How Do You Know If It's Love At First Sight? 22 People Talk About How They Fell Head Over Heels Instantly

You've probably wondered, is love at first sight is real? Some people say “they just knew” when they met the person who would become their boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, or wife—we’ve all met people like this and wonder why it hasn’t happened to us (yet). And can it? Is it true? Is it possible to look at someone and get a feeling that you two will be together—forever?

According to Match.com's Singles In America survey in 2014 of over 5,000 singles, 41 percent of men and 29 percent of women say they have experienced love at first sight.

It’s portrayed in romantic comedies a lot. It also happens on TV—or appears to happen—on shows like the Bachelor and Bachelorette, falling for a seemingly total stranger. And, let’s not forget A&E’s show, Married at First Sight. Yep, just the way it sounds. Couples are matched up via four experts—a sexologist, a spiritualist, a psychologist and a sociologist—and do not meet until their wedding day. They go through usual marriage ups and downs, then, after six weeks, have to decide if they will stay together—or not. 

Personally, I love the immersion dating nature of the show, not to mention how addictive it is to watch, and think we should all try it at some point. But, I know it’s not for everybody. And can you imagine telling your parents, “We just met last week, but I know it was love at first sight and we’re going to be together forever.”

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I asked Bustle readers about the whole love-at-first-sight conundrum, and so many of them did so, it’ll re-inspire you that it’s possible, after all. 

1. Esther

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“My husband Adam and I were love at first sight. At the time, I was 31 and he was 30. I had been married before and had recently gone through the divorce. I never believed in love at first sight for myself but, my parents experienced [it]. They've been married for almost 39 years. I was skeptical, but then I met Adam. We met online, had one long phone conversation, we agreed to meet the next day, and we've been together ever since! [We just had] the fifth-year anniversary of that date. We just knew that day this was it. A week later, I met his family. Six weeks after that, we moved in together. Eight weeks after that, we got engaged. We then bought a house and got married! All within 8 months! It feels like we've known each other forever. It's crazy, but fabulous!”

2. Jenipher Lyn

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“In 2003, I met my husband. I was 19 years old and I thought, 'Holy cow, I like him SO MUCH,' the moment I met him. He went to France the next day and brought me back a trinket and I was SURE he liked me. BUT, he brought this other girl a BIGGER trinket and they dated for three years! Over the next eight years, we danced around each other, both liking each other, but both in random relationships. We fell in love in 2008 while on a trip to North Carolina, but still nothing happened and we didn't date until one lovely day in 2011 after he moved away. Two months and falling apart, I moved to NY to be with him. It was a rocky first year, dating your best friend, but everything worked out for the best. We got married 10 years after we met almost to the month! And every SINGLE day, I feel grateful for him!!! It was a long road, but I wouldn't change ANY of it!”

3. Felicia

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“I met my husband when we were teenagers in high school. I was extremely shy and he had a big personality and can bring a smile to your face. It was junior year and he introduced himself to me in study hall. Initially, I was like, ‘Here we go, a guy hitting on me,’ but it wasn't like that—he was very genuine and sweet. We went to a HUGE high school (our graduating class was over 300 students) and, unfortunately, it was the beginning of the school year and I had to make some changes to my schedule. Will I see this guy again? It turned out we ended up having three classes together and the rest was history. The moment I met him, there was just something about him that caused butterflies and made me want to get to know more. A month or two later, we stayed after school and studied in the library. That was the day we really got to know each other and I can say we fell in love. We have been a couple for 11 years and married for two. We officially became boyfriend and girlfriend, I believe, in our senior year. We made it official the day we went on a field trip to NYC. A few years later, he proposed to me on a carriage ride in Central Park. Then, in 2013, we finally got married and had a NYC-themed wedding.”

4. Amy Oestreicher

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I don't have your typical love story! But it was definitely love at first sight. I am a survivor and ‘thriver’ of 27 surgeries, a coma, six years unable to eat or drink, and a decade of medical trauma. After my last surgery, I was feeling so depressed that I randomly decided to set up an online dating profile for myself--and I have never had a boyfriend in my life - even casually. The day I created my online profile, an adorable guy named Brandon messaged me, four months later he proposed, and I'll be marrying the love of my life this June--which would be... very, very soon, I guess! It's definitely a fairytale love story.”

5. Stephanie Adams

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“From the very first moment I saw him, I knew he would be the man I would marry. Even the first time I saw his photo (we met online), I felt an instant connection that compelled me to spiritually propel to another consciousness and visualize meeting him, marrying him, having a child with him, and spending the rest of our lives together. That instantaneous visualization was both scary and exciting, making me realize that I finally found my way to the magical labyrinth that would start an entirely new journey for me to happily complete. That said, looking into his eyes on our first date sparked more exciting energy within me, as it confirmed the fact that my thoughts were indeed coming to fruition. It has been many years now since that romantic revelation. And soon, we will be celebrating another anniversary together, we have a beautiful young boy, and we are partners in several successful medical and wellness practices together. So was it love at first sight? Indeed... and our journey through that enchanted labyrinth has led us to a special garden where we have truly found elysium.”

