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The Wait | Modern Love Bonus Episode13:56
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(Courtesy Matthew Kirkland/Flickr)
(Courtesy Matthew Kirkland/Flickr)

A couple of weeks ago on the podcast, actor Taissa Farmiga read Hannah Selinger's story, "Friends Without Benefits."  We asked you for your stories about waiting for love and you answered — from all over the world.

Let's start with Courtney from Baltimore.

I have spent 4 years waiting in the room next to my housemate for him to realize that he loves me or me to realize that he doesn’t. Every weekend we go out together, sleep with someone else, and call each other in the morning to get breakfast. I am moving away in a week and a half and even that isn’t enough for me to forget caution and tell him that I love him. He’s my best friend. He’s had ample chance to say something if there was something to say. But, then again, so have I.

So, Courtney is about to move. Many of you told us that moving was the big event that made you take that leap of faith — for better, or for worse. Lucas from Gold Coast, Australia, shared this story.

There was a girl I really clicked with, we were really good friends. But, we never defined our friendship, and I had made plans to go live overseas for a couple of years. I thought about just giving up my whole time overseas and moving back to Australia to be closer to her and work out where we were at. But I didn’t hear from her for a while, I kind of moved on with my life. And eventually I actually found the woman who is now my wife, while living overseas. And the girl from back home, she emailed me, and said, "I’m thinking of you.” And I wrote back and said, “Listen, I’m in this new relationship." And I never heard from her again. And I always wonder whether what to me was an undefined relationship to her was something more.

I hear something in Lucas' voice there--all the unknown possibilities crowding into the spaces between his words. That's the overwhelming power of the human imagination: we can imagine so many possible outcomes if we act and that can be paralyzing. And even when we do take that leap of faith, we're still looking back over our shoulders wondering all the things that might have been. But the truth is, whether we wait or we leap into love, out of all the infinite possibilities, our lives follow only one path — even if it leads somewhere we never imagined, such as Uppsala, Sweden. Erin sent us her story.

I waited for love for a few years. I met someone while I was studying abroad. Between me here, and then I moved back to the States and he followed me. And then, when we split up, it was kind of, where are we, will we ever see each other? And so I waited for 2 years and then I moved to Sweden last year for him. But he had moved on. I don't regret the move, ever. I fell in love with him, and though that didn't work, I fell in love with this place. And today, I still live in Sweden, I teach elementary school. Overwhelmingly, I really like my life here, and I am thankful that he and the relationship that we did have prompted me to take this leap and to live here and move my live in a direction that I never saw, or never could have fathomed before.

I love that Erin found a different, maybe even deeper, kind of love. It's a beautiful reminder that sometimes, things do work out, even after a long wait. So take heart, because here's what happened to Sarah Sheridan in Brooklyn.

As a sophomore in college, I met a handsome, smart, funny man, who unfortunately was dating the girl that lived in the apartment downstairs. I spent the next 3 years pining after him, eventually graduated from college, moved to New York City. One year on his birthday, I decided to wish him happy birthday on Facebook. That led to a first date, and next month, we will celebrate one year of marriage. It was so incredibly worth the wait.

Sarah took a chance, and it worked! Sometimes, it just takes a little while to realize you've already found the one. Here's Max and Emily from Oklahoma.

Max: Emily and I dated for about 3 years in high school before college. There was always kind of this sense of, 'You're not going to marry your high school sweetheart. That doesn't really happen.' So I think, because of that, we ended up breaking up. I noticed as I started dating other people in college they wouldn't have certain characteristics that I really liked in Emily.

Emily: When I got to college, I started dating other people, but I was always waiting for the relationship to be more like my relationship with Max because it was just more thoughtful and cool and fun.

Max: Flash ahead to my last semester of school.,"m walking down he street, I see this car pull up next to me, and it's Emily, who I've not really spoken to at all for the last 4 years.

