Love is inexplicable and mysterious. There’s no definite answer as to why someone falls in love with you—or why you fall head over heels for someone.
Still, psychologists have a better idea than most of us. In their many years of research, they have identified a number of reasons that determine the likelihood of people falling in love.
While some of them might seem rather obvious, others are more surprising. Read on to find out.
Reason #1: You’re very similar.
You’ve definitely heard the old cliché about opposites attracting, but it turns out similarities actually attract better.
A 2007 study found that similarities in partners help them understand each other better and make stronger connections faster. Differences may be interesting, but similarities are bonding.
Reason #2: You connect on 3 generational levels.
The famous psychologist Eric Berne says the most successful couples connect on three different “generational” or ego levels:
- Parent: What you’ve been taught
- Child: What you’ve felt
- Adult: What you’ve learned
Berne’s research shows that the more of these tiers you both align on, the better your compatibility.
Reason #3: You stare into each other’s eyes.
A University of Massachusetts study had participants work together in pairs and stare into each other’s eyes for several minutes. They found that prolonged eye contact may lead to feelings of love and affection, forging a connection between two random people!
Moreover, a different 2014 study found that the way we look at our partner may communicate love versus lust. Specifically, looking at the face communicates feelings of love.
Reason #4: You care about the environment.
Yes, you read that right: caring about the environment might help another person see you as a worthy partner.
A 2016 study found that people who make environmentally friendly purchases were seen by both sexes as more desirable for long-term relationships.
Reason #5: You turn toward instead of turning away.
Psychologist John Gottman has studied intimate relationships for over 40 years. According to him, developing a relationship comes down to what he calls “bids.”
Bids are individual moments of presence and shared social interaction. Every time you interact, you each have the opportunity to forge a stronger connection and develop that love.
What’s your response when your partner tells you about an exciting new book she or he read? Do you turn toward them, asking questions and showing engagement, or do you turn away, literally and metaphorically avoiding them?
Each of these little bids makes the other person love you a little more or less.
Reason #6: You have a dog.
This especially applies to men. In a 2008 study, a 20-year-old man attempted to get the phone numbers of women with and without a dog by his side. As you may have already guessed, having a dog by his side greatly increased his chances of getting that number.
This was confirmed in a 2014 study in which women were shown stories of various men and asked to rate them based on various factors. Men with dogs were seen as more suitable long-term partners and more approachable than their dogless peers.
Which reason did you find the most surprising?