Lisa Cach, author of the sizzling-ly sexy Adventures of a Roman Slave series, lets us all in on a little secret about falling in love “at first sight.” Keep reading to find out, and be sure to order the last installment in the series, TEMPTRESS UNBOUND, on sale today!

All my life I’ve heard stories of devoted couples who “just knew” at first sight that they were meant for each other. “Great for them,” I always thought, “but it’s not much help for me. How did they know that they knew? No one ever explains that part.”

I was in my mid-30s when it finally happened to me. An old friend was visiting from out of town, I met up with her for coffee, and I asked her if she knew any single guys in her town. She said she knew one. “He’s a marketing writer and editor, and used to work for a jewelry magazine. He plays hockey and golfs…”

At those few words, I sat up straight and had one clear thought ringing through my head, a thought that I’d never before had about a man: this might be him.

“Him” being “The One.”

On my second date with “The One” we were already discussing what type of wedding we wanted. Eight months later we were married and moving into the house we’d bought. Twelve years later, we’re still happily wed.

But how did I know? How could I have had so much as an inkling, after just two sentences from my friend about a man whose face I hadn’t even seen? This is where I think my early certainty came from:

  • My friend had pre-approved my future husband by her long acquaintance with him, so I knew he wasn’t a freak or jerk.
  • His career is in a similar field to mine, so I knew we’d understand each other. He’d “get” me, and me him. And, too, the mention of a jewelry magazine suggested that he had an aesthetic sense, which mattered to me.
  • I have no interest in sports, but his playing ice hockey meant that his intellectual side was balanced by a healthy dose of masculinity. (I did ask if he had all his teeth.)

That was enough to start on, but of course there was more I had to find out when we met in person. Could we laugh together? Was talking easy? Were we attracted to one another? Was he a kind, good man? Did we have similar views on having children and how to handle money?

Just as important were the red flags I was waiting to see — and which, fortunately, did not appear. The biggest red flag is when you know you’re lying to yourself about the mediocre quality of the relationship, trying to talk yourself into thinking it’s better than it is, or that it’s good enough.*

I know. I’ve been there.

But let’s get back to love. It’s love at first sight we want to know about, right?

Here’s the thing. In the past, with other men, I’d sometimes had an intense attraction at first sight. I’d also had the heart-thumping excitement of falling in love.

With my husband, it was different. I didn’t love him at first mention, or at first sight, or even within the first month or two of knowing him – and we were engaged by then. I’d get fluttery and excited at seeing him, sure, but that wasn’t unique to this relationship.

No, what happened with my husband was that by the end of our first date I knew, with calm certainty, that this was a man that I would grow to love over time. And I knew that with each year we were together, that love would grow deeper.

My husband tells me he felt the same way. “It wasn’t love at first sight: it was something much more profound. When I met you, I could see a shared lifetime ahead of us.”

Is love at first sight real? I think so, yes. And for me, it felt utterly unlike anything I’d ever felt before.

*About red flags: Keep an ear open to your inner voice, which will be whispering to you when things aren’t right. You know this voice: you’ve probably shushed it in the past, and regretted it later.

The inner voice pipes up that something is wrong when:

  • You find yourself making excuses for his behavior to your friends and family, or even to yourself. Force yourself to pay attention whenever you do this, as this red flag is much bigger than it feels.
  • Your heart hurts for him and his sorrows. If early in a relationship you find yourself feeling a strong wish to help someone, that’s a red flag. Most people won’t show you their wounds until they know you very, very, very well. Someone who shows them to you early is either a total mess, or manipulating you. Or both.
  • You often find yourself embarrassed by him, or annoyed, or you roll your eyes at things he says. This doesn’t mean he’s a bad guy, but it does mean he’s a bad fit for you. It will save both of you a lot of suffering if you end the relationship.