Sometimes, you just *know* when you've met the right person. Here, smitten people share the exact moment they knew they were dating a keeper.
1. When he showed up on my doorstep with wine in San Francisco after driving 8 hours as a surprise. Somehow he managed to keep it all a secret till he was there. I thought I wasn't going to get to see him at all that summer. His reason? He just missed me.
2. It was the second or third time we had sex... I ran outside her house buck naked to throw the condom in the garbage across the street.. came back inside to find her sitting naked on the floor where we left off, eating Pringles.. We laid there all night and talked till morning...thats when I knew.
3. When he explained, in detail, the treehouse he plans to build for me.
4. I was in college, I was working two jobs, 60 hours a week. I met her on OKCupid. She would come over and we would hang out, often we would watch a movie and I would fall asleep exhausted. She would put the covers over me, go downstairs, walk past the front door, through the dining room, the kitchen and into the computer room to say goodbye to my dad.
Every time she left, she made sure to say goodbye to my parents.
5. My husband and I met on eHarmony. I let him know from the start that I had a young child and he assured me that he was ok with that. My son was 1 1/2 months old when we met (long story) and, when he came to pick me up on our first date, he brought my son a teddy bear that played music and a pack of cute Valentine's day bibs.
I thought that was a really sweet gesture. We had an amazing first date and we started dating regularly. He was there for me when I was going through the challenges of being a first time mother, trying to breastfeed and, ultimately, finding out I couldn't make enough milk to feed my child, and having to put him on formula (I was devastated). For a man I just met, I couldn't believe he was so willing to help in a situation where most men would turn tail and run. But, that wasn't the clincher. (continued)
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One night, he was sitting in the recliner at my parents' house holding my son and trying to burp him after a feeding. He had him propped up on his shoulder and was speaking to him softly. I don't think he thought I could hear, but I heard him say "C'mon, little guy. Burp for daddy." After the circumstances surrounding how my son came to be, and all that I had been through in the recent months following up to his birth, I felt broken, like no one would ever want me, let alone truly love me AND my child.
I'm happy to say he proved me completely wrong. We've been together for almost 5 years, married for over 3 1/2 years, and we're expecting baby #3.
6. About a month in. My father was going through some stuff that made us think he might have cancer and the doctors ran a bunch of tests. While this was going on I was having lunch with her one day and related to her that I was in no way ready to find out that my dad had cancer, and how much that scared me. She listened and sympathized and told me not to worry...she was great.
About a week later I was eating alone in a bar near my place while she was at a graduation party with her family (I was a semester behind, not a good student). I get a call from her and can barely understand her through the tears. All she can really tell me is that she'd like to be picked up. I go to get her and on the ride home she spills her guts: turns out her father was in the middle of a battle with brain cancer, and her mother had not done a good job of preparing her for how much worse he had gotten since she had seen him last. It was more than she could handle in a public setting like that.
It was then that I realized what kind of person she is. She sat there and listened to me going on and on about how scared I was for my father, and she chose to support me instead of telling me just how little I knew about what it means to be losing a parent. She is the most beautiful, caring and selfless person I know. Every day I'm with her I become a better person. We've been together now for 4.5 years, married for 1.5 and I still fall more in love with her every day.
7. I personally don't have those moments that people talk about when they know it happened. I usually remember the progression.
For me though, one day I kind of realized I had been thinking about us all the time. What I mean by that is before we met, I had plans and visions of traveling to different places and doing different things. I would hike the AT and cycle across America. I would go to new cities and find a great job. I would have all these adventures and meet all these people. I was going to have a blast.
I stopped thinking in I at some point. Those thoughts became us having all these adventures. We would travel to a new city and start a life. We would do this awesome thing and go to this awesome place. We would have a great life. She snuck her way into my life and I didn't even know it.
When I realized that, I realized that was exactly what I wanted. She was exactly what I wanted. We are exactly what I want.
8. Early on in our relationship, I took her to visit my mom's house. While we were there, we started looking through some of my childhood belongings that were in boxes in the garage, and at one point I remembered that my favorite stuffed animal (a dog) that I had since birth was kept in there as well.
By complete coincidence, my mom's actual dog had very recently managed to find my stuffed dog and had ripped it apart. There was a trail of stuffing leading outside to the doghouse. I felt abysmal at seeing my favorite childhood toy destroyed like that, but I wanted to try and maintain my composure since this was still in the early days of my relationship with this woman.
It was no use. My lip quivered and some decidedly unmanly tears were shed. This woman, this wonderful young woman, picked up the remains of my not-stuffed-anymore dog and said that she could fix it.
And she did! His ears were forever lost and now he has sort of a Two-Face thing going on, but he's whole again and now I've passed Doggie down to our son.
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9. Watching the new Star Trek movie, she pauses at a critical moment in the film and says, "Who the hell is Khan? Can we watch the other movies so I can find out?"
My inner child nerd high-fived me.
10. Early on in our relationship I was in and out of sleep one night and he's awake confessing his love for me to my cat. I don't remember everything he said but when I woke up the next morning with our bodies completely entwined with one another with very little space between that's when I knew. The past five years we've been through it all and I wouldn't trade any of it for anything.
11. My boyfriend and his family have this little ritual where they squeeze each other's hand three times to signify 'I love you', four times as a return to signify 'I love you too'
I didn't know that he had told me he loved me in this secret family way until after we'd told each other with words how we felt. All that time he'd been telling me he loved me and I was never saying it back because I never knew - not to make a big deal out of it, not to get me to say it back, not because he wanted anything - but just because he wanted to tell me he loved me in his own special way.
