When I was a teenager I used to dream of falling in love at first sight. It seemed so romantic, so wonderful. For many years I waited for it to happen, but it never did.
Perhaps with the right person you can fall in love quite quickly, but maybe it is not entirely possible to fall for someone in the first moment you lay eyes on them. Or is it?
Lately, I have spoken to a few people who claim that it happened to them. For real. There was a kind of knowing, a sudden familiarity that didn’t fade away once they got to know the person they fell for.
They were convinced love at first sight is a true phenomenon.
So that got me thinking that if people can fall in love so quickly, at first sight, in fact, can the opposite also be true? Can you fall out of love as quickly as you fall into it?
My friend, Gina, says you can. So does Lois at work. Two women who have recently ended long-term relationships.
It wasn’t his string of women, his ill-considered investments or even his shocking temper that shut down Gina’s love for her husband. Lois didn’t fall out of love with her partner because of his excessive drinking and partying.
Words were the culprit.
Words uttered without thought or care. Spoken irresponsibly, sometimes maliciously. Spat out like bullets.
Words. They are weak when they stand alone, but when they build up over time they turn, twist and writhe like knives in wounds.
Lois had an alcoholic father. When her partner started drinking heavily she gave up drinking herself, even though she just had the odd glass of wine. She found she couldn’t stomach alcohol. Her partner started accusing her of being too straight, too boring, too much like his mother, that she had been much more fun when she’d had a drink or two.
Gina’s husband called her everything under the sun. She brushed off most of it except for the comments made that living with her was a chore, that spending the day with her was too tedious to bear.
Both Gina and Lois could take the fighting, the abuse, being called bitches and whores, the mean, nasty, heat of the moment stuff, but they couldn’t take being referred to as boring. It was the final straw.
It suggested a deep vein of intolerance or indifference to who they really were as people. And that was what flicked the love switch from on to off.
I loved him one minute, then didn’t the next, Gina said. I didn’t even hate him. I just didn’t care anymore.
Words are powerful things. They can make us or break us.
And the words that break are often the ones we least expect.