That old sledgehammer-to-the-gut feeling...
September 9, 2006 8:48 AM   Subscribe

Are my standards for a girlfriend / potential wife too high? And if so, what do I do? Here's the deal. I'm a 28 year old single guy living in NYC who's finally starting to feel the old part a little. I'm fairly successful in business and have a good group of friends and a fairly active life outside of work - lots of interests, one of them in particular being girls.

Problem is, I don't have one. And, despite a few dates/potentials lately, for the last 6 years since college, I've been for the most part single.

I think my senior year in college started the problem. I met the girl of my (then) dreams, and I mean that I can remember the spot I was standing on this planet when I first saw her. The whole year we were together I was convinced, in the back of my mind, that it wouldn't work out because she was so out of my league. Eventually, it didn't work out, due to many things (my pre-conviction probably helped).

Since then, I've met, and continue to meet, LOTS of very nice girls, some of whom seem to be a good match for me, at least on paper. But since college, I've never yet met one that really sent me all a-twitter, as it were. And now that my friends are starting to have kids, and my parents are getting antsy, and I'm realizing that I'll be pushing 50 when my kids are in little league if I don't meet someone relatively soon, I find myself wondering if I should quit holding out.

I've always told myself I'd wait until I had that ground-shaking experience again, until I was really head-over-heels for someone, before I'd seriously pursue a serious relationship. Should I just give up and settle for a nice girl that doesn't particularly floor me that way? Or is there a chance it can happen again?

I'm particularly interested in hearing from people who either a) did have this experience (once or multiple times) and are still with said person, or b) did *not* have this experience, but are enjoying a great relationship with someone just the same.
posted by allkindsoftime to Human Relations (33 answers total) 44 users marked this as a favorite
well, for one thing, I think you need to come to grips with the fact that no one girl is going to fill the exact same void which that girl left. Everyone is different- instead of trying to find a carbon copy of that girl, you need to learn to appreciate the differences. I know, easier said than done. Maybe you can just focus on what you really didn't like about the college girl. Maybe this will provide some error-correction and move you back towards the present. Don't fall into the trap of romanticizing the past. Everyone always remembers the good times, but hardly remembers the bad times.

That said, don't settle. Life is too short to not marry someone that makes your heart drop. Seriously. While it may seem okay at first, 5 years later those idiosyncracies that "you could live with" are going to drive you nuts. Settling is how divorce happens.
posted by unexpected at 8:57 AM on September 9, 2006 [2 favorites]

You'll be driving your kids from little league to divorce court. Wait it out. Don't bring children into a family that you "settled" for.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 9:17 AM on September 9, 2006

I had a great relationship when I was an undergrad, but she was 6 years older than me (21 to 27 gap is big) and for a few other reasons we broke up. Sounds similar to your situation.

Hard-won advice:

1. Don't compare anyone new to her - or more accurately, your idealised memory of her. This short-changes anyone new who could be even better for you.

2. If the word 'settle' ever comes up, it's not the right person. As mentioned above, that's how you end up hurting someone (and yourself).

28? Oh, you're ancient. I think anyone who gets married under 30 is doin' it too young, personally. You're going to have to wait a while before you're 'pushing 50' when your kids are in little league. Have kids at 34-35 and they're 16 when you're 50. I don't see anything wrong with that. They'll still be out of the house (probably) before you retire.

There's advantages to being an older parent. More money, bigger place, more stable job, more maturity and experience etc. Sure your friends might be 'ahead' of you in this regard, but when you have kids you'll be able to provide them with better vacations, safer cars, etc. that your friends in their 20s will never be able to.
posted by jimmythefish at 9:20 AM on September 9, 2006 [2 favorites]

Enjoying a long term relationship has little to do with experiences of initial euphoria. Even the most amazing, captivating, absolutely flawless person will come to seem average when you've seen them brushing their teeth, complaining about mothers, and losing their keys a thousand times.

Give some serious thought to what's important to you, then look for women who share those values and goals. Everyone ages, gains weight and gets sick, but people rarely change their minds about children, finances and who's family to visit on which holiday.

And frankly the advice on settling is just wrong. Settling, does not cause divorce. If I were force to pick out a single magic bullet, I would say that the main cause of divorce is the belief that a marriage is a super special relationship in which we don't have to compromise, ever. Marriage, like any other relationship, is most successful when the individuals subjugate their needs and goals for the needs and goals of the relationship. Marriage takes work, often hard work. But, it is the most rewarding relationship you'll ever have (that doesn't involve your children).

