Officially, we’ve been married one year as of yesterday, but we decided to celebrate our anniversary today, since it’s the day we stood in front of our family and friends and said our vows. Plus, yesterday has other memories for me that aren’t such happy ones, and I would prefer not to taint the day.

My husband and I met in May of 2015, just a few short months after I threw out my previous husband. We met via Craigslist personals, my ad. I was searching for someone I could spend time with, get to know on a personal level, be friends with first, someone who was ready for a deeper connection rather than a hook-up.

There’s nothing wrong with hooking up, been there done that myself. That’s just not what I wanted or needed in my life any longer. And though it may sound like it, I wasn’t searching for an immediate love connection either. Just someone who was at least willing to be open to long-term, if there was a connection.

After weeding through countless dick pics, bots, and people I just wasn’t interested in for one reason or another, I came back to him.

Yes, I said back. Because I had dismissed him, kind of, initially.

I didn’t delete his email. I did read it. His age threw me off a bit. He was 22, I was 37. I was concerned about maturity, when I need not be. I know 50 year olds that aren’t mature, yet, and 20 year olds that have the “soul” of someone decades their senior. I already knew this, but having just been through hell with someone much younger than myself, I was a bit jaded.

And he was even younger.

It all came to a head late one evening. My home situation was wrought with chaos at the time, there were too many people in my house. Tempers had flared over something meaningless, yet, I couldn’t stand to be there any longer. So I left, and checked into a hotel for the night, on the beach, just to get a moment to myself.

I was watching “Counting Cars”, I’ll never forget that, because apparently, it won me brownie points. I love cars and that show. As I was sitting, alone for the first time in months, in that room, I decided to go back through the emails I had not deleted, to see if I’d missed something.

I had. The love of my life.

We started talking that night, texting, and even on the phone. Which I hate doing. But somehow, time melted away and it had been three hours, and we were still on the phone.

Our connection was almost immediate. Even with 15 years difference in age, we had quite a bit in common, interests wise. We’d both been burned more times than either of us would like to discuss. We talked for two weeks before we ever met in person.

Our first meeting was in a Wal-Mart parking lot, of all places. My phone was about to lose service, I was almost out of fuel in my Jeep, and I had no money. He was coming through town to do laundry before heading back out to work for another week and offered to meet me there in order to buy a card for my phone, and give me money for fuel.

I looked like hell. I had spent the entire day cleaning and packing someone’s apartment, along with babysitting two wild children. My oldest son was with me as well, and regardless of how old your children get, they still enjoy embarrassing you in front of “company”. This child does, in particular.

But honestly, I wasn’t even nervous. We had talked so much over the previous two weeks, I felt I had known him forever. And I figured, well, if he sticks around after seeing me looking like this, and after meeting my oldest, then he’s supposed to.

He did. Obviously, as we eventually got married.

I won’t say it’s been perfect. That would be a lie of epic proportions. We’ve had our moments, more than I would like at times. We’ve had things thrown at us from outside sources that would break most people. But through it all, except for one week out of almost three years together and one year married, we have stood by one another through it all.

We took a one week break at the beginning of this year. Things were just too much, for both of us. Most of it stemming from outside shit. A person can only take so much before they break.

So we didn’t, we bent. And I can honestly say, that week was like living in hell, but it’s one of the best things we could have done for our relationship. We hit the “reset” button, so to speak. And came to some smart conclusions that should have been obvious, but weren’t, because we were too close to the problem.

In the past year, I’ve learned to bend more so I break less. I’ve learned that it’s perfectly okay, actually, required, to have a life separate from your spouse. I’ve learned that love isn’t always going to be rainbows and puppy dogs, and that’s okay too.

Because it’s part of life, and life isn’t perfect. But if you find someone who truly cares for you, the way you deserve to be treated, the way you should treat yourself, who embraces all your quirks, and tells you when you’re too much, too…then hold on.

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