Our readers share their feelings, on loves old and new.
When you date someone for a long time, there are many moments you realize that you’re in love. The most recent: he had his wisdom teeth taken out, and returned home with hamster cheeks packed with bloody gauze. I stayed up all night, watching him drool, making sure he didn’t choke, and fielding frantic text messages from his high-strung mother ("He’s still breathing? Put your hand in front of his mouth, just in case!”). The love part? I didn’t think of it as gross until I was telling a friend about it. — Amanda
After nine months on separate continents, two affairs, and some pretty long periods of radio silence, I saw him walk through the international arrivals gate at the airport. I was having one of those weird, cynical moments where I wondered if I’d even recognize him, if I even knew what he looked like, when he rounded the corner. I saw him before he saw me, and in a quiet moment before I ran over, I knew. — Kevin
My boyfriend and I met at last call at a bar in Greenpoint. We had a blurry, poignant conversation about Amy Hempel, then I gave him my number and sloppily kissed him before stumbling out the door. The next day neither of us remembered the other's name or face. So I was real nervous for our first date. I didn’t want to go. But, I’m glad I did, because I knew I was in love when he played "Jolene" on the jukebox. — Margaux
I was lying in bed with a guy I had been dating for about six months, watching The Net and spooning, when I felt so happy that I thought my chest might explode. So I decided I had to tell him:
Me: I need to talk to you about something.
Him: What’s up?
Me: Well, it’s not a bad thing. It’s just, I…
Him: Spit it out.
Me: I don’t really know how to say this. I… God, I’m really nervous. I just wanted to…
Him: I love you, too.
My boyfriend and I had been living together for a few months, and things were going well. He's not really one to wear his heart on his sleeve, and is pretty mum on things in general. One night, I woke up to use the bathroom, but as I began to sit up in bed, was yanked back and held tight by my sleeping boyfriend. He didn't verbally tell me he loved me ‘til six months later, though that night, I knew I was someone he literally didn't want to let go of. — Cyndi
I know it sounds so cheesy, but I really did feel something when we first shook hands. I thought, "I have to kiss this person at some point in my life." It was at the loading docks of Beehive Beer Distributors. My boss introduced me to one of the reps, Anthony. He was one of the first people I met on the job. He was wearing corduroy pleated pants, a Free Beer polo, a Titleist hat, and had a Newport hanging out of his mouth. I took one look and thought, "I want this." We were married on October 9th, 2009. — Kristen
It’s nerve-wracking to admit, but I didn’t know for sure until years after we were married and had children together. A group of friends had rented a big cottage for the week on a beautiful lake. It was a misty morning, and our partners and children had disappeared on errands and play dates, so the two of us were left alone for the day. It had been a long time since we had been alone together. We walked and talked and I felt a silly smile taking over my face. He’s the only person who can make me smile like that. — Sam
We’d known each other for years, just as friends. One summer day, after the first year of college, my friend and I drove over to see her. I got pretty drunk and boldly decided to kiss her. We went back to her dorm with my friends and a couple of her friends and I ended up puking everywhere. Even still, she let me wrap my arms around her and fall asleep. After I went home that weekend, something felt different. I knew what it was. — Anna
We dated for a few months, swearing when he left the country we'd just go back to our normal lives. My friends and his could see the inevitable train-wreck ahead. A month before he left, I broke down, inconsolable on a Sunday evening in his flat. After trying, and failing, to hold it in, he cried too. It was then that we realized we loved each other, enough to risk fucking up everything and try to stay together. Then we had amazing sex and were late for a Dan Deacon show. Two years later, we're together in one country, and I love him more and more as time goes on. Love doesn't conquer all, but it certainly helps. — Jessica
You think you know a person — you know all the silly comic book references and obscure movies, the way his blue eyes widen when he hears Elvis Costello, how his thin pale fingers look against your skin — you know all the jokes and stories and trivialities — you think you know, and you do. You've known him since you were fourteen. You've known, of course, but you don't know, not until you call your sister and you say, “Chelsea, I'm in real trouble here." “Why?” she says. “I think I'd let this guy break my heart." — Sara
We had been high-school sweethearts, off and on through college, and pen pals afterwards because yes, these were the days before Facebook and email and I hate to admit, computers. We wrote to each other for every important event, every birthday and Christmas, and still I never thought we’d end up as more than friends — I moved to a big city, and he stayed in our hometown. Close to my thirtieth birthday, I returned home, and we decided to meet for a walk in the park. We were talking as if no time had gone by at all. There were no big fireworks or sparks, just that strange comfort and contentedness. I just realized he was the one. We’ve been married thirty years. — Megan
I knew the second I saw her. She was completely my type, physically, and there was just something about her, maybe a confidence thing, that set her apart. We were at a bar in the East Village; she was with her group of friends, and I with mine. All night I was trying to work up the courage to talk to her without seeming like a creep. Towards three a.m. her group headed out, and I bit the bullet. I went after her, tried to convince her I was legit, and asked for her number. Probably against her better judgment, she went out with me, and we’ve been together ever since. — Kevin
We had been dating for just a couple of weeks, and I knew that I was already falling hard for him, but he’s kind of a tough guy to read, so I wasn’t sure if he felt the same way. One night we stopped at an ATM, and I stayed the requisite two feet away. He said: “Hey, I want to show you something." And typed in his PIN for me to see. Some might say it was too trusting, but I’m going to go with that as the moment he knew he was in love with him. — Casey
New York played a big part in this. It was just one of those nights. We got lucky with a walk—in table at Babbo right at eight o’clock. We made friends with the waiter, who comped us a dessert. We walked up Fifth Avenue afterwards, taking in the Christmas lights and decorations, and it started to snow, the first snow of the season. And this is not the most important thing, but it was my first ‘out’ experience with another guy. Something about being free to hold his hand while walking up one of the most famous streets in the world and no one batting an eye — that was it. — Danny
It was on the way back from this friend of a friend's party in Brooklyn. We had both long since sobered up, it was late, and by the time we got down to the subway, the sign flashed "42 Minutes" for the next train into Manhattan. Alone or with anyone else, I would have been miserable. But forty-two minutes with this guy? I was okay with it. And I just thought, “Man, if he can make this long-ass wait for the train at three a.m. on a Saturday night better, he must be pretty special." — Kristen