For the record when my wife and I met (6 years ago, married the last 4) we got along just fine, but neither of us was particularly interested in dating each other. Now, I can't imagine how I would live without her in my life.
posted by oddman at 9:27 AM on September 9, 2006 [1 favorite]

Definitely do not settle. I truly believe there are many women out there that will set your heart aflutter. You will find one. But, just remember that the fireworks will eventually die down. Sparks and skipping of hearts don't happen too much when you live with your SO for years on end.

If you do anything, marry somebody that you are capable of being great friends with. That great friendship should be there before you head to the altar. You might meet somebody that is a knockout, the sex is wonderful, she cooks the greatest food, etc. But is she your friend? Do you have a great time together? Do you share interests, and is their mutual respect and trust?

Don't lower your standards or settle just because you are feeling the pressure to get married and have children. My sister did that, and she is going through a divorce as I speak. She expected things to get better, and that her spouse would change. Big mistake.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to find a mate to marry, but don't rush into something just because you feel your clock it ticking, so to speak.

A good quote to ponder:
"Don't marry the person you think you can live with; marry only the individual you think you can't live without."
posted by LoriFLA at 9:55 AM on September 9, 2006 [3 favorites]

I think that the inital rush, the ground-shaking feeling when you first lay eyes on someone, has a lot to do with hormones. When I first met my fiance I thought he was cute, intelligent, and nice, but my heart didn't do flip-flops. Once I truly got to know him and saw how wonderful he was as a person that's when my heart started to patter when I was about to see him. Don't confuse initial lust with love...maybe give some of these girls a chance and get to know them awhile before you determine if they can rock your world.
posted by christinetheslp at 10:07 AM on September 9, 2006 [2 favorites]

I have a friend who mythologizes women from his past, and then beats any new women he meets over the head with it. Is there any way you can look this woman up, maybe have lunch and realize she's not a goddess? We all tend to idealize what we can't have (no messy real life to get in the way), and who better than the one that got away? She's still just a real person who farts, worships her idiot father, has appalling taste in music and maybe was always a bit of a bore. The woman you're looking for is the one who can make you believe in your own dreams and ideals--and who commits to sticking around to work it out with you, despite all your faults.
posted by tula at 10:16 AM on September 9, 2006 [6 favorites]

The internet dating sites are filled with people who won't settle. Check out the number of women around 40 who want children, but don't want to settle. "Hopeless romantics" they often call themselves. Good luck. An old guy once told me the opposite of LoriFla's advice. He said "Don't marry the girl you can't live without. Marry the one who can't live without you." The people who didn't settle and found the "right" one are only correct because they succeeded. Not everyone succeeds in finding that. After divorcing a high-maintenance woman, I now think about all the low-maintenance women I left who would have made better wives and mothers. This "girl of your dreams" that left you is getting more and more perfect because she's living in your head. I think the people who have the longest lasting marriages have the most practical standards. On preview: what tula says.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:19 AM on September 9, 2006 [8 favorites]

i think the thing is that you don't settle when you decide the person you are going to marry, but you need to learn to settle when you are deciding on women to date, given that you could be overly limiting your options too early in the is all about discovering someone over time...and the person you meet on the first date is rarely the same person a few months down the have to give it time for the masks to fall away (and often each will like the other more without the mask than with)

...i've known too many guys who set their standards too high right in the beginning, and they're all still alone...

and also, it's something that you'll only trust is true after the fact, but the harder you try to meet someone, and the more pressure you put on it, the less likely it's going to just have to kind of take it easy, throw yourself out there into life and experience, and let it happen when it's going to happen...i mean, you're already overstating it a bit...'pushing 50' when your kids are in little league is the case when you have kids at're 28, which is way young...and if you keep up some exercise, 50 is going to be younger than you think...
posted by troybob at 10:24 AM on September 9, 2006 [2 favorites]

One more comment about settling. Imagine that we had the same "don't settle for anything less than nearly perfect" attitude in other things we do.

Some examples:
1) When we bought our house, we knew it was farther from work than we wanted it to be. But we loved the layout. So we settled. It turns out that the neighborhood is great. We love our neighbors. And the commute is not nearly so taxing as we thought it would be.

2) We wanted a familly car, but couldn't afford a new one. So we settled for a year old Subaru in a color that I didn't like. Now, we love that car. It is exactly what we wanted, and the color has grown on me.

3) My current school was not my first choice for graduate work, but her family lives nearby. So, I settled for the program anyway. Now, I love it. I found a specialty that excites me, I have great friends, and we didn't have to sacrifice our family ties.

