I’m always a sucker for love stories…especially ones that have a happy ending. With Valentine’s Day just a few days away, I decided to share with you my favorite love story.
This is the story of how Justin and I met and consequently fell in love.
I went to Truman State University for undergrad and I chose to major in nursing. During the second semester of my sophomore year, I felt as if I was at a major crossroads in my life. I had been dating the same boy for five years.
By the end of the school year, I knew my heart wasn’t in the relationship anymore. I was no longer the same girl that he knew when we were 15. I was thriving in college while he was not. So at the end of the year, I told him that I wanted to breakup and be on my own.
Junior year as a nursing major was going to be especially difficult and I felt as if that the summer before was going to be the last one I had to enjoy. He instead, asked me to take a break from our relationship for the summer. And me being the wuss that I was, let him have his way. We were free to see other people and just enjoy our summer and then reevaluate when the semester started up again. I was skeptical about this set up but I wanted to take the summer to focus on myself so I agreed.
I went home with my heart little lighter and a little freer. This was going to be the summer of all summers. I wasn’t looking for a new love. I was looking to find myself again. But what I found that summer was so much more than I had bargained for.
The day I got back home, a few of my closest friends were planning on reuniting over ice cream. Justin was invited by a mutual acquaintance but he was late to the party. I met Justin previously in high school through classes that we had in common as well as through mutual friends. We always hung out with a large group of people, so while we may have interacted with each on occasion, we never had gotten the chance to really get to know each other. I remember him being nice and fun to be around but I honestly never really gave him a second thought in those days.
Things were different when I saw him again that summer evening in May. As cliche as it sounds, my world stopped for a split second. I felt as if the picture came into crystal clear focus the moment he stepped out of his car. I didn’t understand why I had such a reaction to him at that point because I had seen him several times before. But it was as if I was seeing him for the first time. I waved it off as just a passing fancy and nothing more.
As the summer went on, he quickly became my closest guy friend. We went from hanging out with all of our friends as a group to slowly hanging out one-on-one. I had never had a guy best friend before! We spent almost every free day we had together.
I loved that I could be myself around him. I never wore makeup and my hair was always thrown up in a bun. My go-to outfit was a tank top and cut-off shorts. I never felt like I had to put on a front with him. He teased me like a brother and he listened like a friend. He never kept me from doing things that I wanted or made me feel small inside. As the days grew longer, I started seeing him as more than just a friend. He became the first person I texted in the morning and the last person I talked to at night.
One summer evening, we took a walk around the lake near our houses. We sat on the docks and just watched the sunset over the water. I asked him what he wanted out of life and he asked me the same. The more we talked, the more I realized how much we had in common. We talked about our hopes, dreams and fears and as I talked about what I wanted in 5 years, I realized he was in the picture. This was the moment I realized that I had in fallen in love with Justin. I fell in love with his hopes and dreams for a future that was better than his rough childhood. I fell in love with the quiet and confident way he talked.
Justin started casually dating again and I couldn’t help but feel a little jealous of the girls that he talked to. I was slowly realizing that I wasn’t happy about my best girl friend status. .
With how crazy my emotions were being, I decided to put it out of my mind and focus on myself. I called my boyfriend at the time and told him that I couldn’t continue pretending that we were magically going to get back together when school started in the fall. My experiences that summer had changed me. Justin had changed me. I saw what my life was like when I wasn’t tied to a person that kept me from meeting new people and experiencing new things. My friendship with Justin showed me how kind, encouraging, and solid a friendship with a guy could be. He taught me how to be a more confident person and to reach for my dreams no matter how big they were! I felt more myself that summer than I had ever felt in my life.
I decided that I couldn’t go back to the way things were before that summer. After a raging argument over the phone, I ended that unhealthy relationship with my now ex-boyfriend. I never felt more free in my life. I will admit that it was a very difficult conversation for me to have. But I was done with being meek and quiet and hoping he and I would grow to be more compatible. I was done putting his happiness before my own. I finally figured out that it is OKAY to quit things that are not good for you. It was like a weight lifted off my shoulders. I decided that I was never going to settle ever for something because it was easy ever again.
The first Saturday of the month, Justin calls me after seeing that girl from the bar at a bowling alley. He starts going on and on about her…and I just couldn’t listen to him talk about it anymore! I went from impatient to annoyed to angry in the span of a few seconds and he could tell by the change of my tone. When he asked me what was wrong, the truth came bubbling up. I confessed everything to him–that even though we were best friends, I had developed feelings for him. I started ranting about how I hadn’t been looking for another guy and that he ruined my plans to be happily single because I definitely was not happy just being his girl friend.
Let me tell you…it was so incredibly EMBARASSING! I started panicking. I COULD NOT believe that I had actually spoken those words out loud! What was wrong with me?! I wanted to crawl into a dark corner and hide. Has anyone else done anything stupidly embarrassing before? After I finished my rant, there was silence on the other end of the line. So me being embarrassed as hell, I just hung up. Which of course made it more awkward.
10 minutes later, I received this text:”I’ve liked you all summer even though I wanted you to be happy with your boyfriend. But I’m going to be selfish now. I want to be with you and try long distance because I think you would be worth it.”
The Rest is History
Four and a half years later, I have never been happier. I am with a man that encourages me to be strong and speak my mind. He opens doors for me and gets the car when its raining. He buys me pizza when I have a bad day at work and he makes me laugh those big belly laughs (I know…attractive right?). Justin challenges me and keeps me on my toes and I make sure to do the same for him.
We survived 2 years of long-distance. He drove up to see me once a month and sent me flowers more times than I can count. I’m pretty sure he spent almost every penny he had on me. I have never felt more loved.
Now… I know what you are all thinking. I went into that summer trying to work on myself because I was not in the market to find a new boyfriend. But it’s like they say: “You find love when you least expect it.”
The best part of this story is that we have been in each other’s lives since we were 12 years old. As we dated, we realized just how present he was in my life growing up. He has always been in the background. We went on the same field trips, we had the same teachers, and we even had some of the same friends. I am a firm believer in fate to an extent. I do think you are ultimately responsible for your actions and choices. However, maybe this it the romantic side of me showing but…no matter what road I was walking on to to get to him, we ended up finding each other in the end.
This is Our Love Story
With all the love stories that are out there, I love this love story the best. That was the summer I learned how to be strong, independent, and truly myself. Justin saw qualities in me that I couldn’t quite see in myself. So while I ultimately found myself that summer, I ended up finding him along the way. While I’m still not sure how this story will end, I know that it forever changed my outlook on life.