I'm reading the most fascinating book right now and there is a chapter on human emotions, attachment theory, how we fall in love, why we fall in love, etc. etc. I love stuff like this personally because they break it down in a simple matter-of-fact manner that is understandable. You all might not find it interesting but I thought I'd post what they deem "the 10 causes of falling in love." Figured there could be some decent discussion on the matter 1. Similarity There is strong empirical evidence that people tend to like other people who're similar to themselves in one or more important aspects. It might be a similar level of education, attitudes, a common interest, a similar family or religious background, social habits, personality, etc. There have been massive amounts of studies done now that tests couples to find they have almost or more things in common. There is also evidence fom psychological research that we like people better when they change to become similar to us. This can happen because those who change in order to to make other people happy are considered "nicer" than those who always try to make people happy-it's the gaining that promotes attraction, the earning of esteem rather than experiencing it from the first encounter. 2. Desirable Characteristics of the Other Most studies of romantic attraction revealed that personality and appearance are two of the most important factors in engendering a feeling of attraction. One study found that more than 90% of the men and women interviewed about what caused them to fall in love mentioned a characterisitc of their partner's personality, with women mentioning personality traits as a crucial factor slightly more often than men. But when it came to appearance, 81% of men said they were attracted to the physical appearance of their loved one, while only 44% of the women were attracted to the appearance of their man. 3. Reciprocal Liking Knowing that one is liked by the other appears to be one of the dominant factors in falling in love. When we feel good in the presence of a particular person we're more likely to develop feelings of attraction toward them. If you ask people about their experience of falling in love, over 90% will say that a major factor was discovering that the other person liked them. In other words, if you saw an attractive guy/girl and a friend mentioned to you that they liked you you'd ultimately almost always immediately start to become more interested in them and like them back, even if that guy/girl didn't speak with you, didn't know you and didn't even say that to your friend. 4. Social Influences General social norms usually have a significant effect on falling in love, by screening out at an early age some possible candidates for affection. A simple example is age-it is more an exception, rather than the norm for someone to fall in love with a person who is very much older or younger than oneself, so even if someone finds a much older person interesting or attractive, the thought will already be in their mind, "what would people think about me if I pursue a relationship with this person?" Similarly, most cultures screen out many candidates for affection on racial grounds, with the result that a couple who might otherwise be candidates for falling in love will often eschew any form of relationship because one or both of them knows that it would be deemed unacceptable in their culture. The social approval or disapproval of those in one's social network, especially one's friends, can be an influence on whether or not one falls in love with a particular person, even if these influences are not culturally or racially biased. 5. Filling Needs One of the stronger reasons for falling in love is need-the need for intimacy, closeness, for sexual gratification, for a family. In some cases the need can be for recognition from others-a gain in status, garnered as a result of having acquired a trophy partner. So when someone says "I love you" what they might actually mean is "I need you," their subconscious hiding from them the true reason for the feeling they have developed for the object of their "love." (this definitely reminds me of a certain VAGer) 6. Arousal/Unusualness The situation in which one meets a potential love object can have a significant effect on whether a feeling of attraction develops. If one is aroused, even in a negative way, by a situation itself, that arousal can have a positive effect on one's feelings of attraction. Danger is one well-known example of this phenomenon. 7. Specific Cues The object of one's love might possess some particular characteristic that creates an unusually strong feeling of initial attraction, such as a voice or physical feature that you find appealing, like the face, eyes, or shape of the body. These cases often give rise to the "love at first sight." 8. Readiness for Entering a Relationship Some emotional states make us much more susceptible to falling in love than do others. If we are suffering from a particularly low self-esteem because one partner has just dumped us, we are ripe for starting a relationship "on the rebound." And a temporarily lowered level of self-esteem for other reasons can similarly be assuaged by a new relationship. Here again there is a need, but this time it's a need for the relationship itself rather than for what it might bring us. 9. Proximity/Repeated Exposure Many studies have been done and show that proximity plays a HUGE part in how and why people get together. The closer you are to a person (in terms of distance) the more likely you are to meeting one another. One study done interviews 431 couples and found that 54% of them lives 16 blocks or less apart when they first started dating, 37% of the couples had 5 blocks or less of distance between them. As you can see (other than internet dating) we limit ourselves greatly in the fact that we only date those who are near us. In a way it seems silly to assume your "soul mate" just so happened to live down the road from you. Seeing someone frequently or "repeated exposure" to one another creates a much more fertile atmosphere for love and friendship than seeing someone less often, and the proximity of their living quarters clearly has a significant effect on how frequently two people meet. If 2 people live close to one another they are more likely to to develop a familiarity than if they live further apart-familiarity in terms of seeing each other more, spending time with each other, thinking about each other, and anticipating interation with each other. 10. Mystery A person who carries an air of mystery of intrigue will often be found romantically appealing. Similarly, a mysterious situation can have a catalytic effect on a relationship in much the same way danger does. There was also a study done where they put a male and female student (total strangers) in a room together for 90 minutes. They were asked to exchange intimate information to one another, such as their most embarrassing moment and how they would feel if a loved one died. Immediately following questioning the couples were asked to not speak and just stare into each others eyes for 2 minutes. They were then asked to exit without speaking out 2 different doors as to give the effect that they'd never see one another again. All the students were asked to rate the closeness of the relationship formed and the ratings were compared with those of a group of similar students who were asked to rate the closest relationships in their lives. A key result was that after only 45 minutes of interaction the relationship between the paired students was rated as closer than the closest relationship in the lives of 30% of similar students. The 30% figure suggests that self-disclosure can be a powerful and fast-acting device in getting comeone to feel attracted to you. The first pair of students chosen ended up getting married 6 months later after the experiment.