11 October 2012

Ten Eleven Twelve

I have never celebrated a fifth anniversary before, you guys. Today is a big deal.

When Mr. P and I started dating on this day five years ago, we’d already been good friends for well over a year. And I mean good friends. We talked every day online, we usually met to eat out once a week or so, we went to football games each week and prom each year and many many many concerts together. If I saw a fun activity or needed a friendly date for an event, he was my go-to guy. We even traveled a few times, just the two of us.

As you might expect from an opposite-sex-friendship, there were times where each of us wished there was more to it than “just friends”. But it was never at the same time, and anyway, once our friendship reached a certain level, we knew that if we started dating? There’d be no way to go back easily. Maybe everyone else thought we were practically dating already, but I didn’t think we’d ever end up risking the friendship. I accepted that we were “just best friends” and instead pinned my hopes on trying to meet a guy that I enjoyed spending time with as much as I enjoyed spending time with Mr. P.

So when Mr. P finally asked “Will you go out with me?” five years ago today, only I was surprised. Everyone else assumed it was inevitable. And in theory, nothing should have changed.

the closest photo I could find to when we started dating

But of course things changed. Don’t get me wrong; the majority of the time I was incredibly giddy over getting to date the greatest guy I knew. But I was also scared. Downright terrified of blowing it. When I realized that five years from our “dating anniversary” would be 10-11-12, I commented that it’d be a fun one to celebrate... but it’s so far away, who knows if we’ll make it to that date. “If?” Mr. P replied, a little concerned. “Why don’t you think we’ll still be together in five years?”

Yes, most women would be thrilled to hear the greatest guy they know suggest that he’s in it for the long haul, only a few weeks into the relationship. Yet this just underscored my fears. Contrary to popular belief, we weren’t “practically dating” before, and the transition was hard for me. Everything was different, EVERYTHING CHANGED. At least, for me. Suddenly it was a big deal that I did all the talking and he only said “k” in response. Suddenly his teasing about my many quirks was mean, not funny. Suddenly a difference of opinion was a sign that we weren’t meant to be at all. AT ALL!

The first few weeks, we fought more than we’d ever fought as friends.

But of course, you know this story ultimately has a happy ending. A turning point came when I met his parents over the holidays a few months later, and I realized how our new relationship mirrored theirs (yes folks, Mr. P essentially married his mom). I realized why we really were meant to be together. I let go of the anxiety and stopped being scared of messing up a good thing. With Mr. P’s patience, we built back that loving relationship.

I don’t know where that chart originally came from (if you know, please let me know so I can cite it properly!), but I wish I had it five years ago. I really could have avoided few bumps in the road with that cheat sheet.

And I still use that chart today, honestly. For instance, I need #1 and #4 to remind me that if Mr. P is quieter than his usual quiet, it’s not a sign that he’s angry with me or wants to leave me forever. He is probably just sleepy, but he doesn’t rattle on about how sleepy he is like I would. And I need #5 and #12 on that chart to remind me that the appropriate response is not impulsively yelling “WHY DON’T YOU JUST TELL ME YOU’RE SLEEPY INSTEAD OF SITTING THERE QUIETLY?!”

It’s been five years, and I’m still learning.

Yes, everything changed when we moved our relationship out of the “just-friends” column and into the scary realm of boyfriend-girlfriend. It took more time and patience and introspection to maintain the new relationship. And of course, his question, and my acquiescence, ultimately changed the course of our lives to bring us where we are today.

But at the same time? Nothing changed. I never found a guy I liked spending time with more than Mr. P. He is still my go-to guy when I want to try a new restaurant or see a concert. And more than anything, he remains my best friend.

Happy 10-11-12, Mr. P.


Ann Petersen said...

What a beautiful tribute !

I only wish that I had found this wise list 37 years ago!

Love you both,

Rachel said...

Y'all are just so stinkin' sweet!

Tina said...

I'm so thrilled by this post and so glad you wrote about it! Hard for me to realize it's been 5 years since I'd question you repeatedly in order to try to get a grasp on the "just friends" status (I mean, my goodness, you were pushing 25!). Turns out, David was such a wise guy in his approach - and I mean that in only a good way.
Happy Special Anniversary!
I love you both and I especially love that you love each other!

Mary Beth said...

Awwwwww!!! :) :)