In other words, we settle all the time for all sorts of reasons and it hardly ever works out badly just because we settled. Why would marriage be any different?
posted by oddman at 10:34 AM on September 9, 2006 [9 favorites]

I know this story very, very well.

I had that ground-shaking experience back during my senior year in college myself. I too can remember the exact moment I laid eyes on her. And, strangely, I can remember how my stomach sank because I knew it would never happen, since she was so far out of my league. That was 13 years ago.

We hit it off spectacularly as friends (she's not only beautiful, but also almost incredibly on the same wavelength as I am), loved talking for hours, but things didn't work out with her romantically. The friendship was taxed by overwhelming romantic tension on my side; I was sore and heartbroken, she didn't understand.

She moved away and got married to another man, but we stayed friends. It was rare that more than a few months went by without one of us getting in contact. Years and years went by, and I dated, had a few longer term relationships, but I never, ever met another woman who did the same thing for me. I thought I was nuts, or broken, or just heartsick, and wondered when the longing for her would go away.

And then, things changed. Things fell apart with her ex-husband, and she got separated then divorced. We spent hours and hours on the phone. We took trips to see each other, and the awkwardness and tension of our friendship in college became love and passion. There are times when the earth-shaking experience of a lost love is just infatuation, but when we saw each other again, well, I knew that everything I felt then was still there, and that she was just as incredible as she was back in college.

We moved in together over a year ago, and it's been an incredibly happy, wonderful year for both of us.

We got married on Wednesday, the anniversary of when we met 13 years ago.

I'm unbelievably glad I held out.
posted by eschatfische at 10:37 AM on September 9, 2006 [38 favorites]

Update us in ten years, eschatfische.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:40 AM on September 9, 2006 [17 favorites]

I was hung up on a girl I thought at the time was "out of my league," much the same as you. Three years later and our relationship was over, but it took me years to shake her ghost.

Like yourself, I only had a handful of relationships after that, and, also like yourself, it really bugged me that everyone else seemed to be having such an easy time meeting people and moving forward in their lives.

But I have a question for you: do you think about this a lot? Because for me, it consumed me. I found it very difficult to be single again—I didn't know where to start, college was over and I had no real social network for potential mates and it frustrated me to no end.

What eventually happened was that I started—very slowly—to date again. And each time it got easier, and each time I forgot a little more about the original girl. And as her memory faded, the burning desire to "be in a relationship" also relented, and I started to actually not care if I was single.

Nowadays the only time I think about her is when I read questions like this. And it's not with bitterness or sadness, it's just... resolved. Sometimes I think that I wish I could have those pining years back again, that I could smack some sense into my dumb, younger self. But I know that everyone has different rates of healing, and some longer than others. Don't sweat it.

Hate to say it, but you'll eventually get swept off your feet again, and in all likelihood, it'll be when you're least ready for it. There's some fundamental law of the universe that dictates this; don't bother trying to fight it.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:42 AM on September 9, 2006 [2 favorites]

see! if eschatfishche's wife had just settled in the beginning, they would have had 13 more years together!

hehe...just kidding...couldn't resist that one...congratulations...
posted by troybob at 10:43 AM on September 9, 2006 [2 favorites]

An old guy once told me the opposite of LoriFla's advice. He said "Don't marry the girl you can't live without. Marry the one who can't live without you."

There is definitely something to be said for that. I love my husband but he almost literally worships the ground I walk on, and that for 23 years and counting.

To aid in your search, don't go looking for your carbon copy. Look for the person who is strong in your weak areas and vice versa. Don't "settle" but don't look for the same type of twitterpation either. Every relationship is different. The ones that last seem to leave room to grow.
posted by konolia at 10:53 AM on September 9, 2006 [3 favorites]

And, ps, don't be like my fortysomething friend who admits he was too picky and is unhappily alone. (And he's not ugly or a dork either. )
posted by konolia at 10:55 AM on September 9, 2006

Oddman makes a very good point about the whole "settling" thing.

I guess you could say I "settled" for my boyfriend of 3 years. He never graduated college, he's poor, he's balding, he has several hobbies in which I haven't the vaguest interest. Not exactly the kind of guy I would have pictured spending my life with.

On the other hand he's smart and funny and adorable and well-read and affectionate and caring and kind and an all around good person and he treats me like gold. I wouldn't trade him for anything. And I really mean that.

Of course I didn't feel like I was settling when I fell in love with him.

