In all my years of dating, marriage, and then divorce (one month shy of my 28th birthday), I never stopped to think about how other women view love.
So often we read about the male mind and what it was like for him in the moments he knew he found the one.
But what does finding love look like on the other side? What was that moment like for women when they finally realized they met their match?
I was amazed at the diversity of responses and could not be more grateful for those who participated to make this piece possible.
Your vulnerability and willingness touched my heart. And your stories made me laugh, and cry, and at times, together.
Some of these women I chose at random, and the rest were sought out, from ages 24-65, both gay and straight, local and international, these women opened their hearts to share that defining moment.
Here’s to these 17 beautiful women who took a leap of faith in love, and to the moments they knew. (Men, it’s ok to take notes, we promise not to tell!)
Seeing how easy it always was being with him, from food shopping to vacations, and then he stood by my side the whole time with some crazy ex problems. I knew then that he would be there through the good and bad.
I knew when he chose me over people he knew for a lifetime because in his heart he knew I would never lie to him.
~ Michele, 32
We traveled to Israel together on Birthright and after spending two weeks straight together, he didn’t annoy me and I wasn’t sick of him. I knew then.
I am probably the least romantic person in the world, but the first time I met my husband to be I was living in Florida and he lived 3.5 hours away from me. We both knew I would be leaving Florida since I was only there for a one-year fellowship, so I kept telling him I couldn’t get serious. Then, I moved back to New York, got a job in Arkansas, and he flew up to New York to drive me to Arkansas. Six months later, he got a job in Little Rock. I started to think this was for the long haul since he moved to Arkansas to be with me, but I also knew it was a good choice for him career-wise. At some point, we began to talk about marriage, and it just felt right. It came down to two things; we wanted the same things in life, and I loved being with him. He told me early on that, “being with me felt so natural and I could be myself.” That is probably because I peed with the bathroom door open on our second date. We have been married two years now, have a kid and I am still having the time of my life.
~ Nancy, 33
I didn’t know right away that he was one. In fact, we actually broke up a few times. But he always believed in us. It was his patience and belief in our relationship that made me realize he was “the one.” He has held me at my worst and encouraged me to be my best. But most of all, he always makes me laugh.
~ Andrea, 31
I knew when I first met him and it was solidified on our second date when we were playing scrabble and drinking wine on his living room floor. I dropped an entire bottle of wine on his rug and I freaked out because that was so like me to do. I had hoped that side of me would stay away until he got to know me better. So I began to apologize profusely, grabbed paper towels and water and began to scrub and panic. He grabbed my hands, looked at me and said, “Relax, it isn’t blood, we can always buy a new rug at the rug store.” The funny thing is, I never thought I was going to get married and I never wanted to. I waited a year for him to come back from Iraq, only three months after I met him. We’ve been together over two years now and I love him more today than I did the day I married him.
~ Cathy, 30
I knew immediately. As a matter of fact, I left my boyfriend at the time to be with him.
~ Marisa, 33
I used to go on all these dates and after two dates I would end it because I knew it wasn’t right. I knew he was the one after we made it to the third date. Something felt different and I still wanted to see him. I just enjoyed being with him and even told him, “you’re a keeper.”
~ Janet, 65
Ours isn’t the typical story because we dated for six months and then we separated for four years. I was never able to replace her during that time. She set the bar so high that everyone after her just fell short. The first time we met, there was no awkwardness, our conversations flowed smoothly as if we knew each other from another lifetime. Her smile blew me away. She is the most patient and sweetest soul I’ve ever known. She gets me and we balance each other. I thank God everyday for reuniting us and blessing me with her love.
~ Gillian, 33
I’m not sure how or when I knew. I just knew that I really, really liked him. He said he knew the moment he saw me.
My moment was definitely on our first date. I can’t necessarily say that was the moment I knew I would marry him, but there was definitely something on our first date that I felt. I knew he was special and different from everyone else.
~ Jen, 31
I always thought of love as giving, not taking. But you have to have love to be able to give it. When I first met my husband, I knew that I was ready to marry and build a family. And I knew it would be with him because he gave unconditionally. There never had to be reasons for him to give, he just gave because that’s who he is, and for me, that was the sexiest quality I could find in a man.
