Is Love At First Sight A Real Thing?

Updated September 14, 2023by Regain Editorial Team
Does Love At First Sight Really Exist?

It may sound like a romantic concept, but you may have wondered to yourself, is love at first sight real? You may be surprised to learn (or perhaps not really) that evidence suggests that yes, love at first sight is, in fact, a real thing. (You know it's a real thing when they make reality shows about it, like TLC's Love at First Kiss.)

Biased Memory

Some have said that love at first sight (or, if you're a Scorpions fan, "love at first sting") is nothing more than a memory bias. This means that you may believe you fell in love at first sight, but this is just because you are in love with the person now, and those emotions are coloring your memory of when you first met that person.

However, there are so many reported instances of falling in love with a person the moment you meet them that while some people may be suffering from a memory bias, many of those who have reported falling in love at first sight may have genuinely done so. For these people, such experiences feel like, as the band, Alabama once put it, "love in the first degree."

First Love

There is so much riding on the first person you fall in love with, and the first person who breaks your heart, which is usually the same. The reason why our first love sticks with us for life is that it usually happens during that all-too-critical period: adolescence. This is when we are constantly struggling with our hormones and ourselves. We constantly feel like we're not good enough, so when someone comes along and takes an interest in us, and we realize we are good enough, we latch onto that person and never want to let go. ("First comes love, then comes marriage…")

Some people are lucky enough to experience first love again, meaning they find and fall in love with the same person they first fell in love with all those years ago. You may think, "that will never happen between me and my first love," and you are probably correct. Such instances are incredibly rare because we change so much as we grow that we are typically many different people in our 30s, say than we were in our 20s. The things we used to enjoy are no longer the same, and the people we once clicked with have changed too, so the odds of finding things in common grows smaller as we get older.


This is why many couples break up after being together for a longer period, especially while they're young. It's normal and healthy to change and evolve as you get older, and in many cases, the things that couples used to enjoy together are no longer the same. This is what it means to "grow apart." It is sad when relationships end, but it may just be for the better if a long-term couple decides that they just don't have much in common anymore, and they would be better suited to find partners who are more in sync with them at that point in their lives.


Here's something a little depressing: you're more likely to fall in love at first sight with one of the "Beautiful People" (with a hat tip to the late Prince). In fact, during one study, researchers found that respondents were nine times more likely to fall in love at first sight if they were attracted to the person, rather than if they took the time to get to know them first. (This type of attraction is referred to as "sapiosexuality," or being attracted to a person's mind, and then the rest may or may not follow.)

This isn't to say that if you aren't being asked to join any modeling agencies anytime soon that someone won't fall head over heels in love with you at first sight. This just means that if a person is attracted to you, then s/he is more likely to fall in love at first sight with you. It's superficial, yes, but it speaks to the primal need to procreate, rather than the more romantic need to establish a relationship with someone first before heading to the bedroom with them.

On that note, you may be less surprised to learn that men report falling in love at first sight at a higher rate than women do. It isn't clear whether such attractions always bloom into relationships, or if it's just two ships passing in the night. But it definitely speaks to the primal urges of a man (to spread his seed), rather than a woman's inclination to form a deeper connection with a person before experiencing feelings of love.

Arguing For The Tenets Of Love

Okay, so those who don't believe in love, at first sight, have a good reason. They say that the elements that make up a long-lasting, substantial love can't possibly be experienced upon first meeting, someone. For example, how can you say you deeply trust someone you just met? How can you effectively judge whether that person is in favor of commitment, is responsible with their finances, or would make a good parent?

Does Love At First Sight Really Exist?

All of these important ideals factor into whether someone would pursue a relationship with a person, or whether his or her feelings could be chalked up to nothing more than a fad for that person. Those who are in favor of these ideals believe that there is no way a person could "fall in love" at first sight. Infatuation or lust, yes, but not love.

Love At First Meetup

There is an argument to be made for "love at first meeting," as opposed to love at first sight. What this means is that the couple is given a chance to engage in the tenets of love described above, rather than deciding they've fallen in love with each other after merely passing one another on the street.

