“Summer lovin', had me a blast. Summer lovin', happened so fast.” Danny and Sandy felt it already in the classic film Grease: during the summer there is love in the air. But is there any truth in it? Do we fall in love more quickly in the summer?
This article was first published on July 14, 2022. The interviewee was contacted for an update in July 2023.
If we are to believe Google, something seems to happen in the summer. After all, there is a peak in the number of romantic and sexually tinted topics.
Science does not have an immediate answer in fact: “There is no research that shows that people begin a relationship more quickly in the summer”, says Laura Sels, a psychologist and researcher at Ghent University. She works in the Family Lab in the department of Experimental-Clinical and Health Psychology at Ghent University, where she delves deeper into relationships.
How do you fall in love?
Is there no truth in that tale of ‘summer lovin’? If we want to understand whether the summer plays a role, we must first look at how love works. “It starts with attraction and the so-called ‘reciprocity of liking’”, begins Laura. “if you know that someone likes you, you will automatically like that person more. You will feel at ease because you know that the other person has accepted you.”
“Another factor is ‘similarity’: is that person like me? That matters most early on in romantic relationships. That’s the main concept on which the TV programme ‘Blind Getrouwd’ is founded. I will immediately add a note to that, since similarity does not contribute to satisfaction in a relationship”.
You can fall in love, but that does not mean that the relationship will be successful. Is there actually a recipe for a good relationship? Laura Sels is busy searching for one.
She’s a psychologist and post-doctoral researcher in the Family Lab at Ghent University (faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences) and does research into romantic relationships.
A third factor is ‘familiarity’. “The more often you see someone, the nicer you find that person. That’s why relationships or romances often occur in the workplace.”
Whether you are ready for a relationship plays a role as well, stresses Laura. “People always say that love ‘happens’. Yet, in reality, it is a combination of a number of factors, such as ‘reciprocity of liking’, ‘similarity’ and whether you actually feel ready to start a relationship.” The summer makes no difference to that.
More social activities = more encounters
Even so, certain factors are in fact more seasonal, although it remains speculation. The availability of potential partners, for example. “The summer days are longer, and we are often involved in more social activities, which means we get to know more people. The more people you meet, the greater the chance that you will meet someone that you get on well with.”
“People are supposedly also more relaxed during the summer, which could make them more open to falling in love”, explains Laura. “Again, there is no scientific evidence. It remains speculation with no hard evidence.”
“It turned colder, that’s where it ends”, sang Olivia Newton-John. Fortunately, according to science, there is no link between love and the temperature.
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