She’s the One

Tom Matlack talks to married men to find out when they knew their wife was ‘the one.’

Guys get a bad rap when it comes to romance. The guys I know who are happily married have a story about how they met their wives. Most of these stories involve a moment when they knew that they needed to spend the rest of their lives with this particular woman in order to be happy.

No, it’s not the pinup we’re after—but a rock collection, a kind smile, homemade furniture, enthusiasm for malls, crow’s feet, an affinity for dogs, eating tuna out of a can, love for Weird Al, and truth-telling. These are just a few things that guys told me led them to know they’d found the right woman. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to love, but the one thing this project proved is that guys are far more nuanced and complex when it comes to love than we get credit for. And we are really looking to marry for the right reasons—whatever that means to the individual guy.

For me, it involved two children from a prior marriage. After six years as a divorced dad, I had never introduced my kids to anyone I dated. My kids were, and still are, the most important thing in my life. I wasn’t sure I could trust anyone to love them the way I do.

When I met my wife, Elena, she had been through her own set of struggles, losing a young and vibrant husband to cancer (he’d been diagnosed on her honeymoon). She comported herself with such grace, beauty, and warmth. (OK, showing up in black leather pants for our first real date didn’t hurt, either.)

Just a few weeks after meeting Elena, my kids and I baked brownies for my new friend and played a huge game of tag on the green at Brown University. Within a month we were engaged, and six months later we were married. She was the one. We’ve been married eight years.

Here’s when other guys knew they had met their soul mate.

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When I left for college, she was still in high school. I was so miserable without her, despite all that college life had to offer. Looking back, I realize the moment I knew she’d be my wife was when she sent me a box of cookies and a love note, which came in the mail when I was alone, and although there were plenty of other things to eat, I was starving for home. I realized “home” meant her. Twenty-five years later, it still does.

—Todd Mauldin, blues philosopher

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Our first walking date. We traced the entire property line of a 65-acre farm, through weeds, brambles, dense forest, swamp. We came to my favorite place, a gigantic ancient maple along an old logging trail. She looked delighted, approached and started climbing. I knew then.

—Boysen Hodgson, founder, OpenMen.org

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Pregnancy test was positive. After 13 years, it’s still the best mistake we ever made.

—Dan Perez, award-winning filmmaker, video producer, and blogger

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I was living in Chicago and she was in Massachusetts and we were taking turns flying back and forth to see each other. At that time I was in a position to fly more often than she was. Well, when she noticed that I had come three times to see her and she had only flown once to see me, she said, “It’s not right that you should deplete your bank account by coming to see me so often. I am going to pay for the last flight you took and split the one before.” I told her it was unnecessary, and she replied, “Look, I want to see you as badly as you want to see me. And besides, I am a feminist and that means I must be fair. It’s the right thing to do.” My mouth dropped through two floors, a basement, and then a sub-basement. Why? This was a person who was willing to stick by an ethic. In that instant I saw a person of integrity and principle and knew she was right for me.

 

—Regie Gibson, poet

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Her eyes. The moment I met her 17 years ago, I knew. And she was married.

 

—Jim Mitchem, writer, communications tactician

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She appeared suddenly in the produce section of my grocery store in Cambridge, Massachusetts, several weeks after I had spied her from afar wearing an impossibly fashionable fuzzy green sweater at a party while I was in my second year in business school. I wasn’t able to meet her then and was despondent for the intervening weeks. But then, there she was, in my grocery store, my land of steaks and tater tots. Shocking myself and I am sure most other patrons, I approached her in the vegetable aisle and struck up a conversation. When she didn’t turn the lettuce sprayer on me after a few fumbling moments of conversation, I knew she was the one.

—Heb Ryan, partner, Boston Post Partners

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I was in love with my wife at first sight. At the time, she was a model and was absolutely gorgeous—and, 35 years later, still is. However, what sealed the deal was going to her apartment and her showing me her collection of rocks and arrowheads. I loved the outdoors and collecting things, so I knew we had a lot in common. We now live on a beautiful ranch in the Texas Hill Country and still enjoy hiking and looking for rocks, fossils, and arrowheads.

—Pablo Solomon, artist and designer

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The first time I ever laid eyes on Maureen was July 4, 1987, when her sister brought her to a cookout I was hosting. She was wearing a dress with watermelon shapes and colors, and the mere sight of her took my breath away. From that day on she remains the most beautiful creature I have seen on this earth.

—Tim Dibble, managing general partner, Alta Communications

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It was the crow’s feet on the sides of her eyes that attracted me to her. They gave her a look of kindness I had never seen before. And when she smiled, it only accentuated them further. She did turn out to be a kind and gentle person, and we have been blissfully married now for 22 wonderful years.

