Why and How Do We Fall In Love

This morning, my sister sent me an article on HowHeAsked.com with the story you see above. I don't know if it's what's happening in my life at the current moment because I am a Disney lover, or because I'm just sensitive to loss, but I had to take a 10 and sit in the crying room at work to just sit. The picture is a little difficult to read so I re-transcribed it below.

"Today I saw an elderly man sitting at a table. He was wearing a button that indicated he was celebrating his anniversary. I walked up to him and happily said "happy anniversary!!" The gentleman looked at me, smiled and said thank you. I asked how many years and if him and his wife would like a cookie. His eyes met mine and began to water as he told me that it was his and his wife's 78th anniversary, but she had passed away this previous week. He wrapped his arms around himself, shut his eyes really tight as he softly sobbed. "I can still feel her, ya know" he said to me as he grabbed himself a little tighter. "I met her when I was 19 years old and I knew, I just knew I was going to love that incredible woman for the rest of my life. We weren't from the same city, and once, I had to be without her for a whole year. But it was worth the wait, she was worth every lonely second." He placed his hands on the table, looked up at me and apologized for ranting because he was sure that I had much better things to do. I reassured him it was no trouble at all and I was so grateful he was sharing it with me. He showed me a soft smile and said, "I'm sure it's strange for you to see a man celebrating his anniversary alone in Disney World, but she love it here, she loved the thought of acting like a princess. Of course to me, she already was. We've tried to make it at least every year. It's magic. Pure magic. And even if you don't believe me, or you think I'm crazy, I know she's here sitting right next to me." Unsure of what to say, I just listened. He told me stories of how they met, their wedding day, and all their crazy adventures. Then he let out a quick laugh and asked if he could still have the cookie. I chuckled and said I'd be right back. I returned to his table and handed him two cookies. He looked up at me, slightly confused as I said, "I thought your wife might still want a cookie." The man started to cry. He thanked me, said she loved cookies, looked up toward the ceiling and said, "I miss you so much my darling, you are the most incredible woman I have ever known. From the moment I saw you, I knew I would never in my life see a more beautiful sight. From the second I held you, I could never let you go. When I heard you say the words "I do" I knew no matter what happened, from that moment forward, life couldn't possible be bad. Thank you for the memories, the adventures, and the unforgettable magic. You're still my princess." Of course after hearing that, I had to wipe away my own tears. The man then got up slowly, gave me a hug and thanked me for listening. My heart melted! It is moments and people like this that make me believe in true love:) gotta love Disney magic :)"

Just a side note, if you intend on sending that to any significant others, keep in mind the website is called "HowHeAsked.com." I can neither confirm nor deny sending this to anyone in particular and having a gentleman promptly ask if I frequented the site. Just saving you from yourself friends.

My friends and I are always complaining about how difficult dating is nowadays. But let's be honest, dating has always been difficult. It can be fun, you get to go out to dinner, you get to partake in a fun activity, and you get to drink alcohol. But bad dates are THE WORST. They completely trump good dates. Dating now happens online. The rules of courting are different. Gone are the days of you dropping a book on the subway, two people bending down simultaneously, knocking heads, staring deeply into each other's eyes and then getting married 3 months later in their parent's backyard.  Sure online dating no longer holds the negative connotation it did 3, 5, or even a year ago.

I love Tinder (an online dating app). I've dated more since I got to New York than my sister and friends combined because of it. But online dating is complicated! It's confusing! You can chat online and have nothing but incredible banter and then meet in person and have 0 chemistry. And online dating can be superficial! My sister sat down with an editor at Golf Digest to talk about online dating and how on Tinder she would only swipe right for golfers. (Side note: My sister is a really good golfer. Played in High School and College.) The article is titled "Foreplay" (Major LOLZ and a good online dating read) and in it, Sammy talks about finding love in New York and online. (She's happily committed to a handsome gentleman who she met in person, then he reached out to her on Facebook, and then they got matched on Tinder. SAY WHAT. I know, kind of eerie.)

It reminds me of a Ted Talk by anthropologist and love expert Helen Fisher. She puts people who are in falling in love, going through a breakup, and who have been in love for years into an MRI machine to examine how the brain is affected by romantic love. They started with individuals in love and experiencing breakups. Then they put "people who are reporting that they are still in love, in a long-term relationship, into the functional MRI. We've put five people in so far, and indeed, we found exactly the same thing. They're not lying. The brain areas associated with intense romantic love still become active, 25 years later." So how do we get there? How do we find someone we can stay in love with for 25 years?

