A new study by psychologist Richard Wiseman said that behaving as if you find someone attractive increases your susceptibility to their charms, and increases the likelihood of you falling in love with them.
His study suggests that behavior can lead to emotions just as much as emotions can lead to behavior.
Separate research suggests those in arranged marriages – or who have had their partner chosen for them by a parent or matchmaker – tend to feel more in love as time grows, whereas those in regular marriages feel less in love over time.
To test the theory of behavior affecting emotions, Professor Wiseman held a speed-dating night, where some of the prospective partners were asked to act as though they were already in love with each other.
When questioned at the end on their feelings, 45 per cent of those who had ‘acted in love’ wanted to see each other again – more than double the average rate of 20 per cent.
‘The assumption was that the emotion leads to the action or behaviour, but this shows it can happen the other way round.
‘Behaving like you are in love can lead to actually falling in love. People are always going about positive thinking when this suggest positive action is just as valid.
In separate research, Harvard’s Dr Robert Epstein has studied the subject of arranged marriages for eight years, looking at the approaches taken in cultural groups including Indian, Pakistani and Orthodox Jewish.
He has interviewed more than 100 couples in arranged marriages to assess their strength of feeling and studied his findings against more than 30 years of research into love in Western and arranged marriages.
His work suggests that feelings of love in love matches begin to fade by as much as a half in 18 months, whereas the love in the arranged marriages tends to grow gradually, surpassing the love in the unarranged marriages at about the five-year mark.
The connection felt by those in arranged marriages is said to be around twice as strong. Relationship experts claim this is because arranged matches are carefully considered, with thought going into whether potential partners’ families, interests and life goals are compatible.
This means they are more likely to commit for life – and to stick together through rocky patches.
Those who marry for love, on the other hand, tend to be blinded by passion and so overlook these crucial details.
He said: ‘The idea is we must not leave our love lives to chance. We plan our education, our careers and our finances but we’re still uncomfortable with the idea that we should plan our love lives. I do not advocate arranged marriages but I think a lot can be learned from them.
No matter how pragmatic you are in choosing a partner, it sure helps if there is chemistry between two people.
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