Is there a science to love?

HPLSJCS_62414I recently had the honor of participating on HuffPost Live’s segment “How We Can Understand Love Through Science” with Dr. Sue Johnson. Dr. Johnson’s book, Love Sense, is a result of her groundbreaking research on our emotional bonds and attachment styles. Love Sense “presents new scientific evidence that tells us that humansΒ areΒ meant to mate for life. Dr. Johnson explains that romantic love is an attachment bond, just like that between mother and child, and shows us how to develop our “love sense”–our ability to develop long-lasting relationships. Love is not the least bit illogical or random, but actually an ordered and wise recipe for survival.” -Little, Brown and Company

Dr. Johnson says that she wrote this book as both a guide and a warning. Tune in to hear about herΒ views on sex, dating, love, and the impact social media plays on our relationships. She’s concerned about our relationships in the age of technology because “it is making people lonelier and more isolated”. I asked her what her thoughts were on online dating and why single women are having difficulty finding sincere men. I see it as a function of online dating. We treat online dating like we do our social media streams and select only the images that stand out to us. Is it related to a faulty attachment style? Tune in to hear Dr. Johnson’s take.

What do you think? Are we selecting people based on superficial qualities and discounting other factors? Do you think online dating makes it easier to run game? What frustrates you the most about online dating?


96 thoughts on “Is there a science to love?

          1. No, not romanticism, but the ability to get dates. I don’t want to be a dating machine…as I’ve said before, all I want is one. But no…I can’t even get that!

            1. Just stay focussed and positive and u’ll definitely find someone.
              U know if u think think negative then negative will happen to u and if u think positive then positive will happen to u. Once u find someone then romance will come to u naturally its not.
              Am I right Habibi (Clarissa)?????

              1. Ensan, My problem has been staying positive. Women tend to look at a guy based on height (6ft & up). It’s almost as if you’re under 6ft, you’re not a man! Now, I’m not saying men are any better with women’s weight…but usually, weight CAN be lost…whereas height CANNOT be gained! I’m 5’5, roughly, Women, for some primordial reason, equate height with strength, when the REAL truth is, the shorter you are, the stronger for your size that you are. I’ve seen guys shorter than 6ft REPEATEDLY outlift guys 6’1 or taller! I’m not saying what I lift, but I do see it on a regular basis. Now, I know physical strength isn’t all there is to it, BUT it’s usually one of the FIRST things a female notices.

                1. Stay confident. I’m short and am dating a man barely taller than I am – I’m so happy with him and his height/size is perfect for me. He’s never acted like his height bothers him even if he’s shorter than average; he’s confident and not cocky. Women are attracted to guys who feel secure in their skin, not just the tall ones πŸ™‚

                  1. Thanks so much for your reassuring and kind words to Kerry! You are so right we do like confidence. That has to be the hands down sexiest thing.

                    So happy to hear about your fabulous relationship! You
                    both sound great together!

                1. Two thoughts here:
                  1. I think a lot of men suffer from the issue of being unsure how to ask a woman out. In turn, a lot of women feel rejected because men never ask us out. It sucks feeling like no one has any interest in you. I know that feeling all two well.
                  2. Although I am guilty of expecting men to do the asking, women should be asking as well.

                  I hope you don’t give up entirely Kerrycorley. Dating sucks, it’s heartbreaking and exhausting…but when it works, then it’s worth it. {FYI: I’m also in a dating slump and feel like I’ve mostly given up as well}

                2. You wanna learn howta lift weights? start lifting weights. You do great at it. Even when you felt like quitting. You kept goim bro
                  You wanna learn howta love? Start loving and come to some internal realities about yourself. Oh, quit when its tough? Well we kno how that’ll end. I believe in you as much as you believe in you. Its up to you tho

  1. What frustrated me when I dabbled in online dating (back in the day) was just how much fluff people put on the profile and don’t get me started on the profile pics!! Either the pic was 10 yrs old….or a total photo shop was done or even worse the half nude pic of the guy taking a pic of himself in the bathroom showing off his abs and “happy trail”….urgh….
    *keep it real* because sooner or later the truth will come out.

