It's my anniversary this week. In the spirit of that, here are some thoughts on my experiences dating and vetting my husband. At this point, we are very solid and happy. My regrets are few and mostly center around not having kids sooner. I've also gotten to see how my choice of man and my vetting (a term I use loosely) have played out in a marriage. So here you go, some random thoughts that do not rise to the level of their own individual post.
Also in the spirit of "I'm in a good mood today" - ask me anything. We don't usually do AMAs around here because who can really claim to be an expert. But I've been around this community for a while. I've been married for a while and with my husband for quite a bit longer. I'm open to answering random questions today.
You cannot negotiate attraction
I have always been very attracted to my husband. When I could not fully articulate why I was with him early on, it was because I was fiercely and incredibly attract to him. This was both his physical appearance and who he was as a person. One reason that I knew I wanted to stay with him forever was because I did not find myself interested in other men. I didn't notice other men or have fantasies about other men when I started dating him. I never flirted with the idea of cheating.
I can put more words to it now. I didn't have them when I was 24. I think the world of my husband but he's an imperfect man. Because we started with a firm foundation of respect and attraction, it is easy to recall those feelings when life is difficult.
If you can't live with it now, you can't live with it after marriage
My mantra when we were dating was "if you don't like him as he is right now, then you don't like him."
We have changed in a lot of ways and conformed to each others needs and rhythms. It is untrue that people don't change. People don't always change how you want them to though. My man has mellowed out. He's learned how to be sick and rest when he's sick. He's agreed to wear a helmet when he rides for me.
He still does not think to get me a drink when we are sitting down to dinner. A minor example to be sure, but something that used to bug me and I have learned to let go of. He's also a work-a-holic. That was true when we were dating and it hasn't changed now. He has to be busy all the time. If I somehow thought that it would change once he settled into his career, then I'd be a very disappointed and unhappy wife right now.
Incremental Reciprocation is the best way to judge intention
This is my opinion ok, but I think this is the best tool that comes out of the RPW handbook for the dating years. I was SURE from early on that this was the man for me. I baked cheesecake and brought it to him on the midnight shift at work. I moved him into MY apartment around the 6 month mark. I cooked for him. I did ALLLLL the RPW no-nos.
But it went both ways. He took me to meet his father - who he hadn't seen in a decade. He brought me coffee in bed every morning. He paid for my health insurance for years before we were married. We did not go tit-for-tat but we did both show each other how we were "in it" for a long time before we were married.
And we were dating for about six years before we were married. There were a variety of reasons for this but ultimately, for vetting, it mattered that he always acted as though we were in this together. Decisions included both of us and were made for the long haul.
Sex is neither everything nor nothing
We had sex on our first date. Oh we were friends before so I knew him. Still, we had sex on our first date. He did not run screaming for the hills, treat me as a hook up, act like I was not wife material. I'm sure that he took a while vetting me for the last part. Any sane man would not think "we banged, let me make her my wife".
We've had spells of intense, all the time sex and we've had dry spells. We aren't as strong during the dry spells and tend to snap at each other more. We've had threesomes which were fun enough at the time and didn't break us.
Sex early impacted my judgement of him. There is no question about that. And if he was a bad man, that could have been a problem. He's not and I am fully and completely bonded to him in whatever fashion you want to think about it. The idea of another man doesn't cross my mind. Would it be better if we had waited until marriage? If we were each others only partners? I can't know that but I also don't see any lasting scars from the fact that we didn't.
We had fun together
FOMO is built into our social media culture. I have no regrets that I met this man in my 20s. That I stayed with him and settled in for the long haul. We had fun together. I have never felt as though I was missing out on life with him. Having a partner to experience life with is far better than a night at the club with a girlfriend. And I had those nights too. And he had his long solo motorcycle rides. We still are individuals. However, the best times are the things we've done together. After that, its' being able to come home to the person you love and tell them about your night out or your solo trip. Never when we dated, did I feel like I wanted to leave him home so that I could do my own thing. Never did I think that single friends had it better. If you aren't having fun with your partner then he's not the right guy.
This hasn't changed either. We sit down together every night once the kids are in bed. I still love just having him around. We have fun together, we have stress together, we get through it all together.
Ok RPW, those are my rough thoughts from dating my husband. Take from it what you will. A happy marriage is a wonderful thing and I hope you are all headed in that direction.