I think the trick is to keep an open mind. Decide what you can't live without and let the other stuff go, especially if it's superficial. A lot of people get hung up on something silly like haircolor or the job the person has. Does being a redhead (or blonde or brunette or whatever) automatically make someone unattractive? Does being a garbageman (or stockbroker, etc.) preclude them from being a worthwhile person? No and no.

I've never been the type to stay hung-up on my exes but I can tell you it's terribly off-putting when someone you're dating is. Let her go. There's more than one fantastic girl out there for you.
posted by Jess the Mess at 11:08 AM on September 9, 2006 [3 favorites]

My husband and I knew each other for quite a while before we got together. I spent a lot of time listening to him talk about other girls, suggesting how he could hook up with someone, blah blah. He always told me he was waiting for some girl to sweep him off his feet.

I also had a not-so-secret crush.

One day he came around and we got together.

I asked him about why he could be with me, since I clearly did not sweep him off of his feet.

He told me that if you crammed together all the time we had spent together in the last several months and put it into one moment, that moment would have done more than sweep him off of his feet.

Now that we're married, I think about that alot. I think we've managed to stay together, and mostly happy, for so long becuase of that theory - it's like we're a steadily burning sun instead of a fleeting exploding supernova. (or whatever the proper astonomical terms are. you get the drif).

Just something to think about.
posted by dpx.mfx at 11:23 AM on September 9, 2006 [7 favorites]

Totally agree with dpx.mfx - except in reverse. I was the one who was blind to my future husband's perfectness, because I was so attached to the falling-in-love part of previous relationships - in fact, I broke up with him because of it. Luckily, I figured out what a numbskull I was being, somehow got him to take me back, married his ass, and have been spreading out that 2-month superbliss period over years now; I think I'm not done falling in love with him.
posted by DenOfSizer at 11:56 AM on September 9, 2006 [5 favorites]

Well, I just married someone who didn't set my heart aflutter when we first met.

I thought he was cute and smart, and he said some really nice and charming things on our first date that made me want to go out with him again. But really, I just liked him because I could tell we could be good friends. We connected in that way that lifelong friends connect, regardless of romantic attraction. We had similar philosophies about life, and enough similarities and differences in our experiences and thought processes to make for lots of interesting conversation.

Have you ever non-romantically fallen in love with a friend? This happened for me a couple of times in high school in college. I got to know people, and realize how well we complemented each other as friends, and gradually realize how good, smart, and decent they were. At some point I realized that these were people I could see being friends with for the rest of my life -- and 10 or 15 years on, most of them are.

That happened with my husband, but there was also physical attraction there, too. Not all-consuming, more just something fun and playful at first. The longer I knew him, the more my lust for him grew. And the more I fell in love with him, too.

We started dating almost five years ago, and even though I liked him a lot from the start it took months before I really got the feeling that this could be something big. It was probably years before I got the hint that this was life long. Passion can grow, and I think sometimes it's better when it's built on something real -- friendship, love, understanding, respect, understanding -- than on a first glance and some pheromones in the air.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 11:59 AM on September 9, 2006 [5 favorites]

I think I'm not done falling in love with him.

That's it exactly. Just thinking about my growing love for Mr. Supafreak makes me swoon.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 12:02 PM on September 9, 2006

Take your time, stay in touch with your heart, don't make it too much an intellectual exercise.

But: beware the Frankenstein syndrome. Playing the field for a couple decades give you a long time to collect a whole lot of memories - and it's possible to start imagining an idealized person composed of all the best qualities of everyone you've ever dated while forgetting, or never really finding out about, their flaws. No one real person can possibly compete with your imagination and collected, combined set of memories.
posted by scheptech at 12:28 PM on September 9, 2006 [1 favorite]

I did the opposite for a long time. I would constantly compare boys to a guy who had broken my heart and the minute someone reminded me of him, I was gone (or wouldn't get in in the first place).

I think everyone's advice above is sound -- as long as you're still stuck on *her,* no one else has a fair shot. I don't care if it's a punch to the gut or a slow simmer you can't get enough of, if you don't get any of that, if it feels like settling, it's not for you.

I've had the immediate wow and I've had the after-10-years-of-him-being-my-best-friend-i'm-swept-off-my-feet (see above). There are predictors if things will work out -- how you communicate, common interests, how aligned your vision for the future you are, how comfortable with yourselves, etc. But I don't think *when* you feel that shiver in your heart and spine is a good predictor of lifelong happiness.