    1. Jolene, I can’t agree with you more! The problem is that yes you can put up all kinds of images, but what do you when you meet in real life? Admit that you have insecurities about how you look? Admit that you thought it’s ok to be self-deceptive to hook someone?

        1. You are right-ego always gets in the way!

          Funny thing is that they know what is appropriate or not. Rule of thumb on what not to do: 1) if you don’t want you wife finding out, don’t do it and 2) is this information you are sharing first date material? Simple! πŸ™‚

          1. Absolutely agreed with u Jolene.
            Well you are what you are just be urself and natural.
            But that’s not the case always. U r right Habibi (Clarissa) And u know its not just boys girls also sometimes do the same.

    2. Ma’am, vid chat reveals all. MAke that a new standard. Its coo that he has an online profile but do a vid chat. In a good litted area. He cant hide anything and its a pre show to his looks. His enviroment. Etc. U seem like a bright, Beautiful woman who can see past bs.

  2. Based on my personal experience with online dating services, way too much emphasis is placed on the superficial, by myself and by others who are / were searching for “the one”.

    When I stopped looking for the right physical and seemingly intellectual qualities (expectations) and just opened myself to other “possibilities”, things changed immediately.

    I can say that the person I met and am currently with 1 1/2 years later is not someone I would have EXPECTED. He is younger, he is in a field of work I wouldn’t have initially been attracted to and he didn’t posses ALL of the physical traits. But after the first few dates, we immediately realized our expectations almost caused us to not find each other. We almost missed out on what for both of us is the most meaningful, beautiful, magical and truly perfect relationship.

    So, use that how you may. You know me though, I believe somehow someway we would have found another way to collide, because as you know, I believe everything that is meant to be will be.

    XO beautiful. Sorry for the long response. I just want your readers to know there are a lot of “missed” opportunites happening because someone doesn’t meet the expected criteria. ❀️

    1. No need to paologize about the length Sherri! I look forward to reading your insights as they always are inspirational!

      As is the case now πŸ™‚ I agree too many of us are looking for a small list of characteristics and if they aren’t present, the person gets dismissed.

      I recently had this conversation with a few friends who didn’t want to waiver form their superficial requirements. I can’t say I’m surprised. But, just as you said, if they possess other qualities, you would miss out on that experience.

      I too believe that meeting people is purposeful and designed to change us in some way. So many people are treating people like they are commodities and wondering why they fail at finding the “one”.

      It’s a complicated process and I wish there was a single formula that would work, but there isn’t πŸ™

      Thank you once again for inspiring us and giving us hope πŸ™‚ xoxoxo

  3. The nature of online dating has pros and cons. The main pro is that it gives you ready and easier access to single people in your area. That is also its biggest drawback in that you have to be shrewd in searching through the chaff to get to the wheat. Unfortunately, some women I feel conflate “wheat” with “hottest” – as indicated by The Other Side of Ugly and some of our previous discussions: one woman who said she thought my profile was great, but wasn’t interested because I was only 1″ taller than her. I had also seen profiles that were just a list of 25 or more requirements that no man could ever possibly hope to live up to. She was living in a fantasy land, no doubt.

    So while online dating gives you ready access to available singles, there is a very real danger that you can become your own worst enemy in the search if you start to get an over-inflated sense of your own desirability and excuse your shallowness as “I won’t settle”… and this is coming from someone (i.e. me) who had a fantastic journey, went on some amazing dates and is now in very rewarding and happy relationship.

    So it works… but you must keep your feet firmly on the ground and be realistic πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks so much CUCH! As usual your insights are spot on and have no argument πŸ™‚ I am shocked that you don’t have my writing all diced up πŸ™‚

      I agree with you that we shouldn’t be so rigid in our requirements. Part of the fun of online dating is experimenting and that means with people you wouldn’t normally have access to. Online dating is the perfect place to create your own room with only the people you’d like to explore with.

