Falling in love that day was not the furthest thing from my mind, but it was well after sex, food, and wine.
I fell in love with Betsy during a debate, an exchange of ideas which kicked off a fantastic story (I’m rather biased) which continues to unfold.
Getting to Know Each Other
Betsy and I had been dating a few months and had progressed to sleep-over weekends filled with all the joys (and insecurities) of any young relationship. We explored each other sexually and intellectually, each of us careful to share only the best of our personalities. We’d pass our time together in her small, 1-bedroom apartment reading, talking, and having amazing sex. If there is a word for this time in any relationship, it’s passion, and this particular weekend was filled with it.
We woke in the morning to the sun shining in our faces. Betsy slept with the blinds open because she enjoyed the feeling of waking slowly to the sun’s rays upon her face. This was NOT her most endearing quality and I deplored this “personality quirk” as I prefered to sleep in complete darkness, but now I was torn. I enjoyed sleeping with her even more.
We had no plans or commitments, just 2 people free to enjoy the process of getting to know each other over a lazy morning. We ate breakfast and sat down to read the paper, trading sections and sharing insights we learned about the outside world.
My memories of the discussion begin in the middle. In my head it is like I turned on a TV program in the middle and have to make assumptions along the way for how the characters got there. Perhaps she read a story which sparked the discussion. Maybe I was struck by an idea and posed a question. By the time my memory is clear we are deep in the throes of the discussion.
The question we’d posed “Which matters more, the existence of a god or the belief in one?”. As two atheists this subject still makes me smile as it clearly had no bearing on our lives, but is now a symbol of the types of subjects I could talk about. I was delighted.
We were sitting in Betsy’s living room with the discarded newspaper all around us as the conversation ensued. I was sitting on the edge of a footstool, making my points more with my hands than my words. With each new point I was certain I was convincing this woman that I was right and my position was more tenable.
Betsy, for her part, was settled back on the sofa, arguing her position with a cool and somewhat detached air. It was only her intellect which she used to make her points, not excessive gestures or increased volume. She would bring up anecdotes from her childhood to support her position. She’d would quote the Bible to buoy her argument. And all the time she was calm, rational, and above all…really fucking sexy.
After a couple hours of back-and-forth I realized just how incredibly attractive this woman sitting across from me was. She still had hair mussed from a night of sleep and her bed clothes were rumpled. Yet she had never been more attractive as she exchanged ideas and points on the topic. It was in this moment that my passion for the argument waned. I no longer cared about convincing her that I was right. Hell, at this point I’m not sure I actually knew which position I might be arguing about.
I focused on this incredibly intelligent woman filled with passion, curiosity, and a desire to live each moment of life, and I knew. I knew. I was hopelessly in love. Just like that. And just like the movies, I was in it deep. Why is it we never seem to “wade into love”? Instead, when it happens, it is immediately consuming.
Slowly, the debate ceased and we both began to wind down from the exercise. We sat quietly mulling what we had learned, not so much about the subject area but each other. For me, the joy of exchanging ideas is learning about the other person, the world, and expanding your views.
The Moment I Knew I Was in Love
Love is a funny emotion. It struggles to be contained. No sooner had I realized I was in love with Betsy than my mouth is moving and the words are pouring out. Leaping from my tongue are words that certainly did not come from my brain. My mind would have spent more time crafting them, putting together an argument behind them, and shaping the feeling into more eloquent prose.
Instead, for the first time I said – “I am in love with you.” I was terrified. Not only had I surprised myself, but it was obvious this was not on Betsy’s agenda either. She sat there, looking at me with a look which asked “how does one go from debating a foundation of human existence to the profession of love?” Good question.
It’s interesting, for I don’t recall the next scene and I don’t know how she responded. I’ve played out both alternatives – the one where Betsy declared her undying love to me right there, in that moment, and the other where she responds “that’s nice to know”. The truth is, I don’t care what she said in that moment because I know how the story evolves. What’s important is that I said it and embraced a life of mutual curiosity, passion, and interest in the world around us.
Blurting out “I love you” was the first of many surprises as I fell in love…surprises that continue to this day.
Do you recall the moment you fell in love?