Spinoff: Successful relationships and how did you "know"?
There's been quite a few "crazy relationship"/"unhealthy relationship"/"broken relationship" threads recently. But let's hear about some of the more uplifting relationships to give the rest of us hope.
So anyone out there make it through a difficult time (long distance, different life directions, challenging life event) with a SO (or a future SO...even if not dating at the time) to have a happy and fulfilling relationship?
And those in serious committed relationships -- how did you "know" s/he was the one? Did it take time and develop slowly or was it nearly instantaneous?
I met my husband online, and more casually as opposed to through a specific dating site, so I found him intellectually attractive at first--he was hilarious. When we met in person for the first time, I wasn't sure if either of us had the best first impression at sight, but by our second date, everything sort of clicked and it just felt right. We both discussed later that we had both had so many drama-filled, complicated relationships that we were kind of skeptical of anything that could be so uncomplicated and drama-free, but let ourselves go with it.
A month or so later I was out at a bar one night with a group of friends I was visiting in my college town, and ran into a guy I had had a crush on all through college, and we were all hanging out. I drove him home, my car broke down at his apartment, and I was stuck waiting there, at which point he told me that he also had a huge crush on me all through college, etc., and it all seemed so fateful and portentious... and then I was like, ugh, I don't want to deal with fateful and portentious, I have a really awesome guy at home that I really like to be with and is making me perfectly happy, so why throw it away for drama?
We've been together for almost ten years and married for five, and he's still my best friend. I still get excited about just hanging out on the couch with him, and we are still drama-free. I am glad that I realized that you can actually have such a thing as an uncomplicated and happy relationship, and that drama is not a healthy way to measure love or passion.
I was young when I met my husband-- 19. He was living on and running the business side of an equine property here. I was hired to ride horses, and one day when a naughty pony bucked me off as I was mounting, he came to my rescue and held the horse so I could re-mount. A horse girl's dream, lol.
He was 8 years older, British, and had done a significant amount of traveling. He had a lot more life experience than I, which was attractive after dealing with men (boys?) my age. We were married when I was 22 and we just celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary. It could have been a disaster, getting married that young, but he gave me the space and time to grow up and he realizes I am a different person now at 31 than I was at 22 when we got married. And he is ok with that.
Both of us came from families with divorce and drama. My previous relationships had a fair amount of drama. However, when I started dating my husband I realized how drama-free things could be. They didn't have to be *hard* all the time.
That's not to say it is always sunshine and rainbows.... we've had a lot of challenges.... infertility, sick parents, sick kids, crazy jobs... but we've managed. I think it helps that underneath it all we have a really solid friendship and we work really well together. So even on days when we are not each other's favorite person, we can find common ground and get done what needs to be done.
I think the key is within yourself. You have to know what is important to you, and also, what you bring to the table-- both negative and positive. If you are comfortable within yourself, you have a much greater chance of having a healthy and positive relationship. It's not about finding someone to complete you or fulfill you... it's about finding someone who compliments you but is also their own person. If you look for someone to make you happy or fulfill some need, you're pretty much guaranteeing you will forever be let down.
Also, relationships change so I think finding qualities that transcend time is helpful. Like, my husband is trustworthy to a fault. Even though the dynamics of our relationship change, I know that is one quality that will stay constant. On the flipside, sometimes things that were acceptable when you first started dating or got married, become deal breakers as the years go on.
Anyway every relationship is different.... I don't think there is one formula for success. Everyone has different needs and wants and finding what works for you personally is most important. And sometimes it takes a little trial and error.
We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.
I started dating my [now] fiance while we were in high school. Pretty sure that everyone assumed that we were the typical "puppy love" and that we wouldn't last beyond our senior year, especially once I made the decision to go to college 1,200 miles away from where he went.
We're both graduating from our respective schools in May and getting married shortly afterward. For us, communication has been the most important thing since we're so far apart and don't get to see each other that often. We try to Skype or call each other every day, even if it's just to say good night. We also write letters to each other and make the most of the time that we do get together.
DH and I met online when we were both in college. He drove up to MO to meet me in person and then we started dating and flying back and forth once/month. I moved to Texas the day I graduated college. He proposed a few months later and we married a year after that. We've been married 15 years now (HOW did that time go by??).
