Posted by: Sherry Amatenstein
Topic: Do you believe in love at first sight? Have you experienced it – and was it “the real thing” or lust?
The times I’ve eye-locked with someone and we’ve both experienced that instantaneous KABOOM, it’s been incredible, magical, and addictive. These intense experiences reminded me what it felt like to be alive. Eventually, they also reminded me what it felt like to be totally devastated, heartbroken, the emotional equivalent of being run over by a lawn mower.
I’m not saying it’s impossible to meet a soul mate at first sight, or more correctly someone who might turn into a soul mate. After all, if there isn’t a great first meeting there’s little impetus for a second. But my spontaneous combustions haven’t led to happily ever after or even happily for a good long while. Sometimes the connection is purely sexual. These have resulted in some amazing hookups - a shout out to Ferdinand in Costa Rica! But it was clear from the get-go these were just flings – emotional as well as literal rubbers were a necessity.
When the link wasn’t just chemical but intellectual, emotional and most importantly - spiritual - the stakes were higher. The yearning was deeper, the sex way more than skin deep. Twice I thought I’d found the person I was born to be with.
The commonalities in the first case seemed eerily prescient – How can you both be born in the Bronx and have a black cat and not be meant to be? Well, you had to be there. In retrospect the attraction was smoke and mirrors – the only thing real about it was the intensity. When that waned, so did everything else.
In the second case – I’ve still got a few dings. I’m the first woman besides his mom back in first grade to whom he was able to say, “I love you.” But only when he was saying goodbye. Commitment terrifies him. The lesson of this KABOOM was that an instantaneous, bone deep recognition that you're connected in some way, while satisfying, doesn’t necessarily a Hallmark card couple make.
The man I’m seeing now is someone I liked at first sight but it's taken a long time to build to something more. There have been surprising benefits to taking it slow. Good things can come to those who wait. But there’s no rule book that says love must come at first, 15th, or even 100th sight. Or that it must last forever in order to be considered “the real thing.”