Once upon a time, I was working in marketing at the casinos and not particularly happy. I would leave for work in the twilight hours of the evening, work into the wee hours of the night, and go out afterwards, sleeping most of the next day away. It wasn’t just living like a vampire that made me sad, there was something about the whole business of what I was doing, essentially luring people back, again and again, to lose more money, that slowly gnawed away at my soul. The more money one lost, the more enticing the rewards offered, free stays, free tickets, free dinners, free limos, free, free, free. Except it wasn’t free. It came at a very high price for some gamblers, lost homes, broken marriages, and wayward kids left to occupy themselves in hallways and bathrooms while their parents chased their next big win. Addiction at its finest.
I needed a change. So, I went back to school to get my teaching certificate, which meant going back to being a waitress at the small Italian restaurant that I had worked at through college. It was there that I reconnected with a boy, who I had known in high school, who was going through his own existential crisis of a sort. He had recently left his time share sales job, equally disenchanted, to come deliver pizzas until he found his “real” job.
We spent a lot of hours working together and talking, which led to hanging out outside of work, which led to dating. Within a few months (in hindsight, way too soon), we moved in with each other and got a dog.
We were happy and in love.
Two and half years later, two and half years of reality, of actually living with someone and negotiating all life’s chores and decisions with someone, I started wondering when we were going to get married. He wasn’t. He insisted that he knew he wanted to marry me, but he just wasn’t ready. I really wasn’t sure what that meant. Marriage wasn’t scary to me, I couldn’t understand why it would be scary to anyone else.
So, heart broken and pride wounded, I left, with the dog.
After I moved out, anything could have happened. We could have went our separate ways, found other people to date, marry, and been happy, maybe? Or, we could have started new relationships, and been happy for a time, until the newness wore off and reality hit, calling it quits and taking off, yet again, to chase the eternal high that comes with new love. Or, more sadly, we could have spent our whole lives wondering about the one who got away, wondering if we had made a mistake, wondering exactly what was so wrong with our relationship in the first place that caused it to end.
In reality, there was nothing. There were no egregious acts committed against each other, no breaches of trust, or situations beyond recovery. In reality, it was just reality, which can sometimes be scary, unless of course, it’s experienced with the right person. Then, reality, with all it’s ups and downs, can be pretty lovely.
To me, he was that right person. He was the first person that I truly ever wanted to marry. The first person with whom I wanted to spend my whole life.
I didn’t want to lay down an ultimatum (though I suppose one could argue that by moving out, I did). I didn’t ever want to think that someone had felt forced into marrying me. I think I’m worth much more than that. So, even though I moved out, we continued to date. I took him at his word, that he in fact, was just not “ready,” but I wasn’t going to continue acting as if we were married if we weren’t. If he needed time and perspective, than I would give it to him, because I needed him to come to the conclusion on his own, that he wanted to marry me (or not), not because I had forced his hand. If we drifted apart, or met other people, then I would know, as well as he, that it wasn’t meant to be and I was in fact wrong about him being “the one”.
Happily, I was right.
Less than a year after I moved out, he proposed. Less than a year later we were married.
Today is our ten year anniversary. It’s been a wonderful ten years. I still can’t imagine my life with anyone else.
One day, he’ll get around to reading this blog post, so Happy Anniversary, husband of mine, I love you. See, I wasn’t so scary after all. Wish we could have celebrated here (one of the few digital pictures from our honeymoon), but I wouldn’t trade what we have now for all the islands in the world!