Chapter 10 Learning Objectives
Upon reading this chapter, the student should be able to:
- Recognize that ‘love at first sight’ is generally best considered to be ‘attraction’ at first sight, and may not have the other elements necessary for that attraction to be considered love, because not enough is known about whether the person will satisfy or be good for you.
Watch this video or scan the QR code to learn the science behind love at first site.
There can definitely be attraction such as sexual, romantic, or physical at first sight, even “across a crowded room”. There can be an intellectual attraction at perhaps first hearing or first reading. There can be an emotional attraction developing rapidly in a relationship. And even, before actually meeting someone, you might be attracted to them out of compassion because you see them being browbeaten by another, or out of appreciation because they are treating children in some very tender, beautiful way. In short, the feeling, or a feeling, component of love may arise very quickly in a relationship, or even before the parties have actually met each other if one has observed something about the other.
However, the satisfaction aspects and ethical dimensions (apart from whatever good or enjoyment there is in the good feelings of being attracted to, or passionate about, another or upon, say, seeing them behave well toward others) are still primarily potential rather than actual early in a relationship. Someone you are just meeting cannot yet have been very satisfactory or very good for you, though there may be a great deal of potential for them to be; and for you to be for them. Some couples and some circumstances under which they come together, may start to realize that potential faster than others, but even in the most ideal conditions, “first sight” will be too soon or too brief to bring about or realize very much of that potential.
Love at first sight then seems perhaps better considered to be attraction at first sight. And the attraction may be that of love — the same attraction may remain as the relationship develops and bestows its unfolding benefits and blessings — but that cannot be known right away. For the relationship might not hold or develop sufficient joy to warrant being called love; and the attraction, whether it lingers or fades, will only then have been infatuation at first sight.
Of course, not all attractions, whether of love or otherwise, are at first sight, but any can be. As time passes and the relationship has time to progress, one might become more satisfied and better off because of the relationship. But this could only begin in some limited aspects immediately in the kinds of cases frequently occurring in movies where the couple meets by one person’s rescuing the other from some dangerous situation. Unless one saves another from a boring conversation, such opportunities rarely present themselves at such things as parties.
Of course, if one is lonely and in need of tenderness and understanding, finding a tender, understanding person at a party may be very good and very satisfying, but it still is a somewhat limited, though certainly important (at that time especially) part of a relationship.
- Reinforcement of the idea that attraction or ‘chemistry’ is not the only criteria or element of romantic love and that, as pointed out previously, love can be considered to be ‘justified infatuation’ or, in this case, justified attraction at first sight.
- Love at first sight may be defined as attraction at first sight. The attraction may be that of love — the same attraction may remain as the relationship develops and bestows its unfolding benefits and blessings — but that cannot be known right away. For the relationship might not hold or develop sufficient joy to warrant being called love; and the attraction, whether it lingers or fades, will only then have been infatuation at first sight.
Chapter Review Questions
- Question: Why is love at first sight better considered to be just attraction at first sight?
- Question: Can love at “first sight” be confirmed earlier in some relationships than others? If so, how or why?