—Lee E. Shilo, author and poet

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When I picked her up for our first date, she showed me the furniture she had made by hand for her dorm room. A chair, a loveseat, and her loft bed. Right away, I knew that she paved her own path in life. She was handy, curious, and willing to get dirty to make life happen. That’s my kind of tomboy!

—Joel Swanson, marketing executive

 

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The situation was complicated. Others were involved. The woman who became my third wife was simply the kindest, most empathetic person I’d ever met. Life self-selects.

—Jesse Kornbluth, writer, editor

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I first set eyes and quickly developed a crush on my future wife in 11th grade (she was in 12th) when we shared a class. It was the only class I always rushed to in an effort to position myself next to her or next to an empty seat, hoping she would take it. A friendship developed but life took us in different directions.

Fast-forward six years. As I was friends with her brother, I saw cars in the driveway of their family home, and a year after having graduated from college decided to stop and say a quick hello. Lucky for me, her brother Bill was not in, but Diane was, and it was the first time that I was able to get up the nerve to ask her out to the movies, followed by a drink at the local watering hole.

That night, I told my buddies that I was madly in love and that Diane without a doubt was the one for me. Within a few months I was truly blessed when she accepted my marriage proposal.

Now, 21 years later, I continue to thank my lucky stars.

—Adam Sulimirski, general manager, Eco Trans Alliance Inc. and Cruise Car, Inc.

 

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Two bachelors sorting through photos in L.A., me and my best pal. He came upon a 3×5 of a beautiful blonde who I never seen before. I said, “Who is that”? He said, “This is going to be your wife.” Fifteen months later she was; 16 years later she still is.

—Patrick Lyons, restaurant and nightclub owner

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When I met my wife, she didn’t need me. She had a good job and came from a loving family, so she was happy and well-adjusted to life. She saw in me things that were apparently hidden to the casual observer (like myself), and didn’t need to change me into someone else or squeeze me into a predetermined mold. But, what made me realize, quite calmly, that she was the one for me, was the fact that I found myself wanting to be a better man for her. I wanted to be not what I thought she wanted, but what I thought she deserved in a partner. That was a first for me, after a handful of selfish, denial-filled relationships. I still hope every day to be the man she deserves after 12 years of marriage.

—Jeff Davis, 46, videographer

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The very first night we met started as nothing more than a chance meeting in a bar, which turned into a discussion of sports, our love of the Yankees (we met during the Yankees-Mets World Series in 2000), music, and so many other things that we had in common. Then, she suddenly admitted that she ate plain tuna fish right out of the can. That may seem insignificant or even silly to others, but I have always eaten tuna plain right out of the can and had never in my life met anyone else who did. Now, after more than 10 years together and eight years happily married, we still look back at that exact moment as our dealmaker.

 

—Geoff Lester

♦◊♦

The first time I met my wife, I entered her kitchen and said loudly, “Where is the love of my life?” She turned around and said, “Here I am!” Little did I know how true that moment would be, because I was actually talking about a girlfriend (friend) of mine, who was her best friend, whom I’d actually come over to visit.

—Adam Nisenson

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When I met my wife, Fely, in October 1999, she had been working as a nurse’s aide in Victory Memorial Hospital in Brooklyn. It was just before Christmas, and she told me that the people in the hospital had put up letters of commendation about the employees. We went out to dinner, and she showed me one of the letters, from a woman whose mother had passed away in the hospital. Fely came every day with a smile for her mother and washed her, and cleaned her, and brushed her hair, and always spoke with her. On the day that the mother passed on, Fely was there at her side. After she passed away, Fely was thoughtful enough to put her dentures back into her mouth. When the daughter arrived, Fely sat down and spoke with her about her mother’s last moments. The woman wrote that Fely was so compassionate and thoughtful, that she should teach the nurses in the hospital about compassion.

After reading the letter that the daughter wrote about her mother’s passing, I could not help but cry. At that moment, I was sure that Fely was the right woman for me, since I had just gone through a divorce and I was hoping that I would find a woman who would not hurt me again. Now I am sure, after eight years that we have been officially married, that my decision was correct.

—Maurice Schickler

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Through the darkest lows before marriage, she always had faith in me.

