Last modified on May 22nd, 2020
The smile, the brightly lit eyes and you feel like you’ve known this stranger the whole of your life. The world stops in that instant and everything around you vanishes. There and then you know this is the person you definitely want to spend the rest of your life with. Have you ever been in love at first sight – struck by cupid’s arrow?Have you ever felt that euphoric rush of adrenaline flowing through your body, so refreshing and overwhelming you wished it would last forever? You might probably have experienced love at first sight but it could equally have just been a healthy dose of lust!A lot of people believe in love at first sight especially the romantics. Howbeit curiously, science has today joined her voice in support of love at first sight. Findings from a joint study by Stephanie Ortigue, Ph.D., of Syracuse University and his colleagues from West Virginia University, and a Switzerland based University Hospital point to the fact that falling in love only takes about a fifth of a second.The meta-analysis study conducted by his team showed that not only does it affect 12 areas of the brain but that it equally elicit the same euphoric feeling as using cocaine. Chemicals released during this experience include dopamine, oxytocin, adrenaline, and vasopression which create the euphoric feelings. According to Professor Ortigue, all of these activities in the brain stimulates the heart and the stomach, which is why we so often feel as though love is located in the “heart” and have those “butterflies” in our stomach feeling.Psychologists are also of the opinion that love at first sight depends on our psychological state of mind. First, you fall in love at first sight because you believe in love and willing to fall in love. The possibilities of noticing those charming eyes are greatly reduced if you are stressed, tired and trying to solve problems in your head.Equally of note is the fact that most psychologist tend to believe that men fall in love first, mostly due to physical attractiveness factors. In about 8.2 seconds according to another study, a man can fall in love at first sight and the longer his gaze rest upon a woman they are meeting for the first time, the more interested he will be.This conversely is not true for women. Women rather tend to fall in love more easily whilst in a relationship. Majority of women will be wary at the beginning of a relationship, but in due course open up to falling in love and are quicker to commit to the relationship with much more expectancy.But can love really be quantified and verified by science? Are there traits exhibited by both phenomena that can help one determine which experience he is actually going through?Therefore, the question begging for an answer here is – is it really “love at first sight” or simply “lust” that we experience at such euphoric moments. While this might be like one of those age long questions most would rather simply ignore and pretend like it never existed, a more in-depth look at this phenomenon will likely reveal some elements of truth about this concept. For just a while, let’s try and be a little more rational and drop the sentiments.The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines love as “the attraction, desire, or affection felt for a person who arouses delight or admiration or elicit tenderness, sympathetic interest, or benevolence”. On the contrast, lust is put as “sexual desire especially of a violent self-indulgent character”. Put more succinctly by William Shakespeare, “love comforteth, like sunshine after rain, but lust’s effect is tempest after sun”. I think we are getting somewhere, right?First, is it lust? Well, that might depend. Love and lust manifest themselves in very much the same way however produce completely different actions and reactions. To a great deal lust is the more culpable of the two when people talk about love at first sight as many simply just have infatuation which is too often mistaken for love.Lust often leads people to make whimsical decisions being under the belief that they have found utmost chemistry with someone they have just known for a short time. Frankly, we are almost automatically drawn to those that are deemed “beautiful” on an instinctive basis but the qualities necessary for a successful relationship might be missing.Falling in love on the other hand is more than just some chemicals reactions being set off in our brains running down to our hearts. For people that fall in love at first sight, within that brief moment of time seem to know intuitively that they are meant for one another.We fall in love at first sight when we find someone similar who meets our unconscious criteria, these being traits we believe that a potential lover should possess if we are to fall in love with them. While there is the element of physical attraction, there is always the overpowering feeling of pleasure and freedom to be yourself while getting to know the person.The quality and complexity of their total being is enthralling giving those in this state of affairs the feeling of wholesomeness and unspeakable happiness. The love at first sight relationship is based on those highly coveted, intellectual and personality attributes that are nonphysical but show the moral fiber and true identity of a person.According to psychologist Jon Maner, of Florida State University, “love needs to be based on true situations and thoughts and not just your gut instinct. I mean gut instinct is good to start to get to know a person, but not to love them!”Therefore, having a crush on that guy across the bar, being attracted to someone and falling in love with somebody are all very different experiences. While lust fades, shrinks and interest is eventual lost; love always shines, grows and increases interest.