6. Adella Curry

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I met my husband on January 22, 2005 and, on January 23, 2005, after our ‘first kiss,’ he told me he was going to marry me. He proposed under a volcano, on one knee (in Costa Rica), five-and-a-half months later. We were married on June 30, 2006 in Costa Rica. This June will be our ninth wedding anniversary.”

7. Jennie E. Johnson

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“We met at my sister's wedding and knew immediately. He was cute, kind and funny. We were not only attracted, but became immediate best friends. I think it is like when you meet a dear friend and everything just clicks. Over time, it just gets better... with marriage, you add the sexual attraction. I think that far too many people settle for someone that they can live with rather than someone that they can't live without. We have been blessed with a special relationship. I believe others would have it, too, if they were more patient and just waited for a friend to come on the scene. We recently started a business where I wrote the book and he is marketing it. We are having fun on this new adventure. We have been married for 38 years.”

8. Steven Cony

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“I met my wife at U of Wisconsin. I fell in love with her on our first date and announced to everyone — except her —that I intended to marry her. Of course, the pronouncement got to her quickly. She thought I was nuts. We celebrate our 45th anniversary next month.”

9. Heidi

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“My boy and I pretty much experienced this. We met when he answered an ad I had for the spare room in my rental apartment. Short story — he arrived, we chatted for half an hour before checking out the place. He left the viewing to meet his friends, where he told them he'd met his future wife! He moved in, we fell in love. He said I love you after a few days. Two weeks later, we were together. We lived together for six months before he left the country (Australia), to head to a family member’s wedding in the UK, then back home to Canada. Fast forward: a-year-and-a-half later, I have moved to Canada to be with him. I've been here for 6-7 months and am currently in the process of applying for my Permanent Residency Visa.”

10. Karina 

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“My now-husband and I fell in love at first sight. [We] met online and had our first in-person date on a Saturday night, 1/5/08. He [and his dog] moved into my apartment on Wednesday, 1/9/08. We lived with my roommate at the time for five months and got engaged 5/25/08, [then] moved into our own apartment. We were married on 10/12/08, just eight months after meeting. Today, we have been married for almost eight years (October of 2015). He is still my best friend, my lover, and, now, the most amazing father to our child.”

11. Charlotte

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“First, it was his dimples. And his great smile. Then it was his green eyes. He was dressed in a suit and looked very professorial. The minute I met him, I sensed a warmth and physical attraction. We chatted at a party and he walked me to my car. It was cold outside. Then, he leaned in and kissed me through the window. A real kiss. That was it for me. I was hooked. We’ve been married 8 ½ years and have known each other for 10 years. I’ve been happy ever since. It’s mine and his second marriage, after having been divorced for many years. I certainly believe it was love at first sight. (At least for me!)” 

12. Alexis

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“Love at first sight happened to me, while I hung out with some girlfriends in Napa. We would go to our favorite spot every weekend to watch sports and the manager there would always talk to me. He had the bluest eyes, dimples that were to die for, and we had the best conversation. At that very moment, I know I was in trouble and I knew he was the one right then and there. It never failed — every time my friends and I would go into the bar, he would acknowledge me and give me a smile that I couldn't get out of my head. We flirted a lot and, a week later, he asked me out. The next day, we went out again in San Francisco. Nine days after that, he asked me to be his girlfriend and told me he loved me. Three months after that, we moved in together. We've been together for eight-and-a-half years, very much in love, and looking at finally taking the next step... marriage. I think the best part is that he says that he fell in love with me the first time we met, as well. Love at first sight exists for everyone. I think you just have to be open to the possibilities. I'm so glad I did.”

13. Katlin MacHugh

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“My sister and I have always joked that our parents set us up for failure. They met at a retreat in New Hampshire and my dad proposed after three days. They brought me home from the hospital on their first wedding anniversary. They stayed married until my dad passed away suddenly five years ago. They had a beautiful marriage and loved one another deeply. Flash forward to me post-college and searching for my soulmate. I dated countless guys but never found ‘the one’ until I met my fiancé, CJ. We met online and started talking on 9/30/12. We had our first date that very night. The next day, we went to dinner and a movie. The next night, we watched a movie at his house. The fourth day together, I was in absolute love. I knew that I had found the man that I wanted to marry. And, luckily, he felt the same exact way. Our connection was instantaneous. There were no awkward conversations about being exclusive—we just were. After three months, I moved in without us even discussing it. We woke up one morning in January and I just *lived *there. Everything in our relationship was seamless. On October 25, 2014, CJ flew me to Paris and asked me to marry him in the Luxembourg Gardens. We are getting married on October 10, 2015 and we could not be more excited to start our lives together. CJ did not propose after three days, but we knew after three days that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. So, my parents had an incredible love at first sight story and I am really happy to say that I followed in their footsteps.”

