– “Finding love, losing my physical identity” –
At the risk of sounding cliche, it felt like a fairytale from the start. Four and half years ago I met a sweetheart named Robert on OK Cupid. We messaged back and forth while I was out of the country traveling in Europe. He was a west coast boy in NYC not even three weeks. He was in a new city, and my opening message was something to the effect of “Need a tour guide?” I must say, the key to success with online dating is to be the one who emails first with a witty opening line, knowing that 9 times out of 10 you will not get a response in return. But this time was different. This time I was lucky. Let me just say, he had photos on his profile holding his baby nephew. It was a total swoon moment. This guy was asking for a wifey right?! I could read it all over him, and I knew I had to meet him in person.
I chose the Kent Ale House in Williamsburg, knowing he needed to experience some hip neighborhoods. I remember that first moment when he came in, sweaty from getting lost on the way there and nervous. He remembers me going in for the firmest of handshakes, when he was unsure how to make the first impression. Instantly I knew he was different. I felt a spark I hadn’t felt in a very long time. We sat and conversed for hours on end, jumping from everything from family to politics, and everything in between. It was just so easy. He walked me home and we had our first kiss on the steps of the G train. He immediately asked if he could see me again and we proceeded to go on four dates in that first week. We went to a concert, had brunch in the city, saw a movie and spent all day on a walking tour of Brooklyn. We got to know each other very well in those early days. A few weeks later, Hurricane Sandy hit New York and we were holed up in my apartment for three days. We now look back and joke that those were the days when we fell in love. On October 31st, 2012 we went to the restaurant Brooklyn Star and he looked at me and asked me to be his girlfriend.
From then on the rest is history! Just like that, two years dating and moving in together passed by in what felt like an instant. We couldn’t be happier as a couple. With extreme happiness comes comfort, indulgent meals, nesting and naturally, gaining weight. One day I looked at myself in the mirror and realized I had gained 20 pounds without noticing. I was so thrilled to have found the love of my life that I stopped taking care of myself physically. How did that happen? My life became work, home life and of course Robert. I loved every minute of it, but couldn’t help but want to break out of the rutt I didn’t realize I was in. I began covering up my new body with baggier clothes and lived in denial. How could I be so happy and in a loving relationship, focusing on the two of us, yet forget to foster a relationship with myself? How could I return to taking care of myself, while enjoying this new life I was living?
I knew something had to change but I had no idea where to start.
By Amanda Fink Mandell
This is the second installment in Amanda Fink Mandell’s “We Love Her” series. Love Squad’s “We Love Her” series takes a deep dive into the personal fitness journey of a guest writer, in weekly installments told over the course of several weeks. These narratives will get real and open as they talk about life-changing events and personal obstacles that were somehow overcome through fitness, exercise, and both mental and physical wellness.
If you are interested in contributing a personal story of your own as a part of our “We Love Her” series, please email firstname.lastname@example.org !