Happy Monday…and HAPPY ANNIVERSARY to the lovelovelove of my life! Today marks two years of us being hitched. 🙂 This week is also our 6 year dating anniversary, so that’s a fun lil’ fact – September is just a hot month around these rosy parts. You guys have always shown SO much lovelovelove to J whenever he’s written a post on the blog or takes over my Instastories with some unboxings, so it only made sense to bring him back with me for a little wedding anniversary edition of #AskE…with J! You guys sent some *hella* good Q’s our way, so we pulled as many as possible to A together for ya today, along with some throwback wedding photos + some past posts linked throughout that help tell our love story, for anyone interested. 🙂 ENJOY. (Now we’re off to the lab for my 28 week bloodwork because that’s a PARTY. …And then Olive Garden after, because my ideal day date is soup/salad/breadsticks, obvi 😉 ).
How did you meet?
JAMIE: We met a few weeks before Erica’s freshman year in a program, which I was leading with a few other graduate students. I first noticed Erica when she was peeking at me from a distance, and when I went to a different location, she was still peeking at me. (ha!) And then I found it interesting that at curfew, Erica was the only person who had pajamas on with makeup to check in for the night. I then started getting to know her throughout the couple of weeks that the program was, and I noticed a maturity about her and a level of depth that I just hadn’t seen in other people.
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ERICA: OK OK I WILL ADMIT, I was totally not discreet in the slightest. BUT. In my defense, I knew there was something different about Jamie, and I was feelin’ all the new college feels and thinking HEY, I’ve got one shot here, if I’m not bold and go after what I want to see if there’s something here, I might lose the opportunity and never get it again. So…I was persistent. And it paid off. What can I say? 😉
Can you please share your story of meeting? Also, was this both your first relationships, or did you have previous relationships? If so, how did you guys realize you were right for each other and the others weren’t?
E: This was neither of our first relationships…although since J is 7 years older than me, he did have a few MORE relationships under his belt before ours. For me, it was pretty simple since I felt like I’d won the friggin’ lottery. I had never met a guy before that truly felt like my equal, in the sense that we both loved equally, challenged each other equally, respected each other equally, etc. Conversation with him was good and deep and funny and dynamic and just everything I knew I needed in a partner. We experienced some major hurdles, and we managed to get over + through them…together. We both CHOSE each other time and time again. We shared similar viewpoints on some important things in life – although when we first met, I will say that we didn’t have *identical* views on some things…some evolved over time with good ol’ healthy debate. 😉 And that’s another thing – we had a serious debate on our second date, and neither of us shied away from that. In fact, we embraced it. We were both just so alive from our conversations and time together that it was pretty darn obvious (I think) we had met our matches.
J: Lord knows this was not my first relationship…but it is certainly my best. LOL. I attribute my realization that Erica was right for me more to luck than skill, however, having the opportunity to spend an entire year of quality time with her (it was my last year at Penn and her first year, and we lived near each other) at a more mature age (I was 25 at the time) I think did the trick. About a year prior to meeting Erica, I was given a kind dose of karma by being heartbroken in a breakup. I learned a lot about myself during that time – how I treated people + how I wanted to be treated. So I call it luck, because I met Erica at the right time when I started to really understand who I was and how I wanted to be better in my life toward other people. With Erica, she was/is a stunning combination of beauty and grace and, put bluntly, there was/is this aura about her that just – as cheesy as it sounds – told me that she’s special.
Are you both extroverted?
J: No – I’m an ambivert. I’m the type of person that you would think I’m an extrovert because I feel like that’s what people want me to be, or that’s what makes me feel comfortable in front of other people, but I really need time to reflect and analyze the world around me in order to be a better person.
E: I also wouldn’t say I’m extroverted! I’m an ambivert, too, or an extroverted introvert. Which is funny since for the LONGEST TIME I thought I was an extrovert…until I learned that extroverts recharge from time with others, and introverts need that alone time to get back to best self. And this girl needs some solid ~solitude~ to refuel. J + I are both just very social, outgoing party who can very comfortably walk into a full room of people and make ourselves at home, talk to others, make other feel welcome, have a good time, etc. But at the end of the day, we both neeeeeeeeed that space by ourselves, so I think that’s what qualifies us as introverts deep down? Ha!
How did he pop the question? How long did it take for him to propose?
