First of all, I would like to clarify that I’m one of those who believe that love at first sight doesn’t exist. Actually, come to think of it, I don’t recall the last time any of my friends claimed that they believe in love at first sight either. Regardless, there are still so many out there with different experiences and thoughts who definitely disagree with me. And that also makes me wonder, are we defining love in the same manner?
Is there a difference between attraction, love, and infatuation?
Attraction – As I’ve been writing this article, I always wondered if anyone confuses attraction as
love. Attraction is not an uncommon emotion when it comes to love, in fact, it’s the first steps of falling in love. However, attraction is not love; it’s simply an emotion that stimulates the mind to want and learn more about a person. According to Google, attraction is defined as “a quality or feature of something or someone that evokes interest, liking, or desire.” Now, attraction at first sight is simple to understand – but it’s merely physical and not emotional.
Infatuation vs Love – According to Google, infatuation is “an intense but short-lived passion or admiration for someone or something,” and love is “an intense feeling of deep affection.” Okay, so by definition, infatuation does take a closer step representing love. It goes beyond the attraction stage of being in love, despite it being short lived. And I admittedly, like most people, experienced it before.
The genuine care and affection I feel, however, has only always develop after spending quality time with my partner. After all, how can I care and be affected so deeply by someone without knowing who they truly are? The experiences we share together slowly develops and shapes the way we interact, even through the good and bad.
“Love is a chemical process which causes delusion. An intellectually rigorous person would never get married.” (“The Cinderella in the Cardboard.” Bones. Fox. 2009. Television)
Two great arguments against Love at First Sight
As I was researching on the topic of love at first sight, I ran into a pretty good scientific article that explains about love at first sight. According to PsychologyToday.com, they brought up two great arguments of why it’s impossible to love someone on first glance: The Halo Effect, and Loving Through Actions.
Argument 1: The Halo Effect
Aaron Ben-Zeév (Ph. D) from PsychologyToday.com brought up one of the greatest psychology concepts: the Halo Effect. This phenomenon can be described when one optimistically presumes another person’s personality based on their looks and features. This normally happens when one is looking for something particular in that person, and believing that they do carry these features. And I’ll get on with that shortly. The Halo Effect can somewhat be compared to the concept of discrimination – only that the latter is usually associated with a negative perspective and the former with a positive attitude.
Let’s look at a first date scenario (aka. the first impression stage). Without “sufficient knowledge about the person’s characteristics” (Ben-Zeév, PsychologyToday.com), one is always curious of who their date really is deep down. And yet, us humans are usually in a rush whenever curiosity comes up, and that leads to judging a person quickly by what you literally see in them. For example, the guy pays the bill at the end of the first date. Does that make him generous? Maybe. How about those big round puppy eye look they have. Does that mean they’re trustworthy and innocent? Just a maybe. And so one guesses and judges, based on their looks and actions, with imagination and subconsciously casts this fake persona onto that person. The so-called love in this observation, as Ben-Zeév stated, is “merely imaginary wishful thinking and not a real emotion.”
Argument 2: Loving Through Actions
Ben-Zeév also argues that “love at first sight refers to the fact that love does not merely consist of feelings; rather, it essentially involves activities, and these cannot be exercised at first sight.” In other words, how are you able to develop feelings for one another just by looking at that person? Emotions of affection and attachment only blossom by growing together. Learning more about one another makes us build a greater connection with one another. Let’s put this in another perspective, are you able to love an activity without trying it out? I, for myself, cannot love snowboarding without trying the activity at least a few times. So, how is it possible to love someone without experiencing with them?
To be honest, I’ve always had love defined as “an eternal and unchangeable intense feeling of deep affection.” Through social media, television, or any kind of articles, I always had the impression that love is an everlasting feeling and affection for someone. It’s easy to love your family members – it’s inevitably a part of our nature. But what if it’s for someone you’ve never lived with your entire life? Now I’ve learned that the definition of love isn’t always eternal. It is simply the emotional attachment you have for someone (or something) that is possible to disintegrate. That’s kind of sad, but it’s also the truth. How would you guys define love?