11 Scientific Reasons I Don’t Believe In Love At First Sight

I think “love at first sight” is a ridiculous concept. How could you possibly love a person without even so much as knowing their name? If you’re a hopeless romantic who wants to keep on believing it could happen to you, allow me to burst your bubble with a little science.

  1. Attraction is a predetermined bias. According to TIME’s The Science of Marriage, everyone you meet leaves a subconscious impression on you. Over time, this helps you determine whether someone is good or bad simply by looking at them. To help you do this quickly, your brain puts together complex patterns and signals to help you determine who to stick with and who to run like hell from. This all happens within a few seconds without you even being consciously aware of it. With that in mind, “love at first sight” is clearly more accurately “bias at first sight.”
  2. Testosterone and estrogen are good tricksters. The hormones testosterone and estrogen are released if your brain thinks you’ve spotted a suitable mate and they can wreak havoc on your ability to have any common sense. Testosterone pushes you towards sex while estrogen, most notably, forces you to ovulate. So basically, your bias suddenly turns into a procreation mission.
  3. So is dopamine, which is produced during sex. Dopamine creates the post-coital bliss that comes to mind when you think of sex. It also encourages feelings of fondness and a connection with someone. Most notably, however, it triggers a complex chain of reactions that make you want to go back for more. The more you go back to have sex with that one partner, the deeper your connection becomes.
  4. Serotonin makes you obsessed with your S.O. It’s practically a hormonal distraction that prevents you from thinking about anything (or anyone) else other than your special someone. This happens very early in the stages of falling in love. This hormone makes you want to sleep, eat, and breathe the other person and makes it difficult for the two of you to say goodbye.
  5. Phenylethylamine, or PEA, makes your partner seem better than they are. It’s a mood booster, among dozens of other things. PEA is the reason that everything looks, smells, feels, and tastes better when you’re falling in love. More interestingly, it produces more dopamine and serotonin than you already had, which leads you to a complex hormonal cycle as you begin falling in love. It’s also one of the main reasons that you can’t see the flaws in your partner at first. It’s not because they’re not there, it’s because you’re jacked up on enough hormones to make your brain think it’s on coke.
  6. Humans like rewards. Having that many feel-good hormones running through your bloodstream while you’re falling in love (or giving into your bias) is more than enough to keep you running back for more. Going back for more produces more. In your brain, this means that good things happen when you’re with that person and you should continue to do whatever it is you’re doing, hence the initial compelling infatuation.
  7. Oh wait, don’t forget that oxytocin makes you more attached. It’s another of the high-powered love-based hormones that forge an attachment to your sexual partner. It plays a huge role in the surge of sexcapades that happen in the early stages of relationships. The more you bang, the “deeper” your bond. Ha! But seriously, it’s a really important hormone that plays a vital role in falling in love.
  8. This cycle takes time to build. I mean, obviously. Falling in love is a complex cycle of hormones that are all intertwined, and the whole process still isn’t entirely understood. However, there’s no way that you — or anyone else — could complete this entire cycle of love without even knowing someone’s name (or anytime soon after, either). By the time you realize you’re actually in love with them months later, your brain is so overconfident and thoroughly convinced that you knew from the beginning that they were the one for you.
  9. Love is scientifically proven to go beyond appearances. I mean, if this whole list wasn’t enough to convince you that love is more complicated than a first-sight encounter, I don’t know what will convince you. Even “love at first sight” is determined by more than your brain’s predetermined bias towards what’s familiar. It’s also defined by body language, the sound of their voice, and their choice of words.
  10. “Love at first sight” is just lust. Lust is loosely categorized by science as the desire to have sex with someone that you have no attachment to. This is exactly what happens when you spot someone and you’re struck by “love”; your brain releases its “let’s bang” hormones and then thoroughly convinces you that you have an attachment to them. It’s nowhere near love, sorry.
Ashley is a freelance writer, a serial-entrepreneur, a mom to an overly-energetic toddler, and prone to adopting too many animals. Her newest venture is running an Etsy store, Haskell's Handmades. She has no free time because her over-the-top energetic little family keeps her busy laughing (and writing.)