I knew I was falling hard for Christina when she commandeered my side of the bed. It was early into the relationship and she had even asked me what side I usually slept on, which was pretty evident. I only had one nightstand which had my phone charger, alarm clock, and books. The other side was empty. We were spending a few nights together throughout the week, sometimes at her place, sometimes at mine. But, each time we stayed at mine, she always ended up on my side of the bed. Next thing I knew, there was this little jewelry stand for her earrings and necklaces and some of my books had been pushed out of the way.
I moved some furniture around the house and found a small table that could be a nightstand for the other side. Her jewelry stand never made it over there, so eventually I just moved my books and phone charger.
We've joked about it a good bit. Well, she hasn't but I have. I started calling her Deebo from the movie Friday.
But in a lot of ways, me moving from the right to the left side of the bed is pretty symbolic.
For the last ten years I've slept on the right side. I've been in plenty of relationships over those years, including a few serious ones. While my dating life would be a pretty entertaining blog post, it wouldn't be fair. There are two sides to a story, none of them consented to have my side put over the internet, and a few of them have serious mental health issues. Like scary ones.
After my divorce in 2007 I went on a five day, four night backpacking trip by myself. I did that to give myself time to think, and try and put life in perspective. I needed time away from everything to figure out what happened in my marriage, and what I needed to learn from it.
I kept a small journal during that trip and transcribed a few notes into a small word file titled, You. That file grew over time, and eventually I lost it transferring from different jump drives.
The You file was all about finding the next person I wanted to spend my life with. I pointed out specific qualities that I wanted her to have, things that I had learned over the years, especially after my divorce and some of the relationships I had been involved in.
What I remember from that file was there were five non-negotiable issues for any serious relationship. These are in no particular order. Kids- if I wanted more, if she did, how they were raised, that had to be agreed upon or it wouldn't work. Finances- what to spend money on, how much needs to be saved, when is a good time to use a credit card, again had to be agreed on and not a constant fight. Sex- let's face it, guys and girls wouldn't be getting together without sex, unless they wanted to procreate. The sex life had to be fulfilling or the relationship wouldn't work long term. Religion- this is a little weird for me because I don't think I'm a very religious person. I've investigated Unitarian Universalism the last few months and am interested in it but I don't like the political aspect of the church. I was raised a Christian, and identify with a lot of Christian values, but what was important to me on this aspect is that whoever I am with they recognize that a relationship with God, whatever God that may be, is personal. I'm all for a good discussion on religion, and would listen to anyone on this issue, but in the end the relationship between God and me is mine. I knew I needed my significant other to respect that. And lastly, Goals- We needed to have the same goals in life. Mine go from retiring to a small beach town to attending my daughters wedding. And she would have some that are different as well, but they would align in the middle.
Then, as the word file grew there were more specific traits about the girl of my dreams.
I wanted her to workout with me. I've said it plenty of times, but exercise is without question the biggest anti-depressant out there. I've always envied couples in the gym working out together. For some reason that was important to me.
I wanted her to be independent. And, allow me to be my own person as well. I've seen some pretty amazing relationships over the years, couples that you point at and say, "they were made for each other." But, even in those relationships, those people are independent of each other. They are a great couple, but they choose that. They stay together because they choose to, not because they're supposed to.
I wanted her to be expressive. I didn't want to question how she felt. I wanted her to be straight forward and open. And, I wanted her to appreciate that I was expressive in how I felt about her.
I wanted her to be comfortable around my friends and family. And, I knew that meant I had to be comfortable and accepting of hers as well.
I wanted to be able to be myself, and more importantly, allow her to be herself. This sounds simple, but over the last ten years I've found this is harder than it seems.
There were a few more, but you get the point. I was slowly describing the perfect girl each time I wrote in, "You." I think around five or four years ago is when I decided to stop writing in it.
Ultimately, writing down what I sought in a potential girlfriend served its purpose. I dated girls and ended relationships when it was obvious they didn't have all the qualities I felt that I needed.
Then, sometime last year I began to resign that I was being too picky. It had been ten years since my divorce and I had dated and been in too many relationships that I should've found at least one person that I was compatible with, right? Nobody ever finds the perfect match, I needed to seek some sort of compromise. I'd fight that in my mind, and go back and forth. Then I'd keep telling myself that I needed to be patient. I wanted the perfect match.
As if on cue, I met Christina.
She's beautiful, funny, smart, independent, expressive, and I enjoy her company. We agree on kids, finances, sex, religion and goals. She's supportive, honest, and an amazing mother and person. She makes the first moves when I'm timid. She knows when to let me vent. She loves to laugh and we have made each other snort. She and I exercise together daily, and always share a good hug at the end of a good workout.
She loves it when I bring her morning coffee. I never knew how important a simple hand on my shoulder could mean to me until I met Christina. When she's waking up, I lay there in the bed after I made her coffee and she rubs my neck and shoulders.
Her touch is that amazing.
She's that amazing.
We've talked about moving in together. She's at her house tonight packing things up. I can't wait to change her name in my phone to, "permanent roommate." Which isn't fair because she is so much more than that.
She's the love I've been searching for.
The other night she was here and talking about switching sides of the bed, again. She was complaining about her shoulder hurting and wondered aloud if she should switch sides, forcing her to lie on her other shoulder. I'm pretty sure she is priming me to get ready to move to the other side that I've grown accustomed to. She's going to Deebo my new side just out of spite.
I'll move my books back to my old nightstand with a smile.
Sharing a bed with someone so beautiful, someone so amazing in so many ways, someone who makes me laugh, someone who keeps me on my toes, someone who challenges me to be a better person, someone who is the love I've been searching for...
Yeah, I don't care what side of the bed I'm on. I'm thankful to be in the same bed with her. I've been looking for her a long time.
And she isn't perfect. We all have our faults. I'm not perfect. But the truth is, now that I've gotten to know her... She's perfect for me.