If you're in a long-term relationship, those early moments of butterflies and overwhelming feelings and the exiting possibility of falling in love can seem like distant memories. I'd imagine most coupled-up humans feel that way, which is why I'm all for listening to people share the moment they knew fell in love with their respective partners. Perhaps those moments have been replaced by elastic-waisted pants, dirty dishes and routine. I, for one, happen to love elastic-waisted pants and routine, and dirty dishes mean that I had some food so they're never a bad thing but, still, I do (on occasion) miss the excitement that comes with being newly in love. I mean, what's better than the very beginning of a love story?
My own personal experience is a bit unique: I pined for the guy (who eventually became my husband) for a couple years before we even became a couple, which is fun to talk about now, but wasn't so much back then because angst. Though, this means that, once we'd actually started dating and he was actually my boyfriend, I was a little over-the-top with my unabashed excitement. In fact, I owe a lot of friends a slew of apologies because I was definitely the worst.
Still, I know I'm not alone in enjoying the early stages of love. In fact, I posed this question to other women to see what their first memories of love look like. Spoiler alert: they're super sweet.
"When we were dating, I mentioned off-hand to my now-husband that the laundry machines in my building were $0.85 cents per load, which was annoying because I never had dimes. On our next date, he reached for my hand, and filled it with dimes he had fished out of his change jar for me. It was such a thoughtful, small gesture, but so, so lovely. I'll always remember we were walking on the edge of Boston Common. And actually, I am writing this on our 10th wedding anniversary trip in Mexico."
"I never loved the father of my child. I'm in love now. I knew I was in love the moment we met. It sounds too good, but it's true. I've loved him before, in a past life. Our connection is so strong and familiar, we talk about how our souls must already know each other. He knew I was the one when I brought him cupcakes and vegetarian food on our first date, that was his birthday."
"I knew I was in love with my partner about three weeks after we started dating. We were taking a nap in my bed, and I usually have a hard time sleeping if I'm not alone but for some reason I was completely comfortable, and one of my cats was cuddling with us. I had a dream that we were riding a bicycle built for two down a steep hill, with the cat in a basket in the front. The bike spun out of control, and I realized that instead of being afraid of the crash at the bottom, I was just smiling. I thought to myself, 'Oh, I must be in love with her.' and then I woke up."
"I'm pretty sure it was on our 4th or 5th date. Every time we had gone out I kept thinking how nice, normal, cute, sweet, everything he was and I would always think "why would I ever NOT be with this person?" I knew very early on that unless something awful happened, like he cheated on me (which I knew just from his character he never would) that there would never be a reason for me to break up with him. We both had these feeling mutually and we said 'I love you' within the first month of dating."
"I could spend every minute of every day with him, and still want to see him more. He makes me laugh and I know he is there for me through whatever. Almost 12 years married!"
"I met him halfway through my last year in college. We started hanging out, but I made it quite clear that I was not interested in a romantic relationship - because I had already signed up to spend the next school year teaching English in China! Well, Christmas came around and I ended up giving him a ride back home to his parents' house. By this time he'd made it pretty clear that he was interested in me, but that he was also going to respect my boundaries and valued our friendship even without any possibility of romance. When I dropped him off, he handed me a wrapped gift. I had gotten him nothing. I felt so incredibly guilty! I knew he liked me, and yet I was pretending like nothing at all was going on. The next 45 minutes in the car, as I drove the rest of the way home for Christmas, were spent being very brutally honest with myself. By the time I got home, I'd come clean: I liked this guy. Like, really liked him. Immediately, I logged online into the chat client we had been using. I said, "I like you. Not in a platonic way." The rest was history. (And yes, I did still go to China. When we got married, we'd spent as much time long distance as we had together.)"
"I didn't want to be away from him and not sick of him after being together 24/7. Also he changed everything in his life to be with me." - Anna, 30
"Over breakfast at his restaurant Little Yunnan in Beijing. We had a wonderful party and crashed in the upstairs loft. The next morning he made me noodles, and as I looked around this romantic courtyard, I couldn't help but think: 'If this man can create such wonderful spaces, I know he'll do an amazing job with our family.' So far he has lived up to that promise, and more."
"I don't really believe in love in first sight, but I think that's the best description of what happened in simple terms. We were 14 and 15 and I was immediately attracted to him... granted, I was 14, so that happened kind of a lot back then. But in most cases (and I think this is true of most love-crazed young people) my crushes were like fireworks: dazzling but quickly turned to ash. So I was always wary of my infatuations. Like, 'Okay, wait for this to go away or dim or be proven misguided, because it will. They always are.' But with him, that initial fantasy that he was someone I could love never went away or diminished. Every interaction only confirmed the beautiful ideas I had about him. Certainly that love has deepened in the almost 20 years we've known each other and the 12 years we've been a couple, but I feel like it's always been there in a way."