—Edgar Correa

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When we started dating in the early ’90s, I was living in New York and she lived in Tennessee. That was a time in my life when I was too concerned with what other people thought about me. Kristi was so comfortable in her own skin. She was willing to be uncool, which made her so authentic and so much fun to be around. I remember little things, like me bemoaning the existence of shopping malls and she looking at me and saying something like, “I love the mall. How can you not love the mall? It’s got everything under one roof and you don’t get wet or cold.” This may sound so trivial, but she still gets so excited about everyday things. The world is so much more interesting when I see it through her eyes.

Her other spectacular quality is that she fights fair. She rarely says things like “You always” or “You never,” and she accepts responsibility when she’s been wrong. Since it’s usually me who’s wrong, you’d think she’d get out of practice, but she hasn’t yet.

—Rink Murray, physician

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When she said, “I love Weird Al and D&D, too!” Nerd love is the purest love.

—Daniel Coffman, stay-at-home dad, homeschool coach, amateur author

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I had been single for over 10 years when I met my wife. The moment I saw her, I told a friend standing beside me, “She is going to be trouble for me.” Later, Elizabeth told me we were meant for each other and I was supposed to be with her—she is intuitive and psychic—I believed her. We have been married for nine years.

—Lt. Col. Win Harper, United States Marine Corps (retired)

♦◊♦

 

We were friends and coworkers at the local library when we met, both divorced, custodial parents. At the time, neither of us had any intention of ever marrying again. Every relationship I’d been in before started out with sex, and eventually wore itself out. When sex is all you have in common, you’re doomed from the start, because you have no real connection to the other person—just to their body. With my wife, there was a definite sexual attraction (she’s lovely), but we didn’t start out in bed. We just had a really good time together, wherever we were, whatever we were doing.

We’ve been together now for 21 years.

—James Eritano, building superintendent

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I was a charmer and intellectual snob. She saw through me and my BS like mosquito netting!

 

—Tshaka Armstrong, writer, film/tv editor, nonprofit CEO

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My dog was with me when I met her. Only half-kidding here, but one of the first things that distinguished her from other women was that my dog (who was both a flawless “divining rod” for good people and always my advocate) accepted her, whereas other women had been merely tolerated. This obviously did not seal the deal, but it did get my attention at some level.

Gradually, I came to appreciate that since being with her, I was becoming a better, wiser, and happier person. It occurred to me one day that she just naturally had an increasingly positive effect on me. I knew then that she was “the one.” I proposed to her that same day. I can’t remember, before or since, feeling more confident about any decision.

—Dennis O’Neill, Ed.D., executive director for management and organization development

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I knew my wife was the woman for me when on our second date I caught her watching baseball on TV!

—Ken Schaefer

 

♦◊♦

 

We had both seated ourselves in my convertible to go home when I said, “Do you mind if I smoke a cigar?” Alli replied, “I sure do—unless you’ve got one for me!” Sealed the deal.

—Bill Achtmeyer, chairman and managing partner, The Parthenon Group

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The moment I knew Liz was the one I wanted to marry was when her father passed away and I experienced her (and her family’s) capacity for love and selflessness at a time of deep emotional strain. Liz and her family showed their true colors, and they were beautiful.

—Todd Dagres, founder, Spark Capital

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My wife sees the world differently from everyone else. She pushes me to understand life more fully.

—Matt Hastie, disability-rights advocate

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Escape from the Man Box Premium Member

—Photo by KellyB/Flickr

About Tom Matlack

Thomas Matlack is a venture capitalist.

Comments

  1. Derrick Hayes says:

    A few years ago, my life hit rock bottom. My ex-wife and the mother of my children said she no longer wanted to be with me. I wanted to start over, so I moved from Alabama to Georgia. I had limited money, no job, and no place to stay. A childhood friend said I could sleep on his floor until I could get back on my feet.

    It was my first Friday night in a new city and my friend asked me to go out and dance. I refused at first, but I later realized I needed to get out for some air. I asked an attractive young lady named Kim to dance and we grooved until the lights came on for us to go. We exchanged numbers. I never expected to meet someone so nice so quickly. Even crazier thing is that she lived 90 miles away.

    I was thinking about how my life had changed, and I said “Woe.” I looked into the Bible and I saw the word “woe.” I also wanted to see how the dictionary defined “woe.” Woe means trials or tribulations. In life, a woe to you might be a job loss, and to another it might be a broken relationship.

    One day, I was thinking how I could reinvent my life, so I wrote down the word “woe” on a piece of paper. As the document spoke to me, it revealed that “woe” now meant WOE, as in Word of Encouragement. From there, I received this slogan: “Before you leave work or go to sleep tonight, give someone a WOE, a Word of Encouragement.” I shared my concept of WOE with Kim and we decided that before we ended our conversation each night, someone had to give a WOE. Since we first danced, we have been together for six years. She has been the light of my life. Kim helped me go from woe to WOE.

