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  1. Your story describes an interesting tale, and if the end result is that you believe you were in love with this person from the moment you saw her, then I say more power to you. But from a logical level, reading the very words you yourself use, I have to admit that I have my doubts.

    Love is very rarely logical, and while I didn’t post this to debate whether or not it really happened, I will say that there was a very different subjective reaction when I saw her. As I said it seemed as if the universe was a guitar string, and someone plucked it when I saw her. It had never happened before, and hasn’t happened since. You are certainly free to come to whatever conclusion you see fit, but I know what I experienced.

  2. As you wish.

    It was 1994, I had recently gotten out of the Air Force and was working at a small professional theatre in South Florida. I was a fan of NPR even then, and one of my favorite local announcers was the woman on the morning shift who went by the name of Claudia Webber. She had a very interesting voice that was made my frequent commutes to Jupiter more pleasant. So one late afternoon I heard her voice coming from the backstage area of the set we were putting together, and then she came through the door. I swear it felt as if the world was a guitar string and someone had plucked it when I saw her. She was, and still is gorgeous. Tall, slim but not skinny, long chestnut hair, and eyes that would make Cleopatra envious. I didn’t realize that she was dating one of my coworkers at the time, and she was there to meet him. I also didn’t realize that she was a theatre groupie. Jake introduced us, and I went back to work. Fast forward a few months. She and Jake had broken up and she was working on the crew for the next show. I found excuses to be with her, to help her when I could, to get to know her. We drew closer and closer, and eventually became a couple. We were together for six months, most of which was spent, unfortunately, stoned. Eventually she grew more distant, and then just before a big Halloween party she broke up with me. I was devastated. For months I was miserable, and every time we’d run into each other it was like a knife twisting in my heart. Eventually the pain subsided, and some years passed. Then, around 1999 or so we encountered each other again. We started as friends, then the relationship sparked again. I was getting ready to go back to grad school, and she suggested I move in with her since my income was about to be cut in half. Knowing that the first time we split up was partly due to my smothering her I was reluctant, but she convinced me. Again, I got six months before she announced that while she loved me, she wasn’t in love. This time I knew she was right, as I was feeling less than content as well, but it still hurt. Our sex life was minimal, due mainly to the fact that she would not initiate anything, and I grew weary of always being the aggressor, and we settled into a boring routine that eventually she couldn’t take. But, and here’s the reason I call this love and not lust or anything else, even though I know beyond a shadow of a doubt now that we don’t work together, I still want her back. She is, and will always be, my one greatest love. I love my wife, and can’t imagine myself with anyone else, but Claudia is so imprinted in my soul that I don’t think I will ever be free of her. Most of the time that’s nice, but sometimes it aches a bit. I have analyzed, and replayed, and blamed myself, then her, then myself again over and over. I know that we both did things, or didn’t do things, that destroyed the relationship, but part of me keeps thinking ‘if only we could make one more go of it’. I can understand, just a little, how a drug addict must feel. She is the worst person for me, yet I crave her presence in my life at an almost cellular level. If she wasn’t such a technophobe I suppose I’d be more in touch with her, but she stays as far off the grid as she can, and no one knows as well as you, Collie dear, how lousy I am at pen and paper correspondence.
    And there, in a large nutshell, is my love at first sight story. I left out a lot of details, so if you have any questions I’ll be glad to expound. :-)

    1. On the surface, I more or less agree with Collie on many aspects of love, including a disbelief in ‘love at first sight’. As someone who has been infatuated many times, who has desired someone I didn’t know how to approach, who was roundabout seduced by someone I didn’t understand at first was interested in me; as someone that has bonded with people online and later met them, and found that interacting with them in person either proved out that a relationship with them would not work; as someone who understands that love comes in many shapes and sizes, and that you can love a friend, love a friend intimately, and love a life partner, I understand that love is complicated. It is multifacted, multi-levelled, and is not a simple binary switch.

      I have described friendship as: ‘a relationship with someone with whom you have things in common that bring you together, and the things you do not have in common (or even dislike about them) you accept.’ The same thing could be said about love – love is just a deeper commitment, a deeper vulnerability you open yourself up to, a deeper intimacy with which you share things with that person that you share with few others.

      Saying this, I have no right to be cynical, and say that what you describe is not love at first sight. Context is everything, and truth is in the eye of the beholder. Your story describes an interesting tale, and if the end result is that you believe you were in love with this person from the moment you saw her, then I say more power to you. But from a logical level, reading the very words you yourself use, I have to admit that I have my doubts.

      Because, you see, you talk a great deal about desire, about guilt, about regret. These are all very understandable concepts considering your story, but these emotions are not love. Desire can lead to love, but it is not love all by itself, any more than telling someone your deepest secrets is love all by itself. Desire, at the most basic level, is pattern matching (as many things are). You see something, either physically or mentally, that you associate with something positive, something compelling, something that makes your brain produce some lovely serotonin for you. Even if your brain knows at the same time, that you are desiring someone or something that is unhealthy for ongoing happiness.

      That said, love – to some extent – is also pattern matching. We have experiences, and we associate them with love, based on what we define ‘love’ as. But, and here’s the catch, you can love someone without desiring them. I’m not even talking about familial love, here. If, in the process of living your life, you give weight to someone else’s needs and desires for the simple reason that making that person happy makes you happy (like Collie making coffee for Bob), that’s an expression of love. If you have a conflict with someone, but in the end, the relationship is important enough that it is important to you that you manage to find some common ground with the other person, even if the two of you do not think or feel alike on every subject, that’s an expression of love. Love is when you are made happi*er* when you can make someone else happy (not the same as your happiness being dependant on someone else being happy…that’s an unbalanced relationship).

      Okay, perhaps I’m being a little long winded, here, and preaching stentorian from the mount. But we’re not just talking about love, we’re talking about love at first sight. So my final thought is this: in the end, even though your relationship did not work out, you say that you still love this person, that you loved them from the moment you saw them. While I will grant that maybe you did love them over the course of your relationship, it’s easy to look back on all that history and say in hinssight that it was love at first sight. Feels very romantic, it’s a bit of a pat on the back to say it, makes your friends nod sagely in understanding. But suppose none of that ever happened? Suppose you saw them once, just a beautiful girl waiting for someone, someone that inspired desire, and then you never saw them again, ever. Is it still love at first sight? Or is it just a momentary association that we make in the heat of desire, that never actually amounts to anything? And how many of *those* do we make in the course of a lifetime?

      That, in the end, is why I don’t believe in love at first sight: I don’t think love is a snapshot. Love takes a little more work, a little more time than a simple glance can give.

  3. I have experienced love at first sight, and it set me on a path to unbelievable joy, and unfathomable pain. It can happen, but the fairy tale belief that it also means the two of you are ‘meant to be’ is less than true.

    More later after the conclusion. :-)

    1. You have? I would dearly love to hear more about this from someone who has experienced it! I have a good friend who says she’s been in “love at first sight” as well, and she keeps promising to write me an email about it — but has yet to do so, the fink! ;)

      Would you be willing to describe the process at all for me, via email? (i.e. how it felt, how you reacted, how you knew it wasn’t just limerence or lust, how the other person reacted, anything else you’d be willing to share) -unless you’re comfortable with writing it here, of course. I’d love to learn more about this!

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