      1. No need to dice up what I don’t disagree with!

        Let me please reiterate that there is nothing wrong with having standards – we should all have them to understand what we do and don’t want – but the danger (to ourselves mostly) is when we cling to impossible ideals and excuse our shallowness as having standards.

        I usually find that those with the impossible standards are usually the ones who complain most about the lack of quality available to them. So yes, as you said, be flexible!

        1. Oh totally! I see it more as people truly not knowing what they want. At the core of it, though, they are not really ready for a relationship. They are using these excuses to find themselves years later in the same predicament. Single.

          I think the other reality is that women usually play a passive role in flirting. In public they will be approached by men that they may not be attracted to and use that as a barometer for the quality of guys out there. Same thing online. Women are being rejected by the one’s they want and will reach the same conclusion.

  4. This was very interesting. I do think I’m going to buy her book and give it a read. It goes against everything I’ve been told in undergrad psych classes, grad psych classes, and post grad. I’ve known love is all about attachment styles but maybe accepting that fact and learning to adapt to it rather than fighting it is key. However, the talk never explained why the ratio of D-bag men compared to decent and honest men is so much higher when it comes to online dating.

    btw…loved seeing you on video! So FAB πŸ™‚

    1. Yeah, I think she still uses classical theory (attachment, psychodynamic, etc) to explain love. But I love that she says love isn’t random! That is so accurate! Yeah, I want to get a copy too!

      I am going to conduct an experiment to look into that ratio! I want to transform that entirely with my startup.

      Thanks so much for the kind words. Oh I thought I looked like an idiot! So, of course, what happens when I think I look like an idiot? This happens:

  5. Its really just mass communication and digital connectivity, that has led us to the social disconnect. Even though we all appear to be connected, we are actually disconnected from everything, including socialization.

  6. What an amazing Article Habibi.
    and u know it all my situation and my strong believe in online dating and relationships πŸ™‚
    Mucho Gracias for the share πŸ™‚

  7. The mistake mention about judging only by images, has nothing to do with technology. That is the common mistake regardless, of whether one is viewing online or the neighbour. I’m on a dating site. I don’t contact someone, if they don’t bother to fill out their profile, or actually if something in what they wrote, stands out to me. That is what profiles are for, read them. Pay attention to the word choices, etc. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t contact.

    1. It also doesn’t make any sense to claim, she has figured it out; it can be shaped, and then say it is illogical or random. She is exploiting loneliness, with nothing new to offer. Of course affection, is love. Communication is the key to every relationship. If you are not communicating how you feel correctly, things get confusing and misunderstandings happen. Love will never be a science that can be broken down into method. Just make the effort to find a mate, at the same time, as taking the time to listen to your core feeling about a situation. Trust yourself, don’t worry about what, you have been told, how it’s supposed to be. If you pay attention at all to life, nothing ever is the way it’s supposed to be.

      1. I agree that love and life have a way of not always working out the way you would want.

        I disagree with love not being able to be broken down into a method. It can be. It’s just not a universal equation. I agree people are told so many opposing things that just aren’t real: oh, you;ll find it when you’re not looking, oh it’ll just happen, etc. That’s all bullshit πŸ™‚ Love, like in life, has to be approached. We have to make effort to get what we want in life. Why would we think love falls in our lap?

        I, too, think love isn’t random. It’s a very complicated equation.

    2. You are so right! We all use the first cut as appearance and it is independent of the medium we use. I’d like to think that the majority are reading profiles, but my research indicates that many don’t.

      Great advice for people Azoil! Thanks for sharing your insights!

