Let’s start with the beginning. Infatuation means “a feeling of foolish or obsessively strong love for, admiration for, or interest in someone or something: strong and unreasoning attachment”, according to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary. Sure, the word “love” is cited in that definition, but it is preceded by the adverb “obsessively”, which has an obvious negative connotation. If you are obsessed with something or someone, it always ends in disaster.
I am bringing the word “infatuation” because I recently had a vivacious discussion with someone who said “love at first sight” exists. Well, we are all adults here and I think, even if we don’t want to admit it, we know love at first sight doesn’t exist. Unless the definition of the word “love” has dramatically changed and I missed that memo, love at first sight doesn’t exist. One should rather say “infatuation”. It is a more adequate and better descriptive term.
Love is a deep and strong feeling. It is a feeling that comes from knowing the person, having met them, talking to them on more than one occasion, liking them, their personality, their appearance and of course, being attracted to them. Seeing someone at a party and then say, “I loved her the moment I saw her”, that’s just high comedy.
I was arguing with my friend because he said he once saw a girl for the first time, and he fell in love with her. I pointed out he must have been in a dire need of affection and caring at the time. How can you ever genuinely love someone you just saw? That’s impossible. Sure, you can like them, be attracted to them, appreciate their physique, and looks. You can be seduced by their demeanor, their smile, their laugh, the way they talk and carry themselves, but you cannot love them. You like them, you are infatuated by them, you cannot explain your feelings, you cannot stop looking at them and you might be slightly obsessed with them in a positive way, but you do not love them. You just met the person and you most likely don’t know her name. How can you love someone you don’t know????
This whole “love at first sight” thing is a formula drawn by romanticism. It is prevalent in books, movies, tv series, fables, and legends. The protagonist, usually a dude, sees a beautiful, almost perfect woman and he falls madly in love with her, from the moment he first sees her. He then pursues her, always successfully and they become a couple. However, life is cruel and as fate would have it, something happens, something always unexpected and tragic. Then, they get separated either by fate or the conditions of their times. Finally, they both die in a tragic way and their story lives on, forever. The beauty and the beast, Simba and Nala, Paris and Helen of Troy, Lancelot and Guinevere, Mark Anthony and Cleopatra, Romeo and Juliet and so many more around the world. Every culture has a similar story.
As we grow up and we go through life, with its different stages, we learn something crucial, at least I hope we do; love is a feeling, but it isn’t just that. Love is a choice and something you live with every day. Love is an action. We do choose to love someone regularly. Studies have shown that long lasting relationships are the ones based on loving your partner every day, no matter how tough things get. You make a conscious choice to love them otherwise you fall out of love, as it has happened so many times since our creation.
Love isn’t static and there isn’t a specific date which you chose and said to yourself “I love her/him”. The love came with time. Love was built as you were with that someone dear to you. This idea of seeing someone and falling in love with them, when you know nothing about them, is ludicrous, preposterous, insulting, childish and out of this semi-rational world we live in.
We love our significant other because we get to know them. We love them because of who they are, what they do, how they behave, how they talk, what they do for us, what they bring to the table, how they take care of us, how we connect, the closeness we share, the physical attraction, the emotional availability, the sex, and the talks we have. We love our partner because of the small and big gestures. We love them because of the interests, goals, dreams, and plans we share. We love them because they help us, because they are there for us, because they understand us, because they are patient with us, because they got our back. We love them for these reasons and so many more. Yet, as you can see all these reasons exist because we got to talk to them, and we got to know them.
When you see someone and you say “it was love at first sight”, please stop that. It was infatuation at first sight, not love. You liked them first, you talked to them, a mutual interest was born and you built from that. Love came later. Love came a few weeks or months later. It didn’t appear on the day you met, out of thin air.
Sometimes, we confuse infatuation with love. So many things are to blame for that confusion. Yes, I will blame the books, the movies, the tv series and other medium that have created this romanticized version of love, that perfect conception of love and relationships. I will also blame ourselves and the lack of knowledge of ourselves. We misinterpret so many things because we know so little about our own feelings and state of mind.
I am a lover. I believe in love above all else. Nevertheless, after a few failed relationships, I had to sit down and analyze a few things. The conception of love is more complicated than seeing a pretty girl with a gorgeous smile. Seeing someone beautiful doesn’t mean much. I could be infatuated with her and it has happened in the past. But I did not love her. It took me time to love her and that’s how things should be.
No such thing as love at first sight. Infatuation yes; love no! Just sayin…
Just one man’s opinion.
Now smile and go on with your day!