When did I know he was ‘the one’?
I’ve just been reading a blog in which men posted their stories of when they realised their girlfriend was ‘the one’. I am assuming such stories are interchangeable with regard to sexuality, but as the blog was heteronormative in posting, and as my relationship is heterosexual, we’ll stick with those terms.
It got me wondering – what would my partner write about when he knew I was the one? We do talk about it sometimes, as he is an incurable romantic with a brilliant memory for such things (me, not so much…), and being the egoist I always want to hear! But when did I know he was the one?
The truth is, I don’t think there is any one moment when I realised he was the one, the person to whom I would plight my troth, with whom I would tie the knot and with whom my life would become forever entwined. I think, honestly, that those around me probably understood the truth of my relationship before I did.
Some background – I met my partner when I had just turned 32. I had never before in all my life been involved in a relationship that lasted more than four months. I was a running joke with lots of my friends, and I joined in that joke because I, by that point, was completely happy with the idea that I would not have a long-term relationship. I didn’t need one; I knew what I wanted and didn’t want and was not prepared to compromise. Fun would still be had. I firmly believed, and still do believe, that a long-term relationship is not essential to happiness or contentment, but that it can enhance both if it is the right one.
He, on the other hand, was a bit of a serial monogamist. Lots of long-term relationships; we’d even drunk at the same pub 10 years previously (Dew Drop Inn for those in the know) and having seen photos of him was GORGEOUS and exactly the person I would have flirted incredibly outrageously with, but we never met. Neither of us was ready. Both of us needed to go through our ‘issues’ before we would be able to be ourselves and therefore be fully committed to a relationship. I had many issues… Not least of which was a total lack of belief in myself as a partner early on (which was resolved quite early too, about 6 years before we met) but I then had many physical issues (I may blog about some of them) which also needed to be resolved and affected my body image severely. Strangely, I never had issues with regard to sex; I always thought once you’d both reached that point it didn’t matter, we all have body image issues and the fact we had reached that point meant the ‘turned on’ outweighed the ‘body paranoia’! I apologise to my parents if they are reading this, by now you know more than you ever wanted to!
It is not only important for someone to be ‘the one’ but also that you meet them when you are ready in yourself for that ‘one’ relationship. If you are the type of personality who would suit a ‘the one’ relationship. For some people, a lifelong commitment is not for them. I always knew that if I ended up in a ‘the one’ relationship it would be monogamous, but never thought I needed a ‘the one’. That is also important to me – needing a person is not healthy, wanting them but not needing them is. I never want to be without him, but I know if I was I could cope with life (I wouldn’t want to, but I could).
I was very confused early on in the relationship. I was used to realising quickly in relationships that it was fun, but that it would end due to differences which were currently minor but which would grow to problems (pretty much the ending was always my decision; looking back I made those decisions occasionally for the wrong reasons and under assumption rather than knowledge, and may have hurt people – I projected onto them and I pre-emptively struck the relationship off my list). I didn’t want this one to end. It just kept going, and it grew, almost organically and almost in spite of myself. I just didn’t want him to go. He didn’t complete me (I was already complete by this time, thank you very much), but he made my life better. I remember discussions with friends where I literally didn’t know what I was doing with him, because I had never gone past the four month barrier and this was all new ground.
I decided to see how it went, and not to put any pressure on it. Let it develop, organically, don’t set up problems or try to see the future. The future will happen anyway, I might as well concentrate on the present!
I don’t remember who said ‘I Love You’ first (he probably does). I do know we say it to each other every morning before whichever one of us is going to work leaves, and end every text with it, and say it many times to the point of probably making everyone around us physically sick. We say it because it is true, and because we want the last words to be ones of love. We have both experienced early deaths of people close to us.
I met his family early on. Two weeks after our first date, to be exact. He has since told me that his father said to him as I left that it was clear I was ‘the one’. He did not tell me that for a number of years, because frankly that would have made me run a mile! His father passed away a year after we met, about four days after both sets of parents met for the first time and after our first performance of our first play with a new theatre group just formed – I was Titania, he was Oberon. It means so much to me that his father said that. He knew I was the one, as did my partner. After two weeks, I would not have known that. By the time of the play, I had a pretty good idea he might be.
I remember walking up the road towards his flat after we had been together about five months, idly chatting about the future, and the words “when we are married…” just slipped out. Me, a person who had always said I probably would never get married. Not because I didn’t want to, or thought that there was anything wrong with the institution (apart from the fact it is not available to those in same-sex relationship; that is and always shall be a shameful discrimination which should be stopped), but merely because it did not seem necessary to me and I had never met anyone I thought I would be able to make that sort of lifelong commitment too. I was very embarrassed, and turned into Hugh Grant stuttering like a fool in an attempt to cover it up.
I think that, given the above story, it could probably be said that I proposed to him. However, he did propose to me. He took me to a jewellery shop and I picked out a ring (he has an engagement ring too, but chose not to have one that can be worn on his finger; shocking!). I can’t remember if I took the ring off, or if he had it in a box already (my memory is that of a sieve), but I ended up organising a dinner out for some friends which turned into a surprise engagement dinner. Our friends were so excited they kept hinting at my partner to propose, making arch comments which I did not pick up on at all (honestly, it’s a miracle I can breathe and walk at the same time).
He told me about four years later that he had been to the shop first and picked that ring, and asked the shop assistant to place it where it was visible to me. I looked around the whole shop, and picked that exact ring. He just knew. He always knows. I find that comforting. If he was not the one, I think that might be creepy!
He has never, ever been afraid to be public about his love for me, nor I him, but we are not cloying (I hope). We are still individuals, but together we are better. We support one another, give strength and love, but do not smother or demolish dreams because they are ‘impractical’. We discuss, talk things through, and have the same guiding principles. Our future plans – no children, places we want to travel, him being the main homemaker, me being the main breadwinner (although frankly I feel those roles are so complimentary it almost seems silly to separate them) etc., coincide. He is as much of, if not more so, a feminist as I am. He gets me when I say I find the use of the ‘Mrs/Miss’ terms fundamentally discriminatory and perpetuates inequality, whilst being against prohibition of the use of those terms (the woman’s right to choose does not end with reproductive decisions). Our principles match, our ‘big life decisions’ match. If they hadn’t matched, then he would not have been ‘the one’, it’s as simple as that.
Relationships, if they are right, in my opinion shouldn’t seem like hard work. Yes, you may have to discuss, disagreements will happen, but if it seems like hard work to be with them then perhaps being with them is not the right decision. We argue (generally about semantics; yes we are that pedantic) but resolving issues is never hard work, it just is what happens. I know he is the one, and therefore any work is not work, it’s just a part of the relationship which happens, and I never lose sight of the fact he loves me completely (hard to lose sight of something which is constantly being said in front of everyone you know; copious ‘vom’ comments on FB statuses will attest to that).
When did I know he was the one? There is no one point in time I can look to and say “yes, that was it, then”. It crept up on me. My subconscious knew before I did. What I do know is that, as a friend of mine recently put, “we make each other better” (said friend was intoxicated, bless him). All I do know is that if I think of my life without him in it, my mind shuts down to fend off the panic attack. He is the one. I know it, from the innermost reaches of my emotions to the outermost areas of my life. It doesn’t matter when I knew it. I just did and do and always will.
He doesn’t know I wrote this. I wonder what his reaction will be?