Difference between Love and Romantic Love

I have never dated a girl that I did not find physically attractive. I do agree with the popular statement that looks are not everything; however, I believe that looks are the first thing. I know that physical attraction is not the most important factor because I have found very attractive girls that I wouldn’t spend five minutes talking to.  Which begs the question, is there true love at first sight? I say no; there is so much more to true love than what can be realized at first sight. True love depends on more than just your sense of sight; in some ways you could say it incorporates all of the senses.

Romantic love is when two people begin the process of getting to know one another. First sight is important at this step because it is very impersonal. Walking down the street or through a store I see women that I find attractive. The feelings I have do not involve them at all, but if the feeling is strong enough in me and all the factors are in place – one would be that I’m looking for a date – then I might try to advance to the next stage. It’s the attraction phase that we go through that typically enables us to start the process of developing true love with someone. Studies by Helen Fisher, a member of Rutgers University’s research faculty, have shown that initial attraction and the ensuing “falling in love” involve body chemicals adrenaline, dopamine and serotonin. The increase of these chemicals in our bodies give us a high, similar to the high obtained through drug usage. Without this biological response, we might not be able to see past the shortcomings and frailties of another to invest the time to develop a real love relationship with them.

Attraction makes me want to spend as much time as I possibly can with the one I’m attracted to. I want to learn all I can about her and tell her everything (good) about myself. As I develop a deeper connection with her I become more forgiving and have a greater desire to do good things. As a result of these feelings I do more for her, bringing us still closer together. There is a point when attraction isn’t enough to keep two people together in a healthy relationship, if the deeper connection hasn’t begun to establish itself at this point, the relationship will suffer. This isn’t to say that attraction is not part of real love, but I think that it switches tracks as the move is made from romantic, or superficial, love into real love.  Attraction remains an important factor, just as biology and chemicals remain important, in long term love. The stress response chemicals listed earlier give way to the hormone oxytocin, which is attributed with deeper connection between human beings. Attraction remains as the frame for which the concrete will be poured when setting a stable foundation for love.

As with any influx of chemical into the brain, it is difficult to think clearly and realistically when you are “high” on love, or, in love. Knowing that your body is running a natural biological course that might cloud your thinking (with rose petals falling from the sky) is a good step towards building a healthy relationship. All of our relationships revolve around choices: who we choose to be friends with, who we choose to date, who we choose to marry, how we choose to treat those people. With all decisions to be made in life, an informed decision based on experience, while studying the facts, leads to a happier outcome. Knowing that attraction is the first step down a long path towards relationship happiness is the key to a union that benefits both participants.