only one small component of a healthy, long-term, successful relationship. Research has shown that the best relationships are created upon a foundation of friendship, shared values, and mutual respect. So if you match with someone on shared interests and values, but you’re not entirely attracted to them, stop and give it some thought before you swipe left. You might overlook someone who is an excellent match for you.