(According to psychologists, that is.)
Love often finds us at the most unexpected of times, but what exactly is it that makes us fall in love? While it could be good ol' fate or the right time, right place, a new study indicates that there's actually a number of things that come into play when finding ‘the one.'
According to a presentation by Elizabeth Phillips, a Ph.D. student at the University of Central Florida, psychologists have identified ten factors that draw people together. Interestingly, the process involved in falling in love is a little more complex than you would have thought. This is how it apparently works:
They say opposites attract, but surprisingly (or not so surprisingly) we're more likely to end up with someone similar to ourselves because they're more inclined to like us back. Oh, the irony!
2. Reciprocated feelings
Obviously, you're not going to end up in a committed relationship with someone who doesn't feel the same way as you — that's not to say that you can't still fall in love them. However, science says that feeling wanted by another can be enough to tip the scale between friends and lovers.
Desirable characteristics in a partner differs greatly for everyone. For some, personality ticks all the boxes, while for others, appearance is the most valued thing. Regardless, Phillips says that we all have aspects of personality or physical attractiveness that gets our heart fluttering.
So, lady, if you don't find anything about your date attractive, including their killer 8-pack, chances are you're not going to find love with them. But you already knew that, didn't you?
4. Social influences
According to Phillips, social influences are what we establish as being acceptable. This includes age, background and culture. So if you're 25 and aren't attracted to older men, it's unlikely that you're going to be open to finding love with someone who's 45.
5. Danger factor
If you're looking to find love, go bungee jumping or sky diving. Seriously, there's no puns intended here. Apparently being in an adrenalin-induced situation with another person is a bonding experience that's associated with falling in love.
Whether it's a cuddle or an ego boost, the people that we fall in love with generally meet some type of need in our life. This doesn't necessarily happen consciously, either. Apparently on some sub-conscious level we look for a lover who's capable of patching up a hole in our life. Depressing much?
Just like the TV show implies, falling in love means finding someone that has the X-factor — someone with that special something that makes you go wowsers. Similar to attraction, it could be a wicked sense of humour, a gorgeous grin, or a kind, loving heart.
8. Relationship readiness
This one doesn't seem to apply to women as much as it does men, because generally speaking, even when a woman says she's not ready for a relationship, she'll find a way to work one in if the right opportunity presents itself. According to Phillips, however, someone has to be psychologically at a point where they would welcome a relationship.
9. Alone time
Basically, if you don't spend some quality alone time with someone then you're doomed to remain in the friendship zone. Exclusiveness is essential for falling in love, because one-on-one time gives you the opportunity to properly get to know someone.
Isn't it bizarre that the people that we can't quite figure out are the ones that we're attracted to the most? Thankfully, science now proves that we're not crazy for doing so... well, sort of. According to Phillips, this factor explains why some women fall in love with inmates. It's all in the intrigue, baby!
This article was originally published at She Said. Reprinted with permission from the author.