  2. She was someone I felt I could wake up next to for the rest of my life.
    Bill Ott
    Eureka Springs, Arkansas

  3. Paul Gilbertson says:

    She was a great driver… like many other things in life… she is comfortable in any kind of environment!

  4. Perry Glasser says:

    In Sullivan County, New York, the languid turns of Route 17 lay gently on the lush Catskill landscape, but in our headlamps on this moonless August night, at 135 mph the turns come up so fast that the road appears no more than an unnavigable string of gnarled concrete. It’s 1968, and sanity is in short supply. Newark and Detroit burned a summer ago. Flag-draped black vinyl body bags stack like cordwood on landing docks and in airplane hangars, so many American dead in the Tet offensive that in February no less a figure than Walter Cronkite pronounces the war in Vietnam unwinnable. Martin Luther King is shot dead in April, Parisian students riot in May, Robert Kennedy is shot dead in June, and the Democratic National Convention will in a week fill the streets of Chicago with teargas, homicidal cops and the blood of hippies. We are speeding on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride with no guardrails.
    I am sure we’ll swerve to avoid a deer or some such lunacy, at 20 ending my life in the night. “Fuck deer,” Mike says, “Eloise slides right under any fucking deer.”
    Eloise, his MGB Coupe, skids casually around the worst of the turns so low to the ground Mike says he can drag his knuckles if he dares to hang an arm out the window. Mike himself, unperturbed, steers with his left wrist and shifts with his right hand. He claims that the joint he smokes helps focus his attention. He also claims that Eloise has a soul and holds the road better if Hendrix is on the 8-track. With two six-inch speakers cranked to max mounted in the hardtop roof just behind our ears, the top line of “Hey Joe” is an icicle spiked through my ear; the bass line and drums rumble just south of my belly. The voices mixed below the melody are a ghostly choir sweetly singing about jealousy, betrayal, murder, and flight.
    The sealed windows trap the smoke and the sound. Eloise balks and wobbles at these speeds if we crack a window and break the aerodynamic design, a green artillery shell on spoked wheels. The dope gives me only a light contact high; my nose is more numbed by the aroma emanating from the grease-stained brown paper bag in my grasp that contains two still hot-to-the-touch roast pork and garlic-bread sandwiches, each twelve inches long and wrapped in twisted aluminum foil. The sandwiches reek like sewage, but when God Himself wants comfort food, He appears at Jerry and Lil’s in Parksville, New York, and orders double meat.
    No such unkosher delicacy is to be found at the Jewish summer camp where we are counselors, so this desperado food-run to score a late night snack is worth every risk, down to and including the possible discovery of the half-kilo stash in the wheel-well by an ambitious state trooper. It’s enough weight to get Mike twenty years and me at least five. “The fucker will have to catch us first,” His hands leave the wheel to pass the joint from left to right to me, but I turn down his third offer of a hit. The odometer spins like a slot machine. When he down-shifts for the unpaved one-lane rutted road that climbs the mountainside to camp, Eloise’s Michelins spit clods of dirt that clatter in the wheel well like rounds from an AK-47. Mike roars over Hendrix, “Three miles and five minutes to go! We’re golden!”
    In the crawlspace behind Eloise’s two leather bucket seats, as if she is in her own warm bed, sleeps my girlfriend, Helena. At less than 100 pounds, all elbows, knees, and long hair, Helena looks like a geometry problem that has been folded up and put away to be solved at some future date. She is not hung over. She’s not drunk. Except for a mild buzz no greater than mine, she’s far from stoned. It has just been a long day, she is tired, and she is not one to squander a chance to cop a few Z’s. She’s fearless. Eloise growls, the car leaps forward, and I figure that if I live I will have to marry her. In a world gone mad, what are the chances I will find another girl for whom garlic, Hendrix, speed, and imminent death pose no obstacle to a quick nap?

  5. We were less than a year into our relationship when we had our first fight; I have long since forgotten why we were fighting. We were both upset and very angry, and a little afraid about what it might mean that we had been so happy together but now we were fighting. What amazed me so much about her was this: Upon looking up at me through her tears and recognizing how upset and unhappy I was, she instantly dropped her own angry feelings and forgot all about the fight and tenderly and lovingly came over to comfort me so I would feel better. It never occurred to me that someone could love so unselfishly. I was awestruck. I still am.

