Couple therapist reveals: Can love at first sight last forever?

Oscar Holzberg
What can love at first sight do?

© Serena Burroughs/Stocksy / Adobe Stock

In the column of our couples therapist Oskar Holzberg, everything revolves around typical love wisdom and its truth content, he dissects proverbs, song lyrics and famous quotes. This time: “Love at first sight is about as reliable as diagnosis at first handshake” George Bernard Shaw, Irish novelist and playwright.

In short: It is important that we make the diagnosis in the first place.

Now in detail: At first it was Tilda and Tilly who grew closer. He put his nose up to her buttocks and she wasn’t averse. Just like dogs do. And because their two four-legged friends got along so well with each other, Sam and Zooey met regularly from now on to walk them. And one day, many weeks later, they kissed. And Zooey sensed that something important had just begun.

Was that love at first sight, only that neither of them wanted to admit it right away? Or was it more love that only developed from friendship after a few months? According to a study, this is the case for two-thirds of all couples. Accordingly, “touched a thousand times until something happens” is the rule – and not the emotional lightning bolt that suddenly changes life. And the myths that we find exactly the partner we need, that our subconscious immediately recognizes our soulmate and vice versa, are just that: just myths. In the end just opportunity makes love?

One thing is certain: many people eventually find a partner and even decide to spend a large part of their lives with this person. However, serious relationships develop because our feelings for each other intensify, not because we think about retiring together in the first place. We are quite open to separating again. But first we follow love in the confidence that we have found someone who is good for us and who we are also incredibly hot for. Or are we hot for him and therefore believe that he is good for us?

Love is a long journey and not a short trip

No one has yet figured out how to know who is right for us. And the odds of ever finding out are slim too. Because in order to know who suits us, we first have to know who we are. But if anyone puzzles us, it’s ourselves. Self-reports are notoriously unreliable. We don’t fool other people, we primarily fool ourselves. And what, if you please, does “fit” even mean? Sexually, intellectually, spiritually? In terms of health, humor, politics, temperament? Does “fit” mean that we are very similar or that we complement each other well?

It seems more like we discover each other, develop together and find a way through our lives together. Love has more to do with being good travel companions for each other. Someone who can keep up even on difficult stages. A person who gives courage and is by our side when things get difficult. That makes us laugh when the route is difficult. Who keeps at it, rediscovering us again and again.

The prince-meets-princess story, on the other hand, has more of a finish line: finally arrived! But there is no kingdom waiting, but the niche in life that we have to create for ourselves first. The first look is not unimportant. But the decisive factor is whether we keep looking at it afterwards. And who we’ll become when we’re together. So, Mr. Shaw, the diagnosis at first handshake is okay. Because somehow we have to find the courage to start with it.


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