Love at first sight! Can this be real? The chemistry of romance.
"I'll never forget how I felt the first time I saw Josh," recalls Karen. "Although he looked nothing like the kind of guy I thought I'd fall for, there was no denying something chemical was going on, maybe it was love at first sight...on both our parts. Every part of my body went on high alert. I was tongue-tied, my heart beat double-time, my face flushed, and the butterflies in my stomach went wild...before I even knew his name!"
"I'll never forget the first time Michael looked at me," smiles Carrie. "It was so strange. Like he actually stole my heart. The whole experience was beyond reason. The love at first sight didn't last long, but it was the best feeling."
Unlike most of the clichés about love and romance, evidence that love at first sight really does exist can be documented. Scientists might argue, however, that it's a specific kind of love—infatuation to be exact—that causes this incredible sensation. The excitement and nervousness accompanying love at first sight is intense—too intense, they argue, to survive the time and patience a long-lasting relationship demands.
Look through your favorite magazine and you'll see fragrances advertised that boast of being laced with pheromones, the odorless airborne molecules researchers believe are behind that gushy, giddy first look. Recent studies are exploring the notion that love may be ruled as much by these molecules as it is driven by emotion. The physiological component is so powerful, some researchers believe, that within ten years there could be a brain chemical nasal spray manufactured to enhance love between a couple!
Doctors have compared love at first sight with the feeling you get after eating lots of chocolate. As your body releases a load of hormones combined with the neurotransmitter dopamine, you feel a rush, a natural high. Your pupils dilate, your heart pumps harder, you start to sweat, and even the glands in your scalp release oil to create extra shine. It's almost the identical response your body would have if you were afraid or angry. Scientists call it "the flight or fight response," only here you don't want to fight or flee.
The good news is that the knowledge of neuroscience is doubling every two and a half years, meaning that scientists have learned more than in all prior humans about the working of the brain in the last two and a half years. They are excited about the possibility of understanding exactly what it is about love at first sight that ignites the spark that melts our hearts. The bad news is that the number of flip-flops your stomach does upon meeting someone has nothing to do with the kind of love that the fairy tales promise.
All the studies in the world can't change the fact that the honeymoon state of love at first sight doesn't last. Real life intrudes and annoying habits, human frailties, and serious character flaws come into play. Suddenly you notice that he wears funny shoes and talks way too much about Australian Rules football. As the love at first sight and spell of crazy hormones dissipates, you see the size of his ego. As passion releases its grip, you see he is definitely not The One.
Real love takes time and patience and a whole lot more than being swept off your feet from love at first sight. It involves knowing one another in a deeper, more profound way. That can't happen in an instant. But if until your honest, intelligent, compassionate, kind prince comes along, you're lucky enough to inhale some of these magical pheromones, enjoy the love at first sight experience.