Dan and I met in High School. We hung out in the same group and over time we just became a couple. We were together all of the time anyway so why not? Looking back I see that our relationship was really formed on convenience. It worked for us to be together and it was easy. We loved each other in a comfortable, familiar, dependable sort of way. We could talk about anything and did. We spent hours on the phone after a day at school laughing and analyzing the intricacies of our social circle.
I never thought to question the lack of passion in our relationship. We never fought so I assumed it was just the way we were. Everyone said we were perfect together. We just fit.
When we graduated from High School we decided to head to the same University with a bunch of our friends. I often think about this as being a life changing decision. Even our parents said we should try some time apart but we were determined to keep our gang intact.
Of course, once we got to University everyone found other friends and it all changed. Dan and I stayed together but our relationship changed a lot and there were some rough patches. I remember in second year I was out at the University pub with a group of girlfriends. We were dancing and having a blast. We met a group of guys there and one of them was very interested in me. There was a definite connection between us. We flirted and danced and held each other close for hours. As the night came to a close and we said good-bye I remember having this sick feeling. I knew that the excitement I had felt and that yearning was something I had never felt for Dan.
Then in third year I got sick. Really sick. And Dan was there for me the whole time. He was my rock, my motivation, my shoulder to cry on. My recovery became his obsession and he is what drove me to get better. The day I was given a clean bill of health Dan proposed to me. We were 22 years old and had just faced death head on.
We hear about soldiers going off to war and marrying their sweetheart to give them hope against what they are facing. I think this is sort of what happened to us. We were young and the idea of our own mortality was terrifying. We clung to each other and to the familiarity and comfort of our history together.
I remember a looming sense of panic leading up to the wedding. Everyone dismissed it as just nerves but I knew there was something more. I tried to broach the subject with one of my girlfriends but she just laughed and said, “Don’t be ridiculous. It’s you and Dan. It has always been Amy and Dan.”
That made me feel even worse. So I brought it up to Dan. He heard me out but was so focused on the ease of our relationship and how simple it all was that when I asked him why he wanted to marry me he said, “Because we’re a team.” I’m not even sure he knew what he meant by this but it was obvious that he didn’t want to think too hard about what might be missing either. At this point he was satisfied that it would work because it always had.
So we got married. Dan looked so handsome and our wedding was a blast. It was like a reunion with us at the centre. Our friends made speeches about us being, “the perfect couple”, “a constant”, “the best of friends”. What I kept waiting for was for someone to say something about our “deep love” for each other or our “passion” or how we were so “in love”. But they didn’t.
They didn’t say it because, what we were soon about to figure out is that we weren’t “in love” at all.