It has had rocky moments. The year after I moved to Texas, I was a mental/emotion wreck for about a year. We got married in August, I started graduated school in September, and my advisor was a nightmare. I was in classes I didn't have the prerequisites for and he wouldn't let me drop. I was so stressed that I am sure DH wondered what the heck he had gotten himself into.
We have survived two cross-county moves, a miscarriage, hurricane destroying our place, my mom's illness and death, a tornado, a horse rescue imploding, the insanity of starting a second horse rescue. We've both struggled at different times with depression. Reading it like that, it makes our life sound horrible. It isn't, though. We have each other, we have fun together, we support the other one's VERY different interests (he comes to horse shows with me and on horse rescue seizures and I used part of my tiny inheritance to help him produce his first album/CD).
I think part of the secret of success is in being too stubborn to give up even when you want to wring the other person's neck. And another part is remembering to take a step back and have fun together. And part of it is supporting each other. And part of it is something else ....
Soon after I met and started dating my now-DH (in law school) my heart pony I'd had throughout childhood died on the colic surgery table back home. I was a mess. An absolute disaster for two months, bad for longer. He was the picture of awesomeness about and during this, despite the fact that he'd never had pets and didn't really understand. I figured if he could deal with a weepy, depressed me during that horrible time then we'd be good to go during the good times. That's been true for 10 years now.
My DH and I share different interests/hobbies and grew up in entirely different circumstances but we connect emotionally so the rest doesn't matter. Most important, he is a good, honest, faithful and trustworthy man. Appreciation for those traits can get you through any of life's little annoyances.
Oregon, sitting on my couch looking out the window at a mountain
Mr. PoPo met while I was just separated from my ex-husband and he had been a widower for two years. A mutual friend set us up, unbeknownst to us. I was firmly in the "I don't want to date and am never getting married again" camp and it was our friend who decided the not-yet Mr. PoPo was ready to date, but she didn't tell him that. We met at a party at her house and talked about another mutual friend's email we had just gotten with some baby pictures. So then he had my email and contacted me and asked me out and I said no because I was getting divorced and had to pack up and move out of my house and get it on the market, but I'd call him when things settled. He thought that was me blowing him off, but I did call him and we (obviously) went out.
On our first date I put it all out there - I wasn't out to impress him, since I actually wasn't looking to date, so I told him straight up all of my opinions about anything he wanted to know . . . and he liked me anyway! We dated for a year and bought a house and moved to the country together, then got married 6 months later. We have been together for 10 years next year and I still feel like a newlywed. When he kisses me I still get butterflies in my stomach. <3
The key for us is honesty and trust and friendship. I truly trust him and he trusts me. I don't lie to him, he doesn't lie to me. He is my best friend, the only one I tell everything to, the only person I trust with my secrets, the only person I know will really have my back when I need it the most. It also helps that we were both married before so know what works for us and what doesn't. We also have been through a lot of therapy (before we met each other) so have a different way of handling things vs. when we were younger.
Mr. PoPo is an amazing man. He cooks, amazingly well! He scrubs toilets. He took up riding, he supports my horsey habit, he became a dog-lover (and I became a cat-lover). He supports me 1000%.
In watching my parents be unhappily married, I think it is important for people to have common interests and goals. That doesn't mean you have to have the same hobbies, just that you have similar outlooks on life, similar values, similar ideas for where you want to go in the future. If one person wants to sail around the world and the other is land-locked and afraid of the ocean, it probably isn't going to work out so well.
Honestly, I was not sure what I was looking for when we started dating. I hoped, if nothing else, that I would get a friend out of it. I tried to be very up-front about this with him. He was hoping for a bit more, but wanted friendship if nothing else. He never pressured me. We just enjoyed each other's company, talked a lot, and started making more and more plans together.
The big clue for me that this was something was the day we went out to the property that I was hoping to turn into a farm. The conversation evolved from "I was thinking about..." and "I would like..." to "You know what we could do..." and "What if we put this over here?" I realized he was present in my future plans without me consciously putting him there. It just felt right.
We still talk about everything. No matter how uncomfortable. That keeps a small problem from becoming a really big one. We work hard, we try to play hard. We always say "I love you" and mean it. Cheesy, perhaps. But good cheese just gets better as it ages.
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