I’m a planner—to a fault, some might say. I meticulously plan my work days, my weekends, my vacations, and my bathroom breaks (please don’t judge). The one thing I didn’t plan? Falling in love. And I’m pretty sure that’s exactly why it happened.
- THERE WERE NO EXPECTATIONS. Because I had no intention of falling for him, I had zero expectations of him. So often in the early stages of a potential relationship, we place crazy high expectations on people who have absolutely no idea exactly what’s being expected of them. We get jealous if they like other girls’ Instagram posts, mad if they take forever and a day to text back—you know the drill. Those messed up thoughts completely dissipated with this guy. No text back? No problem! His attention didn’t dictate my happiness, and you know what? It still doesn’t.
- THERE WERE PLENTY OF SURPRISES. I was never one to enjoy surprises but I suppose I’m a changed woman. Because I was expecting nothing, I received everything. That first good morning text was a welcome surprise—and it continues to be the highlight of my mornings. I RSVP’d to my friend’s wedding that I’d be flying solo because I didn’t think he’d want to go—lo and behold, he asked to be my date. I saved the petals from the first bouquet of roses he got me for our six month anniversary. I mean, c’mon, do guys even do that outside of picture perfect Instagram lives? Apparently, they do. I know—it was a surprise to me too.
- I COULD BE MY TRUE SELF. You know that thing you do when you’re trying really, really hard to make someone fall for you? We all deny it, but trust me—we all do it. Their hobbies become our hobbies. Suddenly we’re playing some sort of first-person shooter game while throwing back a glass of scotch and dissecting the final scene of The Graduate. Now, I love The Graduate and a good glass of scotch—but I’d much rather be drinking a glass of cheap wine and watching You’ve Got Mail. Pretending to be someone you’re not who likes things you don’t is a disservice to yourself and the guy you’re into. With him, I could be me AF. He could probably recite every line of You’ve Got Mail if his life depended on it.
- I COULD LIVE IN THE MOMENT. When you’re crushing hard, your mind is in two places: what you just did or said, and what you’re going to do or say. You dwell on things you could have done differently, and plan your conversations for the future. Always prepared, just like a boy scout—which you never were. Very rarely are you totally in the present when your crush is…well, present. I never had that problem with him because, to be frank, I didn’t give a damn. I wasn’t concerned if what I’d just said pissed him off. I wasn’t planning our interactions for the next day. I mean, why would I? He was just some guy.
- HE WAS MY FRIEND FIRST. Everyone says it: “The best relationships are built on friendships.” I tend to agree. A solid friendship lays the groundwork for a long-lasting relationship. However, I’ve had my fair share of guy friends that I’ve never once considered dating. I mean, maybe I’ve considered it—for like, five seconds. After those five seconds were up, I was like, “No. Never. Not in a million years.” Then I go back to burping in front of them and making fart jokes. The same was true with this guy. Somewhere along the line, I changed my mind. It helped that we could have a hot make out sesh and make a fart joke after (a good fart joke will ALWAYS be funny, okay?).
- I WASN’T AFRAID TO EMBARRASS MYSELF. Speaking of fart jokes—with him, I was never afraid to be the completely unbridled version of myself. I wasn’t trying to impress him, so he got to see it all—the good, the bad, and the really, really embarrassing. I’m a terrible dancer. He knows. I can barely make mac n’ cheese without burning something, whether it be the dish or my skin. He knows that, too. He loved me through all the many misses of my life, and that made me fall for him 10x harder than any rando from Tinder.
- I FELT BUTTERFLIES AGAIN. I have a love/hate relationship with the whole “butterflies in your stomach” thing. Like, yeah, it’s exciting—but also, did I eat something weird? It’s an odd feeling—one that’s chased by so many people. I’d found myself immune to butterflies in my dating adventures. I was too focused on being someone the person I wanted to be with would want to be with, too. Whew—it was exhausting. No butterflies, just tension headaches from the mega amounts of overthinking and staring at my phone, waiting for a text. With him, the butterflies came slowly and gently and all at once at the same time. He’d smiled at me at least a thousand times, but I remember the day he smiled at a joke I made and BAM. Ten million butterflies, right to my gut. That’s how I knew.
- HE MADE ME BELIEVE IN LOVE. As cheesy as it sounds, he made me believe in the kind of love I see in every Nora Ephron flick—the kind of love I always wanted but never thought was real. The way he liked me for me, flaws and all, sparked the mushy gushy, rom-com loving flame in my soul. He was completely unexpected and right on time—the surprise I never knew I wanted. And he was a phone call away the entire time. My advice to you? Keep an open mind, an open heart, and close the door on whatever plans you have for love. You never know who could show up—or who’s already there.