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Remembering When You First Met

Thinking back to when you and your partner first met is sure to make you smile.

A recent New York Times article suggested a cure for the “I’m so tired of being cooped up with you” irritation. Think back to when and where and how you first met your partner. If you do not have a partner currently, remember when you saw and talked to your best friend for the first time. No matter how weary you are of him/her, the memory of that first sight can’t help but bring a smile to your face. In recounting the details, you may have something else, something new, to squabble about!

Because I am a relationship expert and because we are so evidently happy together, we are often asked how my partner and I met. He invariably asks, “Which time?”

M. and I were both precocious college students. I was 17 and he 18 in our sophomore years. The drama department in which we both had an interest was held in a Quonset hut on campus. I entered its dim interior one afternoon and there was a young man on stage striding back and forth with a script in hand. All these many, many years later I can describe to the color and style of his shoes what he was wearing, top to toe. I can remember that he had luxurious wavy auburn hair and that he could have used a haircut.

I don’t remember who spoke first, or what, but my next clear memory was of a winter day walking down New York’s 5th Avenue together with snow and ice still on the pavements. I took a whopper of a fall, landing on my bottom like every slapstick movie pratfall. There I sat, on a very busy street, waiting for his inevitable laugh. Who doesn’t laugh when someone slips on the ice and lands on their ass?

What he did instead was turn a very concerned face to me and held out his hand to help me up, not even a hint of laughter at my predicament. As I stood up, he began to brush me off. “Here it comes,” I thought to myself cynically, “He’s going to grab a handful of me here or there in the process,” but he was a complete gentleman.

I don’t remember our first kiss or how long it took us to get there but I do know we saw each other on and off for the next four years. He traveled a lot and I had more than a few dates while he was gone, but when M. was in town, he got priority.

I loved him but I never saw him as husband material. I married a work colleague at my first job after college, and the same year, he married someone else. We sent each other postcards over the years and the very day my husband and I separated, I went to the library to see if I could find him among all the various city phone books.

I did. We connected and spent a lovely week together in Sarasota, Florida. I came to the same conclusion, no future together, and I returned to San Francisco. It was 35 years until we actually saw one another again, and this time it stuck. We’ve lived together for the past 11 years, happily. Neither of us have any regrets about how our relationship went.

Now, why am I telling you all this? One, because I get thankful notes when I do write about my own life and requests for more personal stories. Two, because telling this story always brings a smile to listeners’ faces and to my own. I find it a great story still.

So if you are irritated with your partner after too much enforced togetherness, exchanging your versions of the beginnings of your story are almost sure to make both of you smile, as well as anyone to whom you choose to tell it. I do suggest though that you might want to keep to yourselves the detailed story of the first time you made love.