My relationship with Brent is one that I never saw coming, but also never knew could exist.
“I had no point of reference for ‘normal’ or ‘healthy’ relationships – my mum and dads was one filled with abuse and terror and so many of my friends parents were separated.
I read all the fairy tales, then as I got older, all the romance novels and my idea of romance became one of passion and turmoil and that is exactly what my relationships that followed were. They were passionate for sure, but turbulent – there was excitement, but there was also jealousy. I lived in a constant state of insecurity, but I thought that that’s what love was. Dramatic and torturous.
When things were good, they were amazing, but when things were bad, it was dark, lonely and hurtful. I thought that settled and calm meant a lack of love. Surely what I had was better than dull and boring.
When I ended my last relationship, I found myself enjoying life more than I had in years. I was single for the first time in as long as I could remember and it was easy. I felt free. I decided I didn’t want dark, lonely or hurtful anymore. I wanted more. Better. I made a list of the qualities I did want in a partner, put it in my purse and forgot about it. I was discovering who I was, and I was enjoying it. I didn’t want those things just yet.
I felt something the first time I met Brent – there was an instant connection. The kind of feeling you get when you’re working on a giant puzzle and finally find the right piece. There were a million other things racing through my my mind that day, but I knew in an instant that he was going to be a big part of my life.
We were colleagues and bonded over similar working styles/frustrations, and stories about our kids. We quickly became great friends.
He was in a relationship, and I had known him for 6 months by the time it ended. By then I knew I was in love with him, I just didn’t know how to tell him. He was much older, his kids were much older than mine (though, I’d met them both and adored them) – we worked together, and he had just come out of a relationship. I wasn’t sure if he felt the same, or if what I had felt was just a matter of wanting something I couldn’t have. I loved having him in my life, I wasn’t sure I wanted to risk that changing so I said nothing and we continued to banter about our frustrations over processes that made no sense.
One Friday night after a long week at work, I forgot the juice that Alex needed to take his medicine. Brent and I had been chatting about a bid that our company was working on when I got home and realised and he offered to drop some off on his way home.
When he arrived, I met him at the door and on instinct went to hug him and then stopped myself.
Brent and I are both ‘hug everyone, shake hands with new people, playfully push friends around’, kind of people. We laughed about how since the day we’d met, we had never touched and how unusual that was for us both.
He hugged me and it felt like home. I broke down and told him everything about how I felt. I decided in that moment that taking a chance on this was worth it – he may not have felt the same way and may have decided to walk away, but I didn’t want to live regretting never saying anything.
He listened to everything I said and then I walked him out to his car quietly.
Then kissed me, in the freezing cold at the end of my driveway and I still remember it like it was yesterday. It felt right in a way that nothing else ever had.
We both panicked.
We spent the following weeks talking constantly about the forward maths of our age difference, I told him all of my worst qualities, and he told me all of his. It was as if we were looking for the deal breaker early before we decided to give it a go.
There were kids involved on both sides and I was so worried about ending up in another relationship that wasn’t right, I wasn’t sure if I was ready for the risk. I had found myself in my time alone and I didn’t want to lose that.
We were open and honest about our life priorities, our weaknesses, our goals, whether or not we wanted more children, our pasts, our insecurities. We laugh now about how we fit 6 months worth of normal relationship questions and discoveries into 3 weeks.
In the end, we decided what we felt was too much to walk away from without giving it a chance. In every relationship before, it had felt like something was missing. We found that missing piece in each other. We began and he was perfect.
A month into our relationship, I remember calling my mum with second thoughts. It felt so calm, so.. safe. It was so different to anything I had ever experienced before. We were on the same page with everything, our kids loved each other, and our disagreements were fair and easily overcome.
It felt too good to be true. Something bad was coming. Had I made a mistake? Was I really in love? Should I get out now before the bad thing happened to avoid being caught off guard with it?
My mum told me then that This was real love. Security, loyalty, unwavering support, a shoulder to cry on, a freedom to keep being yourself. She reminded me that my relationships before had never worked out and to not walk away from something that could be amazing because I was afraid because it was different.
She was right.
I stopped trying to push him away, I stopped bracing myself for the something bad that may never come, and embraced being happy.
We moved fairly quickly after that, he had bought his ex partner out of his house, increasing his mortgage significantly, and my lease was up and my rent was to increase too if I decided to stay. Moving in together was more of a financial decision than a romantic one. We decided that joining rent/mortgage/power/internet payments made more sense than struggling through them separately knowing that one house would inevitably end up neglected while we spent time together in the other.
On the night before we moved in together, I found my old purse in a box in the back of a storage cupboard and in it, the list I had made of all the qualities I wanted in a new partner. I laughed at how perfectly Brent ticked every one off the list and I knew we were making the right decision.
We now have a 6 month old son, two rescue puppies and an adventure filled life I could only have dreamed of before.
I adore Brent, he loves all the worst things about me, and when questioned, some of those worst things are the things he will answer that he loves the most. He makes me laugh until my tummy hurts, he holds me when I cry and his listens to and whole heartedly supports my dreams and life goals. He lets me yell when I need to, he reassures me of his love and dedication to our family as often as I need to hear it. He makes me feel beautiful, even when I’m really, really not and he believes in me so fiercely that I have no choice but to believe in myself too.
He surprises me every day and each time I think I couldn’t love him anymore, he does something that blows me away and I’m surprised to find that it turns out I can.
I am the best version of myself when I am with him – he has a calm, relaxed, logical outlook on life, where I am irrational, impatient and impulsive. He jokes I bring the fire and he brings the calm. It creates a perfect balance.
His gentle nature has changed the way that I react to situations for the better and in life, our strengths and weakness complement each others. He is an unbelievable father, Alex loves him so much and I have the most amazing relationship with his kids.
We are not without hard times, or disagreements and we can definitely frustrate the damn heck out of each other sometimes, but I feel safe, secure and I love this new kind of love.
Though it would make a terrible romance novel, it makes for a pretty amazing life ♥