Do I believe in love at first sight? You bet! It’s that oh-my-gawd-you’re-so-hot feeling we get when we first lay eyes on someone special.
The process happens in a blink. Research conducted by Ingrid Olson at Pennsylvania University found that subjects rated the beauty of people’s faces in an average of 0.13 seconds.
Such instant allure may have important genetic ramifications. A study of fruit flies appearing in the April 8, 2009, issue of LifeScience showed that female fruit flies are biologically primed to sense which males are most genetically compatible with them and which will enable them to make more eggs after mating. Scientists hypothesized that quickly assessing a mate raises the fruit flies’ chances of successfully reproducing.
It’s not hard to see how that same instant allure applies to Homo sapiens.
But while physical attraction is a key component in the mating-dating process, it’s only one part of the equation. After the initial magnetism comes the work of establishing a relationship. And that requires a completely separate set of characteristics.
For example, good partners are emotionally stable. They demonstrate the same temperament day after day. Of course, they’re human — like everyone, they sometimes wake up on the wrong side of the bed. But they don’t have dramatic mood swings.
They treat their loved ones kindly. They’re respectful at all times, even when things go awry.
Appropriate partners have good character. They’re honest. They never cheat in games or in relationships. They’re upstanding and contributing members in their communities.
They’re also free of substance abuse. People who misuse drugs and alcohol are unpredictable and can’t be trusted.
Good partners have loving relationships with their families, especially with members of the opposite gender. How a man treats his mother and sisters speaks volumes about his future role as a husband. The same goes for a woman and her father.
Finally, potential partners should be functioning at a level commensurate with their age and stage of life. They should be serious about going to school or holding a job. They should be able to pay rent, meet financial obligations and live within their means.
So love at first sight? Go for it! Then do your homework to ensure those initial impressions were correct.
Linda Lewis Griffith is a local marriage and family therapist. For information or to contact her, visit lindalewisgriffith.com.
How to assess potential partners
- Get to know their friends. People’s friends say a lot about their characters. Look for pleasant, high-functioning folks who are free from prison records and DUIs.
- Meet their families. Family members are embodiments of future mates’ DNA and relationship skills. Study them carefully.
- Set high standards. You deserve a good partner. Don’t settle for someone who doesn’t measure up.
- Listen to your instincts. Feeling uneasy about a particular behavior? It may signal an underlying problem. Don’t sweep it under the rug.
- Heed friends’ and family’s input. If they’re concerned, you should be too. They have your best interests at heart.