  6. My dad always told me that when I find “the one” I would just know it. I was in relationships constantly, always looking, never realizing I couldn’t find it—that love would find me. The night after my first date with my now-wife I had one of the most vivid dreams where I saw us together with a child and playing in the front yard. I woke up feeling like I was married and I just knew, I knew she was “the one.”

  7. Kevin Williamson says:

    After going to her mom’s cabin on the Missouri river and seeing what a great family she comes from.”

  8. I knew she was the one when I noticed how I felt when I realized we could have an impromptu conversation, at any given moment, as if we’d known each other for years. This all started thirteen years ago. I don’t want it to end. Ever.

  9. There is no such thing as the one. Though it begs the question…what happens if youre married, and THEN you find “the one”. What happens then?

    • Didn’t you read the fifth story? Thank God for divorce. And for all these guys, there is The One. It’s awesome.

    • That’s the question that’s like salt in the wounds. I was leading what looks like a perfect life – medical school, married a young nurse, had 2 lovely children. I did these things because it was the expected thing to do – but there was sense of something missing. An authenticity. Then I met her – with an old wisdom and luminous laughing eyes. I don’t know how or why, but I fell hard – and now am trying to counsel myself into unfalling. She is, I am sure, aware at some level of the depth of my feelings. I only tried to tell her once, and she seemed to understand because there is that feeling of “you’re the one” that can’t be ignored. I have never felt this way before, and if this is what it feels like to meet the one and not being able to be with them, then I wonder if it would be better to have never met the “One”.

  10. Guy Hinton says:

    The old values and morals were the hook that caught me. Seventeen years later and the hook hasn’t become rusty. Like fine wine marriage does get better with age.

  11. When I was young, I believed in the existence of an idealized partner that I could one day discover somewhere out there in the world.

    As I get older, I believe that being “the one” is something we evolve into, not a something we start out as in relationships.

    Nice piece, Tom.

  12. Wing Girl Kim says:

    Tom, I loved this article. Thank you for putting it together!

  13. The first day I met my wife, we were on a company day trip on a hired boat (more like mini-junk).

    We took a walk, exploring an island, just enjoying the atmosphere, and the sea creatures. I saw a tattered, but still beautiful feather from a brahminy kite, picked it up and gave it to her. At the end of the trip, she was still holding it in her hand.

    Our fates were sealed and we married two and a half years later…

  14. Wow what great stories. I am so happy to have stumbled upon them as they are insightful and full of romance and wonder.

    As a woman who’s once again out in the dating world I am encouraged and uplifted by your words.

  15. I knew she was the one while I was standing outside the womens bathroom calm, relaxed, and happy. We had just spent 11 hours in the Mall of America. It hit me like a ton of bricks. 10 years later, here we are.

    TJ

  16. We had known each other since the 6th grade and went to college together. Yet we never dated or even hooked up. Mainly because we were friends and she watched me man-whore my way through college. Then, three years after graduation we got drunk at a party and she told me she always liked me. I told her she was full of shit. Then we engaged in drunken kissing behind a woodshed.

    Two weeks later I told her I was going to marry her. She told me I was crazy. Eight months later she had a ring on her finger.

  17. I love this. I feel happy and grateful. Kendra (my wife, the woman that climbed the giant tree!) had a birthday yesterday – the same day this hit the web. Awesome timing from Tom!

    I also want to say that I am 100% sure that without the work I have been doing on myself through the ManKind Project and my men’s group – I wouldn’t have been able to live up to this incredible woman. My fear of intimacy, my fear of commitment, my habit of ‘checking out’ instead of listening, my fuzzy sense of my own boundaries and gifts … I have learned to be the man I want to be in my marriage through the support and challenge of other men.

    The ManKind Project and the New Warrior Training http://newwarriortraining.org is not religious and not political. It’s the best thing I have ever done for myself as a man. Period. And the best possible thing I can think of to improve quality of life and relationships for any man. Even if you have it GREAT – there is always a growing edge to push into.

  18. Todd Mauldin says:

    these are all awesome stories! i think daniel coffman wins. nerd love is a beautiful thing indeed. :)

  19. I had a spell cast upon me by the matriarch of a family of Roman witches and psychics on her 51st birthday, Feb. 17, 1968. That was the day I was struck by the thunderbolt as I watched that matriarch’s daughter emerge from Shakespeare’s Books, on Telegraph and Durant Aves. in Berkeley and sashay across the intersection into Cody’s Books dressed in a Black Silk Top Hat, Long black velvet cape and dress 3 weeks before my 14th birthday. That girl became the template for every other girl I would be attracted to. I didn’t actually mee her until 21 years later, after I had sailed the globe as a tin-can sailor and had settled into the ninth year of a loveless marriage. I was living in Vallejo and riding the ferry into SF for my job there whenm one morning in July, I came topside aft on the boat to discover this woman sitting in my seat. One of the first things I told her was,

    “Well, YOU’RE an opinionated little bitch, now aren’t you?”