The divorce rate is more than 50%. People are naturally selfish creatures who will hurt you, be rude, make mistakes. There are no guarantees against disaster, heartbreak or emotional ruin. No matter who you choose to spend your life with, if you don't feel something -- strong friendship, big burst, unwavering faith in the amazing person -- there's no way you're going to get through the bad stuff that will inevitably happen.

if eschatfishche's wife had just settled in the beginning, they would have had 13 more years together!

But then I wouldn't have appreciated what I was truly getting and made a terrible wife.

Something's got to make your heart fall out of your chest, make you weak in the knees and say, "Ok, love is stupid and silly, but him, he's worth it." Even it's going, "Dave, hey, why can't I find a guy who understands me and cares about me the way you do?" and him giving me that look that made me go, "Oh."
posted by Gucky at 12:37 PM on September 9, 2006 [4 favorites]

Thanks, everyone, for all the awesome insight so far (hopefully there will be even more). I think one slight clarification may be in order:

Despite my broken heart and all the associated miseries upon losing my senior year sweetheart, I did have (thanks to Swingers and a few good friends/family members) the realization that I needed to work through things and move on. It took me about 2 years after college - for the last 4, I really haven't thought about her that much, and I certainly do not bring her up in conversation or compare her (unless its completely subconcious) in my mind with other girls I meet now.

My point is that she fulfilled many of the standards that I want my special someone to meet. I believe I'm comparing girls now to basically these same standards (in whatever ways they've evolved), not to the original girlfriend. I think I'm over that bit.

And I'll keep calling them girls, thanks anyway.
posted by allkindsoftime at 1:23 PM on September 9, 2006

Lots of good advice here. I also think it's worth keeping in mind that there's a world of difference between "settling" and "accepting someone as an imperfect human being and loving them anyway." To me, "settling" implies disregarding a significant problem or difference simply for the sake of simply getting married -- it's like sacrificing your own needs at the altar of, well, the altar. If sex is extremely important to you and your partner could take it or leave it and the two of you have no plan on how to bridge this gap, for example, marrying that partner would count as "settling" in my book. Or marrying someone simply because they meet certain general requirements of "good enough" (e.g., nice-looking, pleasant, seems likely to be a good parent) without being someone you fundamentally like (as well as love), respect, and enjoy being around is settling.

But accepting someone as imperfect and still caring for them isn't settling -- it's part of the very definition of mature, adult love. You and your partner can have different opinions, different habits, different interests, different backgrouds, etc. AND still be a fine match. My boyfriend and I, for example, have extremely different educational and professional backgrounds, and for us it's not a problem: we're both smart despite the fact that one of us has a graduate degree and the other didn't go to college. One of us is the always-playful, goofy one who's always running late; the other tends to be the serious one who steers the ship and watches the clock. It works for us because we've found a way, through our conflicts and ups-and-downs, to negotiate and respect these differences -- more so, in fact, than with previous partners who were much more like me in terms of similarities, or who swept me off my feet more dramatically the first time we clapped eyes on each other. (Although I have to admit my boyfriend and I did have a pretty damn great first date.)

Oh, and 28? Seriously, don't worry about it. People get married and have kids in their 30s and 40s all the time (my guy's father didn't have his kids till his 50s, and he was just as active and involved in their lives as dads half his age -- plus he's still around at age 95!). More to the point, feeling rushed to settle down because your peer group is getting hitched is not a good footing for a healthy, long-term marriage. Believe me when I tell you this.
posted by scody at 1:42 PM on September 9, 2006 [8 favorites]

You'll be driving your kids from little league to divorce court. Wait it out.

Yeah, for about 20 years or so. Most of my fellow formerly happily married friends, like myself, were head over heels in love when they tied the knot. Very few felt they settled. I know I didn't. Didn't matter. Marriage is a crock more than half the time. The other half most certainly settled. And settled. And settled. Love don't last that long.

