Why can’t we decide or predict who we fall in love with?

For thousands of years, poets and musicians, lovers and muses, psychics and spiritualists have tried to unravel the mystery of love. No one has ever succeeded. Psychologists have done countless studies on the subject: hundreds of personality tests have been filled out with people who have taken part in research, and then matched them to see who they are best suited to. Only when they did match them, in reality, that particular spark didn’t even ignite among those who were predictable on paper.

Unconscious attractions
People usually have a picture of their “ideal” partner in their head. If you look at women, it’s almost certain that qualities such as reliability, loyalty, kindness, caring tendencies are at the top of their list of things to look for in a husband.

Psychological research has shown that when it comes down to it, women – and men too, but at least they are more open about it – are almost always driven by one thing: an attractive appearance.

It’s an unwritten, unbreakable code in us. If you’re not physically attracted to someone, you won’t get a spark no matter how hard you try. It’s much stronger in men, by the way, and a little more variable in women. For example, young women, who are most likely to have children, are attracted to men who are particularly handsome, symmetrical-faced, tall and well-built. Later on, however, their ovulation also influences attraction: during follicular rupture, the most fertile period, women see their own partner as the most attractive, but at other times their attention often wanders to other attractive men. Of course, in (hopefully most) of the cases it is only in thought.

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If he wants us
Research has also shown some very interesting results about our ability to fall in love with men who have one or more qualities that are taboo for us. In one survey, participants were asked to draw up a list of factors that they would most definitely not tolerate in a prospective partner – for example, smoking, different religious beliefs, different thoughts on monogamy, etc. Participants were then asked in turn who they were interested in based on their photos, but it was added that at least one of these qualities was “taboo”.

The result: 74 (!) percent of the women and men who made the lists were willing to date a partner who had one or more “unacceptable” characteristics, but only just showed interest in them.

And in many cases the dates turned into love. According to psychologists, we also often date someone who really wants us, and we don’t want to hurt their feelings, and our vanity is also being fanned. And eventually we fall in love.

The spark
In another very interesting study, psychologists created some online mock profiles where they “drew” people with seemingly ideal parameters. Then, they matched the volunteers in the experiment with the people in the profiles, who were tasked with behaving in the most unremarkable way possible and conversing about average topics. So the hopeful daters found that, although their profile made them seem like the perfect partner, in real life – boring. And the spark never came. But when they were randomly matched with potential partners who were already “interesting”, they were much more likely to fall in love.

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The spark, therefore, is far less about perfect personality traits than about personal charm. This is one of the drawbacks of online dating sites, according to experts.

After so much research and experimentation, the conclusion is that love is unexpected and unpredictable. It is influenced by countless subconscious factors, and even if we have an ideal in our head, even if we have a list of the “one”, if someone comes along who is far from perfect and is absolutely not what we expected, but for some reason grabs us, there is nothing we can do: we fall in love. Love, it seems, really is blind.