Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Meaning of "Friends First"

Well, I should be talking more about my DIY projects, since I was on such a roll, and I'm working on a post about my shoes (and how I was an evil genius to find them), but I feel like switching gears today and giving you all a little more info about Mr. Cola and I!

I thought I'd touch on an aspect of my relationship with Mr. Cola that is a bit unique. The fact that we were good friends for about 2 1/2 years before we started dating, and roommates for about 1 1/2 years prior. Now, maybe some of you out there share this with us, but for those of you who don't, I'll share my perspective.

How we got together: Nothing dramatic, no sweeping me off my feet, no "Want to go see a movie?", just the two of us, sitting on a couch in our house we shared with 3 other roommates, watching TV and having a couple drinks, and he kissed me (This was a whole week after I'd dumped my loser ex.). From that kiss on, we were an item, and never felt the need to make a big announcement, or define our relationship. It was as easy as that, friends one minute, a couple the next.

(oldest picture I have of the two of us, taken at Thanksgiving 2003, about 7 months after we started dating. Sorry for the poor quality, it's a scan.)

Our first date: I don't think we ever really had one! The first time we went out after we started dating was for my 21st birthday, with other friends, and it was only 4 days after we got together. He took care of me, and saved my straws for me from my first 5 drinks as a legal 21 year old, which I still have in a drawer somewhere, tied together with a ribbon.

(second oldest picture of the two of us I have in digital format, taken right after we moved to California in summer 2004)

Our life together: Really, not much has changed from back in the days when we were just friends in college. We still tell each other almost everything, but can also say it all with just a look or a gesture. We fully accept each other's flaws, and appreciate that we're both quite different. We know it only makes us stronger, because our strengths and weaknesses cancel each other out when we're together. I still know that his bathroom will never be clean (unless I clean it!), like it was never clean when we shared our first apartment together sophomore year in college. He knows that I will forever be a pack-rat, and "always be prepared" like a boy scout, but he will always appreciate that when he needs something, I will have it stashed away somewhere in our messy house. I love that he always asks me if he can get me anything when he gets up from the couch, and he loves it that I try to always buy groceries that he likes. He pays all our rent, and I pay all our other communal expenses, and it all equals out very close to us both contributing the same amount, given the percentage difference between our incomes. We think about these things, as partners in life, and have for a long time.

(us now, taken in Sonoma, CA in late June. God we look old! But I still like to do the knee-pop picture pose, and he still likes to wear Adidas sandals!)

It's because of all of this that I knew I would marry him about a month after we started dating. And it's also part of why we've waited so long to tie the knot; not much is really going to change from the life we've lived together the past 6 1/2 years, so getting married is really more of an excuse for us to throw a big party. Sure, over the coming many years together I know we will have to deal with struggles related to family, money and death. I know there will be tough times, things will happen that will be harder to deal with than we've faced before. But there will also be great times, better than we've ever experienced, and I know that we will take on both the good and bad as a team, as we have been doing for so long already. Maybe one day we will even have a real fight, but I doubt it. We've still never had a "storm out of the room and slam the door" type of fight, where feelings are hurt and people go days without speaking to each other. When it comes down to our disagreements, we always discuss the pros and cons, both sides of our opinions, and we're down to earth and logical enough that we always are able to come to an agreement (albeit with maybe some rolling of eyes and tongue sticking out along the way).

All of this is why I'm such a proponent of living together before you get married. There's no better way to get to know your partner, and it is so wonderful to share your day to day life with the person you love. I know that is why it's becoming more and more common these days to "shack up" before marriage, and I'm so glad we don't have to live in a society where this practice is shunned.

I guess this is a somewhat random post, but I just wanted to share my perspective on the unique beginnings to our relationship. Is there anyone else out there who knew their fiance for a while before dating, and do you too think that ultimately made you a stronger pair?


  1. Wow, I guess today is a day for posting old pictures and reminiscing about how couples got together! I just got through reading my long list of blogs, and two other awesome blogger ladies also posted pictures today from early in their relationships!

  2. Great post! My fiance and I actually don't live together yet, but we have not been together nearly as long as the two of you have! Also, I know I am going to suffer from post-wedding depression, so I'm hoping that having a new place to spiff up together will help me get past it :)

  3. What a great post! We never really had a first date either. Went from friends to a couple before we even realized! Being friends though has always helped our relationship. For a loooong time we were long-distance. While it sucked for the most part, we really got to know each other through reagular phone calls, everyday, sometimes more. Even though it was a difficult time, I think we both gained a lot from it.

  4. Great post! I agree with the living together thing. I used to think I would never want that, but it's strengthened our relationship. After we get married not much will change, but we are talking about buying a house next summer!

    I love how you two got together only a week after the crummy ex!! I met my guy soon after a break up too!