The love list. Is this study spot on or off-base?
You and your partner might have been pre-destined. You might have had fate written in the stars.
Or you might have fit a bunch of criteria and then gone bungy-jumping together.
Researchers have done some research (because that’s what they do) about the big L word. What makes people fall in love? Is it good sex? Nice hands? Daddy issues?
Elizabeth Phillips, a student at the University of Central Florida, presented the top ten factors of lurrrrve. And some of them are a little unexpected.
These are the things that apparently make us fall in love (because science).
1. Similarity. We are attracted to people similar to ourselves, apparently. Single and lonely? Look in the mirror. Hello, lover.
2. Reciprocated feelings. Science says it’s better when you like each other… rather than one person doing all the liking while the other is replying to texts with the obvious leave-me-alone-now sign-off, “take care”. When you are in love with a person, it would be ideal that your love loves you. But you can’t have everything so there’s always chocolate and chocolate loves you back.
3. Attraction. Because you don’t want to feel more attracted to a lamp post than to your significant other. Phillips explains that we all have different traits we find attractive in a partner, i.e. shapely legs, big hands, the ability to open a beer with their back teeth, etc. If you are not attracted to a single thing about your date, you probably won’t fall in love with him. I hate to state the obvious, but… Duh.
4. “Social Influences”. Categories of acceptability. Phillips explains these as the parameters we establish as being acceptable, and whether the person in question falls into them, i.e age range, social background, culture, religion, etc. These parameters are more flexible than they used to be.
5. Danger factor. This is a bit suss, but apparently being in an adrenalin-inducing situation (anywhere from bungy-jumping to we-met-in-a-bank-at-gunpoint) is supposed to help create a bit of a love buzz. Like Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock in Speed. So if you like someone but they aren’t giving you much, pull them off a cliff with you. What could go wrong?
6. Fulfilment, daddy-issue style. Cuddles. Intimacy. Social status. Money. Parent-type figure. Whatever hole is in your life, you’re probably sub-consciously looking for someone to fill it (sex pun intended). You know how Jerry Maguire said “you complete me”? That. My idea of romance is “you completed me… a sandwich with extra mayonnaise” because I’m saucy like that.
7. X-factor. A special something that you’re attracted to. As far as I can tell, this is exactly the same as number 3, but maybe a bit more niche? E.g If the X-factor trait that you’re attracted to is a dungeon full of handcuffs and whips, then let’s say it falls under number 7. And probably 5, too.
8. No commitment-phobia. There’s a comment in this section that says rebounding from a relationship is actually a good way to start a new relationship. Really, Phillips? I don’t know about that. But good point that to be in a relationship, the people in a relationship have to really want to be in a relationship. Just like to eat sixteen doughnuts, you have to really want to eat sixteen doughnuts. It’s all about committing yourself, guys.
9. One-on-one time. It’s easier to get to know someone when you have alone time, apparently. I’ve always thought the best place to get to know someone was in a crowded cue at an IKEA checkout, but I am wrong, and secluded island romance novelists are right.
10. Mysteriousness. We love a bit of mystery in a person. A bit of intrigue. A bit of weirdness. It’s a little contradicting to the Number 1 point, but if you’re a bit weird too then maybe it’s a similarity. Apparently, this mystery thing is also the reason why some women fall in love with prison inmates. It’s also probably the reason why Austin Powers, International Man of Mystery had so much luck with the ladies.
So there you have it. Your partner has to be similar to you but mysterious, attractive and ready to commit, willing to fulfil the emptiness in your life with his x-factor, and within your social criteria. No pressure.
Just remember: Love is love. Try not to overthink it. Unless you are falling in love with a prison inmate, and then maybe think at least twice.