~ Raisa, 31 (Ukraine)
The first time I met my wife, we were both already in committed relationships. In fact, our first meeting was on a double date with our respective partners. We were very good friends for about a year and I always thought she was fantastic and would be a great woman to date. In fact, I hated her girlfriend and thought she deserved better, but I was still very committed to my ex-girlfriend at that time.
That relationship ended up falling apart (for totally unrelated reasons—I swear), and after awhile, I ended up telling my wife I had feelings for her. She immediately broke up with her girlfriend and we started dating. The day I knew she was the one was on the morning of my birthday, when I woke up and she ambushed me with a huge bag of presents (a ton of baking accessories—one of my favorite hobbies) and pulled out her guitar to sing the most ridiculous birthday song she wrote just for me. I couldn’t believe how thoughtful, original and creative she was. I knew then, for sure, that she was a keeper.
~ Jen, 29
I knew right after the first time he was able to make me orgasm. No other man had been able to do that in years.
~ Definitely Anonymous
I met my husband in CVS when I walked in to develop photos and the security guard asked me if I was single. I lied and said I had a boyfriend because I didn’t want to be hooked up by a security guard. But he called my husband over anyway and the first time I met him, it was kind of awkward. But I thought he was cute so I gave the security guard my email address to give to him, and he emailed me that same day. We dated for awhile and then split for 8 months. I knew he was the one because when we were separated, I couldn’t stop thinking of him, and later on I found out he felt the same. It just “felt” right. And I knew he would be loyal. So far, he hasn’t failed me, and in my heart, I believe he won’t. We definitely have our differences but it’s the challenge that keeps us growing. Like a job, if you’re bored and stagnant you can’t grow, but if it’s challenging, it helps to keep you motivated and always strive to do better.
~ Vicky, 31
It was the moment on my 24th birthday when I got sick on the subway and he took my hand to lead me off, and tie my hair back. I was so mortified after vomiting that I just looked up at him and said, “I’m so sorry,” and he just looked back at me and said, “It’s ok, I’m here to help you if you aren’t well.” I knew then that he would be there to love me on my worst days.
First time around I knew he was “the wrong one” but married him anyway thinking it seemed a fair trade off for being single. I mean isn’t that what every one does anyway. Really, I thought, what is true love? Three and half years later I answered that question. It was the opposite of what I was living, so I lawyered up and got out.
Then, I stopped looking for the illusion and just started to enjoy going out with friends and won my self-esteem back. I was no longer mired by the fact that I settled and feeling less of myself, instead, I chose to be free and believe there had to be more. It was the inner change of believing in myself and beginning to know who I was becoming that started to attract all the right people to me. I kind of started to “crush” on a friend and realized he was reciprocating. We talked and laughed a lot and it all felt so natural, fun and exciting all at the same time. There was mutual attraction, and like-mindedness and we both shared similar values. He always made me feel safe, always had my back and always listened to and valued what I would say. There was a trust there that I never had before. Oh yeah, and the sex was amazing! We’ve been together 35 years now, have two amazing and successful daughters, three grand children, with one more on the way and the love just grows and grows.
Marriage is a roller coaster ride, holding on when things get scary and the adrenaline rush of excitement when life twists and turns, knowing that your significant other will always be riding with you. I think the key is friendship and attraction to both mind and body, especially the mind. We grow so much more interesting as we get older and that is most attractive. Gravity takes its toll on the body and wisdom is so beautiful.
~ Barbara, 62 years wise.
As for me, today, I am learning through these inspiring stories how to love again.
I am learning how to feel safe when I allow my heart to open just enough for new light to come in.
I am not always strong. I am not always independent.
There are times when I’m weak. There are times when I’m afraid.
I am always completely and utterly powerless over the journey of love that my life takes. And I suspect some of you (or a lot of you), at times, feel the same way as me.
But what I also know for sure is that happy times and real love do exist. And at the end of the day, we are all looking for the same thing—someone to truly love.
And even when you aren’t looking, when you least expect it, it finds you.
You have to have courage to love someone because you risk everything. Everything.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Shari Tischler
Apprentice Editor: Brandie Smith / Editor: Renee Picard