This post is particularly tough not because planning a wedding or picking the person you want to be with the rest of your life is tough when you’ve met that person and you know unequivocally that she is the one but this post is tough because I have to write it while intentionally leaving out details. I’ve changed a lot over the years and the way I live my life and how I have relationships has become pretty unique and I just don’t feel comfortable being an open book this time because I never want to meet someone new or go on a first date or ask them to marry me ever again. I arrived at this decision with a highly calculated perspective of risk and reward and how I determine that this is it and I’m ready both for the comfort in knowing I’ll never wake up alone again or go on a grand adventure by myself but that I also am in a place where I can know that when I have to be there for someone else, I’m ready for that too. Marriage is something most everyone does so, like roaches people live their lives together that part isn’t special but I know that I’m ready to do everything to ensure our life together is great. It will not always be easy and I know that but I know that I’ve found a partner that is truly a 50% partner in this journey of life that will take us to so many places we can’t even dream of.
I met Heather in December of 2013. Elizabeth had broken up with me in September after we went to her sister’s wedding. Enough time has passed that I feel as if that’s a fair summary. We got back from Seattle and it’s like a light switch turned off. She wanted to leave New Hampshire, move to a city, grow her career and while it felt as if I had an open invite to join, it didn’t feel like it if I recount that phase of our relationship. I would have had a different life in Colorado which even she didn’t know that’s where she was moving at the time but while I’d still be in Colorado today, I’m not sure I would still be with her. We got along really great and had a lot of fun but her life priorities and mine were going to diverge pretty quick. I think she had a child and got married pretty quickly after moving. I was not ready for either of those things. Elizabeth moved out I think in February and even though I had already met Heather and even though Elizabeth and I were sleeping in separate wings of the house and more roommates practically speaking as she prepared to move out, I knew Heather but I also was not ready for a relationship. That was tough for us because when I split up with someone, Elizabeth was the 3rd woman I had dated since I was in middle school. She was my 3rd relationship lasting 3-5 years and after each relationship, I take 2 years off and no I’m not dating again, I just do my own thing. I spend a LOT of time alone just being single. People say “being single” like hooking up no I literally just do things with myself and go on solo trips and read and write and sort of let my creativity shine for a while. Heather and I met honestly too soon after Elizabeth and I broke up and while we were together, she knows I was not ready to start dating again.
We went on a trip to Belgium in April of 2014 and slept in separate beds. We moved in together 18 months later and it was only then…2 years after we met did I publicly acknowledge we were ‘dating’. This wasn’t some power grab thing, I still needed my space not to get over Elizabeth that’s not it at all I just needed my personal space to be alone. I spent those 2 birthdays alone, still traveled alone and still liked sleeping, eating and living alone for 4 out of 7 days a week. It’s hard to explain the process but I’ve literally always done it this way.
So we move in together and get a dog and it’s at this same time that I just finished all of the major work on my Volkswagen Golf R and then I got my motorcycle license and started riding all around the country and Heather and I didn’t spend a ton of time together between that and my work at my day job and my work at the NFL and my writing and photography and blogging and starting a new life in the world of automotive media and moving away from beer travel and reviews. Heather really got to see a lot of what makes me tick which is just doing a lot at once and making time for her and staying above water physically and emotionally.
It was June of 2016 that she found a foreclosure across the street from where I lived when we really started dating. I bought it and we renovated it completely.
In the following years, we’ve had to cope a lot and each of us have grown considerably. I’ve started a new career, started saving money like a mad man and she’s been spending half of her money paying off student loans and telling me she can’t go with me on trips so that she can keep paying those down. Financially, we over extended ourselves not buying the house but in all of the extras like appliances, cars, solar panels and the last 4 years has been this aggressive saving mode to pay off all of our debts. We just refinanced the house for 10 years and she’s now on the loan and our debts are far slimmer than they were. I’ll have my car paid off soon and then I’ll just have one bike and the house as an outstanding debt.
In her life, she’s lost some very dear loved ones. Since 2016, there have been far too many funerals because I was the first grandkid in my family born way before the others and my great-great grandmother didn’t die until I was 16 years old, Heather was the last born in her family so her parents are the age of my grand parents and her grandparents are aging and so she’s had a lot of pain to cope with.
Like myself, she’s blown me away. I need someone in my life that can support me but who can also support themselves and pull themselves up by their boot straps to design the future they want they want it to look and she’s done that. She got her motorcycle license and bought a bike without my help and she’s started 2 side-hustles that are making a lot of money for her. It means that most nights, we’re sitting next to each other at our computers working on our night time gigs. She’s also on 2 boards as a volunteer helping non-profits in addition to her day job and side jobs. All while balancing a very huge family with lots of social events and requirements. I am lucky and I mean that, lucky that my family leaves me alone mostly. It’s not that me and my family at the individual level don’t know that there isn’t love there. they know I’m out there doing my own thing, making my own life, never having ever had to borrow money or sleep on their couch. At 18, I moved out and I come home every 2 Christmas’ for social time and that’s Adam. he’s out in the world and we know he’s fine. I was making 54,000 USD a year at age 18, living on my own and then moving to San Francisco and then New Hampshire and buying a house and being debt free and if I need money, i go out and get more and so my family just leaves me alone up here and that’s okay but Heather…she has a huge family so that’s a big part of her time but she enjoys it and when it comes to someone you marry, it’s good to marry someone who has a big family that loves them. I’m the weirdo for not having made family a big part of my life. I’m sure there’s some psycho analysis there.
Marrying Heather is not something either of us were in a rush to do. She had reasons she wanted to get married sooner and that’s so family could be a part of that next era of her life. I get it but that didn’t really sway me to accelerate things. We already knew that this was it for us that we were happy with each other and we supported each other and the balance in our relationship was perfect that no matter what happened, we’d still be together. My first 3 girlfriends after 3 years (yes even the one in high school) were already saying if I didn’t marry them,they’d leave me and…they did. All of them. Were they right for me long term? Maybe. I have never dated a woman that wasn’t right for me. I’ve never had a bad relationship or bad breakup. We just stop dating and that’s that and I still reach out and talk to them from time to time. Heather never gave me that ultimatum. 6.5 years in and we knew we’d get married but there wasn’t a rush or a “take it or leave it’ conversation. We’d wake up every day together, live our lives together and it was great.
Still, I wanted us to have that next phase of our life start soon. I don’t know why but the timing worked out where we’d been working at home all year having not actually gone anywhere or done anything and the rest of this year, we wouldn’t be going anywhere for trips and so we booked a getaway last weekend at a spot I really like a lot up in the mountains and I bought a ring, half a size too big and asked her to marry me. Luckily, she wasn’t expecting it or had any hints and it was really special.
We have the rest of our lives together now and I know it’s not always going to be easy. There are going to be parts of our lives that are really hard and we’ll struggle and may even fight (something we never do) and we might even separate or sleep separately for a while but I know we’ll work it out and we’ll both compromise and find common ground and work together. We work really well together not enough that I’d want us to run a company together, I’d really piss her off with how I do things but our house partnership is really strong. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind about this. No fear, no stress, no anxiety, no lack of confidence that everything won’t work out and be amazing for the rest of our lives. I’ve done this enough now to know this is it for me. Officially off the market :P
I could write all day but I need to do some of my real work now. Thanks for reading!