Here in the 21st century we all love romance. We love it in our movies, in our TV shows, in our novels, and in our lives, and rightfully so. Because love makes the world go round and gives us a reason for living in these difficult times, it has become more important than ever to have and enjoy romance. But to really appreciate the role of romance in life, do you have to accept some of the truisms that we all see as part of the whole romantic process - like "love at first sight"? In other words, does the romantic ideal of "love at first sight" really exist?
We have elevated the idea of falling in love with a person in this way to an almost impossible level. We see the couple who have experienced love in this way and fallen hard and fast for each other as being the ideal romantic pair. Because they loved each other right off the bat, we think their love must be superior, deeper, richer, somehow star-crossed and destined for greatness. But is the "love at first sight" story a real one, or a confection that sells romance novels?
I have certainly known couples who claimed to have fallen in love the first time they met. They saw each other across the proverbial crowded room, a look passed between them, a current flowed through the invisible romantic heart to heart connection, and they knew their future was to be together. And some of these relationships have lasted - but some of them haven't. The key aspect of the entire idealistic process is that it can happen, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the lovers will be together forever.
So the question to actually consider is, if people fall in love at first sight, does it mean that they are destined to stay in love? I believe that the forever after part is a necessary outcome of the story for our romantic needs to be satisfied. The romantic stories that we tell ourselves of "love at first sight" must end with happily ever after, or it isn't a good story.
I also believe that this is a mistake, because some of the couples I have known who claim to have been in love with each other from the beginning didn't last, and not for reasons related to the way they started off. For one reason or another, the romance that was there at the start faded, and they didn't work hard enough to keep it alive. So the ending of their story doesn't match the ideal, but it was nevertheless true that they began the story romantically.
To be fair, the ideal of love at first sight isn't a modern invention, but it is a staple of the modern romantic dramas that we love. Although, there is a reason to be cautious about accepting this as the ideal way to fall in love. Because we see "love at first sight" as such a wonderful thing, we may be missing out on opportunities to love someone in other ways, in more realistic ways, that can be just as romantic, passionate, and intense as the ideal.