Is there anything to the search for instant love behind the reality mating shows on TV? Um, maybe:
- On The Bachelorette (Wednesday, ABC) a reverse of the network’s dating show The Bachelor, attractive young adults profess an ability to fall in love virtually within the time it takes to make toast.
Young lovelies on Joe Millionaire (Monday, Fox) claim they can fall quickly for the stud they believe is a multimillionaire but who is, in fact, a construction worker [this still cracks me up].
Forget for a minute that this is television, where all things can be made to appear real in the editing room. What are the chances for love at first sight in real life?
”It is not unreasonable at all to fall in love fast,” says Rutgers University anthropologist Helen Fisher, who studies romantic attachments. ”It is absolutely possible to walk into a room and talk briefly with maybe four men or women, all dressed the way you like, and find that three are very nice, but the fourth really turns you on.”
Powerful brain chemicals are released, she says, and ”there is a romantic attraction at first sight. It is a basic mating emotion, and it can get triggered at any time.”
Many relationships experts pooh-pooh the concept, but the public doesn’t, author Earl Naumann says.
The researcher and businessman says 20% of the 500 married people he has interviewed fell in love in ”a very short time.” [USA Today]
Or maybe not:
- Howard Markman of the University of Denver’s Center for Marital and Family Studies calls shows that claim couples can fall in love after a few dates ”trash TV.”
Such an early attraction, he says, can provide two of the three parts of the equation that produces love, Markman says. The person might fit your image of a soul mate and also initiate a biochemical ”love rush.”
But the most important ingredient is missing, says the co-author of Fighting for Your Marriage. ”You cannot determine if you will be happy together over time or if you will develop a sense of intimacy and friendship that predicts the future of a relationship.”
Psychologist Paul Pearsall says, ”If you think you have fallen instantly in love, sit down for six months and it will pass.”
The research data, says the author of The Ten Laws of Lasting Love, are clear: ”You can fall in lust with somebody. But it takes a lot of time to develop a truly loving bond.”
I vote for the “love rush” theory: what you immediately feel may be real and all, but it is fleeting unless extensive interpersonal scaffolding can be built – otherwise the edifice, no matter how appealing, will collapse.