I had received an instant message from him almost immediately after plugging in my laptop, turning it on, and signing into instant messenger. I had just arrived in Georgia to take a nine-day coaching course, with plans to travel to Michigan before heading back to Baltimore a couple weeks later. He introduced himself as, “Jon,” like I was supposed to have known who Jon was at the time. He then explained he was a friend of Jon’s — a guy I had recently gone on a date, having enjoyed his company, but knowing he wasn’t the “one.” Confused, frustrated, and annoyed at that point from the whole dating scene, I, for some odd reason, was intrigued. Small talk led to exchanging numbers, and an understanding that I would be out of town for quite some time, but potentially reconnecting when arriving back in Baltimore.
Two days later, when returning from the soccer fields after a ten hour day, I received a text message from a number with a 410 area code. Glancing at it quickly, it was Jon, just letting me know that was his number, and asking how I was doing. Something about the tone in his text enticed me to respond, and make conversation, with a small, quick, exchange of words. There was definitely something different about this guy, and I hadn’t even heard his voice yet.
This small talk continued every few days, and I, very quickly, found myself waiting for his next text message, with my heart racing with excitement. We went on like this through the remainder of my coaching course and my visit home until he asked if I’d be interested in meeting him out one night. Only having seen his profile picture on Facebook and imagining what his voice sounded like, I agreed.
It was the closest thing to love at first sight. The butterflies in my stomach were more active than ever before, and I felt like I could have sat there for hours in his company, just chatting. He was even better than I had envisioned. I remember sitting at the bar we met at, and he pulled his phone out. I thought to myself, “How rude?” He snickered out loud. “My friends are next door at Looney’s, and they know I’m out with you. One of them just texted me, and said, ‘You are sitting across from the career assists leader for Michigan State women’s soccer.” It was clear that I had appeared a star to him, too.
Needless to say, the first night was a success, and we planned a second one for two days later. I think we both secretly thought the gap of one day would be less aggressive. And so, again, after the second date, we scheduled our third… Another two nights after that one.
The third date with him was a memorable one, and a night I have found myself reminiscing about a lot lately. I was invited to meet him at his apartment, where it was walking distance to several restaurants. After grabbing a quick bite to eat, we wandered back to his place, and decided to watch television. After flipping through the channels, he stumbled upon the show, Intervention, and we both focused on the story being presented. It was covering anorexia nervosa.
He very casually chuckled, and then adamantly stated, “I would never date a girl with anorexia. Been there and done that, and it’s horrible. Not sexy at all. I still have no idea why people would ever choose to do that to themselves.” I sat in silence, uncomfortably nodding, and praying that the conversation would come to a close immediately. The less it was discussed and elaborated on, the better off I was in that situation.
I remember saying goodbye to him that night, getting in my car, and calling my mom. I was distraught. We had three unbelievable dates and nights together, and a disease I had battled, which was a critical part of me, had the potential of being a deal breaker. Not only did I have an immense fear that this relationship wouldn’t work out, but I realized something for more overwhelming. I owned the label, “Former anorexic.” Though, I recovered from it, it would be something I would always have as part of my story. I was ashamed, and frightened. How in the world would I ever be able to share this with him? Would he run, and never look back?
I found the courage to share this part of me the next date. He was my biggest fan. Six months later, we were engaged. A year after that, we were married. A year after that, we had our first child. 19 months after that, we had our second child. And, now 2 1/2 years after that, he is, still, my biggest fan. He remains my number one supporter of my latest venture, and mission of publicizing my story to educate, raise awareness, and help and inspire others. Anorexia may be a part of my story; it may have significantly influenced me as a person; but, it did not come close to scaring my, now husband, away. If anything, he has taught me to be proud of who I am, what I’ve been through, the strength and tenacity I exhibited through treatment, and ultimately, to recovery. It was love at first sight. And anorexia nervosa wasn’t even going to get in the way.