09/16/2016 01:11 EDT | Updated 09/16/2016 01:12 EDT

Whatever Happened To Love At First Sight?

Love seems to be such a complex and arduous path nowadays. It wasn't always that way. What happened? Why is it different now? And can we return to how things were?

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Couples Dancing And Drinking At Evening Party

Lovers by Camilo Rueda Lopez on Flickr through Creative Commons

I love reading the Sunday New York Times. I look forward to it all week. Sometimes it takes me the better part of the week to get through it all, but I read it from cover to cover. Well that's not entirely true. I don't read the sports section. Occasionally I skim it, but I don't even do that all the time.

What I never miss, though, are the wedding announcements. Why, God only knows. I don't know any of the brides and grooms.  So why should I give a toss that they're getting married, where they're getting married, who their parents are or what any of them do for a living.

But I do. Guess I'm nosy. Or a hopeless romantic (unlikely). Maybe I just need a life.

Lately, though, I've been noticing something new ...

These love stories are becoming more and more complicated. So many of the happy couples met years and years before they were finally joined together in connubial bliss.

They met on blind dates, at parties, online, in cafes, at airports, in university, at the weddings of friends, wherever. Some of them disliked each other on sight, or at least they thought they did. Some were involved with others (which begs the question, what were they doing at a party alone, but who am I to judge).

Some became friends, got stuck there and didn't get to first base, let alone beyond. And in some instances, just as things were getting interesting one, or both of them, got jobs thousands of miles away; and, sadly, it was a case of romance interruptus.

Bottom line is, it's taking forever for them to finally get together ...

Sometimes it's months. Sometimes years. Sometimes as much as twenty or twenty-five years, a marriage (or two) to someone else, a few kids and maybe even a grandkids.

Sometimes the 'reconnection' has happened on Facebook.  Sometimes the same friends who introduced them the first time get a second or third chance to play Cupid.  And then there have been those times when it's just fate. Serendipity.  Luck.

They'd meet again. They'd talk. They'd talk some more. They'd drink wine. They'd eat cold, leftover pizza. Walk in the rain. Hike. Kiss. Kiss again. And again. Nature would take its course. Hormones would rage.  

And suddenly (sort of, if you forget all the time that's passed) they'd be a couple again. They'd travel. Wonder what went wrong the first time, or the second, or even the third. Move in together, or not. And then, one day, on top of a mountain or down in a valley or in their favourite neighbourhood restaurant or in a canoe or while horseback riding or ice skating or playing softball or in the middle of doing laundry or scooping up dog poop, he'd finally pop the question.

Which brings us right back to me and my Sunday New York Times ...

I get to read all about it, every Sunday.  And every Sunday I ask myself the same questions: "Why'd it take so long? Why was it so difficult, so arduous, so problematic, so melodramatic? Why so many twists and turns?"

What's particularly fascinating, at least to me, is that their family and friends, their colleagues and associates, even the Universal Life Ministers who get a special license to marry them "knew all along they were perfect for each other, that they were meant to be together."  Everybody but the now happy couple who took forever and a day to figure it out and get with the program.

Why is that?

It wasn't always this way.  My mother and father dated for three weeks when he asked her to marry him and she said "yes".  They were happily married until the day he died.

Which leads me right back to the question I asked at the beginning of this story:  

"Whatever happened to love at first sight?"

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