It’s hard to remember a life before Brandon – a life before our home, a life before our dogs, a life before our love.
But that life existed once.
Three years ago, I had yet to lay eyes on him. I had yet to hear his thickly midwestern voice, yet to look into his blue eyes, yet to laugh at his cowboy boots. I had yet to love him.
We went on our first date on November 4 of three years ago. To be honest, I didn’t think much would come of it. We’d been chatting on Tinder, but he wasn’t a very good conversationalist (still isn’t via text). In all honestly, I went for selfish reasons: I was trying to mend a broken heart and move on from someone else.
And it worked. I definitely moved on, I’ll admit that. But I moved on by falling in love with this boy, rather than falling into a fling. It quickly became the real thing. He met my family. He met my friends. I told him I loved him. We got a dog. We moved in together. We got two more dogs. We bought a house.
And here we are. Three years into a lifetime. These three years have been filled with joy and laughter, and I’ve shared those moments many times on social media. But these three years have also been filled with frustration and bickering and learning about what love is really like – because it’s not all cute texts and adopting dogs and decorating a house.
What I know about loving:
- The way one person loves isn’t the way everyone loves. I’ve learned that through dating Brandon, and it’s been difficult at times. There have been points when I’ve wished he would be more romantic or spontaneous or verbal in his feelings for me. I’ve doubted his love, because the things I described are how I love. But that’s just it. It’s how I love, not him. He loves my making dinner because he knows I hate cooking. He loves by waking up before me to get the coffee ready and feed the dogs. He loves by keeping up on my car maintenance because he knows it’s no where in my mind.
- Being selfish won’t get you far. I can be a selfish person. I will admit that. I tend to put my feelings and my well-being first, and this comes out in close relationships sometimes. There have been many times over the course of our relationship when I’ve acted and reacted with only my own interest in mind. And Brandon is such a good person that he has let me because he knows I’ll come around and apologize. But that doesn’t make it OK to be selfish. Loving someone means putting them first, or at least putting them on an equal level as yourself. Because really, they’re a piece of you. You both need to be on the same page and put both your well-being at the forefront
What I know about being loved:
- You have to let go of it all – fear, uncertainty, confusion, all of it. You have to be OK with baring your soul, which is terrifying. The most vivid memory I have of our relationship in the past year is the February night when I just completely lost it. I couldn’t see because I was crying so hard. My chest was so tight that I couldn’t get a full breath. I collapsed on the bed with my chest heaving and he laid down next to me. He held me, even though he had no idea what was going on or what a panic attack looked like. He let me wipe my snot all over his shirt. He let me completely lose it, without questioning me or trying to make me stop. He knew I just needed to be held and to feel safe. I can say I knew I wanted to spend my life with him before that night, but really, that’s when I realized it. I realized that this is the type of person you look for. And when you find them, you don’t let them go, ever.
- You have to trust. There are so many times I doubt Brandon, without him giving me any reason to do so. It’s just my nature. But when I doubt him, things go downhill. It’s how fights start. It’s how I convince myself of things that are not true. So rather than making up numerous scenarios in my mind, I have to just trust that he means it when he says he loves me, that he wants to spend his life with me. I have to trust that I am a person worth saying that to
I don’t know what this next year together will bring – not exact specifics at least. But I know it will likely bring more smiles, more tears, more embraces. more fights, more clarity, more confusion. That’s just life, honestly. Just because the years pass doesn’t mean that we figure it out any faster or that problems cease to exist. I know we’ll face obstacles and we’ll disagree and we’ll momentarily hate one another. But what matters is how we choose to address and move past those instances. And if the past three years are any indication, I think we’re set.
Because this is it.
He is it.
And I never want to know a life without him ever again.