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What’s the Deal with ‘Love at First Sight?’

The concept of love at first sight appears in so many films that you would think most people felt that same way when they first met their partner or spouse. Romantic comedies and dramas portray magical moments where two character’s eyes lock for the first time and life is never the same. Sound familiar? Probably not!

We are a culture that thrives on music, television shows and stories with plots like the one described above. We love romance. After all, it is entertaining and to love and be loved is what we all want.  The problem, though, is that love at first sight stories and fairytale endings create unrealistic expectations about our real relationships. Sometimes we forget that relationships actually take work and that your partner does not come into your life to fix you.

Although there is scientific proof of love at first sight (and many couples can vouch for it), whether or not you believe in love at first sight may be one of the factors keeping you single. If you rigidly believe that you will experience love at first sight with the man or woman you will spend your life with, it is likely that you have missed out on other amazing partners because you didn’t experience that grand feeling you long for during an initial meeting. If you believe that magic will occur when you first see him or her, you are likely to dismiss anyone who you are not completely gaga over or anyone who doesn’t look like the person you envision yourself with.

Another potential issue with the love at first sight concept is that it might make you believe that you are destined to be with anyone who ignites a spark in you, causing you to downplay any red flags, areas of concern or negative signals when you actually get to know this new person.

While it is important to feel an initial attraction or connection that makes you want to smile, talk to or approach someone, this may be felt in a more subtle, anxious or superficial way at first. You may also feel a force that moves you toward this person even if you can’t automatically figure out why it’s there or put it into words. This very force may not be love. It could be an instant attraction, your intuition or a sense of knowing that you want to learn more or connect. It could be an energy that draws you toward this new person, but again, it might not necessarily be love.

Believing in love at first sight may be empowering and exciting and lead you in the right direction. It may also get in the way of being open to men and women who start off as acquaintances or friends. Regardless of if you believe in the concept or not (and there is no right or wrong here), honoring these two commitments is likely to enhance your love life:

1. Commit to approaching your personal and dating life with openness, curiosity and present moment awareness. If you do believe in love at first sight, allow that belief to inspire you while also making room for the belief that you may fall in love with someone in a slower capacity. This shift will naturally open you up to meeting a potential partner in a variety of situations.

2. Commit to making a point to get to know men or women who spark your interest or attention even if you don’t experience love at first sight as depicted in the media. Often times, relationships start slowly and progress toward love when mutual understanding, commonalities, meaningful dialogue and chemistry intersect and grow. Allow yourself to fall in love at your own pace.

Do you believe in love at first sight?

About the Author:

Rachel Dack is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) and relationship coach, specializing in psychotherapy for individuals and couples via her private practice in Bethesda, Maryland. Rachel’s areas of expertise include relationships, self-esteem, dating, mindfulness, anxiety, depression and stress management. Follow her on Twitter for more daily wisdom!