Dear Readers – Following is a professional therapist’s view of “love at first sight,” from her own and clients’ experiences:
Reader – “While I think a marriage proposal after a first or second date ought to raise red flags of alarm, I do believe quite strongly in the reality of “love at first sight.”
“In over 40 years of counselling couples, I know it to be an experience shared by many.
“I also know it happened to my parents, and it happened to me.
“My father, then 28 and a recent immigrant to Canada, was working as a travelling salesman in the late 1920s. He found himself with a few days in Toronto, where he knew no one, and a distant relative invited him for Friday night dinner.
“After dinner, his hosts took him along with them as they strolled over to visit another family with whom they were close friends. He was introduced to their youngest daughter, a shy 24-year-old (an aging spinster, by the customs of the day). They fell in love that evening and were married within the year.
“By all accounts they were a very affectionate, close couple throughout their 36 years of marriage, until his death.
“As for me, I was a widow attending a brunch at my small, informal synagogue when a man whom I recognized and knew only by name approached and greeted me, saying he had rejoined our congregation.
“Knowing virtually nothing about him, and having not seen him in many years, I surprised myself (and perhaps him) by asking very directly, "how come?"
“I am not usually particularly outgoing or inquisitive with people I don't know. I simply felt comfortable enough with him to ask what could have been seen as a nosey question.
“He responded in kind and we quickly had a rather open conversation followed by a very long walk, during which we discussed many of our experiences, concerns, values, our childhoods, our siblings, our studies and work, our own children, previous marriages, etc.
“We quickly discovered that our lives had, unbeknownst to us, almost uncannily mapped on to each other in many details. We shared many key values, commitments, ideas and this was, I believe, what had made me feel so comfortable.
“I believe we each take in tons of observations and intuitive data about the many people we meet, even as we are not really conscious of doing so. When we come upon someone of interest, who matches up to us on some dimensions, we find we can share a part of ourselves.
“How else to understand how one can meet so many people and not pursue any relationship with them, and then choose one with whom to develop a relationship?
“On numerous occasions couples have told me of having been platonic friends until, on a particular occasion they “saw” each other differently, and a romantic relationship ensued.
“But if certain walls come down, and gates are flung open by “love at first sight,” this is just a beginning.
“That initial comfort needs to be checked out, which necessarily takes some time to test this “love” against real experiences with a potential partner.
“It takes time to learn how another person manages disappointment, disagreement, etc. And whether two people really do bring out the best in each other.
“Caution is needed, to balance the powerfully happy feeling of instant love. One must also be careful
that the wonderful comfort of this new-found love is not based on a familiarity with negative, abusive situations.”
FEEDBACK Regarding the reader who met someone online who said, “I love you” after one date (July 3):
Reader – “THIS IS A RED FLAG, stay away from this guy. Saying “I love you” this early on is a sign of a controlling, manipulative, passive-aggressive personality.
“I speak from experience.
“Sadly, I overlooked the man’s bad qualities and focused on what good qualities he had, only to finally open my eyes and see him for what he was.
“Don't waste any more time on him. See the red flag for what it is and move on.
“People like this will use you and abuse you for as long as you let them. Then they blame you for everything that has gone wrong in their lives, as opposed to growing up and taking responsibility for their own actions. Save yourself a lot of grief and say goodbye.”
Tip of the day:
The connection may be instant, but love requires the test of time.