Love at First Sight? Maybe in Hindsight

5 warning signs a relationship won't thrive.

Posted Apr 05, 2018

LightField Studios/Shutterstock
Source: LightField Studios/Shutterstock

What are you looking for when you seek love at first sight?

The more we try to force something to happen—especially romantic relationships—it seems the more likely we are doomed to fail. In general, it is pretty difficult to make someone like you when they don’t, and it can be pretty exhausting to try to be someone you’re not for fear of losing someone who doesn’t value who you truly are.

While most of us want to believe that there is “the one” out there somewhere for us, the truth is that “the one” is not always going to be as clearly identifiable as we might want them to be.

While it only takes moments to decide if someone is or is not sexually attractive, it takes significantly more time to determine if someone is a long-term partner possibility or not. Sexual attraction fades over time—even when you believed that the sexual connection was so powerful that it transcends time and space—and so finding someone who is compatible in both the bedroom and at the kitchen table should be the real goal.

Instant Sexual Attraction Does Not Equal Long-Term Bliss

There are few better feelings than the excitement of crushing hard on someone who is crushing right back on you. Being in the early, blissful stages of a new relationship is one of the absolute best feelings in the world: It’s like having endorphins, dopamine, and oxytocin all crashing through your system, and you feel like you’re on top of the world and at the top of your game. It’s totally intoxicating.

However, this feeling never lasts as long as we might first imagine it will. It’s too exhausting, for one thing, to stay in a constant state of high emotional and physical arousal. And, unfortunately, the saying that “love is blind” is accurate, although infatuation is probably a more accurate term for the early stage of a relationship. We tend to have some big blind spots when we're in the throes of high sexual attraction to a new person. We see what we want to see, and not necessarily the person who is standing right in front of us.

Red Flags of a Doomed Relationship

Although it’s almost impossible to do so during the height of an infatuation, a person should try to remember to check herself or himself before ending up too deep in a lose-lose relationship—either financially or emotionally.

Here are some questions to ask yourself if you feel like you might be falling too hard too fast:

  1. Ask yourself if you would respect this person and enjoy his or her company even if the sexual passion was absent. If not, this relationship is likely based on qualities that won’t be worth the long-term investment as well as being based on expectations that are not likely to be met over the long haul, either. If there is no mutual respect, there will never be a healthy relationship.
  2. Ask yourself if this person values in life the same things you do. Do they believe in the value of an honest day’s work? The need to be environmentally conscious and leave the world a better place than it was when you entered? The value of doing a good deed or putting yourself before others, whichever reflects how you feel about life? If a potential long-term mate doesn’t value the things that you value, the relationship is going to either be a continual struggle for dominance or come to a quick end.
  3. Ask yourself if this person has any “long-term goals,” and assuming he or she does, do those long-term goals make sense to you? If his long-term objectives, whether materialistic, altruistic, or idiosyncratic, are ideals or ideas that you just cannot support, then this person might not be “the one” for you.
  4. Ask yourself if you're okay with your partner's choices about how he or she enjoys spending leisure time. Whether this is time for reading, conversation, socializing, Netflixing, online gaming, gourmet meal prep, whatever—if their priorities don’t allow space for you to pursue your own favorite pastimes, you might want to re-consider the longevity potential of the relationship. Also, ask yourself if you feel good about his choices or are you already of thinking of ways that you’d need to “cover” for his behavior? If you’re not totally okay with his personal hobbies (whether it’s hanging with good friends watching sports; engaging in activities that might land him on the wrong side of the law; gambling; or just cleaning up parks and roadways because it’s the “right thing to do”), chances are that once the passion fades, your respect for him will fade, as well.
  5. Last, but not least, ask yourself if you're okay with how this person treats others—friends, family members, strangers, colleagues, and everyone else. If this person does not show respect to others or treats people she's known for years (or depends on for assistance) with disrespect, this is a good indicator of how you may be treated in the future once the "newness" of the relationship has worn off. Without kindness and respect between partners, the relationship deteriorates quickly and the rewards disappear, as well.

Love at First Sight Is a “Future Memory"

Research shows that we “recall” falling in love at first sight of our long-term partner, even though it might not have actually happened quite like that. What changes is that we reminisce about our meeting with a significant other, and the stronger we feel about our partners today, the stronger the feeling of “instant knowing” that we might claim.

Actually, it’s more than okay to be a little sentimental and to do some “sloppy remembering” when it comes to the first moment you met your (now) significant other. Research shows that those of us who can call up a “love at first sight” first meeting are actually more likely to enjoy a healthy, long-lasting relationship with our partner.