Growing up, many of us learned that True Love™ involves dragons and princesses and epic battles and happily ever afters. But the real world just doesn't work that way, which is probably for the best — dragons cause a lot of damage.
Instead, true love IRL looks more like your partner surprising you with freshly baked cookies or cleaning the bathtub so you can relax. Instead of epic battles with evil sorcerers, we have epically bad Tinder dates. And after too many of those, it can start to feel like love is a lie. But never fear, because love is real, and we've rounded up some real-life stories to prove it.
Remember, of course, that love isn't always romantic. Some of these stories talk about romantic love, but some are also about friendship. Ahead, read the true stories that'll make you believe in love again.
My wife and I met on an online dating site, because trying to find another normal gay lady in rural Pacific North West is almost impossible. We talked for about a month before deciding to meet in person. I was smitten with her before we met, terrified when we did. She seemed so calm despite the complete inorganic first date circumstances. Online dating is weird, it's like a blind date but not.
At any rate, the dinner was nice, we went for sushi, went to a bar around the corner that happened to have a ska band playing. The bar was small and crowded, all the seats were taken, so she goes to the bar to grab us some drinks. In my infinite and unabashed derpyness, I went to lean on the pool table after she handed me my drink a little too close to the edge and my butt slid off the corner. I almost fell to the ground, spilling my beer. If I could have found a hole to go die of embarrassment in I would have. I thought for sure that was going to be the last time I saw her. Eight years later we are happily married, and it's been one of those loves you want to write poems and songs about, the kind of love that still moves me to tears sometimes.
squirrelgrrrl on Reddit
I'm happily married with young children. I went out for a good friend's engagement party, and there was this woman who came in who I couldn't take my eyes off of. I could see that she was interested in me too, and I struck up a conversation. We talked for half the night, and made out with each other for the other half.
I told her I was married (before the making out) and I wanted to see her again, but I needed to talk with my partner before anything else happened. Went home, had a very hard conversation with my wife, in which LOTS of stuff came up, but ultimately my wife let me see her again.
Flash forward a year and we are still dating, very in love, she is friends with my wife, and I couldn't be happier. I know it's a pretty different situation, but I'm really happy that I took ownership of what I wanted and found that it deepened my love with my wife, and also let me find this new and spectacular love that she supports.
coindork on Reddit
If I'm being totally honest, she caught my eye because she looked a little... different. She was gray with little spots of light brown speckled throughout her coat, and her face was oddly round. The name on her cage said "Monterey." She wasn't as playful as the other cats — she kind of just sat lazily as I pet her. "She's just a really relaxed cat," one of the staffers said. But she looked sad — I could tell because I was sad, too.
I had been in New York City for two years and was still struggling to feel at home (a slew of health problems that cropped up only made me feel more alienated). I thought, maybe, we could make each other a little less sad. I snapped a photo and sent it to my mom — and my dad, and my sister, and my best friend — and asked what they thought. After I got their approval, I walked around the store to mull it over: Would I be home enough to care for her? Will I be able to take care of her if my health takes a turn for the worse? Will I pigeonhole myself into being a miserable, crazy cat lady for the rest of my life? But those answers didn't matter — I knew I wouldn't be able to leave the store without her.
She's been by my side for a year now, and I can say, without a doubt, she's one of the best decisions I've ever made. Sure, I have to wear high socks or pants in her presence (so much ankle-biting!), but she helped me through a pretty difficult year and taught me that even when it feels like the last thing you can do, caring for someone (or something) other than yourself is a form of self-care too.
"A few years ago, my then-boyfriend and I were headed toward a break up. The morning I finally broke up with him once and for all, my roommate immediately texted our closest eight best friends (without me knowing) to come over. Within an hour, my friends brought snacks, wine, tissues, and a lot of hugs. Every time I started to cry, someone put a tissue to my face and a spoonful of ice cream in my mouth. The gathering lasted so long that someone went out and bought a buffet of comfort food — mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, fried chicken — to keep us going. At some point that night, we were all eating a cake in my bedroom, laughing, and we fell asleep on the floor. I woke up the next morning, saw everyone asleep on the floor, and realized how truly loved I was by my friends, and how much I love each and every one of them."
"I think I knew what love truly was when I asked my dad jokingly, 'If mom cheated on you, what would you do?' His response made me immediately break into tears. He said, 'I would divorce her, but I would live upstairs. I want to be close to you boys and also make sure your mom is taken care of. She can date again if she wants, but I vowed "'till death do us part" and I will not stop loving her and taking care of her. I would make sure she had everything she needed and more.'
"It was all of that combined with the look in his eyes that he was so sure of his answer and that he would love my mom no matter what she did to him. I realized then that I need to search for a love like my parents. I was privileged enough to grow up in a household where I witnessed love between my parents every single day no matter what. I want to be able to do that for my children and model to them what true love looks like."
"I knew my boyfriend would become an important part of my life the moment he burst into the bar on our first date. I guess I loved him about five minutes in. I recognized how profoundly special he was, though, about four months in, during my first-ever panic attack. I had just graduated from college and felt the whole world was flaking apart in front of me. So I called him and he stepped out of a party and calmed me down in a way that no one else had been able to. Then that whole weekend he took care of me, and let me wallow but not too much. We went to a cafe and he watched as I ate each bite of oatmeal. We hadn't been dating for long at that point, but that was when I knew he was my guy." -Elena, 23
"In high school, a friend of mine had to ducksit (yes, a real, live duck), so she asked me and another friend to stay over and help her out. Don't ask why, but one of our tasks was to wash this full-size duck — with no instructions provided. I won't go into the details, but picture a duck escaping a kitchen sink and loudly squawking at three people armed with oven mitts and wooden spoons, and you've got a pretty good idea of how it went. Getting the duck back into its cage was truly a bonding experience for the three of us and, a decade later, our love for each other is still evident in our extreme dislike of birds." -Meredith, 25
"My fiancé and I met the first week at Syracuse University. We were all in the floor lounge playing Rock Band when he came and stood in front of me by accident. I didn't know his name so I kicked my flip flop at him. (He likes to tell people I threw my shoe at him!) We introduced ourselves and began to hang out. He kissed me a week from when school began, and now we're getting married exactly 10 years from the date of our first kiss (September 2, 2018)." -Sierra, 27
"After we had been broken up for a while, my then-ex-boyfriend (now husband) surprised me at college on Valentine's Day. He drove from Connecticut to upstate New York, and when I got back to my apartment after class, he was there, in the kitchen, baking chocolate chip cookies." -Lisa, 37