Why do people fall in love?
When I see a handsome man, I often think of fate and falling in love. It’s ridiculous to lose my level head in such a situation, but it’s not uncommon with matters of the heart. Yet, experts suggest phenomena like love at first sight and even the act of falling in love actually have scientific backings.
“Love is primarily an emotional thing,” Ty Tashiro, psychologist and author of The Science of Happily Ever After told the American Psychological Association. “I think we can overthink it, and we don’t want to kill the romance or the heart part of it with the head.” People will benefit more, however, by using their head when it comes to getting someone to fall in love with them, he added.
In my case, an initial attraction developed after I met my current boyfriend, and the pull I felt towards him was undeniable. He stirred up a whirlwind of emotions I’d never experienced before. Whether I was strategically pursued, had fallen in love or was a victim of fate, I had no idea.
But taking a close look at research on the phenomenon of love, I’ve gained a new perspective on my courtship. According to psychologists, there are some very specific actions that can aid in directing cupid’s arrow towards that special someone. A few key takeaways include:
- Have similar interests .“People often fall in love initially because of similar interests and having things in common,” says Kevin Krippner, an Advocate Medical Group psychologist at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal, Ill. As mutual interests dissolve, he says, the relationship usually follows suit. One study on dating and newlywed couples found couples that had similar personalities developed a stronger relationship after going through emotional experiences.
- Don’t seem too interested. Passive interest results in increased desirability when the other person is already emotionally committed, and research showed “the chase” is a step towards love for many couples. Playing hard to get can backfire, however, if the commitment hasn’t yet been established, the study suggested. If the goal is to get someone to simply “like” you, showing interest is the better option, regardless of commitment level.
- Have the “right” expressions. Experts claim men and women are attracted to different facial expressions on the opposite sex. In fact, one study found that happiness was the most attractive female emotional expression, but the least attractive in males. Conversely, pride found the opposite pattern. It was seen as the most attractive in men, but least attractive in women.
- Stare into my eyes. Staring into a lover’s eyes seems cliché, but research suggests it can in fact increase attraction and feelings of love. One experiment involving 72 college students revealed engaging in the act for approximately two minutes with a stranger increases a person’s attraction for them. The rise in intimacy is even greater when it comes to a significant other.
It’s important to note, attraction will not keep a relationship alive. “Keys to successful relationships include spending quality time together, having healthy communication and being generous with positive affirmations,” notes Dr. Krippner. Investment and effort are the most important attributes when it comes to a prosperous relationship, he says.
When I think back to the early stages of my relationship, I had no intention of falling in love. I realize now just how much effort my man put into winning me over, and it makes me love him that much more.
I would be upset if the effort stopped as soon as he’d caught me, but it’s only increased. I know our relationship will be a lasting one because we are now both undeniably invested.
About the Author
health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.