What is it exactly that makes us fall in love? Love, lust, intimacy, matchmaking, it’s all a big mystery. But science may be able to make it a little easier to search for your soul mate. Here are eight things science says you need to do in your quest for love.
1. Manipulate the environment
Director of Sexual Health Australia, sex therapist and relationship counsellor Desiree Spierings says in a social experiment experts try to manipulate the environment or context of the situation in order to see if they can generate attraction or passionate love.
“For example, research has indicated that if we share intimate details with one another it can potentially help with feeling more attracted to a person and falling in love with them,” she tells SBS.
If you manipulate your environment to be more intimate it may assist you to become more attracted to another person.
2. Do something scary together
Spierings says that research also shows us that doing something slightly scary with someone can cause a feeling of attraction toward that individual.
“This is due to a misattribution of physiological arousal (the fear response), since similar hormones increase when we are scared compared to when we are highly attracted to someone,” she says.
3. Ask intimate questions
You need to move beyond small talk about the weather and ask questions that allow you to get to know the other person on a deeper, more intimate level.
“We connect to others by learning about them and everyone has something interesting to share,” Spierings says.
4. Show vulnerability
Answering intimate questions can show a more vulnerable side. Spierings explains that when you share intimate thoughts with someone, and that person validates what you are thinking – or simply shows they’re interested in you by listening - it creates a loving feeling.
“We feel like we matter. It helps us bond and feel connected,” she says. But it's important that both parties are sharing. “It shouldn’t be one person talking and the other listening. Then it becomes very one-sided."
5. You need to understand yourself first
Sometimes you may need to see a therapist so you can gain a greater sense of self, which can ultimately help you understand what you need and what you want. Spierings says that in turn, this means you will know what you want and need in a partner.
6. Know when you’re actually ready for a relationship
You need to work through negative experiences from the past so you can be more ready to enter into a relationship and share your life with someone else. Therapeutic processes can help with this.
“It can help construct your life better (better work/life balance) and it can make you manage your depression or anxiety more effectively,” Spierings
If you have a better understanding about your past choices and decisions, it can help you make the right choices in the future.
7. Know there is no consistent model for love and relationships
We must understand and always remember that there is no consistent model for how and why people fall in love. We also have to realise that even when we find our ultimate match, research indicates that we need to continue to work on the relationship in order to stay in love and keep the relationship working.
According to Spierings, “it’s not falling in love that is the hard part, it is staying in love. The same as a garden, you need to keep giving beautiful flowers water and care for them to continue to blossom."
Would you let a social experiment find your ultimate match? Psychological research suggests that attraction can be accelerated by answering increasingly intimate questions within a tight 30 minute time-frame.
SBS is launching a matchmaking experiment in which you will be paired with a potential partner. Is it your time to fall in love? Apply to be on the show here, entries close at midnight on May 31.