Having over 160 pages of my husband’s and my story written down, it’s difficult to condense our story into a readable amount. But here is where I will try my best to do just that.
The First 6 Months
Year 18 of my life was strange. I was often told I was very mature for my age, but I never really knew what that meant. I would get cautious compliments on my accomplishments, but rarely did anyone take the time to draw me out. I had three friends that I kept up with, but everyone else either was never available to talk, or I had to fake my way through a shallow conversation. When I met Daniel* I pretty much wrote him off as another shallow guy, but there was something about him that intrigued me. We had just started going to a new church, and a mutual friend of ours introduced us. I met him while surrounded by my crazy siblings. I tried to find him on facebook later that night, but with no luck (I found out later he had his profile private). He never really left the back of my mind over the following two weeks. When we started chatting online two weeks later, there was a little click. I was still intrigued about something, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Looking back, I can say that I definitely liked him from the start, but I wouldn’t have admitted it then.
In the midst of dealing with my parents, the stress of trying to finish school, and being in a ridiculously stressful job, Daniel started becoming my voice of reason. When I met him, I was coming to the end of two years of doctor’s appointments for my FM and those drs visits were increasingly depressing and discouraging. I would often get off work at the library, get online there and chat with him for two hours before heading home. The first 3 months of getting to know Daniel were refreshing, and we clicked almost instantly. Our chats are over 300 lines long, and we were constantly in communication of some sort. I figured out that I could send texts to his email, and since he was online all of the time, we would text/e-text back and forth for hours on end. I would hear from him first thing upon waking up and a text from him would be the last thing I read before falling asleep at night. This was all happening just 3 months after meeting him. I can see clearly now how much we liked each other from the start….:duh moment:
My family went on vacation that December, three months after we had met. I didn’t know if I would have wifi for my laptop, but we still texted through the vacation. A few days into the week, I asked him to cut back on texting me. I didn’t want to give him the wrong idea (gag me now) and I knew I was falling hard for him the more he communicated with me. He eagerly agreed to text me less, and hoped that he hadn’t “led me astray.” We tried to cut back the text messages. We really did! It was so hard though. Really hard. Because of Daniel’s strict conviction of not talking to any girl on the phone unless it was for business, or because he was going out with her, I didn’t talk with him at all on the phone for the first year of getting to know him. There were many times that strongly frustrated me, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
Allow me to back up a few steps and give some background. As I have mentioned before, I grew up under the ideology that courtship was the only way Christians did relationships. I read all of the right books, even some marriage books that were highly recommended by friends and mothers of my friends. Even though my parents were not involved with any of my friendships, I still tried to be careful with any guy friends I had. I can list the number of guys I’ve had crushes on on one hand. All of those friendships were one on one friendships, and I quickly outgrew my crush as I got to know them better. Only with one of them had I ever had a “let’s define this friendship” talk. That guy was just all over the map when it came to girls, and he had quite a trail of broken hearts behind him. I was quite determined not to be one of those broken hearts…and I’m not.
When Daniel came into the picture, I had already pulled back a lot from the other two guys I was pretty good friends with. Part of the reason for that was not wanting to become emotionally dependent on them, but also because I was withdrawing deep into a dark shell. Daniel came into my life right before I shut the door on any new friendships. You could say he made the friendship cut.
So when I told Daniel that I wanted to cut back on talking, I had several reasons for doing so. He had told me the previous week that he wouldn’t get into any relationship until he was done with college, and the next girl he got into a relationship with was going to the girl he married. I knew I liked him at this point, but I also knew that things were going to have to slow down or else this all going to blow up and we were going to be heading down the path he said he wouldn’t until he was out of college. He had all four years of college ahead of him, and I knew neither of us were at all ready to support ourselves financially. It just couldn’t happen…yet.
I got back from vacation, and we went right back to our previous level of communicating. If anything, we probably talked more than before. I spent more time up at the library, and we started leaving voice mails for each other. We really figured out all of the ways technology allowed for us to keep in contact without actually talking over the phone. Daniel became the one thing that helped me get through most days as I sunk deeper into a very dark pit. He very quickly figured out that my family was dealing with some pretty dark things, and instead of running away and leaving me to my pain and ignoring me, it became his goal to make me laugh at least once every day. He listened when I cried about having a discouraging doctors appointment, and he encouraged me when I said I didn’t feel like talking that day. When we were together at church, he was the one who stayed by my side when I was in a lot of pain or having a really bad fibro-fog day. This guy was an absolutely true friend, and he is a precious gift.
Around March he told me that he wanted to take a week to cut back on all communication except for email, and only when I was online. He told me that he needed to take some time to figure out his and my friendship, and what my place was in his life. By now, I was 100% he liked me a lot, but he wouldn’t and didn’t admit to anything. At the end of the week, the mutual friend who introduced us was having a birthday party that we both were invited to. I should probably mention that when talking with one of my closest friends about Daniel, she had cautioned me to not get too attached, because that would end badly. I told her not to worry because I knew things were right where they should be, also, I knew this guy was special. She didn’t believe me, so I stopped talking about Daniel to my friends. His name rarely came up.
The birthday party as a big question mark for me. I was going to know at this party where Daniel and I were going next with our friendship. I knew it would either just fade away and become nothing more than an acquaintance-ship or we were going deeper. I called my friend and told her that I wasn’t sure if I was going to come or not. I didn’t tell her anything about Daniel, but I was very nervous and anxious about seeing him after a week of almost no talking. At the last minute on the evening of the party, I decided to go. My stomach was entirely made up of butterflies and I could barely contain my heart as I rode over to the party. This was it. This was the first of many turning points in our friendship.
I got there early and helped my friend’s mom finish up with getting the food set up. I was so nervous my hands were shaking. I finally heard Daniel’s voice in the hall and I just about fell apart. He came around the corner, and it was then I knew.
We were moving forward.