But you, my young and foolish friend . .. you're wanting the whole experience, so go for it. Marry, have kids, divorce. It's almost a lock once you take the first step. Then when you're 40-something, you'll really have something to complain about. It's life.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:13 PM on September 9, 2006 [1 favorite]

I'm fifty plus and have a daughter in Little League. And it's great. Having kids later (after 40 for me) was the best thing I ever did. I have the resources, time and appreciation for them. I see my peers, some grandparents, as "old". Me, I'm whizzing along with a 12 year old - seeing the world through her eyes and learning something new every day. Don't worry about having children later on - it's simply wonderful.
posted by trii at 4:14 PM on September 9, 2006 [8 favorites]

I have a couple things to add to the outpouring of great advice that you've already recieved:

(1) Make sure that the standards against which you're measuring potential mates are solid and useful. My husband is a marvelous beast, and I do not by any stretch feel that I have "settled" for him, but by the same token, on paper, he's nothing like what I would picked out for myself when I was in my mid-twenties. I was hoping to find a humanities academic, preferably from a Madeleine L'Engle-esque family of same, who wore heartbreakingly beautiful shoes and spent his Saturdays nosing through antique postcard shops and planning successful left-wing political actions. (Doesn't that sound excruciating?) The guy I wound up with, by contrast, is a science fiction-writing web-dev who likes to play football and role-playing games. He's also one the kindest, funniest, most curious, and most loving people I have ever met.

If the standards you're using include things like integrity, intelligence, social consciousness, creativity, or sense of humor, than for heaven's sake, don't back down. But if you're trying to find someone with specific interestests, or a particular kind of fashion sense or musical taste, then you might want to rethink your criteria. You could be ruling out some pretty amazing people.

(2) Keep in mind that sometimes it takes a while to fall head-over-heels for someone. If you meet a gal who's a good fit, and whose company you really enjoy, give her some time. The giddy, goofy stuff could show up later. It's also possible that you'll wind up realizing that you want to spend the rest of your life with her without ever passing through the zany crush phase. You never know how this stuff will play out. Good luck.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 5:35 PM on September 9, 2006 [4 favorites]

My feeling is this: you should absolutely not "settle" when you marry. I can't imagine going into that not feeling 100% sure.

On the other hand, I have seen so many situations among my friends where that "100% sure" did not come right away, it was not the immediate bolt of lightning. I have heard several say words to the effect "I'm so glad I gave them a chance even though I thought at first it wasn't really there." In other words, be open, give things more of a chance, maybe.

And stop fearing the clock. Doing that sort of age math never leads to valuable insights, seriously. Also you're just a pup still!
posted by nanojath at 12:48 AM on September 10, 2006 [2 favorites]

re: starting to feel the old part a little bit

I'm 33, have been single for quite a while, and prefer to think of myself as having skipped my first marriage...
posted by mhespenheide at 11:18 AM on September 10, 2006 [4 favorites]

I had a friend in your shoes and I gave him some advice that seems to have helped. I told him to get a pretty box and figuratively put his feelings about his amazing ex into the box. Then put the box away, and stop thinking so much about the ex. You can revisit those feelings when you're feeling nostaligic, because for some people it seems important not to move beyond feelings but cherish them.

By putting them away you open yourself up to the amazing experiences you might miss otherwise.
posted by frecklefaerie at 12:23 PM on September 10, 2006

Old? Mais non! I was 35 when I married my husband who is 8 years my junior. Yes, EIGHT years. It's an awesome relationship. Totally fun, totally right. I just had our first child and I'm 40. We're having a blast and we've been through some fairly stressful life experiences together already. But no one makes me laugh like he does and vice versa.

His grandfather, a spry gentleman of 72, was widowed for two years when he met his current wife. An absolutely lovely, funny, well-traveled, cool lady of 71 who had never married. Yep. Never. Well, until she was 71. What a honeymoon they are still having, three years later! Such a romantic couple. They put us to shame in the "live every day like you just fell in love" category.
posted by jeanmari at 8:44 PM on September 10, 2006 [3 favorites]

You don't know whether someone is going to floor you or not until you've dated them for a while. Sometimes it happens the first day. Sometimes it takes a while.

I started dating one guy mostly because he asked me out, and I thought he was interesting to talk to, but I had no illusions of anything more. We had a lot of fun hanging out, though I did worry about imbalance in the relationship (since he was crushing on me). He wasn't exactly what I would have thought my type was, physical or personality wise -- much more careful, less anarchic, more shy and puritan than I was (oh, he hated to know that I occasionally smoked!). But he was still very interesting and fun to talk to, and we did have a lot in common.

I don't remember really when I fell for him. It happened so slowly that I didn't quite feel the first thump. But every so often, I fall for him again, very hard, and then I feel the thump and my heart catches in my throat. I felt it at our wedding a year ago, and I felt it last week.

So I would say - don't settle, but don't expect it all to be magic. Love happens when you grow together, like two trees winding about one another. I'm not the person I would have been had I not met my husband - that person might not have been in love with him. But I am, even if he still doesn't let me smoke.
posted by jb at 7:03 AM on September 18, 2006 [6 favorites]

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