Do you think it’s unrealistic when people find love during a crisis such as the apocalypse? Some stand firmly behind the idea that people would be too concerned with survival to make new romantic bonds. But does this idea hold up to scrutiny?
Science Sticks Up for Love
Although the idea of developing feelings for another person while running for your life may seem a bit preposterous, the reality is that this is exactly when you’d be most likely to fall in love. In fact, scientists have known since at least 1974 that being under conditions that cause high levels of anxiety can lead to heightened levels of sexual attraction.
Falling in Love During War
Other examples of the human tendency to fall in love during a crisis can easily be found during any war. The BBC reported in 2017 about two soldiers who fell in love while stationed in one of the worst areas of the Iraq War. It was a regular occurrence for these soldiers to see their fellow troops die in horrible ways. Yet the struggle to survive didn’t quench their desire to connect with each other. As science points out, it actually probably increased their likelihood of falling for each other.
Natural Disasters Cause Love to Blossom
Hurricane Sandy was a devastating natural disaster, but it also caused at least eight people to fall in love. The Observer spoke to four couples who weren’t together yet when Hurricane Sandy hit. Through a variety of circumstances, each couple ended up stuck together throughout the hurricane. By the end of the storm, eight previously single people had become four couples.
Fictional Love During a Crisis
Many authors (myself included) have used the trope of characters connecting with someone new during a crisis situation. In some cases, this turns into a full-blown romance. In the case of my latest book, Sinkhole: A Horror Story, this very minor part of the plot is much more about two people beginning to develop feelings – before they know they’re in an apocalyptic situation – than actually falling in love.
The reason that this is so common in fiction that it’s become a trope is simple: it’s very true to life. Some readers may detest this trope or claim that love would never bloom like that. However, psychology studies and several real-life examples prove otherwise.
Where Do You Stand?
Regardless of what science says, what’s your opinion about this trope? Do you hate it when a book with any type of natural disaster/apocalyptic scenario/life-threatening crisis introduces even the slightest hint of romance? Or are you happy to see people holding out hope against all odds by letting their feelings grow? If you came into this article hating this trope, has learning about the psychology behind it made you feel any differently? Sound off below!