I had been single for 3 years, and completely, wholeheartedly disillusioned by men, relationships, and especially dating in the age of Tinder when I met Anthony. Between the situationships that ended up in ghosting (then the haunting with 2 am text messages), dates with people who were sexist or boring or both, figuring out which one of us was more toxic in my last relationship, and gaining more clarity on my sexuality, - my preferences, my relation to religion, and loving my body enough to enjoy it - I had all but given up. I never experienced a wild phase in college because I was in a long-distance, committed relationship at one of the most conservative universities in the country. As a life-long Christian, understanding or embracing anything about my sexuality was relatively taboo; I took these single years, begrudgingly, to get to know myself and understand how I reflected in other people and how they reflected in me.
I traveled alone: to California, Washington D.C., and around Texas. In fear of truly being alone, I spent an unhealthy amount of time with my ex, solely as the best friends we were and nothing more. His influence on new guys I tried dating was helpful at times, and frustrating and confusing (to say the least) at others. I eventually learned new men will say anything to convince you and walk away just as easily once they got bored or were more entertained by a new match. I learned to take what they said at face-value, and stopped searching for alternative meanings in their actions when they said, "I don't want a relationship right now, but I like hanging out with you." I also learned how wrong it is to be the person saying that to someone with no intention of being present the way they deserve. I also prayed a lot during this time - for Creator to show me someone real and honest, smart and compassionate, fun and silly, and who would love just as I am and want to be.
When I met Anthony while interviewing fellow millennials at a MOVE mayoral candidate forum, I was in a place where dating to create a relationship seemed pointless. If the culture shifted to having fun over building a connection, then I guess I could go along with it. I resigned the idea of romance and finding a genuine connection. Some nights I read a book or watched tv, cried a little, and allowed my hopeless romantic heart to briefly believe again. When I was told I'd be interviewing a small business owner about voting and its importance, and walked over to begin, I was surprised to find myself deeply (mostly physically, tbh) attracted in finding out more about him. As I moved to the next group to interview, I gave my friend my business card and told her to pass it to him. On my way home that night, he crossed the street in front of me and I liked the way he walked in a self-assured way. While I was settling down into bed that night, he texted me, and asked if I'd like to join him for a drink. I already had my makeup and pants off, so I declined. We texted every day up to our first date.
When I walked in to meet him, I was a little nervous it wouldn't go well. I had been on several first dates and adopted my best friend's mentality to have fun instead of setting wild expectations like I typically did. I'm glad I went in with a clear mind and heart space because the date ended up exceeding any expectations I would have set. He made me laugh within 5 minutes. We watched the Spurs game and drank beer before cuddling up on a swing overlooking the San Antonio River. We decided to continue our date, where he finally told me with a side smile, "You know, we've met before."
"Really?! Was I drunk? I would have remembered that."
"No, we matched on Bumble but you ignored me."
In complete shock, I took the first opportunity to check my Bumble app when he went to the bathroom. I immediately remembered he was the handsome guy I figured I'd have nothing in common with, but the old man-esque angles of his selfies (and not the ones of a dude who was arrogant or a hunter or racist) and the photo with his family convinced me to swipe right. Our conversation on Bumble was weird, to say the least, and I instantly remembered why I never responded. Throughout the course of our relationship I learned he's not active on social media, he didn't know what Vine was and never understood why I was laughing at different memes on Twitter. Our weird exchange on Bumble was reflective of his lack of interest in anything related to socializing via the internet, so I am always grateful we were able to fatefully connect in person.
We went to a Spurs playoff game the night we agreed to enter into a committed relationship together. We pinky-promised to respect each other, be honest, care for each other, communicate, have fun every chance we got, enjoy every day, laugh a lot, and tell each other if ever we wanted out instead of cheating or being unfaithful. A year and a half later, we're still here enjoying each other and having a good laugh at least once every day, and a good meal nearly every day. In the beginning I was so used to conditional love, emotional manipulation, and drama that this peace felt boring. Being treated with unconditional respect and having my boundaries respected was so foreign it made me uncomfortable, and I constantly waited for the other shoe to drop. It hasn't, and I don't believe it ever will.
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