Is falling in love inevitable?

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Imagine there is a Dating Goddess. (I actually think there might be.) She tells you she’s found you the perfect partner. You haven’t met each other yet, but the Dating Goddess knows you both completely and knows what you really need, what you can’t compromise on, and what is going to irritate the hell out of you in a relationship.

We’re not so good at knowing what we really need in the long-term. We don’t even follow our own stated preferences and priorities when we’re actually dating.*

But the Dating Goddess knows. So you meet each other. My question is: would it be inevitable that you’d fall in love with each other?

Obviously people who are not ready for a relationship won’t. Maybe they’re just out of another relationship, emotionally unavailable, suffering from debilitating mental health problems, or just too busy. But let’s say both people are psychologically and practically ready for a relationship. Would they HAVE to fall in love?

Your answer could depend on your conception of love. Do you think of it as something you have control over, something you choose to allow, something completely determined by your biology, neurology or psychology? Or is it irrational, serendipitous, capricious? How sensitive is the process to events and other outside influences?

The Dating Goddess Dilemma could be something interesting to discuss on dates. It’ll bring out all sorts of assumptions, ways of looking at the world, and insights into your date’s previous romantic experiences. And each other’s hang-ups.

And if you’re already in a relationship, it could be a great topic for a date night. (You are doing those, right?) How you see love could also affect how you deal with future problems in your relationship, as it has implications for whether you think love is something working at or not. Just try not to let your Dating Goddess debate lead to an argument ….

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  • Eastwick, P. W., & Finkel, E. J. (2008). Sex differences in mate preferences revisited: do people know what they initially desire in a romantic partner? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 94(2), 245.

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