  8. I think online dating puts us in the same mindset as online shopping generally. At first, it appears that there is SO MUCH to choose from. No need to settle for less than perfect. We can ask for age, location, height, body type, race, religion, education, food prefs, pet prefs, etc., so when we encounter a profile that hits 80% of this, we think, nah, that’s not enough. We want 90%+ of our prefs matched. Some people need ALL of them, 100%, or they will discard you and move on. But the reality is that no one is going to get 100%. Because it doesn’t exist. If you meet someone offline and feel attracted to them, you generally aren’t so focused on that list in your head. You go with your feelings and have fun. But for some reason, online dating makes that list THE most important thing, and consequently it makes dating as much fun as shopping for a used car. There is no romance to the process whatsoever. How can you expect to have yummy chemistry with someone in person if you’re both ticking off boxes in your head and waiting for that one reason to hit the eject button? (And this doesn’t even touch upon all the fakes, flakes, and liars.)

    1. Thanks so much for sharing your insights Paula! I completely agree! We are shopping based on appearance and not quality and we are weighing the checklist as the end all be all. Which is discounting people that would otherwise be perfectly reasonable. I think it’s important for people to use it as a method and not replace public encounters. Finding love is complicated. Relying on just online and a checklist only creates dissatisfaction and closing online dating profiles. For the very reasons you described.

      I understand the reasons for the checklist: you want to create some kind of barrier against people you wouldn’t want to date. But, in reality most people don’t really know what they want vs what they need. The way they refine what you want vs need is by dating πŸ™‚ lol The more types you date the closer you are to finding what works out for you. Discounting people based on what you see is limiting. Because 9 out of 10 people look better in life and some people suck at writing profiles. πŸ™‚

      Oh yeah let’s not even start with the liars, dbs, etc. πŸ™‚ I think it’s a function of social media and online dating. You can create a persona and be content in having a relationship with a device. I recently asked a group of men why they are content with epenpals and what frustrates the the most about online dating. 35% of the men told me that they have 2 options netflix and porn and that makes them content because real life dating is too frustrating. Why online date then? Breaks up the monotony!

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and for sharing my post! I really appreciate it! Thank you for sharing a fresh and honest perspective on your blog! Welcome to the blogging world! You are doing really great already!

      1. Thank you SO SO much. Ima dub you my “blog” buddy~ ima support you as much as i can. I love researching love and i love transcribin it on paper. Lookin at your stuff is great for my inspiration, in my poems.
        Keep it up guh

          1. If you have any requests of poetry, or wanna hear a certain topic. I can def do that for ya. Ima keep my eye on you. And thanx Rissa, u great. Dont let nobody tell you different, you get me?

            1. Thank you so much for the offer, the kind words and your support! I can’t wait to read more of your work! You seem super talented! I really appreciate your support! Are you on twitter? Add all of your social network buttons so that people can follow you on your fan pages.

              1. Yes ma’am. I will do that. Still fine tuning everything. Tryna figure out how/if i should upload the work to the page or just continue to upload the work to the site. This is really cool tho. And you’ve got alot of content thas actually,, wholesome. Im def bookmarking this ish. So nice tho

  9. I think people fail to set expectations and communicate effectively. Two things that are required, and with their absense, brings about an end to any relationship.
    When you then add into the equation people unable to converse offline, because their time online begins to erode their basic human interaction skills…it leads to bad behavior while interacting in person. Regardless who you are, there is always someone that is your match.
    I view our hearts as pieces, constantly in search for remnants to complete it. It may take a lifetime and sometimes we overlook our match, though they are right before our very eyes. Either way, there is someone for everyone. I genuinely believe that. Online dating is completely fine…the problem involves the things mentioned above.

    1. Thanks for sharing your insights and wisdom with us.I agree wholeheartedly one gentleman. As a behavioral scientist, I often question the same thing what happens when we are interacting more online than with each other offline? I think it has an impact on what we are selecting now. For some, they have already replaced human interaction with online. We are building a persona, attitude and communication style based on NOT dealing with human beings. Which is the opposite skill set you will need in a relationship. While in a relationship you are challenged to deal with aspects of yourself you may not have dealt with behind a screen in your bedroom or home office. You are also going to evolve in a relationship because another person is present in your life achieving joint and individual goals.

