Until you finally meet "the one," most people are left imagining what he or she will be like. You may ask yourself questions like, "Will it be an instant attraction, or will it grow slow and take time?" and "Will he or she love all of the same things that I love, or be the complete opposite in every way?" However and whenever you find this special person, one thing always seems to ring true: At some point or another, you'll know that it's meant to be. This knowledge might come the second your eyes meet, or it could take years to establish itself. To tug at your heartstrings and inspire you to believe in true love, we asked eight women to share the stories of what surprised them most about the person who ended up being "the one."
How easy it all felt from the start.
When Diana Kelly first started dating her now-fiancé, Chris, she was amazed by how easy the relationship was, especially when she compared it to her interactions with past boyfriends. "There was no game playing, I didn't wonder if he wanted to hear from me that day or if I would hear from him, and he did everything he said he was going to—including taking me out on a date the night he said he would, even after a car accident, calling me, texting me, showing up early, basically being reliable and trustworthy," she says. "I jokingly called him 'The Unicorn' to my parents for the first few months because he treated me so well and was doing what men (and women) should be doing while dating."
How easy it was to talk to him about topics that mattered.
There's nothing worse than being on a first date and realizing you have very little to talk about. When you instantly click, you know you're onto something special. "I didn't—and still don't—subscribe to the idea that there is only one compatible person out there for us, but when I met Daniel, my husband of eight years, I was immediately surprised by our compatibility," says Leah Wise. They got the small talk out of the way fast, then moved onto the important topics. Essentially, their first date—at a campus concert!—ended up setting the tone for the healthy level of communication they would continue to share throughout their relationship and marriage. "Even though we've both changed in big and small ways since we met, we always have our propensity for open and lively conversation to fall back on," she adds.
How he complemented her so perfectly.
Taylor Morrison says that if she were to make a list of every trait she'd like in an ideal partner, her husband would check nearly every box. "However, there are several ways he balances me out that I wouldn't have even thought to include in my vision of my dream guy," she explains. "As high school sweethearts, I'm surprised by how much we have both grown individually and together. We keep changing for the better and falling in love with each other all over again."
How deeply they fell in love.
"In my experience, what everyone told me about love is true—it really is magical," says Jennifer Moxley. "My husband and I met because we were both the wing person for our friends who liked each other, but from the start I wanted to know more about him." They had their first date two days later, and the two ended up spending over 13 hours together because they were enjoying each other's company so much. "Since then, we haven't left each other without knowing the next time we'd see each other."
How easy it was to be herself around him.
One thing that Kimberly Davis Basso immediately noticed when she starting dating her now-husband was how easy it was to be herself around him. "It was perfectly clear from the beginning that what he liked best about me was just me. I didn't feel any need to try and be someone else or figure out whether or not this was a game," she says. "We have been together now for 24 years, married for almost 22 and he is still the one. And I am still just little old me."
His big heart.
After 18 years of marriage, Veronica Parker says the thing that made her realize her husband, John, was the one is still what makes her fall in love with him a little bit more each and every day: his big heart. "From the start, he always came off as being super confident, strong as steel, and never worrying about a thing. But once we spent more time together and got to know each other better, I was surprised to find out how caring and loving he really is," she says.
That they had the same vision of partnership.
"I come from a culture that tends to make a lot of assumptions about men and women taking on traditional roles. As someone who genuinely enjoys working, those assumptions always have and continue to drive me absolutely crazy, so I grew up basically assuming I would end up marry someone outside the Greek community," Katie Papadopoulos says. When she met Evan, she was surprised that he had the same hopes of finding a relationship that could be more of a partnership. "From day-one he has been supportive of my career goals and ever since we moved in together and got married, we have managed to share the household work in a way that I don't think was even considered in the past. I'm not sure he realizes it, but he's a totally a feminist," she adds.