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Can love at first sight sustain a long-term relationship?

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle met on a blind date, and for the Prince, it was love at first sight.

by Bela Gandhi / / Source: TODAY

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They way Prince Harry and Meghan Markle met sounds straight out of a romantic comedy: They were set up on a blind date by a mutual friend — and instantly Prince Harry knew she was the one.

They're not the only celebrities who claim to have fallen in love at first sight. In 2016, Victoria Beckham wrote that "love at first sight does exist," and elaborated that it happened to her in the Manchester United players' lounge where she met husband David. Kathie Lee Gifford has admitted she "sort of" fell for Frank Gifford when they initially met.

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Can it really happen?

Short answer, yes. Is it common? Not so much.

As a dating coach and owner of Smart Dating Academy, most of my clients fantasize about locking eyes with the stranger across the room and falling madly in love — but it's not very realistic. According to research from Match.com, nearly 34 percent of singles claim to have experienced love at first sight, at some point in their lives. But will that love last? It depends.

“Love at first sight is relatively easy to explain," noted Dr. Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist. “Romantic love runs along certain electrical and chemical pathways through the brain. And these can be triggered instantly."

Men may be more likely to experience love at first sight.

Studies have found that people are strongly attracted to others who look like them and share similar personality traits. Research has also found that people are quick to evaluate attractiveness.

"Men fall in love faster, statistically speaking, probably because they are more visual," explained Fisher. "But women aren’t far behind. It's a basic drive, like thirst and hunger... Romantic love leads to bonding, mating and sending your DNA into tomorrow.”

Romantic love, when it goes right, can lead to healthy, happy long-term relationships, but that's not always the case. Having a lustful affair with someone who lights your brain on fire could be fun, but is not guaranteed to lead to a long-term relationship for many reasons, considering it doesn't take into account religion, culture, location, values and more.

True partnerships are what make love last.

When it comes to a successful long-term relationship, people should look for a partner who makes them feel safe, desired, respected and valued. The best marriages are ones where both people are truly partners. And the relationship takes work, not the "nails on a chalkboard" kind of work, but work to keep it fun and full of fire.

If you’re in that rare group of love-at-first-sighters who have made your relationship work in the long run — smile and pat yourself on the back. For others who are still on the quest for love, it's best to assume that you'll go according to the rule not the exception: It will likely take kissing many frogs, and having several dates with each one to figure it out.

To maximize your chances to find love, be open to love in different packages, and make sure that the person who lights you on fire will also be a good long-term bet.

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