sex & relationships

Is love at first sight possible?

William Shakespeare

Thousands of people have written about love at first sight. I only have to type it into google and over one hundred million articles are returned. That’s one hundred million opinions or mentions of love at first sight. Considering there are roughly that amount of people in Mexico, that is a huge amount of people to all have something to say about something that is in fact, completely metaphorical. But is it more than that? Is love at first sight real, or even possible? William Shakespeare brought the idea into something written, saying “who ever loved, that did not love at first sight?” in As You Like It, way back in the 17th century. If the great-grandad of romance says that love at first sight is a real thing, then who are we to disagree?

Is there something more?

What it all comes down to, is the age-old issue of what love truly is. Love as a noun is described as “a strong feeling of affection”. I’ve been in love, or so I believe, and I can’t pinpoint the exact moment when I “fell” in love. It wasn’t at first sight, I can guarantee that, but I have felt a strong feeling of attraction in the instant of meeting or seeing someone. I’ve had those completely barmy moments of meeting someone and your stomach doing funny things that have nothing to do with what you ate at lunch. I’ve had those moments when you catch the eye of someone on the tube, on a bus or on the street and think, “good god, what if?” Normally, this just translates as “he’s hot” in my mind, but what if this were to be something more? If I was told that love at first sight was a factual, scientific concept from birth, maybe things would be different. But as it stands, we are shown to believe and taught to understand that love is something that grows. 

Yes, “love at first sight” has many attributes in common with love, but that doesn’t necessarily make the concepts synonymous, or exclusive. You can be besotted and infatuated with someone you’ve just met or seen, and you can be besotted and infatuated with someone you’ve been with for years. It could even be argued that that the feeling when you first meet someone is a lot stronger than the love that comes with someone you’ve been with for a while, the comfortable and accepted feeling of “love” within a relationship. But this does not necessarily make either concept better, or more meaningful than the other.

Airports – love with wings

However, I do believe that true love takes time. You have to really get to know and understand someone before entirely saying that you are in love with them. I don’t mean that you can’t be in love with someone you’ve been with for a few days, but that it’s highly unlikely that you have experienced enough of the person to be able to say that. But each to their own, and for some people, love at first sight is a very real concept. In her book The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, Jennifer E Smith explores how people at airports are “seventy-two percent more likely to fall for each other than people who meet anywhere else.” Maybe it could be said that there is something about love that is instantaneous, that the lack of loss associated with someone you’ve only just met could create a different kind of love entirely.

In my eyes, you can never say never. I’m never going to say I don’t believe in something as metaphorical as love at first sight, as just because it hasn’t happened to me, doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened to anyone. And I do truly believe in that connection you can feel with someone when you first meet them. The heady, adrenaline fuelled rush of falling in love with someone is incomparable, and cannot be replicated when you’re already in love with then, and in that sense, love at first sight could be highly possible. So, who knows.