I remember visiting a friend in Hawaii last winter and staying with a wonderful couple. We were at a party and I had just ended a very serious relationship a few weeks before. I remember asking her how her and her husband met. I remember how desperate I was for any advice and for any glimmer of hope that I could find what I wanted- or how to know when I did find it. I was definitely buzzed and could feel myself getting into single-and-crazy-and-might-start-crying territory. But that feeling was so real. I wanted to know how to tell when it was the real deal. Every time I broke up with someone it felt like such a let down, and like I couldn’t trust myself. Each time I thought they were The One, and when I was wrong, I punished myself for not knowing myself better.
At this point I knew what I wanted. I just didn’t know if it was even possible to find. Was it realistic to find a relationship with a feminist who makes me laugh? Seems simple enough. But at the time it seemed impossible. I had had enough experiences to know that if I waited I would get it, but it was so hard at the time to wait. I felt like I was so ready to find a partner and I was frustrated that after so much trial and error and soul searching I still hadn’t found them.
I was comfortable being single. I was a lot happier in a relationship, but I could be confident and have fun dating and know that eventually I’d find another great guy. Every time I broke up with someone I thought “This is the last time I could be single. Forever. I need to take advantage of it.” And usually I did. I moved to Santa Barbara to start the life I wanted, and immediately met Anthony. This was only a few months after I broke off my last relationship and had some emotional weeks in Hawaii. I was embracing being single and dating in this new wonderful city I was in and I almost blew it. I couldn’t even deal with the fact that I had found what I was looking for so quickly.
But once I figured it out, there was no going back. And that’s typical for me in a relationship. I jump in and get serious quickly without blinking an eye. What was different this time is that there was no fear. I always told friends that being with Anthony is like being at the best pool party of your life: the perfect cold beer in your hand, floating in water of the perfect temperature, with all of your best friends, and then THE PERFECT song comes on.
With my previous relationships, there was always this terrifying moment, where I felt out of control and doubted what was happening even though I knew there was no going back. Or it was forced- like most of the relationship was about getting the Dream Life that my sister and best friend had. Married, in a beautiful house with beautiful wedding pictures on the wall. A Pinterest Life, if you will. It wasn’t really about them so much as the story. With Anthony, I had truly found someone who I thought was the. coolest. person. In the world.
And the biggest thing I noticed right off the bat: he made me LAUGH.
I had never had this in a relationship. I felt like I was always the one cracking jokes. I laughed in my previous relationships, but no one made ME laugh. I swear, this past year, I have laughed more than I have, ever. Our sense of humor has matched perfectly since our first date.
We truly are best friends. And I had heard this so much while I was dating or single and I never really got it. I would be in a relationship and someone would say, “I am lucky enough to be dating my best friend” and I’d be like, cool, ya, you like being with them. Duh.
But seriously. You don’t get it until you have it, I guess. We never get sick of each other. We need our alone time, definitely, and take that when we need it. And yes, we have only been together for a year, so maybe that will change. But so far we have spent almost every night together and there was never any weirdness about feeling like we needed our own independence or something. We knew we were our own people and could survive without each other. That was just besides the point. The point was: When are we gonna drink more beer together?
It’s just- easy. Another thing everyone says. “You’ll know when it’s right because everything is just easy.” Well, I thought things were easy with my exes until they…weren’t easy anymore. And I never knew what easy was, really, until Anthony.
He is on my side. He takes me seriously. He listens to what I have to say and actually takes it to heart. He doesn’t make me feel dumb, but makes me feel like we’re on the same page and figuring out life together. He is truly my partner. We are in this together. And that didn’t take long to establish- it just happened. Because we both wanted it and were in it 100%.
He tells me I’m pretty every day. Sometimes he hurts my feelings and I tell him and we talk about it until we both feel normal again. He tells me how into me he is all the time. Sometimes I hurt his feelings and he tells me and I apologize. Sometimes we don’t make out very much for a week or so, but I still feel super connected to him somehow and we talk about it and make sure we are both just tired lately and no one is feeling neglected. He tells me I’m smart and that I’ve changed his mind about so many things. That one always blows me away.
I love hearing about other people’s relationships. I have always been fascinated by romantic relationships since I was little. I started dating when I was 17 and had mostly serious, long term relationships since then, with some long periods of fun singledom. Either way, I always wanted to learn from other people and talk about what worked and didn’t work in relationships so I could one day have everything I wanted and needed out of my partner. It has always been so important to me, and I feel like finally all of my ups and downs have taken me here. I may be unemployed, with no idea what I’m going to do or how I will make money, but I feel like I’ve figured out the big thing in life. I’ve found someone who I trust, who I learn from, who I can completely be myself with, and who makes me laugh. I am proud to be with him. And I feel lucky that I’m the one he spends the most time with!
What I’m trying to get at is: I hope somebody is interested in reading this. I was fascinated to hear what my friend in Hawaii felt like when she met her husband. But I would never trade that time of feeling lost, lonely and confused for anything. Everything led me here. Which is another thing EVERYONE says. Sigh. It really does come down to clichés.
** Special thanks to my wonderful sister Mary for giving us a free photo shoot! She had a vision and we were lucky enough to be a part of it. Check out Two Happy Lambs Photography!