      I also agree that we do have the ability to meet anyone anywhere offline or online and that there are compliments to everyone. πŸ™‚

      I am hoping we become a much more evolved race as a result of the quick technological advances we have been making where we will exist in total blissful relationships πŸ™‚

      1. You hit the needle on the head there…”We are building a persona, attitude and communication style based on NOT dealing with human beings.”

        This is why I have a love/hate relationship with online communication. I love it, because it allows you to communicate with people you could not beforehand. However, the issue I have involves: the manner in which people become completely different individuals online, the inability to separate their online persona while conversing offline, etc.

        I hope we do become more evolved, because it seems we are in a state of regression.

        1. In addition to that, I think that the technological advances are creating a level of social isolation that is impacting our interactions. But, in a different way than we think: it is creating a level of self absorption instead of broader community.

          That, IMHO, is what is predicating our interactions when we meet people and attempt to be in a relationship.

          Thanks so much for sharing your insights! Hope you are having a great day!

  10. I’m sorry if this has already been addressed, but have you seen the new show “Married at First Sight?” The premise is that people in NYC are too busy or too disillusioned by online dating (and meeting in person, I suppose), so they are turning to the “experts” to find them their perfect mate. They use psychologists, a sex expert, a spiritual adviser, and a matchmaker to find 3 couples that supposedly should work perfectly, according to science. Of course nothing is perfect, but WOW have I learned a lot about relationships through this show, and honestly, if they held one of these in Portland, I might consider being on it. I feel like I’ve been dating for decades with little to no return! I certainly understand the singles’ desire to be done with the dating phase and on to the married phase. That being said I have not given up on finding true love organically, although I am on an online dating hiatus at the moment. That doesn’t mean I’m not looking, but I’m certainly looking less aggressively right now. Well, they always say love finds you when you’re not looking…right??

    1. I haven’t! But, you piqued my interest! I think it’s ideal to use a mixed method when it comes to finding your ideal mate (online and offline).

      You know even though people say that all the time, I think it’s not entirely true. We are always goal seeking in our lives and dating is part of it. There is nothing wrong with pursuing what we want out of life. We just shouldn’t be desperate or disillusioned in our search for the right person. πŸ™‚ I think it has to do with more emotional readiness to date. So whether you are actively pursuing it or not, it will come. All that being said, bet you you find your ideal mate in 3 months πŸ™‚

      1. You just highlighted what I’ve been expressing for years. I tell people it’s impossible for me to entirely give up the search or the hope – that’s just not my personality. I’m constantly optimistic and hopeful in spirit, even when I am disheartened and frustrated with the situation. In my heart I know I will find love eventually, but you hit the nail on the head – at times I feel like my emotional readiness wavers. I actually think that is okay. It means I’m constantly questioning my universe and pursuing greatness. If I can be even more emotionally mature tomorrow, that’s great!!

        Thank you for taking the time to respond to my post. I really enjoy reading your blog.

        1. Thank you for sharing your story and insights with us! It’s a real pleasure to be able to help! I am so glad that you are happy with who you are and how you are evolving. I, too, am more optimistic and am confident you are going to be in a very healthy and happy relationship.

          Thanks so much for the compliment and support!

  11. My overt frustration with online dating fueled me to vent through my own comedic blog here, using screenshots of eHarmony photos and commentary. I do think it’s too easy to pass over a potential mate based on their sloppy grammar or poor choice in photos before you have the chance to meet them and see their other facets, but on the other hand… if they can’t put the effort in to write one legible sentence, how much work are they willing to put into a relationship?

