There Is An Actual “Love Light” In His Eyes
Since my husband and I have been together for over 19 years, a rarity in this day, people often like to ask me about our “couplehood.”
It’s hard to miss if you are around us for any length of time at all. He still opens and holds doors for me and whenever we walk, it is always hand- in-hand. Oh — and we treat each other nicely and with respect. Those are all dead give-aways.
One question I get sometimes is when I first knew it was “real love.” I had always been cautious and protective about giving my heart away. After all, I had finished a year of psychotherapy training where most of my patients were women and nearly all of them were divorced women. I decided I was too sensitive for this divorce stuff. It sounded like something that would turn me inside out, render me basically non-functional, and leave me screaming for mercy. The only answer, to maintain a functional life, was to avoid it.
To choose a husband so perfect that the relationship would be “divorce proof” for sure by the time that I was actually involved in it. I used my reasoning skills and wrote the plan that worked. We were together for a good year before I decided that this was the one, and it is the rightest thing I have ever done. But with all the reasoning skills, I would be the last one to deny that there has to be an element of “chemistry.” There was and still is.
I do believe, however, that women are constantly duped by men who say or do things for the wrong reason. I can teach, to a certain extent, the things I did to eliminate such from consideration. But when I am asked when I first realized this man loved (and desired) me, I always say one of the things I often say that nobody believes. It is when his pupils dilated.
As the Rodgers & Hart song says, “If they ask me I could write a book,” and I suppose I am. Sorry, I couldn’t miss this one. I love Rosemary Clooney and Rogers and Hart.
Yes, stranger than fiction and rigorously true. When they ask me when I knew this was a love match, my husband and me, I tell them, it was when I saw I made his pupils dilate just a little. In medicine, they call it mydriasis. It is not the kind of big, overbearing pupillary dilatation you see with a head trauma, or with the prescription of many medications. It was a slight but clearly visible enlargement of my lover’s pupils, when he looked at me.
This of course wreaks havoc with the “shoop shoop” song. Wikipedia calls it a Rock and Roll classic. Here is Cher’s version of the lyrics. The song was in the movie Mermaids I have told my husband many times that I have no understanding of how other people get through life if they do not happen to be doctors, let alone cracker-jack clinicians like me.
A man can be a really good actor and fake the kiss, and everything else in the lyrics of the song, and more. Nobody, but nobody can fake the dilation of pupils. Nobody. So if you know what to look for, and when you see it, I can think of no better place, of not even any other place, a person can look.
It amuses me that I do not seem to be doing a good job of getting through this narrative without a number of references to popular songs. This probably has something to do with the fact that most of them seem to be about that awkward, early part of love, when nobody seems to actually know whether it is love or not, and two people (still one male and one female in most songs) are in the tentative, insecure stage of exploration.
The moment you want to nail is the moment that the exploration becomes something known, at least in the psychological world since the 60′s as “limerance.” Some people never experience the kind of infatuation thinking that makes up “limerance.” It can last a few months or even a couple of years in people who do.
Its description, which comes from interviews and questionnaire studies, seems to include every possible sign of having just fallen in love that makes such a person intolerable in the workplace. Things like weakness and trembling and awkwardness and the like. Intrusive and involuntary thinking about the loved one all the time.
I am really glad that my limerance never, but never, has screwed up my concentration. I don’t buy the stories about how it has to “move on” to some other kind of love. Add attributes, like putting up with each other all day for thousands of days on end.
I would blow the research if they knew that sometimes, his pupils still dilate.