We received a lot of second time around love stories submissions, both via email and comments, for our contest. And the winner is….Tina, from Indianapolis! The way she met her current husband was so unique that we just couldn’t choose any other. As the winner, Tina will receive $50 just in time for Valentine’s Day! View her story below.
Wow, it’s spring again. The snow is melting, the grass is green and the birds are chirping. I made it through another Valentine’s Day, ALONE! I want to find someone just for me. I now I have flaws and all, no one is perfect. But, surely, someone is out there just for me. I just know it! I’m frustrated with trying to go to the clubs to meet someone. We all know how that ends up! And, As good-natured as people are, please no more blind dates. It just feels WRONG to try to talk to someone at church too! Where do I find the one for me? Where should I look?
My best friend, Lisa, said she received a phone call from a dating service called Great Expectations. She said they have high quality men and they were different from other services. I had already tried another dating service before so I was skeptical. Oh, I’ve got stories: Stalker Boy, Short Man with Long Nose Hairs, etc., but that’s a different story. You could pick and choose who you wanted to meet. No one set you up, you had all the control, and for me, that was important! If the person wanted to meet you, phones numbers were exchanged and you were on your way. I knew, with this being, the second time around, I wanted to do things differently. The first thing I did was open my mind to all men, not just my type. Hell, at one point, I wasn’t sure what my type was anyway! I began to look for qualities I wanted from the inside out: Can he make me laugh? Does he have a caring nature? Does he know God and go to church? I didn’t put much emphasis on a college degree, but wanted someone with a stable work history and wasn’t afraid to work hard. They didn’t have to be 6’2, light-skinned, pretty eyes, good hair…you get my drift. The one thing I wouldn’t budge on was nice teeth and smile. Hey, a girl has to set standards!
This was also a time for me to reflect on what assets I brought to the table. I was petite, great smile, nice teeth, big butt…you know, all the makings for a great find, right? Well, I was also a single mom of two children, late 20′s, had some serious debt and was still in college. I needed to be sure that the investment I was making was something I was really ready to do. Not only was it a money commitment, but a time commitment as well. Could I juggle a full-time job, full-time course load, kid’s activities and get to know someone? I knew that If I was serious and spending a pretty penny to do this, so were the people I would meet. Yes, African-American men would be serious about finding a partner, right????
My first day in the library, I felt like a kid in a candy store! For every woman, she had NINE men to choose from! You can’t get odds like that at the club. The very first guy I wanted to meet was Ben. What attracted me to him was his smile and sense of style. As I read his bio, he liked watching movies and going to new restaurants. Well, that sounded like some things I liked to do, too! As I continued to read, I found out that he was 5’11, a Customer Service Representative, had some college and was open to dating someone with children (he didn’t have any). So, if I would have stuck to my ‘type’ I would have passed him by. Instead, I chose to introduce myself and see where things took off.
So I waited and waited and no response if he wanted to meet me. I am a very take charge kind of woman and, impatient to boot, and was not going to leave it alone until I knew if he wanted to meet me or not. Over Memorial Day weekend in 2003, I sent him a MemberGram. A MemberGram is a handwritten note asking the person of interest to read your bio and repsond to your request. Ben called me the following weekend and we talked over 2 hours that initial conversation. When Ben came to the door for our first date a week later, I opened the door and saw his big smile and immediately thought “Oh my God! I love him! This is my husband!” I had never had a feeling like that before! We went to the movies, dinner and dancing that Saturday night. On Sunday, we watched John ! and walked on the Canal. It was the most romantic date I had ever had. I felt so comfortable talking to Ben about any and everything. I felt I had truly found my soul mate!
Now, I was not the type to parade dates in front of my kids. I had decided long before that I would not have a revolving door when it came to men. I had a son and a daughter that I did not want to give the wrong impression. I didn’t want to have to answer, “Is this my new daddy?” But, I had strong feelings for Ben, even after only two weeks! I decided to let Ben meet my kids. We went to Ritter’s, a favorite of my kids. Ben had never been before. My then 6 year old daughter was very precocious. She asked a few questions and then gave him a hug to say hi. My 8 year old son was a bit stand-offish, but that was to be expected. The real test would be a trip to Wal-Mart. Ben went with us and I prayed that my kids would be on their best behavior. Guess what, they weren’t! They ran around the store like BeBe’s kids, ran over Ben’s heels with the cart and yelled! I was so embarrassed! I just kept thinking, ‘he’s never going to call me again!’ He seemed to take it all in stride, pretty good for a guy who didn’t have any kids. He went back to my apartment and helped me unpack the groceries. After we put everything away, he told me he needed someone like me in his life. I questioned him and asked him if he needed chaos. He said he was ready for an adventure and wanted to take the journey with me. I said yes and we’ve been together ever since!
Ben and I were married in a civil ceremony in September, 2006. I had a small bouquet and my daughter had a few flowers to hold. The Civil Servant took a picture of us after the ceremony. We only had our kids there to share the moment with us. In our vows, we stated how we would always put family first and stick by each other’s side, no matter what. We knew marriage would be hard but we were both committed to making it work.
Today, we make our blended family work by open and honest communication and a lot of love. I’m not saying it’s easy, but it is definitely worth the effort. Keep your heart and mind open and you never know what is around the corner for you the second time around.