E: TOO FRIGGIN’ LONG. 😉 I kid, I kid…he did it perfectly. Ha. But really, he had the ring for ~6 months before proposing (which I knew about), so it was driving me NUTS that he HAD it and wasn’t DOING it. Like, what the heck man?!?! Put a ring on it already!!! I digress. He knows I’m ~so good~ at figuring things out, so not much can genuinely surprise me. So he planned this whole thing around his birthday thinking it might be the one day that I didnt suspect ahead of time (it’s in between Christmas + Valentine’s Day, so around all of those biggies that get us girls all heart-eyed for diamonds – ha!). He had said he was coming down to Penn after work to pick me up, grab Starbucks, then go out to eat. That was my first clue something *might* be going on tho; it was about an hour drive down for him at that point, and there’s a Starbucks right by his old apartment, so typically I’d just hop on a regional train to avoid traffic, save him time, and meet there. So the fact that he was physically coming down only for us to drive right back up felt…odd. I got all cute just in case. 😉 Then in walking to Starbucks, we were going through Penn’s campus down the main walkway, Locust Walk. It’s a historical hub of campus, basically, with all throughway traffic. And little by little, as we were walking, I noticed people popping up with big signs ahead of us. And I noticed one of them said, “Erica, are you ready to be a Mrs.?” And of course I FREAKED OUT. And then more of our friends starting popping out from behind trees, and then my acapella group started singing an Ed Sheeran song (he’s our fave slash we saw him in concert for our first date at this lowkey outdoor venue where tickets were, like, $15, so WE ARE ED HIPSTERS), and then folks started surrounding us. And as I was processing everything, J proposed. I blacked out. Thank the sweet Lord Baby Jesus that he had someone photograph it all, because I legit don’t remember a thing. Linking that post below in case ya wanna be nosy… 😉
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J: I proposed on my birthday, but I had the ring for about six months before that in a safety box in my closet, easily accessible to Erica. Note: Erica had terrible awareness at that time, so I thought it would be a fun Easter egg (for those video game lovers out there)! Why did I propose on my birthday? I thought it would be the least likely day that Erica would think I would plan the proposal.
What are some signs that a guy gives a girl to show that he’s ready to get engaged/propose?
J: Here are a list of signs to be aware of.
1) If you’ve been dating longer than two years and he still listens to you – a majority of the time, might I add.
2.) This may be a mixed sign, but if he’s a spender and he stops spending, it could be a sign he’s saving for the ring.
3.) He wants to have alone time with your dad to “bond.”
4.) He wants to spend more time with your family, and he won’t even complain about it.
5.) He’s planning vacations in the future with you. Sign of long term commitment.
6.) For ladies in relationships longer than two years, if he gets uncharacteristically nervous over any pending holiday or birthday, it could be a sign.
7.) He starts compromising…including watching YOUR favorite TV shows. This is a clear sign that he will likely propose to you.
8.) If you have girlfriends who you know can’t keep a secret, but you KNOW they’re keeping a secret…strong sign he may propose.
How did you know you were in love, and that he/she was the one?
E: I think my answer here dovetails right off of my answer above in just how I realized that he was right for me! I was v smitten v early on, but there was just always this sense of comfort coupled with discomfort, in that we felt like best friends and partners while still challenging each other to always be better. Which I hadn’t seen before – someone who really made me feel like I could/would/should live my best life with him, in celebrating who I am and also pushing towards who I could/would/should be. Also, I peeked ahead at J’s answer here and have to second it. 😉 Love is a choice, I think. This extends beyond the stages of first dating and the “honeymoon” stage in life – because at first, it shouldn’t feel like a choice or chore at all EVER really. If it’s too complicated too quickly, ain’t nobody got time. Ha! BUT especially if/when you get serious and have more time together under your belt, and especially if/when you get married, live together, start building your life together, etc…sh*t gets real. Life is real. Life is hard and tough and not all coming up roses. (Get it??? 😉 ). And sometimes, the LAST thing you wanna do is be the one to offer to do the dishes or clean up after dinner, when you just wanna sleep or read or – worse yet – you’re mad at your person and don’t want to do anything nice for them at all, let alone at your own personal expense. But…that is love. Choosing to push beyond mere feelings in a moment to do/say/be something better + bigger for the long haul. And the fact that we’re willing + able to do that for each other makes me have zero doubts that he’s been the one from the get go. 🙂
J: I think people equate love to a feeling. Maybe I’ll equate love to an action in this scenario. Seeing Erica hop on trains at any time almost everyday, from her dorm to my apartment about a half hour away, and seeing her put me before herself every time whether it mattered or not, how she accepted me for who I was and kept helping me become the person I am – when you add up all of those and a plethora of other examples, those actions drove the feeling of love. So seeing the selflessness of Erica throughout our relationship showed me that I was in love with her.
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Cheers to lovelovelove!
Are you married? In a relationship? Single AF? What are you looking for in a life partner? Grab yo’ beverage of choice and let’s chat about it in the comments below!
Now I’m off to get blood drawn. Hip hip HOORAY…at least J is coming with me for moral support. Because THAT’S lovelovelove. Ha! 😉