14. Donna Bozzo

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My husband walked into a bar late night with friends. It was totally love at first sight. I told my college roommate (it was years after college), ‘I think I just met my future husband’ (and learned later he felt the exact same way)--and I was right! Married 19 years this summer! We used to go back to the same spot we met on the anniversary of our meeting--we were engaged there, as well. Now, since we live out of town, we make sure we have a margarita on that night. We met at Margarittaville!!”

15-16. Carol Bloom Stevens and Mark Stevens

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Mark:

“The best way to look at it comes from a line in the Counting Crows hit song ‘Long December,’ when the lyrics referred to ‘how light attaches to a girl.’ The second I saw Carol, even though we were sitting on a train in broad daylight, I saw the light. It's nothing that you can explain, it's nothing you can quantify, it's nothing you can learn, it's just a lightning bolt. Otherwise known as at first sight!”

Carol:

“It was June 17, 1974 and I had just graduated from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University. I was on the train to NYC from Yonkers, NY. I took the first available seat as I walked through the train car. But, as my husband Mark likes to tell it, all the seats were empty, and I chose to sit down next to him. But that's not quite the real version. We rode to the city, me reading the NY Times Sunday Magazine, an article on how the ‘medium was the message’ (a very ‘70s topic) and he was working, making notes and shoving them in his pockets. I was wearing a polyester number, a pants suit that had bell bottoms. I was only 21. And he was in a beautiful beige suit heading to see a client in Manhattan for lunch. Well, he didn't speak to me until we were almost at the Grand Central Terminal asking me what time the train got in. I told him the time and then we started talking. Actually, he had taken that train many times, but was looking for a casual way to start up a conversation. As the train came to a halt, he asked me for my number. I headed out to the terminal to see a head hunter. He went to a payphone, called his secretary, and told her, ‘I met the one!’ It took me a couple of dates and a couple of weeks to know that he was the one. I still have the outfit I met him in and I put it on every June 17th. The date is approaching and I hope I can get into it! Oy! We were engaged after three months, married after another three months, we have two wonderful sons in their 30s, a daughter-in-law, and we both LOVE Golden Retrievers."

17. Lisa Becker

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“My husband and I met online 15 years ago, when online dating was in its infancy. After a week of emails, we had our first phone call. When I realized that we had attended the same, small sleepaway camp as kids and that we shared a similar upbringing with similar values, I knew he was ‘the one.’ He says he knew it was love when I opened the door to meet him for our first date. We've been married for nearly 12 years and have two amazing daughters. Our meeting inspired me to write a novel, Click: An Online Love Story about a woman's search for love online. It's loosely based on my real-life dating experiences, as well as stories friends have shared with me.”

18. Ben

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“In 1967, Mt Gretna, PA, summer stock production of Carousel, I was playing the lead, ‘Billy Bigelow.’ I arrived at the theatre and entered from the stage. The cast was assembled for a music rehearsal. Sitting in the front row was a lovely young woman with a Shetland Sheep Dog at her feet. I didn’t know who she was, but it was as though there was a pin spotlight on her and all the others in the room faded from view. Her presence hit me like a velvet sledge hammer. It was confusing. Soon thereafter, at the principals' music rehearsal, I learned that the mesmerizing lady’s name was Betsy Hepburn and that she was playing ‘Carrie,’ the comedienne, who marries ‘Mr. Snow.’ I was thrilled with her voice and the comic personality with which she sang. She was really good and that was a relief. I asked Betsy if I could take her to lunch. With some reluctance, she accepted and we went to the snack bar across from the Inn. As we were eating our sandwiches, I told her that I felt like I knew her. She replied that she knew we’d never met. I agreed that that we’d not met before, that wasn’t what I meant. I just had the feeling that I knew her. This was the absolute truth. (It was several years later that I learned the concept of reincarnation.)
I’m not sure exactly when, but it was no more than a week after we met. One night, we were sitting on the porch in rocking chairs. I went into a long preamble in which I said that it was neither necessary nor expected that she should give any sort of response at all but that I needed to tell her... that I loved her. She took me at my word and said nothing at all. We met on August 11th or 12th of 1967 and got married November 25th that year, after three months. I'm not even sure if we were ever officially ‘engaged.’ We just set a date and did it. That was nearly 48 years ago and—except for the nine years we were apart—we've been together ever since.”

