There are situations where the only way to let a person know you’re in love with them is by simply telling them directly. This requires the courage to put your heart out there.
“Who could refrain, that had a heart to love, and in that heart
courage to make love known?” – William Shakespeare
I was in such a situation. Instead of avoiding the possibility of being hurt, humiliated, or worse, I went forward and told her exactly how I felt. Her reaction and the things that followed were astonishing. Here’s my story.
We had worked together as volunteers at the same non-profit organization for several years before I revealed my feelings to Jessica. I had always found her to be attractive but could never conceive us becoming a couple. And I assumed, by her reserved behavior, that she felt the same way. So there was never any romantic interest shown by either of us. We simply maintained a professional relationship. No flirting. No innuendos.
I had many relationships over the years, I was fortunate in that way, but all of them fell short of what I truly wanted. A few of them were full of conflict. After a particularly nasty breakup with a girlfriend of about two (2) years, the pain of it drove me to seek out a better way. I decided to identify in detail the type of woman who would be best for me. I literally filled dozens of pages with what I wanted and did not want in a woman based on my past experiences. Then I trimmed it down to a list of qualities, characteristics, and attributes that best represented the woman of my dreams.
It wasn’t until after I created this list that I realized that Jessica was an ideal match for me, even though we had worked together for years. My awareness was not immediate though. It developed over many months. I dated extensively during this period. I even spoke to Jessica about the women I was seeing. These conversations led to a more personal relationship with her. Eventually, I found myself enjoying Jessica’s company more than any woman I was dating then or in the past.
I found that the stress and discord that I experienced with other women was not present in my relationship with Jessica. Clearly, my list had guided me to the woman who was right for me. Once I realized it for myself, it gave me certainty. There was one problem, however. She had a boyfriend, and they were planning to marry.
As their wedding date drew closer, I felt more and more compelled to tell her how I felt. But I resisted doing so because I didn’t want to do anything that would compromise her marriage.
Then the unexpected happened. They suddenly canceled their plans to marry and broke up, apparently on a trial basis. Evidently, Jessica’s boyfriend wasn’t sure and decided that they should take a break. This is familiar territory for couples who should face facts and acknowledge that they are not right for one another. If they were, there would be no questions or uncertainty.
The door was now wide open. The opportunity had arrived. I had to tell Jessica how I felt. But just the thought of it filled me with fear! “How will she react, especially since I’ve never given her any signals of any kind?” I pondered. “How will it affect our future relationship if she has no mutual feelings whatsoever? How would it affect our careers? We would still have to work together!” I thought. I resolved that I was willing to take the risk, no matter what the cost. I would be putting myself in a position of extreme vulnerability. This was something Jessica had probably never seen me do in our reserved non-profit environment.
I didn’t care! Jessica was the one, and I knew it. Never before had I been so sure without question. My friends pointed out to me in amazement that they had never seen me more concerned about another person’s feelings than I was for my own. This was a clear sign to them that I had found the woman of my dreams.
Inwardly shaking from fear, I told Jessica I had something of a very personal nature to tell her. I told her I would need some time to get it all out, so I asked if we could go somewhere after work. To my surprise, delight, and utter terror, she agreed.
As we sat in my car ready to leave I said, “It’s a nice evening. Would it be okay if we go to the beach and take walk along the bluff?” Jessica said, “Yes! That would be nice.”
We arrived about an hour before sunset. Abundant dark clouds over fierce crashing waves produced a mysterious atmosphere as we walked together silently. As the sunset progressed, the changing shades of orange, red, and yellow on a canvas of black clouds grew in magnificence!
As we walked side by side, and without another thought of hesitation, I said, “I have had some feelings for you for some time that goes beyond the relationship we have as co-workers.” Jessica nodded in an understanding way as if to acknowledge me.
I went on, “It’s simply this: I am in love with you! I am completely in love with you!” She looked at me endearingly but remained silent as she collected her thoughts.
I continued, “You don’t have to respond or say anything. I just wanted you to know.” Jessica remained silent as we continued to stroll.
I felt tremendous exhilaration and relief as we kept walking. Although we walked in silence we would occasionally peek at each other and then smile and giggle like two schoolchildren. It was sweet honesty.
Then without introduction, Jessica said, “Did you ever think that I might have felt the same way?”
“The same way! Did I hear that right? I can’t ask her to repeat it!” I thought. “Oh, yea?” I said to her. “Where do I take the conversation from here?” I thought to myself.
I broke the uneasiness of the moment by suggesting that we walk down to the beach. We walked down a long path and stopped at an observation area. Looking out to the ocean from that vantage point, the waves appeared to touch the low hanging clouds, whose colors were now at peak expression of an unusually beautiful sunset.
Then, without any forethought, I gently took Jessica’s hand, pulled her toward me, slid my arms around her body, and placed my lips gently on hers.
She harmonized with my movements perfectly! As we continued to kiss without interruption, first softly and then passionately, she allowed herself to fall slowly backward trusting me to hold on to her and not let her fall. The kiss went on without perception of space or time for several minutes! It was pure ecstasy for us both. Far beyond what I thought was possible! I swear to this day that I could hear a full orchestra playing in the surf while I was kissing her. From that moment on, our relationship grew into an extraordinary romance and friendship.
Had I not had the courage to put my heart out there I would have missed one of the most magnificent experiences of my life. Knowing now what pleasures I would enjoy, I’m extremely happy that I did it. I can’t imagine my life without those memories. 🙂