Mr. A is the only person I have ever dated.
I know that sounds weird, and I guess I should explain that I’ve been on “dates” with other guys in the past, but a good majority of them didn’t go past our first time out together, and certainly none of them went to a third or fourth date. I honestly didn’t set out with the “marry the first man you get into a relationship with” plan when I headed off to college; in fact, having never dated anyone in high school, I figured my best bet was finding someone after I was a well-established adult who had taken her twenties by storm, a la the lovely Miss Camel. That was, of course, if I ever ended up finding someone to begin with.
I distinctly remember the sixteen-year-old version of myself sitting on my parents’ living room floor, confessing to my mom through steadfast tears that I would “never find a guy who likes me” and that “no one will ever want to marry me.” My mom, being the fervent trooper and voice of reason that she is, told me I was being completely silly. I didn’t believe her, of course, because when you’re sixteen and no boy has ever asked you to be his girlfriend, moms are never right about anything. However, as soon as you move away and start to become your own person, you start to realize that Mom was always right. At least mine was.
After I graduated high school, the overemotional, unreasonable, younger version of me had already all but given up on the idea of being in a relationship with someone. Being the oldest child and something of a homebody, moving away to college was a big deal for me; much to my parents’ surprise, I handled the transition better than anticipated and was soon making friends and finding my place in the world. (I don’t know why they thought I wasn’t going to be able to handle living away from home–just because I didn’t go out and socialize with people didn’t mean I couldn’t. Weirdos. 😉 ) I joined a Christian sorority on campus and experienced getting to know wonderful and diverse girls from all over the state, many of whom were always keeping their eyes peeled for their knights in shining armor. For some of them, finding husbands was their only reason for coming to college in the first place. While that sentiment didn’t necessarily sit well with me, I did make fast friends with a few girls in the sorority who had similar outlooks on life as mine.
Meanwhile, I was still flourishing and becoming successful in my own right without being in a relationship. In my first two years of college I joined the campus music program and became a member of one of the college choirs, was elected treasurer of my sorority, and started working as a note taker for students through the campus disability services. I wasn’t looking for Mr. Right because I didn’t necessarily need him to be happy, and I was starting to come to terms with the idea that maybe the single life could be equally rewarding and full of adventures. However, even in light of my new-found appreciation for the freedom to live my life exactly the way I pleased, that didn’t keep me from wishing and praying at night for a certain someone to come into my life and give it a different kind of meaning. I never stopped hoping he would show up; I just stopped looking for him. If it was meant to be, it would happen.
By that point I had gone on a few of dates with different guys, but none of them worked out. To be honest, I was incredibly awkward on first dates (like not being able to look my date in the face kind of awkward) and no guy I ever dated seemed to be able to put me at ease. I don’t know what it was, but I almost felt like I wasn’t good enough for any of the guys I went out with, or I felt like I would have had to change pieces of who I was to make any kind of relationship work. I didn’t know what I wanted or needed, but I definitely knew what I didn’t want or need in another person. Turns out all I really needed was a stubborn, seemingly cocky, hard-headed small-town boy who wouldn’t take no for an answer to break me out of my hazy, shy stupor. And although I did have to wait for the right person to come into my life, I didn’t have to wait very long.
I was twenty when I met Mr. A, and almost immediately something felt different about our dynamic. First of all, I felt incredibly confident around him. He seemed to almost immediately accept me for exactly who I was, and his incorrigible pursuit of me early on in our relationship was both flattering and terrifying at the same time. Among my circle of sorority friends, Mr. A was known as a flirt and the “player” of the Christian fraternity, and I was warned to not take him seriously. Never one to follow the advice of other girls, however, I decided to give him a chance. On our first date, I’ll just be honest–I was my typical awkward self. However, Mr. A broke the tension pretty quickly by kissing me about an hour into it. Yep, it was bold, and yep, I pulled away after a second or two, but it was exactly the kind of “first kiss” I needed. It totally demystified the whole dating concept to me, and although it took me about a month to make up my mind about Mr. A, I finally understood what I had been missing before and how much better life really could be with him by my side. I knew what I wanted, I just needed that extra nudge to get me off the diving platform. Mr. A was the only one who could convince me to take that leap of faith.
After two and a half years of dating, Mr. A asked me to marry him, and it was at that point that my parents divulged to me that they both had always assumed I would marry the first person I ever dated. (Suuuuuure, Mom and Dad. Whatever. 😉 ) People have asked how I can be so confident in Mr. A’s and my relationship when I don’t know what else is out there and I haven’t “played the field” any. But I can’t find any point in seeing what else is out there when what I have in front of me is exactly what I need. And while it’s true that my path to love probably wasn’t the most conventional, it was completely perfect for me and for Mr. A, and I absolutely cannot see my future without him in it. That’s what makes love so special, I think, and why that even though we may each have different paths to finding it, we can relate to one another in its unparalleled impact on our lives–the journey is different for everyone, but the language love speaks is universal. And that’s why places like Weddingbee are so amazing–we may all come from different walks of life with different experiences and stories to tell, but in the end, we’re all here celebrating the beauty and unmistakable joy of love, weddings and marriage.
So, I’m the girl who’s marrying the first guy she’s ever dated. I guess sometimes, when you know, you know. Life’s funny that way.
What was your journey to love like? Has anyone else had a journey similar to mine? If given the chance, is there anything you would change about your path to finding “the one”?