How many of you believe in love at first sight? If you answered ‘yes,’ you may want to think about that again. Here is the truth about true love.
I used to believe that I would be walking through a mall or into a bar and lock eyes with a complete stranger who would then saunter by me in all his tall, dark and handsome glory and we would immediately form a connection and fall in love within minutes.
Well, as you can probably imagine, my love life hasn’t exactly panned out like that. Not all of us are as lucky as a Disney princess and true love is a lot more complicated than your typical fairy tale love story.
In fact, my current boyfriend has a theory (or rather, a very firm belief) that true love doesn’t exist at all; that we don’t fall in love with someone at all, but rather, we choose who we love.
I was taken by surprise after hearing this and had to do some digging of my own to determine if his theory had any truth to it because, let’s face it, I really don’t like when he’s right. Here’s what I uncovered about the mystery of true love.
Love is a human instinct
Much to my boyfriend’s annoyance, I surprised him with the knowledge that love is an emotion that is instinctual to humans. We seek out love at every turn in order to preserve our DNA and ensure the survival of our species.
Now, that may sound like some kind of mumbo-jumbo, but think about it. From a young age, we fantasize about finding ‘The One.’ We spend a large portion of our lives dating and seeking out potential life partners, but why?
Our DNA says we need to
Scientists have discovered that our DNA is encoded to fall in love in order to reproduce. This is done through pheromones and other biochemical processes in our brains. Basically, our mind doesn’t choose who we fall in love with—our body chemistry does.
The pheromones I’m talking about are all of the smells that someone else has that you can’t consciously detect, but your body’s chemistry can and it affects how you feel around someone.
Basically, we smell someone else’s pheromones and our body does some fun chemical reactions to determine if their DNA would mesh well with ours in order to produce healthy and successful offspring that would lead to the continued survival of our species. Crazy how our bodies have the ability to do that, isn’t it?
So, is choice a factor at all then?
The truth is that there is an awful lot of choice that comes into play when we talk about love. Sure, your body’s chemistry may choose whom you fall in love with, but you consciously choose to be faithful, honest and loving towards that person for the entirety of your relationship.
Within the past year, there has been circulation of an article of a man who voiced his regrets about his marriage. The article basically says that you may be in love with someone, but you also have to choose to love them every day or you should just leave them altogether.
So, even if you are in love with someone, you also choose to show that love and that’s where choice becomes a factor with love. This may be what my boyfriend was referring to when he said that love is a choice.
Non-scientific reasons I believe that love is not a choice
While there may be an awful lot of scientific evidence that backs up the notion that you can’t choose who you love, I also have a few non-scientific, real life examples that solidify this.
1. We all have fallen in love with someone terrible for us
I know you have a best friend somewhere rolling their eyes at the thought of your ex who you claimed to be completely in love with but whom was actually awful for you, and you just didn’t know it.
This is because you didn’t choose to love them. If love was truly all choice, you wouldn’t choose to love someone who treated you like last week’s garbage. You can’t help loving someone who hurt you.
2. We have loved more than one person in our lives
True love states that we only have one true love—one soul mate. Well, then, how do you explain having been in love with several different people? According to our DNA, there are many potential mates who would be suitable for continuing our genetic line. If you chose who to love, you wouldn’t love so many different people in your life.
3. We have all fallen for someone who’s not our ‘type’ and doesn’t make sense for us
By not our ‘type,’ I mean someone who is so outrageously different from anyone we’ve ever been with before that our friends start voicing their concerns about our mental health. If love was truly a choice, you would choose someone whose characteristics and lifestyles made sense with yours.
Although I can firmly tell my boyfriend that I am right (man, I love that) about love not being a choice, there are certain points that also mean he’s right. But, after all this, maybe the truth is that true love isn’t just a feeling.