Sunday, 8 February 2015

Do You Believe in Love at First Sight?

 Love at first sight - it is an idea that is everywhere in popular culture. It is the premise behind too many books and movies to mention, a phenomenon documented as far back as the Ancient Greeks. But is it real? Do people believe in it? I decided to conduct a small (completely informal and unscientific) survey to find out.

(c) Menopause Moi

I was astonished to discover that the majority of people do believe in it. Maybe I am too cynical or perhaps it is a throwback to my teenage years, when I categorically did not. I had many other romantic, schoolgirl notions about love and commitment, as I experienced my first loves, lusts and infatuations. However, being a pragmatist at heart, Love at First Sight was not one of them.

Then, at twenty-one, I met ‘The One’. I was at a club when someone came up behind me and said ‘hello’. As I turned to see who had spoken, our eyes met and that was my first thought. That he was ‘The One’. I’d never thought that about anyone prior, nor have I since.

Nor can I say that I saw fireworks exploding or heard the Hallelujah Chorus. It wasn't like that. It was more like I had been punched in the stomach and was having trouble breathing. Apparently my Inner Goddess is a bit of a bruiser. I know my life would have been immeasurably easier if she had gone with ‘Wow, I’d tap that!’ But she did not and I was smitten. I became a believer in Love at First Sight.

The intensity of that initial thought messed with my mind. The second time we met was at a party and I thought he had come with someone else. I didn’t know whether to scratch her eyes out, or find a corner in which to sob quietly. As it turned out he had, in fact, come alone - luckily for me (with whom he spent most of the evening), and for the unsuspecting ‘other woman’.

I wish I could say that this had a happy ending, like so many people who answered my survey. The reality was that there was not much lucky after that. We started a relationship dance that I will generously call the Misstep Two-step. It was characterized by misunderstandings, poor communication and hurt feelings. If you could two-step to Katy Perry’s "Hot n Cold", that would have been our theme song (of course, the song hadn’t been written back then –heck I’m not sure she was even born!)

I am not proud to say it was a dance in which I led most of the time. And I cannot deny that many of the missteps were mine. I felt vulnerable so I built walls to protect my feelings. But if I built walls then he constructed walls, ramparts and a moat, complete with drawbridge.

I continued with this relationship way beyond a point that was wise, way beyond what I would have done for anyone else. But I believed this could be a grand love affair, the kind whose memories could make your toes curl. Why else would he be ‘The One’, I reasoned. And who would want to give up on The One? Not me!

In the end though, I had to walk away and not look back, literally and figuratively. I know that sounds almost as trite as Love at First Sight itself. But if I hadn’t, we would still be tripping over each other’s feet, even now.

So, was this my experience of Love at First Sight? Despite my initial reaction, no it was not. There is no comparison here to the touching responses I received that told of loving relationships, started in an instant that lasted, or continue to last, through the decades. I still believe we had the potential to have all that. With few regrets in life, I must say this is one - that we were both unable to give it our best shot.

Do I believe in Love at First Sight now? I say an unequivocal ‘sort of’! My experience notwithstanding, even the non-believers conceded that there is often a chemical reaction at first sight – a ‘certain something’ – that can lead to lasting love. Now that I do believe in!

Happy Valentine’s Day, Everyone!


  1. Like you, I do and I don't. I think it sort of happened when my new husband and I first met. Do you hear my hesitation?
    It's because I too had one of those volatile relationships years ago, and it still pains me to this day. It all started with a look, and so I wonder ... are we being to general? Maybe there are different kinds of love at first sight -- a good one and a bad one.
    Maybe we have to be in a certain state of mind for it to be the good kind, or at a certain stage in our emotional lives?

    1. Yes, I still don't understand the purpose of such an intense feeling, for a relationship that was doomed to go nowhere. Out on the other side of it, it doesn't matter, because I met a person who was willing to stick around and put up with me!