Falling in love at first sight is one of those things you either believe in or don't. The concept of it is so fairytale-esque, it's almost hard to believe it can actually happen in reality. But according to data from Match's Singles in America study, love at first sight happens more than you probably think. “Love at first sight is relatively easy to explain,” Match’s chief scientific advisor and biological anthropologist, Dr. Helen Fisher, said in a press release. “Romantic love runs along certain electrical and chemical pathways through the brain which can be triggered instantly."
Nearly 34 percent of singles say they've actually experienced falling in love at first sight, Match found. And, more men (41 percent) say they've experienced it than women (29 percent),
A study published in The Journal of Social Psychology earlier this year found that men typically say they fall in love much faster than women say they do. According to Fisher, statistics show men experience love at first sight much more often than women because they may be more visual. That's probably why single men were found to be ten percent more likely to believe in love at first sight.
“It's a basic drive, like thirst and hunger,” Fisher said. “Food and water keep you alive today; romantic love leads to bonding, mating and sending your DNA into tomorrow. In fact, poetry around the world talks about love at first sight. Even other creatures experience instant attraction to one another. But cultural factors always play a role as well.” Meaning, if you’re ready and open to fall in love, “Then, boom — it’s natural.”
But how do you know it's love at first sight? Here are five signs from Match's dating expert Rhonda Richards-Smith.
You Want To Know Everything About Them
Have you ever met someone and just wanted to know every single thing about them? If you have, that's a really good sign. "A genuine fascination with a person and their thoughts on any and every topic is a clear indication that you could be falling for them in that very moment," Richards-Smith says.
Being really attracted to someone doesn't always mean you're going to be a good match. Getting to know someone is the only way to see if you're compatible. According to studies, having a curiosity to learn more about someone is a really good sign that you want more of a connection with them. For instance, a 2011 study published in the Journal of Personality, found that people create closeness and intimacy with others when they're genuinely curious about them. Curiosity leads to asking more questions, which then leads to intimate conversations. Less curious people, on the other hand, are more likely to keep it to small talk.
They're The Only Person You See
"When the feeling is mutual, your eyes will often lock on one another, muting your ability to hear or see anyone or anything else," Richards-Smith says. When it comes to love and attraction, eye contact is everything. A 2018 study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior found that when you're attracted to someone, you're going to look at them as much as possible. Maintaining eye contact is also a great flirting technique — it allows someone to know you're interested in what they have to say. So locking eyes with someone you're attracted to can make you feel like you're falling in love.
You'll Feel A Sense Of Familiarity
When you experience love at first sight, it’s very common to feel like you've already met this person before. Nothing feels forced. It all seems naturally comfortable between the two of you. "This can be incredibly powerful, as you feel your connection to this person may have existed prior to your first meeting," Richards-Smith says.
It's hard to build a connection with someone when you're constantly a nervous wreck around them. But when you're completely relaxed, you can be yourself. That means you can bring up topics that you're truly interested in or share your opinions without any fear of being judged. Feeling instantly comfortable with someone is a great sign that you may have the type of chemistry that's meant to last.
You Find Their Mannerisms Super Appealing
"Finding another person’s mannerisms attractive is a tell-tale sign of falling in love," Richards-Smith says. The way a person walks, talks, or smiles can be incredibly appealing and can make you feel an instant bond. According to Margaux Cassuto, relationship expert and matchmaker tells Bustle that love is both forgiving and blind. "Overlooking someone's quirks or even being engaged by something that would otherwise send us in the opposite direction, is a good indication that it is love at first sight," she says.
There are more physical signs that you're attracted to someone at first sight like your heart speeding up, your body temperature getting hot, and the smile that just won't leave your face. "You'll feel excited and your body shows it because your brain is releasing endorphins (dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin)," Susan Golicic, PhD, certified relationship coach and co-founder of Uninhibited Wellness, tells Bustle. "This is your body telling you there is attraction and a connection. This is that 'you just know' feeling."
While it's clear that your body naturally reacts a certain way when you meet someone attractive, is it actually love? "There is no way to know if this is the case at first sight," Golicic says. "Much more needs to be learned about the other person to truly love them. But that can happen quickly depending on how much time is spent together and how open and honest the two are with each other." So it is possible that love will happen, especially if the excitement continues each time you see each other.
Love does need time to develop. But that doesn't mean you should discount that initial connection you feel with someone. If you believe in love at first sight, don't let anyone, let alone science, tell you it isn't real. After all, Prince Harry said he knew Meghan Markle was "The One" the very first time they met. So it can happen, right?
This post was originally published on December 1, 2017. It was updated on June 3, 2019.
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