Do You Fall In Love Too Easily?
Some people fall in love a lot and appear more vulnerable to poor mate choices
Posted Feb 15, 2021
Do you like being in love, or do you prefer falling in love? The answer to this question could explain why you keep tumbling for the wrong person. It could also mean that you suffer from a kind of love dysfunction.
Emophilia, might be that condition and is defined as the tendency to fall in love easily, fast and often.
This may be a new way of thinking about your personality and your particular approach to relationships, but recent research has suggested that it could also be an extremely important factor. Emophilia predicts, for example, the total number of boyfriends or girlfriends in people’s love lives, as much, if not more, than other aspect of personality.
Psychologists have only recently uncovered this new way of thinking about your attitude to love, or a love style, but one particular power of the diagnosis lies in the fact that those who ‘suffer’ from Emophilia tend to form indiscriminate romantic bonds as a result. Emophiliacs feel immediate attraction to potential romantic partners, and as a result, perhaps ignore potential negative consequences.
Psychological research has found scoring higher on Emophilia predicts the number of previous romantic relationships, but is unique, as a measure of your personality, in also predicting the number of times you have been engaged to be married.
Among women, Emophilia predicts younger age of first marriage engagement. High levels of Emophilia are also associated with more pregnancies by different men.
Psychologist Daniel Jones based at University of Nevada Reno, a pioneer in the study of Emophilia, argues this is a uniquely different explanation for why some people end up in a larger number of romantic entanglements.
Some people report a ‘need’ for romantic partners and this is the result of deeper fears of abandonment. This psychological necessity for attachment security is a characteristic of anxious attachment. These therefore are ‘needy’ people and anxious attachment is associated with a lower divorce rate.
In contrast, Emophilia is more of a ‘want’ process as opposed to a ‘need’. Emophiliacs seek rapid romantic connections out of a desire for the novel experience. This is an approach-based concept, it is about the desire to move towards something. Those who are anxious about their attachments and therefore ‘needy’ are more afraid of losing something they already have. This explains their clingy behaviour.
Emophiliacs fall in love with multiple people at once and are comfortable forming quick romantic bonds.
Daniel Jones uses an analogy with sexual promiscuity. Some are more willing to have uncommitted and unrestricted sexual relations. This means a lower threshold needs to be met for such people to have sex with a new partner. By analogy, in the world of emotional bonding and romantic connections (not sex), those scoring high in Emophilia have a lower bar for feeling comfortable and willing to emotionally bond with another person.
Having said that, those who score high in Emophilia also tend to have more unprotected sex, but maybe the pathway by which they end up here is different compared with those who are just after the physical encounter. Maybe Emophiliacs end up having more sex because of their desire for emotional romantic novelty.
The research also suggests that male and female Emophiliacs are different. Emophilia is associated with much higher needy attachment in men than it is in women. Emophilia is also associated with more neuroticism in men, but not in women. One explanation for this is the standard gender-role differences, found from previous research, such that men tend to chase more sexual relationships, whereas women perhaps appear to pursue emotional ones. Therefore, this theory argues that for a man to score high in Emophilia he is bucking the gender norm much more than would be the case in a woman, and something psychological must be driving that, hence perhaps much higher anxiety scores over relationship connection.
Emophilia predicts higher divorce rates in women, but not men, suggesting that falling in love easily may be an important risk factor for marriage breakdown among women, but not men.
Jacqueline Lechuga, a psychologist at The University of Texas at El Paso, with Daniel Jones, has now published a new study which confirms that those who score high in Emophilia may also tend to ignore the red flags that might indicate a partner could be problematic in the future.
The latest study entitled ‘Emophilia and other predictors of attraction to individuals with Dark Triad traits’, found that Emophilia as an aspect of your personality, was the best predictor of attraction to individuals who score high in ‘Dark Triad’ character traits.
Machivellianism refers to a tendency to be manipulative, superficially charming but using people as a means to your ends, pawns in your games. Psychopathy is associated with impulsiveness, erratic behavior, and a tendency to break rules, because psychopaths don’t feel for others. Finally, Narcissism is associated with believing you are too wonderful for your place in life and includes therefore a sense of entitlement, leadership seeking, and grandiosity.
Oddly enough it seems that individuals high in Narcissism, Machiavellianism, and Psychopathy, are not initially unattractive, maybe particularly on a first date, and previous research has found these personality types record more lifetime partners than average. However, their relationships tend to not last as long, as well.
This latest research predicts that whenever a friend of yours starts dating someone who is clearly displaying all the signs they suffer from the Dark Triad in spades, then you can predict your friend is very likely to suffer from Emophilia.
Indeed, this is almost diagnostic.
Dr. Peter Bruggen passed away in 2018. While this post was written by Dr. Raj Persaud, Dr. Bruggen's name is retained biographically as a tribute to his contributions overall.
Emophilia and other predictors of attraction to individuals with Dark Triad traits Jacqueline Lechuga, Daniel N. Jones Personality and Individual Differences. Volume 168, 1 January 2021, 110318
Life outcomes and relationship dispositions: The unique role of Emophilia. Daniel N. Jones. Personality and Individual Differences, 82 (2015), pp. 153-157