19. Tangela Walker-Craft 

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“I fell in love with my husband after seeing him being teased by some older girls when we were both in kindergarten and only five years old. I felt so sorry for him and drawn to him at the same time that day. From then on, every time I saw him around school, I just had this ‘feeling.’ As we grew up, I found out that he lived in my neighborhood somewhere. I was in middle school when I realized that he lived diagonally behind my house; I could see the side of his house from my backyard. Believe it or not, he asked me for my phone number eight years after my first sighting of him when we were in junior high school. He and his friends had been watching me from a window at his house for several years and I didn't know it. He even hung out with my brother (who was two years older) from time to time. But they always hung out over on his street. Before he finally built up the nerve to ask for my phone number, he actually came to my house one day pretending to be looking from my brother. Being an inexperienced ‘tween-aged’ girl, I quickly said my brother wasn't home and slammed the door in his face. Then, I hid behind the door and giggled like a fool. Long story long, I gave him my phone number a few days after he asked for it in junior high school. 
Eventually, he became my first boyfriend. That lasted for most of junior high school years. We were on again, off again throughout high school. He even moved away for a year or so during high school, but we tried to keep in touch. I moved one city away to attend college after high school. I called him during the summer of my junior year of college after not speaking to him for over a year and boldly stated that I needed him to help me move my stuff back into my college dorm (one city away). I asked him when (not if) he wanted to do it. He said, ‘I'm not doing anything right now.’ (We had one breakup after that that resulted in him fathering a child with someone else. We were engaged before he found out that the child was his.) We've been married for over 23 years as of May 16th. We have one child together.”

20. Andrea

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“I met my boyfriend, Jonas, in Prague when I was backpacking through Europe. He's Swedish and was vacationing with his friend. I'm from NYC. We met on Tinder. Then, when it came time to see each other in person, a calm came over me when I approached him. We walked around the city all night and I just knew we were destined for more than just that night. We've been together for nearly a year.”

21. Jana Davis

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“It happened to me. I'm a therapist, a clinician who is a big fan of reality. I don't doubt that it can occur anymore. When I met my husband and looked into his eyes the first time, I thought, 'It's him!' Then, my second thought was, 'I’m not ready!' My emotions were such a whirlwind. After meeting him, I could barely sleep or eat, and I was giddy all the time. My rational mind knew it didn't make a lick of sense to feel that strongly for someone after you first met them. I wanted to take things very slow, and we did. We dated for years until we were engaged, then married. We just celebrated our third anniversary and have a beautiful baby girl.”

22. Laura

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“My love story was romantic enough for me to doubt it at first. I had not wanted to go to this club meeting with my oldest friend. She kept insisting that I should go out and make more friends. He looked like ‘the funny guy.’ He was at the front of the room, his face broken into a wide, mischievous grin, surrounded by other guys as one of them wrote on a white board. I had been glancing around the room skeptically, nervous, when he suddenly broke away and caught my eyes. I don't mean they grazed over mine, I mean they flicked, straight and without preamble, into a direct gaze with mine. They were the palest blue I had ever seen on a human being, frozen and 'welcome home' warm. His open mouthed grin became a smile of uncertain greeting and I returned it, feeling out of my depth. I wanted to leave. I didn't need another handsome boy snagging my attention and leaving me twitterpaited like an idiot... but I was too curious. I had to talk to him. I watched how his mouth moved, let the surprisingly deep tambour of his voice wash over me. I took in the other players as well, the eccentric president, the enigmatic treasurer, the sarcastic man in the Rye tee-shirt leaning against the back wall, people who would eventually become my dearest friends. But, it was John who kept drawing my gaze back. It was John who caught my eyes again, drawing me to him at the end of the meeting. We kissed for the first time five days later. It felt like love then... looking back on it, I'm still fairly certain it was, even that early. I was struck dumb by his frank, utter goodness, his gentle demeanor, his deep well for honest, naiive passion and romance. 
Even though I let others convince me it was a lie, that it was not possible for it to be that way. After another week of whispers and assurance that no one could ever love me like that so quickly, I ran from him. For two years after that, I kept my distance, as did he. But, we couldn't stay away from each other forever. Two years after that, we still felt that love whenever we were in the same room. We decided to try to be friends... and realized that would always be a lie. Four years after that, rings have been exchanged and I am currently eight months pregnant with his child. John is my best friend. He's my someone just for me. He is the person I care about most in this world. He makes me brave enough to believe the silly and wacky and impossible. He makes me brave enough to believe that I deserve someone like him. Because of him, I believe in fairytales.”

Images: A&E; Fatimeh Nadimi/Flickr; Giphy

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