Emily: I rolled down the window, and I was like, 'Hey Max. Do you want to come to the state party?' And he's like, 'Uh, sure!' He looked so crazy and he thought it was a sick joke. I want to go back and I wish I could say, 'Yeah, I was totally waiting to get back together with Max.' But I was really just waiting for something that was as good as my relationship with Max, and everything was sub-par.

Max: Maybe after actually a month, I was like, 'Emily, I want to marry you.' We were at a Sonic drive-in, and I told her, and I think we both kind of agreed on that sentiment. And we got married three days ago, and we're on our honeymoon in Portland right now.

But life doesn't always have happy endings, of course, and you shared those stories with us, too. Sometimes, it's not about waiting for a relationship, it's about waiting within one. Here's Amy from Chicago.

I've been in a relationship for about ten years. When we first got together, I had just left my marriage, and he was ending a relationship, so I was waiting for his relationship to become finalized. And then, we were waiting for our kids to get a little bit older, and we were waiting to start blending our families. Then we were waiting until the right moment for us to live together. And now that we are living together, I still realize that I'm waiting and that I've probably even spent the last year waiting to even find the strength just to admit that the relationship is never going to be the relationship that I want it to be. I really want to love in a big way today. And I really truly think that that story that the writer shared with so much vulnerability and everything was really helpful for me. So I'm waiting for the confidence to walk away.

Sometimes we wait because we must grow, and we must grow before we have the confidence to act. I say that because that's what happened to me.

I'm married, but I made my husband wait for almost ten years. On separate continents by the way. I spent most of that time in a deep depression, too. He was the love of my life, and I knew it. Being apart felt hollow, like hearing the echo of my own heart on the other side of the ocean. But for a bunch of reasons, I thought I had to do it. Until one day, almost ten years later, I was on the bus. Leaning my head against a gray, greasy window. And it hit me - like a punch in the gut. I had to marry this man, and I couldn't waste another moment. Why it happened then, and why it happened so suddenly, I'll never know. Fortunately, my sweet husband is blessed with a patient and serene soul. He had waited for me.

He says it was worth the wait. But even now, these many years later, I still beat myself up and wish I hadn't wasted all that time. But then he says, "Be gentle and patient with yourself."

So if I've got any advice for those of you who are waiting to take that leap of faith in love, it's this: The word courage springs from the Latin word "cor." It means heart. One day, at the right time, you will be brave enough to take that leap of faith. Your heart will know when.

And with that, we have one more story to share from a Modern Love listener. Here's Rob Sims from Minneapolis.

I met her in English class. She sat a few rows ahead of me and a few rows to the right. It wasn't close enough to talk, but I would smile at her, and she would smile back. We got to know each other, and we started hanging out all the time. We would go to Lake Champlain, hanging backward over the boardwalk and watching the stars upside-down. We talked about everything — mainly about the future because I was about to leave, and we both felt like our lives were really beginning. We never dated. We never talked about dating, maybe because I was about to leave. I went off to college, and we stopped talking. I did one year of college and quickly realized how expensive that can be, and so I left for the Navy. And about my third year into the Navy, I was deployed. We circled Africa, and while I was floating around, you have a lot of time to think and your mind tends to drift, and my mind would go back to old flames. And she stuck. And it was irritating at first because what can you do when you're thousands and thousands of miles away and you won't be back for months and you haven't spoken in almost 5 years. When I got back from the Navy, I went to see my family, but then quickly went to go see her. And I think we were both feeling each other out, but I don't think it took very long for us to see the potential in each other again. From there, I started making drives and excuses to see her. She was in Vermont and I was in Virginia. Counting stops, it was a 17-hour drive. Within months, we were dating. Months after that, we were engaged, and then months after that, we were married. It's been almost 6 years now, and she is more than I hoped she would be.

Thank you to all of your who shared your stories with us. You can see them all on the world-wide Modern Love map below.

Meghna Chakrabarti Twitter Host, On Point
Meghna Chakrabarti is the host of On Point.

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