This is a very good question and one we have been asked numerous times. It's hard to describe, because in my experience it was so unexpected. In fact, when I met L I was very much of the opinion that love wasn't for me. I had seen friends consumed by love, changed by love and obsessed by love and I didn't want that to be me.
I think part of falling in love comes from that cliché of loving yourself. From my experience it wasn't until I was a fully functioning human being in my own world, loving my own life that it even happened. When I had sought love previously it had always been to fill a hole or keep me entertained when others were busy falling in love. It inevitably meant the people I ended up dating weren't going to meet my expectations. They had no clue they were filling a void and I didn't have the confidence to say 'this is what I want from our relationship'. Mind you as I dated guys who knows whether that would have made a difference anyway :)
I feel like it was the same for L. Even though there is a 5 year age gap, I wasn't meeting an unsure, naive, student. I met Laura as a fully functioning, albeit living in a cupboard, adult. She was confident, demanding, self assured and opinionated. All things I admired then and love now.
In fact, I think it was the way we were, the life experiences we had gone through that meant we worked when we met. Had I not found the confidence to leave my home town and live in London I would never have walked into the job I met Laura in. Had I not had the ridiculous idea to wear an incredibly hot dress to that interview I wouldn't even have gotten that job, but I was assured that I had the skills if not the experience and I have no doubt the dress sealed the deal - but I digress.
If travel hadn't been something I loved and if I hadn't visited some 12 countries by the time we'd met how would I have kept up with the triple passport-ed girl that was always talking about her love of Australia, her German travels for the world cup or tour of Europe with her school choir?!
I knew I loved L the moment I realised just how awesome she was. At first I didn't know it would be this kind of love, I just knew I wanted to know more. I remember the hours and hours we spent talking about nothing, everything, anything. Our similar experiences gave us a starting point and our differences made it interesting.
In just over 5 years together, L has taught me, shown me and opened my eyes to things I never knew about! Burgers bigger than my head for one :) She has given me experiences it would have taken me a life time to get to on my own, but ultimately our relationship has made us both grow.
So here's the ways I knew I was in love:
- I was more interested in what she had to say than anyone else (including myself)
- No matter how much I found out I wanted to know more
- No matter how much time we had together it was never enough
- I volunteer-ly tided up / put away / cleared up without compliant
- Sleeping next to her was the best thing in the world (previously the noises, scratchy hair etc would mean I hated anyone else in my bed)
- I would watch her across room willing her to glance the way to show she knew I existed
The moment I realised love was not actually sacrificing or changing myself to 'fit in' was amazing. I was no longer filling a hole I was trying to find ways to be better but not because L wanted me to but because I wanted to be better for us - does that make sense?
And so to quote a tweet I put up the other day, I've found out that love is 'not about the number of days or months or years we've been together, it's about how much we love each other every day'. I can still list off, on demand, the reasons I love L and the best thing is that list keeps growing. Getting married is just our next adventure and I couldn't have picked a better person to go on it with.
I love that girl more than I ever thought possible and I know it because the life I led up until I met her meant I was ready to love her without fear or need or to fill a gap. I met her when I was ready and I am so glad I waited! In my case the best thing really did come from my waiting!
Less than 50 days to the wedding!!!!!!!