Justin and I had been online acquaintances for I would say three or four months that first day I drove to Grant Turnaround at the United States Military Academy to pick him up one evening. It was a drab, March evening and I was really anxious. It was a Friday and I had just sped home from work and back to change my clothes for our "date". I say "date" because I honestly had no idea at the time whether or not it was a date. Meeting up with someone I had met online, let alone a guy isn't something I had ever done before. I remember my heart pounding as I pulled into the turnaround, nothing but granite and concrete and gray surrounding me.
My anxiety was running amok because I hated doing anything that required even the least bit of extroversion and I was exhausted from a long week at work. I had only been working in New York for three or four months at that point and was still adjusting. Moving so far away from all of my friends and family and trying to make friends as an adult was proving to be difficult for me because of my anxiety. It only seemed natural then that I would turn to Tinder, holed up in my dark apartment with the dogs, and swipe right or left to pass the time.
I don't really remember my first reaction to seeing Justin's picture pop up on my Tinder as I was swiping late one night in December, just a few weeks after moving to New York, but there are two things I distinctly remember about his profile that intrigued me. The first was his smile and the second was the background of his profile picture. It was a beautiful overview of the West Point baseball diamond that I would find out later was taken from the balcony of the library. I swiped right.
Sitting in my car in the rain, waiting for him to show up, I started to panic. What if I didn't recognize him? What if he had certain expectations for our "date"? What if the whole thing was completely awkward? What if he hadn't really meant to swipe right and had just been talking to me out of pity? I scanned the area around the car, hoping I would be able to pick him out before he showed up at the door (a feat, I would later go on to find out as a West Point girlfriend that is nearly impossible to achieve). When he showed up at the door, he smiled, and that's when I knew.
There are only a few things I remember about the first time Justin and I hung out and none of them are really anything I would consider groundbreaking. His eyes were penetrating, I felt that he was seeing inside of my very being each time he looked at me. What was also supposed to be an hour long date turned into us talking almost until he had to be back in his room. But more than anything, I remember the sense of calm that washed over me the moment he stepped into my car.
I'm a hopeless romantic so if I told you that I didn't believe in soul mates or finding "the one" I would be lying. And I know some of you are going to be really disappointed when I say that the only way to know if someone is "the one" is that you just know. I would spend the next month in denial of the fact that I knew Justin was it for me the moment we met in real life but that's because I refused to see God's plan for me, the man he was presenting to me that would ultimately lead me back to him, and continue to push me into the person that I am today.
Regardless of your beliefs, I'm going to break down the ways I actually knew he was "the one" from start to now because I don't believe in clickbait. I'm sorry if this sounds ridiculously cheesy but we're dealing with nearly 3 years of memories and we're a month away from our wedding day so to say I'm feeling a bit emotional would be an understatement. Here we go:
I knew he was the one at first because...
- There was an instant attraction/spark. Like I said, the two things I remember the most vividly are his eyes and his smile.
- There was so much chemistry. We actually kissed on the first date and WHOA. It was unlike any first kiss I had ever experienced.
- Our conversation never ever felt forced. There were no awkward lulls or weird moments. We just went on from one thing to the next and even got talking about some pretty deep stuff like our families that first night.
- I felt that he was as interested in me as I was in him
- We could talk about the tough stuff almost immediately even though we came from two completely different backgrounds, political beliefs, etc.
- He made me laugh... SO MUCH
- I knew he genuinely cared about my goals/ambitions/what I wanted out of life.
- He continued to be interested in learning about my passions
- He didn't judge me for my past, he wasn't scared by my anxiety or that I had been in an abusive relationship.
- Neither of us wanted to stop seeing each other. This is a big one because at the time I thought my situation in New York was temporary. We continued to pursue a relationship in spite of that.
- Our personalities perfectly match and perfectly balanced at the same time. We're both extroverted introverts which means we love being around people but we also like our alone time. But we're also the perfect balance for each other. He keeps me grounded while I push him to shoot for the stars.
- He didn't care how nerdy I was or how excited I got about completely random things...
- Yep, he still makes me laugh.
- He genuinely loves to spend time with my family and fits in seamlessly with all of them
- Despite having an indefinite future career in the military, he has always supported my dreams and passions 100%
- He knows my deepest, darkest secrets and loves me in spite of them
- He doesn't mind that I'm not the cleanest person in the world (#anxiety)
- There was no desire for us to change each other. We just are who we are but we're better because we're together
- Bet you couldn't guess what was going to be here: he still makes me laugh so so much.
That is pretty much all I have for this post. Let me just end this by saying that our relationship is not perfect by any means. We've had fights, we each have things we need to work on, etc. But working through those things is part of what has made our relationship stronger. Whether you believe in "the one" or not, I hope you found this post at least a little bit interesting. Love is one of those things where it is so subjective and no one can tell you one way definitively is the correct way. I actually wrote two more posts that are similar to this one so I hope you enjoyed it because there's bound to be more in the coming weeks!