    Since we discovered we were both writers, we began collaborating on a spy novel project over the next 3 months as our mutual respect and affection for each other grew. Then three things happened to me in late ’89 that brought matters to a head. In early September, I was on my way in to work the night shift for A.T.&T. in Oakland when I inadvertently cut of the 580 shooter on the freeway. The only reason I remembered his face was because he DIDN’T show me the obscene gesture I was expecting. When they finally caught the guy 2 months later, literally gun-in-hand over his last victim and published his picture on the news, I immediately recognized him as the guy I had cut off the night he killed his first victim. I wound up contacting Oakland PD Homicide and gave them a statement tying him and his car to the area of the first murder.

    The second incident occurred to me on Oct. 17,1989, when I was the only A.T.&T. employee who could get back INTO San Francisco after the Loma Prieta Quake. There I was personally responsible for keeping long-distance and emergency communications working OUT of San Francisco, saving lives and keeping SF connected to the rest of the country. Meanwhile, Janet had caught the afternoon Ferry and had a ringside seat to the damage as many people had brought their Watchman TVs aboard for the Bay Bridge World Series.

    The final straw came on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving in 89. Since we had a monthly ferry pass, we also got a free MUNI fastpass so all buses and cable cars were free as part of it. Our daily ritual was to come in the SF at 7:30 AM, hop the California St. Cable car, ride up to California and Kearney where I would get off for my job, while she rode 2 more blocks up the hill to Stockton St. where she would get off to walk to her job. That Wednesday in question, my daughter was sick so I took a personal day to care for her. BECAUSE I DIDN’T go to work, the cable car didn’t stop at California and Kearney and made the light. Forty seconds later a 60-ton construction crane fell into the intersection of California and Kearney, killing six people.

    Meanwhile, both of our soon-to-be-ex spouses were accusing us of having an affiar, which we weren’t. What it DID make us both realize was that the only portion of our day we looked forward to was the time we spent with each other. So I finally kissed her on Nov. 30 and she told me how her husband was physically abusive to her. I wouldn’t let her go back, so we left with each other on Dec. 1st. Throughout all this time, our ferry trips would pass by a little place called Sandy Beach, a group of 50 or so houses built, literally, on the Docks of the Bay at the end of the Napa river and say to each other how cool it would be to actually LIVE there. When I was looking for a place for us, I actually FOUND one of those places for rent as pictured here:

    http://img141.imageshack.us/i/lovenest004.jpg/

    It wasn’t until AFTER all the aforementioned had gone down and we were catching each other up on our lives before we met that she told me how she used to hang out in Berkeley between Shakespeare’s and Cody’s Bookstores in early 1968 dressed in a Black silk top hat, long black velvet cape and dress. When I heard THAT, I told her,

    “I wish you would have told me that in the beginning. It would have saved us BOTH a lot of time.”

    One other thing. The physically abusive guy she left for me was ANOTHER Pisces named Richard she had met 3 months after I first saw her. That was 21 years ago and I have never left her side since.

  20. A week after meeting her by chance (fate) in a city park, she had canceled a date with me to go sit by a dying man as part of a Hospice vigil team. I left my front door open and told her to come over when she was done. She woke me up at 12:30am and we just talked for hours. Eventually we came to the topic of love songs, and I told her there was one song that epitomized the way that I loved, but no one had ever “gotten” it. She asked me to sing it, so I started:

    I want to take the bullet, the one aimed straight for your heart
    I want to meet the wolves halfway and let them tear me apart
    But that’s not the way they do it here
    I want to lay on the tracks and feel hot steel screaming at me
    Expose the bones on my back, let me show you what I mean
    Yeah it’s a different kind of love
    I want to climb barbed wire fences and warm our hands in blood….

    At that point, I forgot the next line and became very frustrated. It was one of favorite songs, for years, after all. She waited patiently for a minute or so before I made some excuse about it being late and sleepiness clouding my mind before she took my hands in her’s, looked me in the eye and said “You can climb those fences, Chris, as long as you come back to me so I can mend your hands.”

    Something clicked and I said to her, “That’s it. The next line of the song. I love you.” The next line is actually “And this is my gift, asking you to fix my ruined hands.” But the point is that she got it. She understood that desire to have so much passion for another human being, and so much trust, that whatever the circumstances, you would feel like you could come back. That there was only one place you would feel safe to be lain open with every defense lowered. She understood me and the way that I wanted to feel love, and shared that desire with me.

