Personally, I haven’t witnessed many passionate debates over the whole falling in love at first sight thing. But people do seem to have strong opinions on the matter. I’m here to tell you mine.
First of all, I have heard too many real people say this is how their romantic relationships began to discount the idea entirely. People say love at first sight only happens in books and fairy tales, but unless all those real people are lying or delusional (which seems like a stretch), that’s not true.
And here’s something I recently realized: We accept the concept in all other kinds of relationships. We look at a parent holding their newborn baby for the first time or a child who has just been handed a puppy and make comments about how they’re already in love. Friends talk about how they just clicked when they met and we think that’s cool. (I have personally experienced the latter in a friendship that’s been going on for 13 years and counting.) But romantic relationships? Here people start to question it.
The thing is, love at first sight is not enough to make a relationship last. I think this is really what trips people up. But it’s not enough in any relationship. It’s not enough for a parent and their baby, it’s not enough for a child and their dog, it’s not enough for friendship, and it’s not enough for romance.
Any healthy long-term relationship is exhausting and inconvenient and time-consuming and requires emotional investment and sacrifices. It’s also fulfilling and well worth these things, but if just one person is unwilling to put in the effort, the relationship isn’t going to last, or if it does, it will not be healthy.
But a bad end does not necessarily invalidate a good beginning. It doesn’t mean it wasn’t genuine at one point, whether the start was gradual or instantaneous. Humans make good starts that fizzle out in all sorts of situations; relationships are no exception.
Love a first sight may never be how relationships work for you. It’s not sufficient. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.