Five Reasons Why We Fall in Love

July 30, 2019
Science suggests that the reasons you fall in love are not necessarily what you would expect. Without realizing it, you're attracted to people who have certain traits that you are looking for.

Love will always be a mystery, and that’s part of what makes it so attractive. We still don’t fully understand the reasons why we fall in love with some people and not others.

The 2005 study published in the Journal of Personal and Social Psychology might have some answers to this particular mystery. The study compiled ideas from other studies on the subject. While it certainly doesn’t show the whole picture, it does offer some of the reasons why we fall in love.

The thing we call “chemistry” is, more than anything, an attraction to specific traits. When you meet someone with several of these traits, a selective magnetic force is created that draws you to that person. So why do we fall in love? Here are five different theories.

A couple thinking about why we fall in love.

Reasons Why We Fall in Love

1. Like Attracts Like

Although many people believe the old adage “opposites attract”, studies show this isn’t really true. Similarities attract because romantic love has a set of mutual identification mechanisms. For you to fall in love, you have to feel that the other person reaffirms you in some way or another.

What happens sometimes is that a person can have very defined traits that aren’t so obvious in the other person or are inhibited for some reason. Also, that two people are attracted to each other because the things that bind them are strong enough. Whatever the case, scientists argue that you fall in love with people who are like you.

2. They Remind You of Your Mom or Dad

This popular explanation has actually been supported by scientific research. It’s very easy to fall in love with someone who seems similar to your parents. This might not be obvious to you at first, but if you think more about it you’ll realize it’s true.

The similarity to one of your parents might be physical, such as the way they smile. However, the similarity is most often personality-related. Protectiveness, being controlling or demanding, etc. It’s easy to link those traits with your love for your parents, which is why sparks fly.

3. Good Conversations

Communication is probably the most decisive factor in love. Being with someone you can easily talk to will make you feel good. Everyone wants someone who’s capable of listening without being condescending and communicating what they think and feel.

Research shows that after you have a personal conversation with someone, you feel a certain affinity for that person. If the conversations you have with your partner flow naturally, you’re even more likely to stay with them.

4. Extroversion Makes You Fall in Love

Research also shows that extroverted people “inspire more love” than non-extroverts. This is related to the first point because it seems to be easier for extroverts to communicate and make people feel at ease. In that context, mutual attraction is much more likely.

When someone is open about what they think and feel, it inspires trust, warmth, and closeness. Introverts, however, tend to have a harder time with this kind of communication. That certainly doesn’t mean that they don’t fall in love but it isn’t as easy for them to start a relationship.

A couple holding hands and smiling.

5. Sharing Extreme Experiences

Sharing an extreme experience with someone usually creates a bond between them. Also, if the potential couple discovers things they have in common during the experience, it’s even more likely that they’ll fall in love. Problematic experiences also tend to increase sex drive.

When you go through a difficult time in your life, you become more sociable. You might feel connected with someone because you went skydiving together or because you both lost a loved one. Science shows that these kinds of situations make you especially sensitive to other people – what they do, say, share, etc.

We’ll never fully understand the “logic” of love. However, science offers some clues as to why we fall in love. Do any of these apply to your relationship?

  • Montes, M., & María, J. (2007). Comprensión del enamoramiento. Cauriensia.