Science will tell you that it’s statistically naive and unrealistic to believe in soulmates. Typically, the people who believe the odds of finding your soul mate is pretty much impossible are the same ones who don’t believe in love at first sight. Not that any of us can really judge. Some people have very grounded views on love, while others are more cynical. If you happen to be one of those who fall under the category of hopeless romantic, don’t worry: Recent research has found that believing in love will not only make you a happier and more committed partner, but it will make your relationship better overall.
Now, I wholeheartedly believe that true love and happily ever afters do exist. But thanks to every single romantic comedy out there, the expectation of what love should look like versus what it actually looks like may leave you feeling disappointed. Sadly, real life can turn many of us into love cynics.
As Alain de Botton wrote in a recently published article in The New York Times:
We need to swap the Romantic view for a tragic (and at points comedic) awareness that every human will frustrate, anger, annoy, madden and disappoint us — and we will (without any malice) do the same to them … Choosing whom to commit ourselves to is merely a case of identifying which particular variety of suffering we would most like to sacrifice ourselves for.
Sure, that’s a very grounded and realistic view on how love and relationships may be today. Yes, people will frustrate, annoy, and disappoint you. They’re human. You’re human. It’s what we do. But just because that’s true, it doesn’t mean you should give up on the notion that something greater and pretty unexplainable like soulmates and love at first sight don’t exist. Love in itself is pretty hard to define by science alone. Sometimes, you meet someone and it’s like a fairy tale, and other times, you meet someone and the fairy tale begins on chapter five. Every situation is different, and you should never feel silly for believing in love. In fact, here are three reasons why believing in love is good for you, according to science:
1. You’re More Likely To Fight For It
A recent study of 270 participants, published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships found that young adults between 18 and 28 years old who believed in the romantic concepts of soul mates and love at first sight had higher levels of relationship satisfaction and were more committed to their relationships. Those people were even more likely to fight for their relationships and would risk being vulnerable instead of being torn apart by it.
As authors Sarah Vannier and Lucia O’Sullivan wrote in the study, “Romantic beliefs do not appear to foster false or unobtainable expectations for romantic relationships, and the concerns regarding the endorsement of these beliefs may be misplaced.”
At the end of the day, people who believe in love reaped all the benefits of being in love.
2. People Still Fully Believe And Value Romance
At a time when hookups, casual sex, and “seeing where it goes,” is the norm, it may seem like romance is dead. But as biological anthropologist, Helen Fisher wrote in Anatomy of Love, romance is key when it comes to Americans looking for marriage. In fact, Fisher’s research found that singles do want to find their “soulmate” above anything else in a relationship and 54 percent fully believe in love at first sight. So don’t let love cynics fool you. Romance is still very much alive, and people do still believe in it.
3. Falling In Love Helps Us To Expand Ourselves
Psychologist Arthur Aron from Stoney Brook University found that the primary motive for humans is to “expand the self” and “increase our abilities and our effectiveness.” As Aron wrote for howstuffworks.com, falling in love helps us to just that:
"Usually, we fall in love with a person that we find attractive and appropriate for us, but also someone who demonstrates that they are attracted to us,” Aron wrote. “This creates a situation where a great opportunity is open to us for self-expansion. The fact that they are attracted to us offers a significant opportunity — when we perceive this, we feel a surge of exhilaration!"
I know it’s hard to believe in love when you’ve been hurt time and time again. But just think, you’ve been in love before. You know what it feels like. Never start believing that it can’t happen ever again.
Images: Fotolia; Giphy (3)