Friday, November 16, 2012

Why Can't I Keep This Up?

We're all busy these days, aren't we? Every time I think about this blog I try to make it a point to be more active and contribute more often. Not because of the people following (is there even anyone out there?) but because it's a great space to dump things that are on my mind.

So let's get to what's new, where I've been, what I'm up to now, etc.

In the last year my life has gone from great to fan-fucking-tastic. I can't stress enough how important it is to really be selfish in love and in life. A few weeks ago I turned 30 and as I embark on a journey into this new decade I feel really proud of not just where I am, but where I've been. After all, without each and every experience I've had thus far, be it good or bad, these events have made me who I am.

Almost exactly a year ago I met my best friend, the man of my dreams, and the only person I could ever envision spending every waking moment with. And I shouldn't say a year ago because we actually met almost two years ago! But it wasn't until late last Winter that he asked me on our first date. A date which changed our lives. At the time we'd initially met we were just two familiar faces who'd often bump into each other at local events and parties. He was always so kind and quick to say hi. Always remembering my name I really admired him and thought he was such an interesting and genuinely good hearted person. Whodathunk he thought the same of me?! So in this short period of time we've gone and done some really crazy (and fun) things together. We've fallen in love, we've moved in, and we've begun a life together as a unit and a family. And never in my life did I think I'd do all of this so fast! But as my father has always told me, "Katy, when it happens, you'll know. You just know. It hits you like a ton of bricks."

Years back I was devastated by a break up. I was in my early twenties and I fell hard for a creative, funny and outrageous guy. And call me naive or even dumb but the yellow and red flags were always there. From the get-go I wasn't initially interested but he was so keen on spending time with me and flirting with me that eventually I decided to give things a go. Within months we ended up in a serious relationship and as I look back I see that it was something I had really pushed for. This was clearly the beginning of the end because as a young man in his twenties, he obviously had another agenda. And as I've grown and matured, I don't feel mad about this at all. How he went about it though is what I take (or took) issue with. It's tough to be honest and it's tough not to want to have your cake and eat it too. Especially if you're 23 and you have a penis! So this guy just really wanted to live and love and try new things. But because monogamy has always been important to me, it wasn't easy for him to flat out tell me that a serious relationship wasn't something he was interested in. He'd lose me. And I know he loved me and I know the reasons he lied to me about cheating were about not wanting to hurt me. I get it now. But when I did find out I was absolutely crushed. Cheating can really devastate a person. Especially when they're young and insecure. You're left thinking, "What did I do wrong?", "What about me isn't good enough?", "Why is she better than me?" When the real answer is that it isn't about you at all. It's about the person who can't be honest. I look back on the last time we ever spoke or saw each other and I recall him crying and telling me he was sorry. He felt bad. He did care and he just messed up. And for years I was still angry because of the pain it caused. No one can ever quite get over being deceived. Especially for two whole years! But now, 7 years later we're both better off. I'm sure he's spent these past few years having and enjoying those experiences he was looking for and I've spent the past few years looking for someone who did want a meaningful and lasting relationship. It was never meant to be and I'm so glad to have lived through the heartache to fully appreciate actual mutual love and respect.

I did have a few other long term relationships peppered in between that one ex and my current boyfriend as well. In fact, I had two more two-year relationships! (Hey, that's not bad for 7 years.) And from each of those I've learned a great deal about what I want, what I deserve and what I need from a partner. And whaddayaknow - My dad was right all this time! In fact, when he first told me that I'd know when I met the right person, it was while he was consoling me as I sobbed over the loss of that relationship. And since then he's had to tell it to me a few more times. HA! Each time I'd go through a break up, (though in these more recent relationships I was the one to call it off) I had to be reminded that I would've known if I were dating the right guy. And it's true. Each time I've ever dated anyone, even if it was something that fizzled after a few weeks or months, I'd always ask myself, "Does he feel like the one?" And low and behold, each time a little voice in my head told me, "Nah. I don't think so..." But like I have been guilty of in the past, everything that seemed like a yellow flag at the time, was really a big ass red flag. I just didn't want to face it!

So enough about the Mr. Wrongs and back to Mr. Right...

I was cautious yet excited. We met up to go on our first date and not only was he right on time, he chose my absolute favorite Seattle restaurant to wine and dine me! And being that I've always been the breadwinner in my relationships, I was really impressed and giddy about a full dinner and drinks experience. I never expect a date to pay for everything. Even on the first date. But I guess it's because I've always dated people who were broke or selfish or just not that into me? So we sat down, we decided what to order and we had a lovely meal, a lovely bottle of wine and an even lovelier conversation. Coming from past experiences where guys had always been really cheap, I felt uncomfortable about having him foot the bill. Even though he invited me to dinner, chose the place and literally told me he wanted to take me out and treat me. How lame is this? I sat there and told myself, "Katy, enjoy this. He's paying for this experience because you're worth it. He wants to treat you and show you he's interested." And it felt so good!

