1. The Ex-Boyfriend
“When I was in high school I dated a guy for about a year before we graduated and went to different colleges. We broke up over about a three month period which was my first taste of a broken heart even though I was the one who felt like a LTR was just too much stress. We didn’t really stay in touch after that. I dated through college, got engaged when I was 24 and in grad school, found out he cheated and broke it off. Was single for a couple of years after that then out of the blue this guy I’d dated in high school friends me on Facebook. Almost immediately he apologizes in a Facebook message to tell me he thought he was friending someone from work whose name is only one letter different from mine. Then he followed it up with ‘wait a minute, didn’t we date, lol?’ to which I replied, ‘wow, yes, of course. This is hilarious.’
I’d honestly nearly forgotten he existed by this point but we started talking on messenger some, catching one another up on where our lives had lead us since then. Found out he only lived an hour away from me and a few months after we’d started chatting I asked him to coffee. We had wonderful conversations. I’d forgotten how funny he was. Here we were, both grown up, but we clicked amazingly. The whole thing had this inevitable feeling like the time between my freshman year of college and that coffee date was just some long aside. We got married six months later and it’s completely inexplicable that we met one another again this way. I have no answer for it.”
— Meghan, 29
2. The Coffee Shop
“I used to go to this coffee house to work and every day there was a girl there doing the same thing. She was pretty, very pretty, and while I used to admire her from afar like one would a statue I was in a relationship with someone else and very much in love at the time. Flash forward six months and my girlfriend had decided she wanted a live without me and broke it off. It took me three weeks after the breakup but I finally worked up the nerve to speak to this coffee house girl. We laughed that we’d basically been ‘co-workers’ for nearly a year and never spoken. But what was crazy is that I found out her boyfriend had broken up with her three weeks previous too, literally on the same day.
I don’t usually believe this stuff but sometimes it’s hard to deny that it feels like the universe is sending you a message. We’ve been dating ever since and we’re both very happy.”
— Darrell, 26
3. The Childhood Sweetheart
“I married my childhood summertime sweetheart. My dad’s best friend and family used to take a vacation with my family every summer up until I was about twelve and my older sister started complaining about being ‘forced’ to spend a full week away from her friends. But during about five summers I used to hang out with the daughter of my dad’s best friend. We’ll call her Susie here because it’s cute and she’s cute.
Susie and I did everything together during those summer vacations. We almost always stayed at the same state park and so by year three we remembered every place to go play together. I learned to swim from her. I taught her to ride a bike (which her dad was annoyed by at the time). We built tree forts together, everything. It was very much a fairy tail friendship.
But of course we got older and as I said the joint family vacations stopped happening because teenagers are idiots who think the mall is fun. I didn’t keep in touch with Susie because we lived three hours from one another and I completely lost track of her by the time I went to college. When I got my acceptance letter I remember my dad saying “oh, Susie got in there too” which in no way registered with me as something that mattered at the time because we’d completely grown apart.
So, I went to college and didn’t ever seem to run into Susie much for three years until during my Senior year when I was coming out of a friend’s dorm after an early evening of pregaming Jager bombs for my 21st birthday. She was sitting on the steps out front on the phone waiting for a friend. For some reason (probably Jager bombs) I decided to say hello to her when she got off the phone and she hugged me and said “holy shit, I was just talking to my dad and he was asking if I’d seen you lately.”
That got us talking about all the things we used to do when we were kids and we hung out on the steps together for probably twenty minutes before her friend arrived and she had to leave.
The next day I looked for her and asked if she wanted to get coffee to catch up and she said yes. Previous to this we’d pretty much just nodded to one another when we came into contact but, and it was surprising to me, seeing her again I really started to feel the lack of seeing her for so many years, y’know?
Turned out that she was as amazing as I remembered and as we hung out she told me she couldn’t believe we hadn’t spent more time together our first three years of school. A week after that we made out for the first time and started dating. We got married after we graduated. Like, bang, bang, it all just came together and felt completely natural.
This made me realize that the things we did when we were kids that we come to think are silly when we’re teenagers and in college aren’t really silly at all. For me, it turns out they were realer than anything else that came after. Whenever we fight (which isn’t often) I remember running along a park trail with her laughing and smiling and it’s hard to stay mad.”
— Nathan, 25
4. Nearly Losing It All
“This was in 2008. My wife and I were the same age, 24, and we’d only been married three months. The stock market tanked and I lost my job. Thankfully we had some money saved but things were stressful. I felt like a failure as a provider and even though my wife never said it, I know she was having the same thought I was: ‘Is this going to work?’ It was to the point where we were considering moving back in with our respective parents because neither of their houses had guest bedrooms and we didn’t want to crowd them.
Two more months went by and I still couldn’t get a job and neither could my wife and we made the decision to move in with our parents. It was the most depressing time of my life. We were both silent all the time because we didn’t know what to say. My lovely wife used to break down crying and I had literally no words to console her with. So we packed up all our stuff, all our ‘new life together’ belongings and we put them on a truck.
Here’s where it gets crazy. Just as I’m climbing up into the U-Haul driver’s seat next to my wife she gets a phone call and it’s one of the dozens of companies she’d applied with. She got a job. It wasn’t a great job and it wasn’t the best money but it was enough for us to live on. I can’t really express the relief of that moment for me. She cried. I cried. I truly believe that if we’d had to move into separate houses with our parents hours from one another it might well have destroyed our marriage with stress and distance and, for me, shame. But it didn’t and I’m so thankful to the universe for that.”
— David, 31
5. The Surprise
“This may seem strange to some people because of stigma. My boyfriend and I had been dating two years and while we’d talked about marriage I’d always been on the fence about it mainly because of fear of statistical divorce rates and the depressing marriages many of my friends were in. Our relationship was good and we were both happy so I figured why change anything? However, my boyfriend wanted to marry me and he always put the emphasis on ‘me’ rather than just ‘oh, I want to be a person that is married.’
Well, life plays funny tricks on you sometimes and this is where I learned that sometimes you don’t know how you actually feel about a choice unless you’re truly faced with it. I use birth control religiously. I was one of those ‘same time, every day’ kind of women who handles their business in that regard. Guess what, I turned up pregnant. Now for me this wasn’t a deal breaker. It didn’t mean I had to get married or even tell my bf what had happened. I viewed (and still do) it as my body, my choice. But, at the same time it finally made me face the question about whether or not I wanted to spend the rest of my life with this man and make that promise to him in a way that would be meaningful to him.
A week later, I told him I was pregnant and asked him to marry me. He said yes. That was six years ago and I couldn’t be happier about how it happened.”
— Sandy, 27