What Science Still Can’t Explain About Love

It turns out they grapple with the same question as matchmakers, romance authors, poets, and many others. “The big mystery is — do you really know who you want?” says Dan Conroy-Beam, a University of California, Santa Barbara psychologist who studies relationship formation.

The question seems simple, but it’s not trivial. A lot of time, energy, and heartache goes into finding solid relationships. “In a lot of senses, who you choose as a partner is the most important decision you’ll ever make,” Conroy-Beam says. “That’s going to affect your happiness, your health, and your overall well-being.”

Scientists don’t have all the answers, and they often disagree on which answers are even possible. But I found that their hypotheses — along with some advice from matchmakers and relationship coaches — can help us think through how love starts and how to maintain it once it’s found.

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