What was the moment you decided that your significant other was really "The One" for you?
Within days, I received 700+ "aww"-inducing responses, plus a few unexpected ones that would make even Christian Grey blush. The replies generally fell into six main themes:
1. Love at First Sight: Is there such a thing? Definitely, say these men.
One man wrote, "I knew she was The One when she first walked in the room. Love at first sight. Once in a lifetime."
Another said, "I knew the moment I saw her on the first day of college...seven years ago."
Some men knew after the very first smile, such as this military man: "I knew as soon as she smiled at me. That was four years ago. I'm marrying her this July before I deploy."
2. Love at First Date: Even more men said they knew she was The One after their first date or first kiss, even if the experience was far from perfect.
This man recalled, "When she held my nervous, sweaty hand at our first movie and didn't bat an eye about it. That was the same night I first kissed her."
Another wrote, "It sounds cheesy, but I knew on our first date that I never wanted to be without her. I remember looking into her eyes after our first kiss and thinking 'She's all I've ever wanted.'"
And this guy had a particularly memorable first date experience: "We were supposed to go on this big romantic date, and everything went wrong. The movie was sold out, it was raining, my car got a flat tire, but somehow we both still had a great time. I told her I loved her at the end of the night."
3. Mirror Image: A number of men said they fell in love when they realized how much they had in common.
One man wrote, "I knew when we would start saying things that the other was thinking at that very moment. Especially when it started happening 20 to 30 times a day."
Another added, "When we started to always say the same thing at the same time, I began to wonder."
This guy captured this group's sentiments, saying, "I knew she was The One when I started to learn that she was basically the female version of me."
4. Shared Interests: There were many men who cited other less esoteric, more stereotypical guy things, such as sports, dogs, cars and food.
This one may not fit the Shakespearean notion of destined lovers, but one sports guy wrote, "I knew when she threw a perfect spiral during intramural football."
Another knew his girlfriend was The One, "when she finally beat me at Mortal Kombat."
And this response, with a bit of an ironic twist, came from a man who wrote, "When I told her we could either afford to get married or get a dog. She looked at me and said, 'Let's get a dog.' That's when I knew."
5. Absence: The notion that absence can make the heart grow fonder was confirmed by these men.
One man wrote, "It was actually the first moments I spent without her that made me realize she was The One."
This man may have realized too late, writing, "The moment I let her get away is when I realized too late that she was The One."
Another realized and then changed his priorities: "It was five years ago when I had to transfer to another state for my work and could no longer be with her. I realized she was more important than anything else. I then quit my job and moved back. Now we are married - and I finally found a better job."
6. Comfort and Acceptance: Many of men's most important forever realization moments are linked to the comfort and acceptance they feel with the women in their lives.
One man captured this nicely: "When I realized that the silence we rarely have is a comfortable, understanding silence, instead of awkward, that's when I knew."
Another added: "I knew when I saw that she still loves and accepts me with all my faults and baggage."
This man went a step further, saying he really knew over time: "There is no one single moment. Those brown eyes of hers make me melt, her voice dances on my ears. Her acceptance and openness. Everything. Love grows day after day and really cannot be measured."
One Last Answer...From a Woman
Even though this question was asked only of men, we received a fair number of responses from women. This woman's answer in particular made me smile: "Here's when my boyfriend and I fell for each other. I spent four days helping him do a whole semester's worth of his calculus homework. We were eating gummy bears. He took one, held it up, looked at me, smiled and said, 'Thank you for doing this. Without you it'd be unBEARable.'"
UnBEARable, indeed. Happy Valentine's Day to her and the other respondents who shared their moments of realization.