Falling in love from stress
My niece had an interesting observation the other day: mere stress can make you fall in love. She had experienced it herself during a period where she had to do some very serious exams, organise her household and while she was in a relationship, so she was quite sure this was not an unlikely thing to happen.
After she told me I realised I had experienced the very same thing in a slightly different form. Some years ago one of my dearest friends became homeless and I became his prime source of all kinds of help, except a roof over his head. The latter was impossible because he was suffering from fairly serious psychiatric problems. It stressed me out big time.
At the time I could not keep my eyes of women, all women, no exceptions. While I like looking at women, this became a hindrance. A female friend of mine once even protested my absent-mindedness while in a bar. I only had eyes for the waitress and completely disregarded my friend. Fortunately I did not have a girlfriend at the time.
A few weeks later things had calmed down and the same waitress failed to impress me. I just couldn’t imagine I had ever found her attractive, but at the time she seemed positively stunning to me. Stress, I concluded. I had completely forgotten this incident until my niece told me about her theory.
The relationship between stress and falling in love has actually been proven scientifically. The experiment is as simple as it is beautiful.
Take two random groups of men, show them pictures of women and let them score their attractiveness. One group does just that. Before the other group does the very same thing however, you tell them that the experiment they’re participating in is actually a bit annoying. The second group thus starts the experiment in a slightly raised state of stress.
The score in that second group turns out to be significantly higher than in the first group. Conclusion: even under only slightly increased levels of stress, men perceive women as more attractive. Imagine what a midlife crisis can do to you, or a threatening burnout…