    Can’t I also read into the kind of person they are if they choose to post photos of them obliterated drunk, scowling like a hostage “proof of life” photo, with his arm around every sleazy girl in town, unnecessarily naked and unaware of the dirty bathroom in the background, or when they hide behind artsy photos or photos of their material possesions instead of showing you themselves?

    I agree that it’s unfair to rush to quick judgements, but everyone should hone their profiles with this in mind or roll their eyes and laugh at my blog like I do when I get these “matches” every morning.

    1. You are so hilarious and 100% on the money! Online dating has become he new bar. Some sites are dives others are upscale πŸ™‚

      Yes, grammar, images, etc matter. All those things, if they are important to you, should be part of a cutoff point. In general though I thin people are bypassing candidates because they are judging in a sea of faces.

      I love it “matches” LOL randoms, they mean πŸ™‚ I agree they should spell out sentences, use their words, and try to present a realistic picture of themselves.

      When they show you their material possessions, they are showing you who they are πŸ™‚

      1. I really thought eHarmony was the site for normal people looking for love. I’m aghast daily at what trolls out in the open. I haven’t even put up the gaggle of currently incarcerated felons currently I have somehow managed to be matched with! My $$$ and time are being wasted, but the blog helps. I’ll go deeper into the overt horndog issue soon too. Those screenshots are horrifying and entertaining. : )

        1. I know how frustrating it is! SO much so that I am working on creating a online dating startup. I already have the game show platform in prototype:

          Oh yeah, I’ve gotten some very interesting nude photos (the famous d**k pics)! It’s sad that the environments have become so polluted! It’s an already time consuming process then add the trolls!?!?!?

          I am confident that my concept will have better candidates.

          Looking forward to hearing your stories! Thanks so much for sharing your insights!

            1. You rock! Thanks for watching and for the positive feedback! They went on a few dates afterwards! But they couldn’t manage the long distance πŸ™ The real premise of the concept is based on helping people determine what their ideal mate it. Helping people hone into what they want vs what they need πŸ™‚

              1. What if you’re flexible, but the options are unreasonably revolting?! Check out my new blog today about sloppy drunks. I didn’t post this story, but I had a first date last week who drank enough to start blubbering about how much he loves his tattoos and begged me through man-tears to meet my family before trying to show me his ragged underwear and grabbing me by the hair to try to give me a hickie. I can’t work with that, can I?!?! Clarissa, help us single ladies by schooling these freaks and losers!

                1. OMG!!! I am so sorry about that horrific date! Can’t wait to check out the new entry! You have a great blog!

                  I am really appalled by the ridiculously dumbass behavior! You have fueled me to begin writing specifically towards these dumbasses!!!

                  Oh, I don’t think we should be flexible! I think we should not entertain randoms. It’s one thing to date for sport, another to subject ourselves to db behavior and insecurity! The better we know what we want s need the less we entertain people who can’t work. Drunkenness on a first date is a symptom of someone’s coping mechanism to being single and dissatisfied. So, what do they do? Disqualify themselves by drinking to find their ideal mate. Counter-intuitive.

                  1. With my horrific experiences and your trained insight, we should have no problem getting a book deal! ; )

                    Now if you’ll excuse me… My phone is vibrating out of my hands by some suffocating eager beaver who thinks one pleasant dinner equates to owning my schedule until death do us part. This text conversation is going in the book, for sure! : )

          1. Clarissa, if you’re talking about doing a dating site yourself, I would LOVE to join! I quit OkCupid & Craigslist cold turkey & am quitting POF November 6th (letting my PAID subscription run out). I’m still a member of Zoosk, & having minor success with that, but it’s still not enough (I’m NOT greedy, but I do want one person in my life that I’m attracted to emotionally, physically, & emotionally). Please continue to keep in contact with me, as I need all the help I can get.

              1. Well, I just am tired of getting rough treatment on those sites & if I joined yours, you would be able to see “first hand” the kind of “crap ringer” I (& others) have been subjected to!

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