With other great dates to follow, it was clear within no time that this was different. He was different.

Unlike past experiences, we took things really slow at first. I was coming out of a really strange break up situation and he was looking out for himself. Wanting to make sure that we were dating because there was mutual interest, it was important that we move slowly to make sure that this wasn't some strange rebound or way to get good attention after having gone through yet another break up. I appreciated his honesty about the issue and admired that he was looking out for his best interests. I didn't want to be on the rebound and I certainly wanted to like him for who he was, not because he was just some new guy. In no time it was apparent to us both that this was something much bigger. After weeks of being afraid to even hold hands we finally had a conversation about how we were feeling and how weighty it was. Like a big warm blanket, I could really feel love like I'd never had before. It was so comforting and so reassuring. The absolute best moment of my life came when we were watching a movie together. As we battled these intense feelings it became hard to express ourselves without just being honest. He looked at me and just said, "Katy, I've fallen in love with you." Feeling exactly the same way, we embraced and each let out a sigh of relief. I thought, "Good. It's not just me?!" Weeks and months passed and discussions of living together came up. (His idea, not mine!) So again we had really open conversations about this and ultimately decided it made perfect sense. But what was crazy was that neither of us had ever lived with a significant other before. This was a really big deal and when I broached the subject with my parents I expected them to be unhappy. But they were thrilled! And yet again, there was another solid sign that it wasn't just me that knew he was Mr. Right, even my friends and family did. Of the dozen or so men I'd introduced to friends and family over the years, this was the only man that genuinely impressed everyone. In fact, I wholeheartedly believe that if it came down to some freak break-up, my parents would choose him over me!

So here were are a year later. Very much in love, very comfortable with our life together and very sure of our future. The timing of when the next big steps occur is all up in the air. I think after such a great year, why rush into anything? I have told many friends, some who've even gotten separated and divorced since, "If he's the man you're planning to be with forever - why get married ASAP?" And that's how I feel. At this point in our life we have so much to look forward to. If we got engaged it'd be thrilling but it's literally an event and a moment I've been excited about for 30 years! Then it'll be a memory, not something to look forward to. Same with planning a wedding and getting married. An actual wedding ceremony takes place over the course of just a few hours. THEN WHAT? I love the idea of dreaming and fantasizing about those moments and that day. It's coming, and it's not far off, but it's so exciting that it's still not here yet. Right now we're enjoying what we have and it's also wise to be aware that things change. I'm confident that he's the one. I absolutely know it. But regardless of that we still have plenty to learn from one another before taking any other big steps in life. I once knew a gal who met a man, got engaged, moved in and got married all within the span of about 18 months. This rush to get everything done caused a lot of strain in their relationship. So much so that they were in couples therapy before they even got married! And to each his own, but doesn't that seem odd? If you can't have a successful, smooth and easy courtship, isn't that a sign that marriage is not in the cards? It's terribly sad it didn't last, but not terribly surprising. And though I feel bad that the relationship dissolved, I think a lot of the answers and red flags were in their faces the whole time. Yet who wants to face all of that pain? I've certainly tried to make broken relationships work! At the time it seems easier to try to fix something that's broken than to have to go start the dating process all over again. But in the long run it just doesn't work. And finally, FINALLY at 30 I've figured that out.

Love, when it's right, is easy. I don't feel insecure, I don't feel doubtful, and I don't question this relationship at all. For the first time I'm with someone who puts 100% into the relationship and tells me each day how much I mean to him. I literally lay awake at night and smile just looking at him and feeling thankful that he's a part of my life. And with absolute conviction I can say that I know there's someone out there for everyone. There were times that I felt hopeless. A good friend and I used to joke that my "picker" was broken and that for some reason I only knew how to date people that were wrong for me. I'm not sure whether it was age, experience, or fate, but I found my perfect match and boy was it obvious that he was the right one. I think the greatest gift my dad has ever given me was that advice he gave me way back when. Thank you, Dad.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations, Katy! True love is THE best! For the record, my hubby and I met, got engaged, and married in less than a year and just celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary! :) I totally agree, when love is right, it's easy.. and you DO "just know!" That one took me years to learn, too. SO happy for you! Thank you for sharing your sweet love story.