For instance, do they make each other laugh? Do they find each other intelligent? Do sparks fly when one of them gently rests a hand on a shoulder in a friendly gesture? These are the things that some say are more important to decide whether love, at first sight, is a legitimate concept because it goes beyond "sight" and into the more realistic realm of "getting to know you." (Cue Sound of Music.)

Here's where things get a little less superficial and a little more real. Love at first meeting is connected to what is called a person's "personality halo." A personality halo is the "aura" you give off concerning your personality traits. While some may project a confident and gracious air, others may come off as standoffish or "bitchy." This subtle "halo" that you project tells others what they can expect when it comes to getting to know more about your personality, and this may draw them in, as opposed to - or in addition to - their being attracted to your physical features.

The Future Of "Love At First Sight"

Just because a couple may fall in love at first sight, does this mean they have a solid chance at staying together for the long haul? The answer here is, of course! Research shows that if you have a positive opinion of a person from the moment you meet them, these relationships tend to do better than those who start off hating each other, which then blossoms into love. As the feelings grow stronger and physical touch more intense, the love hormone, oxytocin, also increases, and so does each other's affection. The latter may make for a cute story, but it doesn't always have staying power.

However, that positive first impression can have negative consequences, too. This is where that superficiality comes back. For instance, if a man is so taken with a woman's grace and beauty that he finds he falls for her almost instantly, he may soon realize that she is not quite what she appeared to be once he gets to know her better. This is, in a way, his being punished for attempting to start a relationship with the woman without giving himself the chance to get to know her first.

Similarly, being strongly attracted to a person you barely know is a ripe old recipe for lust that is mistaken for love. Once the passion dies down and the honeymoon period is over, you may realize that you have zero in common with this person, save for your initial attraction to them.

If you find that you're more interested in this person's physical features and you have no intention to take things more seriously with them, then you are in lust, not love. It is important to understand the difference because some couples stay together and simply don't understand why their partner wants nothing more serious than a casual dating experience.

Do you believe you may have fallen in love at first sight, and now you would like some relationship advice? Consider reaching out to one of our licensed counselors, who are available anytime to assist you with your questions and concerns.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can you really fall in love at first sight?

The answer to whether or not love at first sight can happen depends on your definition. If you take love to be something that you work at and improve in a relationship, then of course love at first sight won’t actually fit that perception of love. However, if you’re talking about butterflies in the stomach and an intense attraction (or even lust), then love at first sight is definitely possible.

The sensation that people describe as ‘falling in love at first sight’ is actually more likely to happen during a first meeting or conversation, rather than just at a glance across the room or in the street. But what is actually happening when you’re falling in love at first sight?

Instead of just dating advice, have a look at the science, too. When people feel that they have fallen in love, they often express feelings like butterflies in their stomach, thinking of someone often, or imagining themselves in a long-term with relationship with that person. These symptoms of love at first sight can mostly be attributed to oxytocin, the bonding hormone. Oxytocin is released when you see someone you’re attracted to, and it prompts you to form a bond with that person. The attraction can be at literal first sight, or it might grow of the course of your first conversation or interaction with that person. Thanks to oxytocin and the feeling of attachment it prompts, even from a first interaction, people believe in love at first sight.

What are the signs of love at first sight?

Love at first sight may be difficult to spot at first, especially if you’ve never experienced it before. A little bit of dating advice should be able to clear that up, though. While it may be hard to point out in the moment, look for these signs of love at first sight:

  • You’re giving them the copulatory gaze. This is that look in the eyes that humans have evolved to use in order to signal that you think the other person would make a decent sexual or reproductive partner. Sometimes called the “come-hither look,” if you catch yourself casting this expression their way, then it’s probably love at first sight, even if it’s just based on superficial criteria and that initial shock of chemistry.
  • You feel butterflies in your stomach, or a wash of relief when you see them. These are physical responses causes by the contracting and releasing of muscles throughout your body as a response to the excitement that you feel when you fall in love at first sight. These reactions make people believe in love at first sight, since the physical response is hard to ignore.
  • You feel like you can be your true, authentic self around them. 

So, all of these signals could be cuing you in to love at first sight. Don’t ignore the signs!

Is love at first sight mutual?

