So now you know how I met my husband and how I began to learn to love (and I still had a looooong way to go before I understood that I had just started). It’s only in hindsight that I recognize what happened that New Year’s Eve. Something else that I want to say about that evening: two things stood out to me on a sensory level. First is that he smelled clean, like soap. No cologne or aftershave. And second is that when he touched me, I felt nurtured and appreciated, not like an object to be used. It was a new experience.
In the early days we saw each other every other weekend…he had his kids and, for me, it was a good thing to be taking it slowly and to be focusing on my life in the two weeks I’d have before I saw him again. If he had lived closer, we would have seen each other lot more often and, to be honest? I think we would have burned out fast because things were pretty darned intense when we were together.
I still had a devil-may-care attitude…it was my way of protecting myself while still being attractive to him (at least that’s how I thought of it at the time).
As the months went by, something else struck me, and that was his willingness to be with my family and friends, as well as his willingness to have me be with his (although it was a year before I met his kids, and that was more my doing. I felt it important that he and I be somewhat stable and steady).
It took me about six months to know that I loved him. And once I realized it, it scared me. In the past, I had been way too willing to give myself away, and as my experience had shown me, I didn’t know how to love or be loved. So how could I trust what I felt for this guy? And how could I trust that I wouldn’t somehow push him away or that he’d decide he was through?
One thing I had decided early on was that I was NOT going to be the first to say, “I love you.” I wanted him to say it first. On the day it happened, we’d been to a party where we met a married couple who’d met online. And later he said to me, “do you think we’re in love?” And I just looked at him and smiled. And he said, “I love you, but don’t expect to hear it all the time.”
(Not a day has gone by since that day, that I don’t hear some form of “I love you” from him, and usually more than once.)
So to recap some highlights along the way:
- We met at the end of 1994.
- We said our “I love you’s” about nine months later.
- I met his kids* in November of 1995 and spent Thanksgiving with him and his family in Pennsylvania.
- In the spring of 1996 we went to Paris (the company I was working for at the time sent me on business) and all my friends thought I’d come home engaged.
- We were seeing each other a lot more often, even though we lived so far apart.
- By the end of 1996 friends and family were dropping hints. For my birthday, my mother gave me the diamond my father had given her, and my stepfather and his wife gave us a Christmas tree ornament that said Tim & Karen, 1996.
- A repeat of the trip to Paris was planned for the spring of 1997.
To be continued…
*I wanted to relay a funny story about something his daughter (who at the time was 10) said to me the day I met her. We were going somewhere in the car and she was in the back seat. She said she wanted to tell me something but was afraid I’d be upset. She laughed nervously and was all fidgety…I told her that it was okay, that she could just tell me. She said, “My Dad had his tubes tied, you know!” And I busted out laughing and told her that I was well aware of that fact.