By the time you get this I will be only a few short weeks away from being married for the second, and last time.
I say last time confidently because I know I’ve finally found my soulmate. She’s shy and would rather remain anonymous, so I’ll simply refer to her as my Sweetie.
I’m madly in love with her and if she feels one-tenth about me the way I feel about her, then I’m a lucky guy.
Forgive me the schmaltz, but it’s taken a long time to find my wonderful Sweetie. I’ve dated, been in relationships, even been married, but no one has captured my heart the way she has.
We met on a dating website. I’ve heard–and I’m sure you have as well–both positive stories about Internet dating, and horror stories. Ultimately, I believe success from online dating depends on the two people involved. Just as it always has in the non-online dating world.
In our case, it helped that the particular website we met on was based mostly on members’ values.
Values are the type of thing you don’t normally get to learn about someone until you’ve been together awhile, and by then you may find a deal-breaker –sometimes only after you’ve fallen for the person, when it’s too late to end things without hurt feelings.
The website I met my Sweetie on has a comprehensive questionnaire on values and interests and members’ answers are visible to anyone.
Ironically, I was looking for women elsewhere, as I had been hoping to leave Miami. Then I found my Sweetie’s profile and saw we were a perfect match and that she lived here. We also both wanted to get married. And her interests were the same as mine, too: she’s a big fan of the rock band U2 (as I am) and she loves reading, books and bookstores, like I do.
So I sent her an e-mail. I was pleasantly surprised when she responded. We went back and forth a few times, and then the moment of truth arrived: I asked her out.
She gave me her phone number. I remember the first time I called her: it was Halloween. I kept getting interrupted by trick-or-treaters knocking on my door, followed by my two “vicious” attack dogs barking. And I loved the sound of her voice so much I jokingly asked her to read War and Peace to me over the phone.
We lived across town from each other–she in Kendall, I in Hialeah–so we talked on the phone a few evenings before our first date actually took place, on a Saturday night, the day of my niece’s birthday. We were to meet at an Italian restaurant roughly halfway between where each of us lived.
I already knew she was special. I knew instinctively that she was a good catch. I really liked the way she talked and the sound of her voice. And based on her picture, I thought she was attractive–not gorgeous, but attractive. And I thought that was great.
But when we met in person at the Italian restaurant… my jaw just dropped. She was more beautiful than I could ever have imagined.
Now, I LOVE to eat. That’s why I’ve always struggled with my weight and began the Body for Life program I’ve been talking about. So our first date came on one of the program’s cheat days, a once-a-week opportunity built into the diet-and-exercise program to eat whatever you want.
But regardless, I could barely eat. That night was probably the first time ever as an adult I couldn’t eat, outside of the times I’ve been ill. I was giddy like a child that this beautiful woman was here to see ME. She had me from that moment, and every second we’ve been together has only confirmed for me that she truly is the woman of my dreams.
Looking back at what I’ve written so far in this column, I’ll admit I’m a little embarrassed. We live in a cynical world where the word love, when used in a romantic context, is usually laughed at. Yet, almost universally, this is what we want. So many of the “laughers” also lament that it’s “impossible” to find a good man or woman.
My Sweetie and I were at dinner sometime before we were engaged to be married. The waitress asked if we were married or had been dating a long time. We told her we had only been together a few months at that point.
“Oh,” she said, “I knew it, that’s why you’re all ‘lovey-dovey.” She was referring to how we were holding hands, kissing each other and gazing into each other’s eyes (yes, I know, I already apologized for the schmaltz earlier ). “Couples that have been together a long time aren’t like that,” she added.
I turned to my Sweetie and said to her I’d still be behaving this way with her years from now. I told her what the waitress said was really only true for people who were–I used a sound to describe this, not a word–ugh towards each other.
She laughed and I added, “which of course, begs the question, why would people who are ‘ugh’ towards each other get married?”
My silly rhetorical question addresses, I think, the reason why so many of us are cynical about romantic love. People who really shouldn’t be together are together either because of impatience or because they allow themselves to be manipulated by pressure from others.
Unlike my previous relationships (and I include my first marriage here), I feel no doubts, no reservations, no impatience, no pressure and only one regret about my Sweetie: that we did not meet sooner in life.
But I won’t look back. I feel extraordinarily lucky to have found her at all and I’m amazed at how the littlest thing–one small action or lack thereof on the part of either one of us–could have kept us from ever having met.
And I’ll be eternally grateful that she came into my life.