Love at First Sight. What’s the big deal?

Do you ever wonder whether Caleb and Olivia spend their days sparring with words, bickering over little things? After all, Olivia had always been quite exhausting. Estella must be grown up now, a reminder to them that their love had weathered so much more. What about Alex and Isa? Didn’t she move heaven and earth to prove to him that his physical limitations did nothing to change who he was to her? He was smitten when he saw her sitting in the baseball stands, little did he know that true love would emerge from so many obstacles.

In my latest book, In This Life, Anna meets Jude, spends ten days with him, and can’t get him out of her head. Sure, she goes on to lead a normal life, succeeds in her career, commits herself to love. And yet, there is the overarching theme of the book – she’s existing, and yet her heart belongs to someone else.

What? Love at first sight? Insta-love? Oh heavens, no! Let’s rate this book poorly, the author doesn’t know what she’s talking about. It never happens that way.

Doesn’t it?

Haven’t you ever connected with someone else, felt this surge of energy when your fingers touched (even if just to pass on a piece of paper), found yourself flirting uncharacteristically with a stranger? It doesn’t matter if you never see him again, or if you end up seeing him quite often, if you never hear from him again, or if you hear from him every day until he breaks you. Love at first sight is just that. It’s a connection, a spark, the start of something.

I know a woman, who met and married her LAFS twenty six years ago, six months after she broke up with someone she had loved for eight years. She had a honeymoon baby and two others after that. Life was focused on children, home and careers, wonderful memories were made as a couple and as a family. Life progressed. Pretty soon, the kids no longer needed her, her job needed her more. Traveling the world opened up a whole new perspective, changed her, made her want more. That LAFS became complacent, relaxed, taken for granted. She was bombarded with people, places, things. There was a tiny sliver of space in her heart, and when the new guy said, “hey, I love what you love, I laugh at your funny jokes, I’m new and exciting and you are beautiful”, she allowed him in. It was up to her LAFS to swoop in and save her. He did it by reminding her of the love they once had. The love that made her brave enough to give up eight years with someone else to take a chance on him. He reminded her of the inexplicable feelings that they had for each other and of the family that they had built together based on their love. It wasn’t easy. It took a while for her to see things his way. They had to live in every moment, appreciate every gesture.

You see, true love begins when real life happens.

Love at first sight isn’t love. It’s the start of it. Or the end of it. It’s the goal we all aspire to. It’s the state of our unraveling, our unbecoming, it’s what breaks us, destroys us and puts us back together again. For anyone who denies that it exists, I beg to differ.

Don’t take it so literally. It isn’t love. That’s just what it’s called. A catch phrase. Love at first sight is the basis of every relationship. It’s the heady, swoony state that begins this way but never stays that way. Sometimes true love steps in and sometimes it doesn’t. We, as humans, spend most of our lives trying to wade our way through what’s real and what’s not. Maybe you’re young and inexperienced, and you’ve never fallen in love. Maybe you’ve just gotten over a painful breakup and you’re jaded and angry and disillusioned. Or maybe you don’t think you’re worthy of love so you hide in your books and live in a world that’s more imagined than real. Whatever the experience, however you got there, think back to the time when your head could think of nothing else, and your heart was filled to the brim.

Admit it, one way or another, you’ve had your love at first sight.