While listening to it the other day, it occurred to me that people frequently ask the question ‘How did you know he/she was “the one”?’
In my life, I’ve had enough first dates that I don’t know the exact number – less than twenty, but enough that I can’t recall the number precisely since I didn’t bother to count. Out of that, I’ve had three second dates, and two marriages.
When I was dating, and more often than not refusing a second date with the latest man in question, I was frequently told I was too picky. I reject that notion out of hand – I’d rather be alone than with the wrong man. That may sound bizarre, but when I was on my own, I was just lonely. When I was with the wrong man, it was a constant reminder of what I’d had, but didn’t now have. It’s easier to bury the memories, I suppose, when you haven’t got something rubbing your nose in it and constantly reminding you.
Those are the reasons I didn’t bother with a second date often. If I didn’t feel that ‘click’ immediately, some ephemeral sense of ‘rightness’, I firmly believed it would never be there. Sure, you can grow companionship and a sense of familiarity, but what I was looking for was more than just that. Some might say I was searching for a great passion, a wild love, and to some degree I probably was, but that wasn’t the indefinable something for which I searched.
Some of those first dates never turned into second dates because he also wasn’t interested. A few people told me perhaps I should be more restrained in my personality when I went on a first date, which struck me as the most incredible advice ever. So… I should lie about who I am until… when? When is a good time to suddenly spring on someone that you’re not the person they thought you were?
Since my first marriage ended because my ex-husband turned out to have multiple personalities (see here for all the sordid details), I can attest to the fact there is never a good time to have that conversation. You’re left with a great sense of betrayal, of deception, and impossible uncertainty because suddenly you find yourself in a relationship with someone you don’t know. The best advice I can give you for dating is be yourself. Seriously. If your date doesn’t like you, then he/she isn’t the right person for you. The best gift you can give yourself is holding out for that person who loves you exactly as you are. I didn’t want to change myself. I wanted a man who loved me for what I am.
I knew on my first date with my second husband that it was right. There was a quality to those hours, a comfortableness, a familiarity, something that just made me want to stay. That did make me stay, long after I should have gone home, and even when we did part ways, I didn’t want to go. I had plans the next weekend – my friends were taking me out to get me drunk on what should have been my first wedding anniversary. But he wanted to see me, and I wanted to see him, and so I invited him along – and he came. And survived the experience, which is quite a feat, since my friends are an oddball bunch.
I can’t recall any other man I would have invited out with my friends on what was, essentially, a second date. I can only put that down to the sense of ‘rightness’ I felt, and I can only assume he agreed to come for the same reason. There was something there important enough to be pursued – that feeling was the only thing that got me out on a first date with him, seeing as it was only six months since I’d separated from my first husband. I’d met someone who was too good to not take a chance, even though I was still something of a mess.
I never analysed that feeling he gave me at the time. Emotionally wrecked as I was, that feeling was a soothing balm, and it was enough that I felt it, and recognised it, and it was good. It’s only now I reflect on it that I can put that feeling into words.
Honey – you’re like coming home.