In many cases, love at first sight can be mutual if you follow some dating advice in the moment. Remember, if you’re experiencing love at first sight, you’re having feelings of love and attachment triggered by the release of oxytocin in your brain. If you want some dating advice for how make those feelings of love at first sight mutual, then start by trying to point out those attractive traits in the other person. If you fell in love with their sense of humor, for instance, laugh at their jokes. Or, if their physical appearance contributed to your love at first sight, give them a tasteful compliment. This will cue them in to your attraction, and it could lead to a nice oxytocin release for them, too. This will help you take love at first sight to a longer-lasting and higher level.

How do you know if you found your soulmate?

If you’ve fallen in love and you think you’ve found your soul mate, there are a couple ways that you can be sure if they’re ‘the one.’ First of all, you should consider how often you fall in love. If you don’t fall in love all that often, then this could be a big deal and actually be pointing out your soul mate. However, if you fall in love rather frequently, this could just be another passing fancy.

Another indicator that you’ve found your soul mate is gauging your feelings and theirs when you’re together. Soul mates will often feel extremely at ease with each other, whether they’re in a group of people or alone together. They often balance each other out, and the opposite traits are what they fell in love with in the first place. Plus, soul mates usually have extreme empathy for each other, and a deep desire to know and understand how the other thinks, feels, and processes their experiences. Soul mates are also known to challenge one another, not as a way to compete or put the other down, but as a way to prompt them towards growth and a better relationship together.

The other thing that you should remember about soul mates is that there may be more than one person out there who is compatible with you. This means that in the whole wide world, there’s not just one soul mate wandering around waiting for you to find them. Instead, if you want to find love and a soul mate, focus on building and cultivating loving, though not necessarily romantic, relationships with the people around you. You can’t rely only on love at first sight to find your soul mate.

What is the first sign of love?

When most people explain how it feels to fall in love, especially when it’s love at first sight, they usually cite the rush or high of seeing them and interacting with them for the first time. That first meeting is usually the highest rush that you will feel as you fall in love with someone, but as you see them and interact with them more, you’ll continue to feel those rushes of excitement when you see them.

This rush of emotion and excitement when you fall in love is actually the result of several hormones released in your brain. These hormones, especially oxytocin and dopamine, are triggered when you see someone who might be a good mate. These hormones are part of the driving force that drives humans to reproduce and nurture their offspring, and when you experience love at first sight, it’s largely due to the evolutionary mechanisms that are in place to keep the human species alive and thriving.

Can you be in love with two people?

It isn’t uncommon for someone to feel in love with two people at the same time. Often, they’ll find some traits attractive in one person, and another set of features attractive in another person. So, while they are in love with two people at the same time, the reasoning and justifications behind their falling in love is often different. The definition of love that they apply in each case could be different, too. Since attraction is largely biological, it isn’t too uncommon to see someone develop feelings towards two different people and define both of them as love.

Do soulmates break up?

Although it’s not a chipper answer, it’s true: sometimes soul mates break up. They may choose to separate for a number of reasons, but it usually comes down to growth and timing. As people grow and change, they’re not the same as they were at the beginning of the relationship, back when they fell in love at first sight. For many soul mates, this growth happens together and in a way that strengthens and builds up the relationship. However, for some couples, it’s better to step away from their soul mates and go their separate ways.

If you’re worried about the direction that your relationship is heading and you don’t want to break up with your soul mate, you should start by getting some professional relationship advice from a relationship coach. You can talk to the coach with your partner or individually, but it’s a great first step for getting your relationship with your soul mate back on track.

Can you cheat on someone if you love them?

If you truly love someone, you’ll consider their feelings and reactions before your own desires. This means that if you know or even suspect that your cheating will hurt the one that you love, then you won’t cheat on them. Does this mean that you’ll never feel attracted to anyone but your partner ever again in your whole life? Of course not! But the sign of your love for them is made clear in the way that you are committed to not hurting them. So, even if you feel attracted to someone other than your partner, if you really love your partner, you won’t cheat on them.

What triggers love at first sight?
Do men fall in love at first sight?

What percentage of people have sworn that they have really fallen in love at first sight?

What are the chances of experiencing love at first sights?

Is love at first sight real or not?
What are effective ways of making someone love you at first sight?

What are the pros and cons of falling in love at first sight?

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