If you had asked me anywhere between a year ago and two months ago what I thought about dating, I would have told you that it’s exhausting, frustrating, a little bit depressing, and completely anxiety-provoking. If you had asked me when I would be willing to consider opening my heart to someone new, I probably would have said ‘it’ll take at least a few years’. If you asked me when I would fully trust someone again, I probably would have said never. It’s interesting and quite amazing how your perspective of things (such as dating) can change over a period of time. In the past year I’ve bounced between feelings of extreme heartbreak and sadness over the loss of someone I loved and at the same time, the complete loss of my sense of self because of the person I loved; a willingness to date others (because I felt that I should), and a feeling of being content with how my life was progressing after said heartbreak. Not once in the past year did I feel hopeful that I would ever find someone who would TRULY make me happy again. I wasn’t sure if I was even capable of trusting someone enough to allow them to make me happy again. That sort of thinking was not only awful and pessimistic, but also not a true indication of who I was…and definitely not who I am now.

A little over seven weeks ago, coincidentally on New Years Eve, Kels and a few other friends approached me about a guy who was coming to our party. I had never met this guy before or even heard of him, but at the time, they all said (with great excitement) that ‘they couldn’t believe they hadn’t thought of this before’ and ‘how we would be perfect together’. I filed the information in the back of my mind like I always did when approached about anything remotely related to dating or relationships. It was New Years Eve and I was surrounded by my closest friends, two kegs, lots of vodka, and a vat (?) of sangria; my number one priority for the night was to have an amazing time and get 2013 off to a great start. Little did I know how right my friends were at the time…

After totally hitting it off and exchanging numbers, I started talking with this new guy almost every day. I wasn’t thrown off or frightened by the pace at all…in fact, new texts from him were welcomed with a smile and I could feel myself getting excited anytime I heard my phone ring. I suddenly realized I hadn’t felt that way in a long time and it was quite a refreshing change. I was finally starting to feel hopeful again.

We saw each other a couple times over the next few weeks and got along as if we had known each other for years. I loved every moment that I spent with him and was always disappointed when we would have to return to our respective states. The more I learned about him, the more I wanted to know. I couldn’t get enough. The best part was, he felt the same way and I knew this because he TOLD ME. It’s hilarious how something so small as telling someone how you feel can really be a game changer. It almost seemed too good to be true after what I experienced during the last few years of my life. There never was confusion about how he felt and feels about me, and I him. There’s also no confusion about the fact that I want him to move to Boston so I can see him all the time.

Valentines Day came around and I was slightly anxious as my Valentine’s Day last year was quite memorable…in the worst way. Instead of receiving a romantic love note or even some gesture that someone was thinking of me, I received the news of ‘Dearest Ariel, I’ve found someone new. She’s a 30 year old physician, she’s wonderful, and you will never compare. Sorry!’ Oh and did I mention this happened during the first week of my dream job? But this year was so much different. I received a call at around 6:15am and was told to look under my mattress for something that was left for me the weekend before. Not only was his approach for delivering the card the most exciting and thoughtful approach I’ve ever seen, but inside was a hand-written poem. At that point, I felt like the luckiest girl in the world. I think it is safe to say that I put in my time and am now getting what and who I truly deserve.

It’s funny how life can catch you off-guard; sometimes in a bad way and sometimes in an amazing way. I have no idea what my future will bring and I have no expectations for how things will end up, but if you asked me now what I thought about dating, I would say that you have to kiss a lot of frogs once to find someone who is worth kissing again. If you asked me now when I would be willing to consider opening my heart to someone new, I would say that it’s already starting to happen. If you ask me now when I would fully trust someone again, I would probably say that it will still take a little while, but is definitely going to happen one day. I knew the time would come when I would look back on my horrific (understatement) past and smile at how it is no longer my present…and I think that day has arrived. I still carry the scars of what I’ve been through, but they make me appreciate the amazingly thoughtful, caring, and honest guys that enter my life THAT much more.