Falling in love becomes a must for most of us who constantly seek for affection. But, why do we fall in love with people whom we just meet? There are individuals who fall for someone through the passing of time. This happens when their feelings gradually develop because of constant companionship. There are also those who learn to love another person because their relationship becomes personal and they both nurture it. So, if nurturance is a fundamental way to be in love, there should also be reasons why there is “love at first sight.”
Elizabeth Kane, a South University adjunct faculty member, explains that the first step in the process of falling in love is the initial attraction. It’s the powerful moment when we meet another person; we feel energized and are immediately aware of our heart pounding. Kane says that the human brain supports falling in love, which is why we have such a strong physiological response when we are attracted to another person. Once a romantic couple begins to spend time together, they are in a sort of love euphoria.
Relatively, licensed psychologist Dr. Rachel Needle elaborates that there are specific chemical substances such as oxytocin, phenethylamine, and dopamine which play a role in human experiences and behaviors that are associated with love. They function similar to amphetamine, making us alert, excited, and wanting to bond. It is this feeling which drives some people to spend the rest of their lives looking for love. Without any explanations, there are people who do and give their best to maintain romantic relationships. This what makes love fascinating and complex.
There are three components of love. In an attempt to demystify this feeling, psychologist Robert Sternberg developed the triangular theory of love which consists of intimacy, passion, and commitment. Intimacy refers to feelings of attachment, closeness, connectedness, and bondedness. Passion encompasses drives that are connected to both limerance and sexual attraction. Commitment, in the short term context, equates to the decision to remain with another person. In the long term, however, it encompasses the shared achievements and plans made with that significant other.
Some of us fall in love with a particular person even though there are other people around us who offer the same care and affection. This is how some people experience love; they decide to choose somebody else over the rest. Romantic compatibility theory suggests that relationship success is a function of the unique combination of two individuals’ qualities. It is described as matching algorithms. He appreciates her art, her positivity keeps him motivated when he needs a boost, and they both love the same sport. Obviously, such similarities and connections between partners impact romantic outcomes. Online dating sites certainly think so, and many enthusiastically advertise “matching algorithms” that will connect you with uniquely suited dates. Their secret formulas take demographics into account, but they claim that their matching process goes far deeper, mining the stuff of personality traits, and values to deliver lasting love. Quality of Interaction, Circumstances, and Individual Characteristics are considered predictors of relationship success. This is why online matching sites would frequently make use of these predictors.
Quality of interaction is the strongest predictor of relationship success. But because online matching inherently involves new partners, interaction quality is not available to help make matches. The algorithm could factor in circumstances (e.g. a “chronic stressors” score), but few dating site survey questionnaires ask about them. Consequently, matching algorithms are left only with individual characteristics to tip the hand of long-term happiness. In practice, most matching sites introduce couples who share similar individual characteristics.
With all the reasons, circumstances, and outcomes of being in love, the purpose basically is to love and to be loved. Unless we only see love as a tool to complete our existence, most of us want to grow old and spend the rest of our lives with someone. I say “as a tool” because there are people who are only in love with the idea of falling in love. They love the feelings, and not necessarily the person. They enjoy the affection, not the person who provides it. This is the reason why some people easily fall out of love without any viable motives.
For those who are seeking for their lifetime partners or soul mates but would always fail, there is a simple option: stop looking. Instead, try to find out more about yourself. Knowing yourself better may bring you to love yourself more. Sometimes, we failed to notice that we have been trying to give so much love to someone but not to ourselves.
Charity should begin “at home.” When I say at home, I am referring to our own self, all the good things and not so good things about us. When we give love and affection to others and give less to ourselves, these people subconsciously notice it and they subsequently love us less because we simply cannot give what we do not have. If we love ourselves less, how can we expect others to give us more? To put it simply, we have to love and take care of ourselves so that we are able to nurture our romantic relationship with others.
It’s not easy to uphold and sustain romantic relationships. Many people fall short and have not succeeded because falling in love is complicated. To be in love, we have to love ourselves and at the same time learn how to give more of ourselves (sacrifice) for the relationship. Being with someone whom we love and who truly loves us in return is a basic condition why we must not give up. There will always be circumstances wherein the relationship will be tested. Dealing with limitations together as a couple will bring improvement and make us better individuals. Eventually, higher respect will be built once we learn how to accept not only our partners’ strong attributes but also their limitations as individuals.
Maturity and adjustments come after learning how to accept the good and the bad things about our partner. These will make us both grow as partners, lovers, and friends as we stay together. This, I guess, is the great secret in any romantic relationship, whether between married or unmarried, opposite or same-sex couples. And if I may say, keeping up with each other, no matter what will bring “forever.”