Emily & Dan’s story, as told to Bumble by Emily…
I met Dan on January 17 2016, after I had already given up the idea that love still existed. I remember the night that I said goodbye to my dreams of being a wife, of white picket fences and babies. I was strangely calm when I came to this conclusion. After all, I have a great life. I went to hell and back to give it the old college try a few times, and when it literally burned to the ground, I rose. In a time when love kept failing me – more like kicking me in the teeth – I found myself. So I gave up and spent some years being in a relationship with me.
It was treacherous at first. Learning to be with yourself, when you have always been around others is frightening. There is no one there to help define you, to keep you in check, and remind you of your role- and in the beginning I felt like I was solely existing. But time heals all wound- if you allow it to. I felt myself fading. The once happy, spunky, kind girl was becoming invisible, with a special talent for self deprecation, and finding the negative in life. I couldn’t become that person.
Eventually I found myself through experimentation, amazing friends, fitness and self-care, music, deep and meaningful conversations, and interpersonal reflection. I learned a long time ago not to ask a question until you are ready for the answer. It took years for me to become a strong enough, independent enough person, to truly delve into some of the stuff that was holding me back. And what I’ve found is, it all comes down to fear.
Fear that we will be alone. Fear that we will fail. Fear of what others will think of us. Fear of what we will think of ourselves. Fear of what will become of us. And so, we settle. The familiar is better than the alternative. We see it all around us, every day. People settling for other people, for jobs, for friendships- all so we can prove to the world that we have something, that we are worth something. Well—I had settled before, and I know what it got me, and I refused to do it again.
I made peace with my life before I met him. My mindset : “if this is it, that’s ok. I have a great job, amazing friends, and I am fulfilled within myself. Maybe I will adopt.”
And then I met him.
January 17, 2016. I decided to go on a date after the thought of never carrying a child of my own broke my soul late one night. I despised everything about the idea of trying again, but I figured I at least needed to practice, if I ever wanted a shot at a successful date in the future. So, at 10 am I went on a breakfast date…. with someone else. In my hour of weakness, I happened upon a decent enough human on the inter webs who seemed to share at least one interest, and we chatted back and forth for a week until i finally decided that this was dumb and we should meet. But dating sucks, and I didn’t want to have to go to some stuffy restaurant and sit across from someone and try to impress them with my wit, and charm, while they try to impress me with their wallet. So I decided to make it as informal and un-date-like as possible. So a crappy diner for breakfast it was. And thank god. I was happy to eat my egg white omelette and get the hell out of there as fast as humanely possible- and was reminded that dating was a terrible idea, and that dying alone wasn’t so bad after all. I came home, got into my comfys, cleaned my house, lit a few candles, and tried to repeat my “it’s ok if this is it” mantra. But it wasn’t ok. Hell. Whats one more try?
I’m bashful to admit it, but I met Dan—BRIEFLY—online. After the experience of talking with someone for a week over text, and creating an image that, no matter how great they could be, they will most likely never live up to, I decided I did not have time for all of that. My friend urged me to try a particular site, and I immediately found him. We had the same pictures- one performing with our band, one climbing a rock wall, and one at the squat rack. Ok. He will do.
He asked me to marry him in his first message to me.
I told him to relax.
He asked me to tell me about myself. I told him that I would prefer not to, and that I hated dates. I told him that the more I told him via chat, the more likely I was to avoid actually going out on a date with him. So. I had makeup on (after all I had already been on a date that day) and I suggested we just grab a drink – make it feel as authentic as possible. He was thrilled, and we met an hour later at a little sushi place that he described as “Good, it hasn’t given me food poisoning yet.” Good enough for me.
When I got there I told him I didn’t drink because I had just hired a trainer, and I was trying to build muscles. He told me he didn’t drink either, as he was a powerlifter on a temporary hiatus for some physical therapy. we both drank a glass of wine anyway – and when he sheepishly pulled out his phone to log it into his myfitnesspal… I knew he was special. We talked and talked until they kindly asked us to leave, and we walked across the street to a bar that was hosting karaoke. It was icy, and a perfect excuse for him to hold my hand. I sang, he sang, we all sang, and then we called it a night. He walked me back to my car, and kissed me. I wondered on my drive home if I would ever see him again. He texted me 20 minutes later asking if he could see me tomorrow. I said No.
In the years where I was mending my heart, and giving up on love, my mother used to tell me not to worry, and that I would have what her and my Dad had one day. My parents met and married in 8 months and have been happily married ever since, and have been the epitome of *relationship goals* for my entire life.
I knew Dan was all in before I knew I was all in. I kept him at bay while I tried to wrap my head around someone actually wanting to make the effort to see me, and actually get to know me. I asked him to wait for me. To let me get there on my own. And like a gentleman, he did. He was patient with me, knowing that there was more under the surface. I was trying to act tough, and I thought I was doing a pretty good job- but he saw the years of distrust and hurt as walls that he was determined to climb. Not for one moment did I ever doubt where his head was. And for once, I didn’t feel like some crazy chick trying to nit pick every text looking for some double meaning. I was prepared for the other shoe to drop, but I also had no reason to believe that it would.
I remember the night I fell in love with him. I had been keeping him at bay – he was too kind, and surely must be an axe murderer. I went to help a girlfriend who was breaking up with her boyfriend of two years and needed to get her stuff. As I watched her pack her belongings from the home they had built over the course of their relationship, and picked her up off the floor where she eventually collapsed- sobbing as she knew it was time to really say goodbye- I was transported back to my past, and probably my future if I let him go. I went to his house that night, he asked me to stay. He didn’t try anything. He respected my boundaries, and instead held me all night, just happy to have me there.
At approximately 1:28 am I fell in love with him. He was sleeping, arms around me, and the weight of the last ten years of my life vanished. Its cheesy, I know. But I exhaled, almost gasped for breath, and I knew I was in love with this man. It was confirmed when I met his parents, and saw how they treated one another, that this man was for real – that there was no “other shoe”.
We have spent the last 7 months challenging each other to be our best selves. He supports me, and encourages me, and I do the same for him. When something is bothering me, no matter how fickle- he kindly asks me to share it with him, so we can work through it, and he is patient with my feelings. He knows that strong communication is the only way we will make it out alive, and is always there when I need him. I have never met someone as kind as him. He is always thinking about my needs, and sensitive to them. He makes life easy. He makes me want to be the best possible version of myself without compromise. He doesn’t want me to be his other half, or his better half. He wants me to be his equal, his partner. I am inspired by him.
And so, when he got down on his knee on Friday August 26, 2016 and asked me to be his wife—I said yes.
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