My heart did not skip a beat, and there were no butterflies in my stomach.
I was knee-deep in tears, hands shaking with fear, and body numb with anxiety. What followed after that further confirmed what I had believed from the beginning—the relationship I was in was going to last forever.
It wasn’t one moment, per se.
A collage of moments led me to the realization that this man—the one who was my best friend for a long while before finally admitting our feelings for each other—yes, this man is the one I want to see every day, the one whose voice pulls me from my darkest nightmares, and the one who put his seal on my heart.
For such a long time and before I got into this serious relationship, I used to read articles about signs when to know he’s the one.
Some would say that he should listen to you and respect you. Others would say that you both want the same things and can make ends meet.
So many signs, and yet, as important as they are, of course, I felt like something was missing. They just weren’t enough.
I’ve witnessed many people in relationships, being all sunshine and rainbows. However, some of them did not last.
The question that perplexed me the most was: if everything is going great, why did it end?
And I found the answer when I finally got to experience it myself.
Relationships last when partners are there for each other through the worst times as well as the best.
For years, a couple could last with happy smiles and fun adventures. But once the storm hits, they just can’t seem to get on the same boat and fight it together. Either one of them would fall into the raging sea, or they decide to take different boats and fight the storm each one on their own.
The storms in relationships are the ones that truly test the couple’s strength.
And I’m not talking about the mild jealousy winds or making weekend plans that make them both happy.
I’m talking about financial challenges; I’m talking about rejections from family members; I’m talking about sudden health problems; I’m talking about loss; I’m talking about anything that might be a deal-breaker for some couples, something that creates problems and eventually leads to a breakup.
And so, I was sitting in the empty exhibition room of the museum where I worked back at the university.
I was thinking about my unpaid tuition fees, the limited time I still had left of my work at the museum before I was no longer eligible as a student employee (wacky university rules), and the tutoring job I had lost. I did not know how I was going to pay for my classes and if I would still be able to sign up for them the following semester.
An anxiety attack was beginning to form in my system and mind.
I immediately grabbed my phone and asked my boyfriend to meet me in the exhibition room. Two minutes later, he left his class and rushed to where I was.
Among the 1,000-year-old pottery and 100-year-old paintings, sat my boyfriend with the ageless love he had in his heart. I shared my fears with him, my feelings, my dread, and my anxiety, but he remained silent.
He listened and held my hand.
When I was done and had already released the tears I was trying to keep inside, he gently touched my face and said, “Why are you worrying as if you’re alone in this? Everything you face in life, you face it with me.”
He didn’t just nod and say he’s there for me. He tried to find solutions to the problem that would ease my anxiety and keep me at peace.
I loved him so much, but the fact that he didn’t run away or dismiss the storms that were challenging us made me love him even more.
This was the beginning of the thread of moments that awakened me to the clear picture of our future together.
Committed and in a loving, long-lasting relationship.
The butterflies never left me when he hugged me. My heart never stopped beating fast when he held my hand. And we both made each other happy without a strenuous effort.
I had loved him from the beginning because of everything that made him who he is, before he was there for me through the hardest times. But right then, I knew he wouldn’t run away at the slightest problem.
It is healthy for the relationship to let us experience the best and the worst of moments with our partner. Forever isn’t only about the ups and the happy memories. It is also about the downs and the challenges we could face as a couple.
I am not saying we need to act as each other’s therapists; I’m saying that if our love withstands the trials that life throws our way, we can face anything in our future together.
So before deciding if our partner is the one or not, we need to ask an important question:
“Will they be there through the worst of times as well?”