When I found that out I think I realized that this was more than love. I don't know if this will mean anything to anyone but me but I think it's painfully romantic and it makes my heart hurt!
12. I came home from the bar with 3-4 drunken people at about 3am. This was her apartment and i had just moved in. We woke her up being drunk and rowdy. She came downstairs, made everyone some food and got beers. Took care of everyone 'til they sobered up or passed out. In the morning after everyone left she said to me. "DON'T YOU EVER BRING ALL THOSE GUYS IN MY HOUSE AT 3AM WITHOUT LETTING ME KNOW YOUR COMING SO I COULD HAVE CLEANED UP"
13. We'd been dating long-distance for a few months, and then one night he surprised me by popping over unexpectedly. I LEAPED out the door and attached myself to him. Hadn't really realized how much I needed him before that. He moved in right then, and it's been the best twelve years of my life since.
14. When I realized he'd never broken a promise to me, no matter how big or small. He said he'd be there at three? He's there at three. He said he'll take out the trash? It is done.
15. When I realized that wherever he was felt like home.
16. My older sister came to visit when I first began dating my girlfriend. I had told my girlfriend how close I was to my sister, and how wonderful she was. Previous girlfriends had found my sister threatening because of our closeness. My girlfriend couldn't come over, due to obligations, until about 10 PM on the evening my sister arrived.
My sister was in the guest room in bed, beneath a mosquito netting (I live in the tropics). When my girlfriend and I walked in the room, she lifted the netting, crawled in next to my sister and gave my sister a big hug, telling her how happy she was to meet her. They have been close ever since, and my girlfriend and I have been married now for 24 years.
17. We had been together for almost two years already and I loved him so much already. But I knew when we were in line at Subway and they asked him what kind of bread he liked and he said, "Italian," paused, looked at me, and whispered "That's the kind I like, right?"
18. My boyfriend was an eagle scout who collected rocks when he was little. He had purchased a heart shaped tiger's eye from Disney land when he was a tot, and kept it hidden with the intention of gifting it to the girl he was going to marry. One night, when I was almost asleep he asked me if I would want a "promise rock". This is the first he had mentioned the rock, and in my sleep-talking haze, I didn't understand and kept repeating, "Promise gravel? How romantic!"
Months later he gave me the rock for Christmas, despite my sleepy sub-conscious being a real kill-joy. It is the single most sentimental object I own and it is a physical symbol of all the incredibly romantic things he has done for me.
19. When I pooped her bed.
Was deathly sick, some kind of food poisoning, and had literally no control over anything. Woke up covered in poo, and just said 'oh my god' and ran to the bathroom. Came back, and everything was already cleaned up. Fresh sheets, mattress flipped, and she never did anything but make sure I was okay. She's comfortable enough to clean up my poo? Keeper.
20. She prefers pancakes while I prefer waffles. It was around midnight and I couldn't sleep so I snuck out to the store and bought a box of pancake mix to surprise her in the morning. I came back, got into bed and nodded off. At one point I felt her get up and heard her go into the bathroom, I passed back out. We were sitting down to eat breakfast that next morning when I pulled out the pancake mix and said, I know how much you like pancakes so I snuck out last night and got this. She smiled, walked to the freezer and pulled out a box of Eggos while saying, "I don't have a waffle iron, so I bought these last night."
That was the moment.
21. That she still smiles every time we kiss. Just like the first time, every time. Wouldn't trade it for anything.
22. When we had our talk about the future.
Me: "So, hon... I suppose we should talk about kids."
Her: "No babies."
23. When I said, "I think I'm going to to play some Marvel vs Capcom 3 and then maybe run some dungeons in World of Warcraft" and she replied, "Not without me you aren't."
Our wedding is in March.
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24. My mom died unexpectedly when I was 20. I'm 29 now and sometimes still have a really difficult time dealing with the emotions of losing her. One year right around her birthday, I was feeling pretty blue. I came home from work on her actual birthday and he was standing in the kitchen holding a cake he had baked, complete with a lit candle, and said."Just because she died doesn't mean we can't celebrate that she lived."
I just sobbed and he held me close until I had cried it out. Then we celebrated her life. Every year since then, he has bought her a birthday card and we light a candle to remember her. He's an amazing man.
25. It was my birthday. I came home from work and was going to shower and change because she had said that we had reservations at a nice restaurant. We didn't really have much money and I didn't really feel like going out, but my birthday gave us a good excuse to splurge a little, so I wasn't complaining. As I opened the door, she was standing there waiting for me. In her hands, she was holding a plate on which sat a BLT with a full pound of bacon on it. She directed me to the couch where she had a bourbon waiting for me. When we sat down to eat, she hit play on the DVD player and Fellowship of the Ring started playing. We finished our sandwiches and she turned to me with a slightly ashamed look and confessed, "I'm sorry but I don't have a cake for you."
"That's okay," I said. "This was already perfect."
She took our plates to the kitchen then returned to refill my bourbon. She went back in the kitchen and turned on the sink to wash the plates. 2 minutes later, she walks in the living room with a beautiful, homemade peach pie, birthday candles and all...my absolute favorite dessert on the planet.
It seems so small, but to me, it was enormous. She knew me. She knew exactly how to make that day special for me. I remember looking at her that night and knowing, with total certainty, that I was going to marry that woman.
Breaking up is hard to do.
And when you get the law involved, it's even worse. But sometimes people don't need the law's help to make things overcomplicated, they just have a grand ole time making that happen themselves.
People on the front lines of human cruelty include divorce lawyers. These are their stories.