    Everyday since I have know that she is The One for me, and I look forward to spending the rest of my life with her.

  21. no such thing as the one tell that to the 50 percent divorce men paying alimony and childsupport for a child they can never see this young man plans never to get married only fools fall in love

  22. “I was living in Chicago and she was in Massachusetts and we were taking turns flying back and forth to see each other. At that time I was in a position to fly more often than she was. Well, when she noticed that I had come three times to see her and she had only flown once to see me, she said, “It’s not right that you should deplete your bank account by coming to see me so often. I am going to pay for the last flight you took and split the one before.” I told her it was unnecessary, and she replied, “Look, I want to see you as badly as you want to see me. And besides, I am a feminist and that means I must be fair. It’s the right thing to do.” My mouth dropped through two floors, a basement, and then a sub-basement. Why? This was a person who was willing to stick by an ethic. In that instant I saw a person of integrity and principle and knew she was right for me.

    —Regie Gibson, poet”

    This is beautiful

  23. Beautiful stuff! Thanks!

    Today’s my 15th wedding anniversary and my hub surprised me with a dozen red roses today! Better reading these stories than listening to Celine Dion’s sappy song “Because You Loved Me”….(oh, all right, I admit it…love her song, too!)

  24. After a few false starts due to me completely misjudging her sister’s attempt to play hard-to-get on her behalf (“She might not take that call even if you got her number now”) we dated and hung out a few weeks. Then I went for a vacation to Italy for two weeks and missed her desperately the whole time. Then I just knew with a certainity I’ve never felt about anything else before. Luckily, when I got back I found out that she had missed me terribly as well.

  25. “And besides, I am a feminist and that means I must be fair. It’s the right thing to do.”

    My god that’s refreshing.

    • It’s also refreshing for a dude to think it’s attractive, and not feel emasculated!

      Quips aside, it’s really hard to make such an offer (or even something simple like paying for dinner) because you just never know if the guy is going to be totally insulted and afraid of you from that point forward.

      Sounds like those two are a good match.

  26. I met my wife the second day of college. We were riding across the country to Utah for a wilderness preterm program and I got put in a van with her “patrol.” On the next day I volunteered to ride in her van, and when we got to Utah I kissed her on the way back from brushing our teeth, because I was not sure I would see her for the next three weeks. I did, almost every day. On our three-day solo experience it snowed 16 inches. I dreamed I was home in NJ, in the backyard, at a family picnic, with all the fresh food that you can’t carry on a backpacking trip. Fresh corn, fresh home grown tomatoes, etc. And my future wife was there too! I haven’t looked back since I woke up from that dream, 39 years ago. Today is our 31st wedding anniversary. How did I know – we both did. It was electric. She was sophisticated and worldly in a way I was not, but down to earth and loved the outdoors the way I did.

  27. Paul Kidwell says:

    The first time she showed me that she “had my back.” I think all people/partners are best measured during those times when things do not go according to plan and you find yourself adrift. For me, I had been downsized and out of a job due to an M&A – second time in 3 years – and left mostly dazed and confused. My wife is the one who suggested to look at myself for the “next big thing” in my career. Almost twelve years ago I ceased relying on the kindness of strangers and struck out on my own as a PR consultant. Haven’t looked back since and get weak in the kneew when I think of that kind of love.

  28. One major sign when I knew my wife was “the one” was when I knew that she believed that I could be better than I was, and wanted to help me get there.

  29. My ex girlfriend told me about a girl at my high school that would be perfect for me. I picked her up for our first date. Rose in her seat of the car, we met eyes… I said to myself, I’m going to marry you one day. Engaged in 6 months, will be 18 years on Nov 17th. Marriage is having each others back. We went through 14 years of infertility, don’t wish that on my worst enemies. Through adoption, We have 2 beautiful sons 2 & 5. I don’t think I knew what love was… Till I met them.. Life is great!!

  30. wow, these stories sure shed a different light on guys. who’d have thunk it! Good job!

    • I know right? Usually we’re just too busy raping people and making life awful for everyone else!
      *sarcasm*

      • lol. I’m sure they didn’t mean anything like that. Probably just more accustomed to the idea of men not being the ones to get all mushy about marrying someone, yknow? Some people still think that only women ever want to get married or talk about such things, while men just get dragged into it kicking and screaming and regret it for the rest of their lives.