Helen's now focusing on why people "fall in love with one person, rather than another?" Match.com approached her with that very question. "And (she) said, I don't know. I know what happens in the brain when you do become in love, but I don't know why you fall in love with one person rather than another...And there are many reasons that you fall in love with one person rather than another, that psychologists can tell you. And we tend to fall in love with somebody from the same socioeconomic background, the same general level of intelligence, the same general level of good looks, the same religious values. Your childhood certainly plays a role, but nobody knows how. And that's about it, that's all they know. No, they've never found the way two personalities fit together to make a good relationship."

So, what do you think? Why/How do we fall in love? I asked my friends and I am going to try to update as they come in but so far here's what I have.

"I think people fall in love when they fail to realize a time when the other person wasn't there. Like you can't fathom how you lived before that person."

"It’s soul mates. So we live many different lives, and in each life, your souls recognize each other and that's your "soul mate." That’s how people just "know" they are supposed to be together. I think you have no control over love it just happens."

"Hmmmmm well the 'why' I think is because everyone wants to feel wholly understood. The times in a relationship that cause the most anxiety or frustration are when you feel like the other person isn't understanding you - and the happiest times are when you feel like you don't have to tell the other person what to say or what to do but they do it anyway. and how - I think that how is different for everyone. For me, it takes building trust and a solid friendship first. And after knowing I can trust someone I can begin to create a mental picture of a future. and when I can clearly picture that person in my life 30, 40 years from now then I'm sure that it's love."

"I actively am avoiding love right now...So I'm watching my steps for potholes, cracks, sidewalk ends and manholes so I DON'T FALL."

"I think sometimes it's on accident like for me things are ass-backward and it's like one day you realize it and it hits you hard like being hit in the head with a frying pan."

"People fall in love because they realize what they have in common and it somehow melts into chemistry. It could be something like two people liking the same book-- and then suddenly all those two people want to do is think and do all things related to that thing that they have in common because it suddenly becomes so exciting. And then they make out. Yeah. That's what I think."

"People probably fall in love due to a chemical reaction in their brains when they think of or are in contact with certain people. The release of endorphins make the affected person go on kind of a high, so really love is similar to a drug that you just want to have a constant high from. There's not much harm because endorphins make you happy and happy people just don't shoot their husbands."

"You can love someone, and that builds with time, like a friendship. I think this is common. Or you can fall in love. And its called falling because you try not to but you can't brace yourself and it's sudden and weird. It's for no reason and for every reason. It doesn't always make sense and it's so intense. Both types are good."

"It's nice to be with someone who can overlook faults like sleep farting and shares their chocolate.plus from what I hear it's an amazing journey."

"People fall in love who have found someone who makes them feel like they're the best person they can be. People fall in love because they make each other better and embrace one another's faults rather than tolerating them or trying to change them"

"People fall in love for a multitude of reasons. They share things in common, they share absolutely nothing in common. They find someone that compliments their soul or they find someone that challenges them unlike anyone has before. Love is frustrating, inconvenient, tumultuous, wonderful, terrifying, exciting, thrilling, all-consuming, and BEAUTIFUL. It's tricky and challenging, and it's a huge leap of faith. When you make that leap, you take the risk of falling.. in love or out of love, all with hopes that person will catch you. And keep you."

I got this multiple times, a quote from A Fault in Our Stars "I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly and then all at once".

So what do I think? I think love is being able to say I love you first or feeling like you can be totally and completely vulnerable. I think it's when you can give your whole heart expecting nothing in return and when you can sit in utter and endless silence with someone and find ease. But honestly, after writing this, I guess I have no clue. I think that play and adventure is a huge part as well being able to say some of the craziest things in the world without feeling afraid of being judged or laughed at. I think love is finding someone who compliments you and challenges you to be a better person. And I also believe you can't trust someone you can't fight with. And love is being able to say you are sorry because you care about the other person's feelings. I think it can take time and it can happen overnight. Although they call it falling in love, not slowly cautiously wading into love.

What do you think? Why/How do we fall in love? Does it change as you age?

Let me know in the comments below.