Finding the ‘One’ — This time for realz.

In reading Pitfalls of Misguided Relationships, you’ve heard the dating adventures and misadventures that led me to met my husband. This is our story and the lessons I learned.

How we met..

Somewhat recovering from Mr ‘He’s just not into Me’, I focused on work. One day I had to host an interview. I had lost my voice (it happens a bit) so in greeting him and directing him from interviewer to interviewer I had to whisper. Had my head been on straight, I would have asked someone else to take over. It must have been strange to have someone whispering what to do next…

At the end of the day, I came over to the machine where he was sitting and whispered “It’s time to go. You’ve made it to the end of the interview.” He rather directly said, “Thanks but I’d like to finish this story” and without further ado went right back to it. I was a bit taken a back, but let him finish as his interviewer was happy to keep working on it. Then he left.

His interview feedback was very good, so the team hired him and then I started seeing him everyday. It was a month before we actually really chatted. I found him rather intriguing. Hurricane Sandy had just happened and he was always talking to people about it. I kept overhearing how he and his roommate were hosting people. He seemed so gregarious and hospitable to others. He was also the most confident person I’ve ever met. Confident but not arrogant. What a nice combination!

Our first connection…

One day after work the night before Thanksgiving, drinks were planned and I invited him and his peers to join us. He came just as everyone left and I was just getting my drink. So we chatted…. and chatted… When we walked outside he raced to a cab and yelled goodbye. He was there and then gone in a minute.

It kind of felt like he was running away.

Cabs were scarce as the PATH train (NYC to NJ) was under repairs. After 10pm the only way for him to get home was by a cab. What was funny about this, was how abrupt it was. I shrugged it off and didn’t think too much of it. He was just a nice guy and it was a good chat. Fast forward a couple of days and he started to email me following on from parts of that first real conversation. We’d spend all day together at the same workplace and after the day was done, I’d have an email waiting for me. We emailed back and forth quite a bit.

One night I was out at a farewell and my responses were pretty short and he asked for my number. He hadn’t noticed that I slipped it into my email signature. ;)

A few days later we ended up going out for dinner. As we said goodbye, I said “I had fun tonight”. He responded “Thanks”. Then I went on my merry way.

I thought, “This guy says goodbye very weirdly.”

A minute or so later, waiting for the train, I got a text from him saying he just realized what I’d said. He meant to say, “he had a really good time too”. It turns out Mr Confident was a little nervous at saying goodbye. More importantly, he didn’t wait to text.

Lesson One — The good ones don’t need to play games.

Soon after we became inseparable: hanging out with his friends and mine, doing dinners, and running together. In addition to the physical attraction, he had so many great qualities: he forgave quickly, he was honest about how he felt, he was generous with his time and money, he was a great analytical thinker, he had a magnetic personality and a great sense of humor, and we had some much in common.

We also argued and disagreed on things. We spent hours talking through our thoughts on a topic and worked through them. I learned that disagreeing wasn’t a sign of a bad relationship. Each time we did, we’d talk and work through it. We learned while dating how to resolve discussions gracefully when we didn’t agree.

Lesson Two — If you disagree, do it gracefully.

Instead we explained how we are feeling, and listened to each other. Then we took a step back to work through it. When no nasty words are said, there is less to work through. We made the effort to forgive before the day was over.

Working through these discussions changed our style of communication and helped us both understand the other more deeply.

I knew I wanted to marry him very early on in the relationship. I fell in love very quickly and hard!

It was several months later I recognized that no marriage would be perfect. Our differences didn’t need to magically resolve before we got engaged. I certainly wasn’t perfect or even marginally close.

Lesson Three — Love is a choice made despite the circumstances as often as because of them.

I never had to question that he liked me. Never have to wonder if he wanted to hang out. He had a key to my apartment, so he could run during lunch and take a shower, and several times I came home out of the blue to flowers. Just because.

One day he proposed. It was simple, just us, and perfect. Everyone rejoiced with us and there were no naysayers. This was a big change to my other relationships.

Lesson Four — A healthy community is a good gauge for feedback about relationships.

A few weeks before we got married, I had a day or two of doubts about the commitment we were about to make. Neither of us felt that entering into another stage of our life was a simple step.

I questioned everything about us. It was a decision to not move back home (a long way away) and to not date ever again. Moreover, it was decision to spend my life with him. It was easy to see why it made sense, and yet I still had a day of doubt. Unlike earlier relationships this would have been when I cut and run.

Lesson Five — To question something and look at it objectively is always healthy.

I’m glad I spent a day on my own working through my thoughts and looking at the situation. This time of reflection helped provide great peace in the relationship. I walked away more settled that I wanted to be his wife.

We now have more than a year behind us of being married. I’m ever so grateful that the hard lessons of forgiveness, communicating well and acting with empathy were learned by both of us while we were dating. It’s early for us, I know. I just feel its been a really peaceful first year. He is a really wonderful husband, best friend, and partner.

If you are dating, date with purpose. Argue often, but learn to argue well.