They say love is blind — but eye beg to differ.
Meeting the flirtatious gaze of a potential paramour from across a crowded room isn’t just the cliché stuff of fairytales and rom-coms.
In fact, becoming madly, hopelessly and endlessly swept up in a whirlwind romance can happen in the literal blink of an eye, according to a body language expert who often sees lifelong lovebirds flying into forever after one magical glance.
“Love at first sight happens when a hugely complex, computer-like process occurs in a matter of seconds, coming up with the emotional equivalent of a jackpot,” Judi James, a physical communication savant from the UK, told South West News Service just ahead of Valentine’s Day, likening coming into cornea-to-cornea contact with your forever person to hitting it big in Las Vegas.
“Instant love is usually based on thousands of memories that accrue in our lives,” the Londoner continued. “All the ‘ideal’ personality traits, visual stimulus, and role models that we’ve got stored away will suddenly seem to be encompassed in this one person we’re looking at.”
And she’s not just pulling the wool over our eyes.
A January 2023 report via the Cleveland Clinic noted that love at first sight is a legitimate psychological phenomenon in which a person’s “feel good” hormones — such as dopamine and oxytocin — surge through the body, signaling to the brain that it’s found “the one.”
James’ sentiments were also echoed in a recent survey of over 2,000 adults, led by optometry specialists at Specsavers who determined that 59% of “love at first sight” couples are still together. Per the findings, of that number, 19% of those relationships have lasted for more than 40 years.
And there’s apparently no one-size-fits-all sensation when Cupid aims for and strikes the pupils.
Research commissioned by OnePoll discovered that 47% of “love at first sight” pairs reported feeling an overwhelming attraction upon catching an initial glimpse at the apples of their eyes.
An eye-popping 36% recalled not being able to look away after getting an arousing eyeful. A swarm of internal butterflies immediately overcame a little more than 35% of the passionate peepers upon first look, while 31% remembered feeling an immediate sense of comfort and ease.
Angelica Malin, 31, and husband Josh, 35, quickly locked in after initially laying eyes on one another at a bar in NYC’s Chinatown. Krystina Burton, 35, and hubby Gabriel, who tied the note in July 2022, also saw into a fab future while sitting next to each other on an airplane leaving out of JFK airport.
And James, who’s notably decoded the demonstrations of amour between the A-lister likes of Taylor Swift and Super Bowl-winning sweetie and Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, says that once the heart sets its sights on someone, the rest of the body can’t help but to follow suit.
“We fall in love because our eyes speak to each other in a complex way that we often don’t even understand ourselves,” she explained.
The blond identified great eye contact, an increased blink rate, signs of coyness like blushing or giggling, and a “peek-a-boo behavior” — the impulse to keep looking back at a hunk or honey you spotted in passing — as top indicators of a lovey-dovey connection.
She added that physiological responses, such as taking deep and shallow breaths or uncontrollable mouth dryness, are, dead giveaways of a fool’s rush, too.
“If your eyes meet and then everything else seems to signal compatibility, we really can experience love at first sight,” said James.
Here are the pro’s six signs of love at first sight.
If you’re at a party or bar with friends and you spot someone mirroring your pace and style of movement as you are chatting, this is a sign that they are falling in love at first sight.
This might not be obvious peacocking behavior like chest-puffing or splaying, but some subtle, lingering touches to their hair, neck or shoulders could also be an indicator of their interest in you.
The eye flick
The best flirtation signals are when they’re listening to you talk. Eye contact when you are talking, paired with their eyes flicking down to your lips and back to your eyes, is another indicator of their interest in you — and could even be a cue for a kiss.
If they are engaged through eye contact for several minutes, then suddenly sit back and start looking around the room, they might be trying to regain your attention. This cat-and-mouse flirt ritual could be a sign that they are interested in you.
The cat smile
Cats smile with their eyes — and so can you. If someone is allowing their eyes to narrow and crinkle slightly in an eye smile, this softened expression registers flattering approval and attraction; it might be a sign that they are attracted to you and maybe falling in love at first sight.
The eye drag
When you are looking at them and they begin responding with eye contact, if they are dropping their eyes and chin downward for a second or two, and then bringing them up while reinstating the eye contact and smiling softly, this is a strong indicator of their interest — and maybe something even deeper.