Love Lingers Here: Intimate Enduring Relationships. X. Forming a Relationship
Romance Across the Ages and Societies
Our interviews suggest that the processes of primary narcissism are neither confined to the youth of our society nor to western cultures. Many of the older couples we interviewed who met when they were already past midlife describe an enthrallment that is as romantic and as basically unrealistic as the stories told by younger couples. Similarly, the few couples we interviewed who came from nonwestern cultures often spoke with great eloquence of their initial infatuation. For instance, Kasha and Tally are an East Indian couple married for twenty years. Tally indicated that he had been working at a personal development camp in which Kasha’s sister had been a participant and through her he met Kasha’s father. Kasha was eager to tell the story of their meeting:
We had a very large family back in India and we had a lot of domestic help. So there was always a lot of people around. But one day there just happened to be nobody home except me. I looked out the window and saw Tally in the backyard. He was looking for my sister. I invited him in and we sat for two hours just talking. Something happened during those two hours. We just looked into each other’s eyes. We understood everything each other was saying. There were sparks between us. I knew then and there that we would be married someday.
This is certainly a lovely and loving story of first meeting. As with many couples, the primary conveyer of their inner truths (or projections) were the eyes of the man Kasha loved. Whether it is because our eyes somehow tell an inner truth, because we are particularly attracted to this physical feat in another person or simply because we expect other people who like us to keep eye contact with us, the force of looking into one another’s eyes is universally powerful. Neither Tally nor Kasha had seen each other prior to the day they met. Though their families were “westernized” and would have allowed them to meet together without a chaperone, the enthrallment was no doubt intensified, as with Prince Charming and Cinderella, by the unknown nature of the person to whom Kasha and Tally were suddenly drawn.