  31. One day while we were going out, she asked me “what’s going on here.” Time stood still for me. I thought if I responded with, “we’re just dating,” that I’d probably never go out with her again. If I responded with, “I think you’re the one,” then I would not be with another woman for the rest of my life. I realized that I couldn’t be without her and no other woman mattered.

  32. Chris Mooney says:

    I met my wife in Nürnberg, Germany and at that time I loved to travel. I asked her if she would like to go to Austria and Italy for the weekend leaving that evening. She said of course and was ready at the train that evening, lightly packed. Then I knew she was the one and have never once doubted it in 32 wonderful years.

  33. I think many would also be interested in knowing when one realizes – oops, she wasn’t the One…, but is it too late to do anything about it?

    • My thoughts exactly. I would love to read a similar article on the equivally frequent – oopsies… nope, wrong call, she wasn’t the one; I knew she wasn’t the one, but married her because it seemed to be the right thing to do at the time….
      When does that thought occur and how long before you stop denying you had it?

  34. For the last time:

    There is no ONE. The soulmate is a myth. There are good ONES and there are bad ONES and amazing ONES and abusive ONES, but there is no ONE.

    Rollo Tomassi nails it here: http://rationalmale.wordpress.com/2011/08/30/there-is-no-one/

    Oneitis is a virulent, poisonous disease.

    • Floppy Puppy says:

      Oh ye, rejector of faith.

      If it works for you, that’s ok too. The fact that you don’t have faith doesn’t mean that the faith of others isn’t going to be realized.

      Faith is not something to be cured.

  35. Floppy Puppy says:

    Wow, reading this set of thoughts made me realize something that I never did before. I never knew when I knew.

    But now I do. Thank you.

  36. I met my wife in culinary school. Each of us thought the other was pretty odd at first, and she had to hit me over the head with a hammer to get my attention at first, as I was completely oblivious. I never had a moment when I just knew she was the one, we just came to it gradually. Looking back I think it was our third date. We went on a ferry ride, (I later proposed on that same ferry route) locked the keys in her car, got pulled over, and still had a great time. Symbolizes all the struggles we’ve had, and the fact that we still hold hands, still steal kisses at stoplights, still feel the thrill of romance ten years later.

  37. Disgruntled says:

    So… your liberal website about men does a Special Marriage Edition exclusively about opposite-gender marriages? Is there a reason this article had to be so heterosexist? Are there no gay men on this website?

    Not to mention that Queer men in most states are still fighting for the right to marry their same-gender partners, making this exclusion from a discussion about what marriage means to men even more hurtful.

  38. My wife just wrote a blog post called “How to Know You’re found the Right Person to Marry”. I thought some of you would appreciate reading it:
    http://timandolive.com/right-person-to-marry/

  39. Hah! I’ve always eaten tuna out of a can. Love it! Does it mean I was his The One, too?? 😛

  40. She was my manager at a video store, I asked her out a couple times and she was too busy, but I was persistent. Then a movie that everyone had wanted to see was finally coming to video and everyone was coming to my house to watch. Everyone else bailed on showing up, I think because they knew how big my crush was.

    Fast forward six months. I had to move to another state and she followed a month later, then I screwed up and lost my job and she was very upset, but we had an apartment together and she let me stay and eventually forgave me for losing my job. I then got a better job than the one I’d had and we’ve been together 15 year, married thirteen with two awesome kids!

  41. Tom, thanks a lot for working this out and posting it.
    It is helping me redefine what I want with my lovelife!

  42. Michael Rowe says:

    I miss Tom’s writing.

  43. Jack Crevalle says:

    Day #1: She made lasagna for friends and I was invited along. That night, we stayed up all night talking and eventually covered ourselves with a blanket on the couch. Her cats came over and lay down on top of us.
    Day #2: No one could reach either of us on the phone and got worried. We were talking to each other all day, so the lines were busy.
    Day #3: “Well, that’s it” “What?” “You’re the one, I love you.” “You’re crazy and infatuated.” By that evening, as we just lay there talking and talking, she agreed that I was right. We bought (cheap!) rings the next day. That was 32 years ago tomorrow. Here’s to our next 32 years together!

  44. Some beautiful tales here, heart-warming. But there’s a danger too. There isn’t The One. We may like to think so, and may do for many years, but many men have found total happiness with The Second or The Third or The Other One. There is one person who can make you complete, as many philosophies agree, and that person is you. Only you can make you truly happy, and to give that to someone else is actually a bit crazy. But not as crazy as those who put their happiness in the maw of material goods.
    A great marriage is a marvellous mystical thing, just don’t believe there’s only The One. One day you may find the one has become none – gone for whatever reason – and then what do you do with the rest of your life?

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