Finding a +1

I got this question on formspring two months ago:

Hi Cat, I came across your blog and I love reading your entries because you’re real, honest and I find I learn something new from your posts. I’ve been in a relationship for a while now, and just wanted to ask how you knew Carl was ‘the one’ ūüėȬ†

So why did it take me so long to answer this?

Two reasons: I didn’t want to share too much and I think the answer can come in different shapes and forms.¬†

But this query has been playing in my head for some time and I think I’m ready to give it a go.¬†

Let’s take a quick flashback to my past. Before Carl, many know I was in a relationship for almost seven years. It had its ups and downs (like any relationship does) but it was in a comfortable place that only happens when you’ve shared a life with someone for so long.¬†

In 2007, I was in LA spending time with my grandmother, who was receiving treatment for cancer, when she asked me a question no one had asked before. 

“Are you going to marry him?”

I was taken aback. Having been in this relationship since I was 20, it wasn’t something I had actually thought through.¬†

“I’m not sure,” I answered honestly.¬†

“Well, unless every cell of your body knows that you want to be with him for the long haul, don’t.”¬†

Having these words of advice from someone I admired gave me the courage to head back to Manila and close the book on a partnership that wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t right.¬†

Newly single and with absolutely no interest to start dating (the idea seriously made me nauseous), I decided to do something I’d never done before: I wrote a list.

I wrote all the things I needed in a partner, from small requirements like ‘loves dogs’ to big ones like ‘adores¬†his family with all his heart’. I just typed out everything I needed to make each cell in my body feel exactly what my grandmother described. ¬†¬†¬†

It might seem mechanic to make a list, but at 27 I’d decided that I wasn’t going to spend any more time giving my love and commitment to a relationship that wasn’t going to be long term.

Almost a year later, the universe decided to throw an old acquaintance back into my life and we all know the rest of this tale. 

Being with Carl took no effort.¬†Having both experienced long relationships, we both realised early on that what we were building¬†was unlike anything we’d made before. There were no doubts and no ‘what ifs’ that our past lives could have been any better than the possibilities now put in front of us.¬†

And that is when I think you know, when every part of you says that a life without this person just isn’t an option and, just as importantly, they say the same about you.¬†

My grandmother was never able to meet my husband. But I don’t believe people really leave us when they leave this world. And in some way, I believe she played a part in guiding me to make the steps I needed to find myself exactly where I am today, married to a man with whom I have a fighting chance to make a marriage work.

So there you have it, my long overdue answer.

But like I said in the beginning of this post, this can be different for everyone. So I decided to ask married people on Twitter to share some thoughts on how they knew when they’d found the person they wanted to spend the rest of their life with.

Here are their insightful opinions: 

”¬†When the thought of marrying him didn’t feel like a ‘closing in’ but quite the opposite, in fact. ” – @gangbadoy

” Just as important to finding ‘the one’ for you is also being ‘the one’ to the other person.. then you get married.” – @patmartires

” When he brought out the best in me, inspired me to be a better person and i had that same effect on him too. When we faced challenges, decision making was based on our values in life—values that were somehow similar to each other. When love is not the only reason why we stay together; there’s friendship, respect, having fun, growing together in the mix too. ” – @ibyang

”¬†If you have to think about it, they’re not it. Easy.” – @thesouthsyde

“When you don’t believe in such a thing as “the one” and someone comes along who makes you think if there was such a thing, this would be it!” – @SetteDuhigg

* Let me end this post by throwing the question to you married (or soon to be married) readers: “When did you know you found your +1?”