Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Survey Results: Where to Find Love

“I’ve been dating since I was fifteen. I’m exhausted. Where is he?”-Charlotte from the “Sex and the City” Season 3

Thanks to everyone who shared the survey link, joined the Facebook event, and responded to the survey on Twitter, too! Here's what we found out together about where to find love.

SURPRISE FINDING NO. 1: The Workplace ranked top 3.

Surprisingly, the workplace was No. 3! I mean, I knew y’all were goofing off at least by reading my blog at work, but day-um! This is distraction at another level.

“After walking past his cube multiple times a day, I told him I liked his shoes when we were alone on the elevator on day, and he realized I wasn’t a stuck up snobby consultant. We then had a lurid affair that was both exhilarating and enlightening….Been married for three of the last 6 years.”

“I’m a reporter, and my boyfriend is our chief photographer. It sounds scandalous now, but… he’d come out on stories and help with video. It wasn’t until months later…that I found out this wasn’t in his job description, and he wasn’t getting paid for it.”

“I was a stinky line cook, and she was the dreamy juice girl/barrista. I courted her over smoothies.”

“Whenever I had work to avoid, I would linger in the café and try to make her laugh. Eventually, she figured I was funny enough to spend an evening over drinks. At the time, both of us were certain that we would never date anyone from work.”

SURPRISE FINDING NO. 2: You might already know the person, but it's not the right time yet.
More than 10% mentioned or suggested time in the explanatory comments. This surprise finding suggests that you may know your love – before you know it!

“Initially, I didn’t like him very much, but he grew on me.”

“She stalked me for a year and finally broke down my defenses. I figured, ‘Now here’s a girl who will commit.’”

“BAM! It came out of nowhere. He’s the love of my life, and he was right under my nose for almost four years, and I had no idea.”

We knew each other for five years... . One day, we started talking – about life, relationships, etc.- and pretty much didn’t stop. I will always remember that ‘first’ conversation that changed everything. It was honestly incredibly random that one phone call out of hundreds led to the rest of our lives together. I mean nothing was different. We were just both finally ready to move on to something real, I suppose.”

“We finally looked at each other and realized what we could have. That was seven years ago, and we’re married now.”

SURPRISE FINDING NO. 3: Surprise! Love doesn't care what you think you want.
The element of surprise kept coming up. Love is apparently big on guerrilla warfare tactics, just like terrorists.

“We saw each other for the second time at a party, hit it off, and woke up next to each other….I never expected to meet my Mr. Wonderful so soon.”

“We were both outside each others criteria (on since we did not live in the same state, and our relationship was supposed to be merely a friendship.”

“My wife first met my parents on the plane on a business trip. After six hours of hair-raising air travel together, my shy mother asked at their destination if she was single, and then for her business card to send to her son. LOL”

"I came abroad (Paris) to do an internship, and that's where I met the love of my life!"

"I've known my husband since I was 13. ...We never dated. After his deployment to Afghanistan...we lost touch, but reunited once again during his R&R from his next deployment to Iraq. We kept in touch through phone calls and e-mail for the rest of his deployment, and we just knew. We were married as soon as he came home. I wouldn't necessarily recommend marrying without dating someone, but for some reason, for us, it worked out that way."

At more than a third of respondents, the most common way people met their loves was through mutual friends and acquaintances, as to be expected. Mutual friends are how we meet most everybody: friends, employers, or marks. The second most common meeting ground was high school or college. But that shouldn't discourage those who are no longer in school. Slightly more than one in five people became partners with a schoolmate, but that means that about 4 in 5 people met other ways!

No one marked church/temple/synagogue nor volunteer activity, but 5% met in a mutual interest activity, which included missionary trips and church choir, as well as music or theater groups. We also can put to rest the conventional wisdom that "no one meets someone in bars and clubs." In fact, 11 of the 96 respondents did just that. And why not? Just because someone like to dance and drink doesn't necessarily mean that he or she is a drunk or a lech.

Having good friends, patience, and being open to sucker punches by the universe is the way to go. All three of those prerequisites are easier said than done, of course, but friends, patience, and the universe will have to wait for their own blog posts.

PS If you sent the survey to someone who doesn't usually read this blog, please let them know the results have been posted. The survey was anonymous, so I have no way of knowing who I quoted and contacting them. Thanks!

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Long of Long-Term Relationship

At nearly two years with my Beloved, this is my longest relationship ever. Each passing birthday and holiday together, funeral and wedding is a road sign flying by that says I’m farther and farther away from any place I’ve been. I’m surprised by what turns up on the scenic route:

Gaining Weight
When I was single, I danced to top 40s at Mood Lounge on Monday night, salsa at Tongue and Groove on Wednesday, Latin rock at Loca Luna on Friday, and hip hop at Sutra on Saturday. It amounted to about 16 hours of stiletto-stomping, bass-pumping, aerobic writhing and flirting a week. Now, I’m lucky if I log 45 minutes on an elliptical before watching The Daily Show while drinking a beer (because that’s what he stocks) on his couch.

Creating Our Own Linguistics of Love
I’ve had inside jokes and pet names before, but we have, uh, progressed to being able to communicate in a complex system of grunts.

Learning to Love Unconditionally
In the bright beginnings of a relationship, you put everything else aside - like a vacation - to shower acts of kindness on a new love. Then, one or both of you learn that the other isn’t a heaven-sent angel at all, but a human being, a deeply flawed human being at that – which is so not what you signed up for. That’s when most couples break up. To be honest, sometimes I miss the perpetual beginning of a relationship, being seen as so perfect, so beautiful, so charmingly articulate. Now, I’m thick, and I grunt a lot.

My Beloved has witnessed my temper, my grief, my quirks, my myriad failures. We either had to break up or learn to love unconditionally, and obviously we haven’t broken up. (Well, we did once, but does 19 hours really count?) In fact, I often find myself saying “I love him too much to even let this silly thing annoy me.”

Planning the Future with a Capital F
I’ve daringly planned trips months ahead of time with boyfriends before. My Beloved, though, has made me start saving for retirement, and the other night, we decided on our “last song” for our eventual wedding reception.

But I have not reached the point when I am comfortable farting around him. That is so not what I signed up for. Many of you have been in relationships for much much longer. Tell me, what else am I in for?


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