I sit across from him in the bright cafe. Sun slants across our table, the chairs are varied pops of green, orange and blue, but nothing shines more than his face. I could see it last time I bumped into him as he bounced into the room. He is in love.

Mostly we talk about business. Incubators, the tech field, losing money. Sometimes we talk about love. He has labeled himself a tough case in the past. He works odd hours, and intensely. He lives off the beaten path. He has high standards. It seems to me today that those standards have been met.

He sketches out the basics, where they met, what she does, and he says…its serious.

He didn’t need to tell me. I could have told him that the other day. He hasn’t been happier in 20 years.

He recollects the past decade of dating, how many relationships that he “could” have made work. This time he doesn’t ask himself if he should be trying harder, or if he will be able to ignore certain quirks. It doesn’t feel like trying, and they don’t seem like quirks.

I don’t believe in “the one.” I actually believe in lots of ones. The trick is to find one of the ones. You know what isn’t difficult? Determining if this is it. You won’t need to ask. You will have an endless date, you will forget about waiting three days to call, you won’t wonder what he is thinking. You will know what he is thinking and who he is thinking it about.

I have watched his story so many times. The person who feels perpetually single. Or who clings to a relationship that doesn’t meet his or her needs. Thinking there is some magic formula to discover if that second date will turn into a second marriage. Laying out evidence of commitment: dinners, overnights, introductions, when the very wondering tells you what you need to know.

When it works it is easy. If you have to ask get out now. It probably won’t change. You will tie yourself in knots with the playing it cool but not too cool, imagining the combination of nights on and off that allow him to feel independent and you to feel connected. With dedication, the right calendar, and a shared love of rock climbing you can make it work. And I’m sure you could. But thats not the point. These great partnerships are no work at the beginning. Its later that you work. Its not easy forever. Eventually you have to compromise. Not now though, don’t compromise now.

Wait until you drive to Boston and back with him to get a passport because you can’t stand to be apart for a day, and his hand only comes off of your leg to get money for a toll. Wait until dinner turns to dessert, turns to a drive, turns to a 3am walk…in Montreal. Wait until he brings you to his Sunday family dinner with your dog because he needs them to see what he sees, and to see his family through your eyes.

Tell me I am wrong. I want to hear your story of plotting and planning, and fretting, and wooing, and ending up with a partner. A truly committed partner.

Has it happened to you?

 

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Anna Rosenblum Palmer is a freelance writer based in Denver, CO. She writes about sex, parenting, cat pee, bi-polar disorder and the NFL; all things inextricably intertwined with her mental health. In her free time she teaches her boys creative swear words, seeks the last missing puzzle piece and thinks deeply about how she is not exercising. Her writing can be found on Babble, Parent.co, Great Moments in Parenting, Ravishly, Good Men Project, Sammiches and Psych Meds, Playpen, Crazy Good Parent, and YourTango. She also does a fair amount of navel gazing on her own blog at annarosenblumpalmer.com.