In a recent article, I had asked the question, “Why do many relationships run into troubled waters? Is it mostly lust and not love? Why many couples get is so wrong?”. Well, the question about lust has just been answered by a group of psychologists at the University of Groningen, Netherlands.
Lust at first sight
According to their study, love at first sight (LAFS) does not exist. This might mean that love at first sight could very well be a myth and just a figment of our imagination. Matter of fact, what many couples construe as love at first sight is in reality just nascent physical attraction, in other words, lust at first sight. The study also found that the men are more prone to claim love at first sight. No wonder so many relationships end up struggling or in troubled waters. When it is lust that brings people together, then, it is just a matter of time before it fades away. Lust is transitory, it fades; love is permanent, it matures.
While conducting the research, the psychologists conducted an online study, a laboratory study and three dating events to collect the required data. In total, 396 participants participated in the study. Most of the participants were straight, about 60% of them were women and many of them were young German or Dutch students.
Next, pictures of various strangers were shown to the participants and their response solicited. The participants were asked to rank those various strangers in terms of their attractiveness. In addition, the participants were asked if they felt any attraction to the people in the pictures. They were also asked if they were experiencing “love at first sight”. In two other studies, participants speed dated to know more about each other. After the event, the researchers asked them about their feelings for each other.
Result of the study
Of all the participants, only 32 of them, mostly men, reported 49 experiences of love at first sight. However, those experiences of love at first sight was strongly correlated with the physical attractiveness of the other person. More attractive the person, more the chances—it was 9 times more likely—of someone claiming love at first sight.
The researches concluded that:
Experiences of LAFS were marked neither by high passion, nor by intimacy, nor by commitment. Physical attraction was highly predictive of reporting LAFS. We therefore suggest that LAFS is not a distinct form of love, but rather a strong initial attraction that some label as LAFS, either in the moment of first sight or retrospectively.
Until another study disproves these results, we have to accept that the first spark of romance is triggered by lust. No wonder things go downhill from there.