As I was writing Happily Never After, I wanted to keep the pace of the story going and true to the emotional state I was in at the time. Looking back on it, here are three things I would add:
Preferences: I stumbled across this article the other day that supposedly “defined 10 traits men at looking for in a wife”. The writer interviewed men, and use their quotes in the article; their preferences ranged everywhere from, “I need a girl who has books in her house” to “I need a girl who I can ‘test drive” to “I need a girl who will go camping with me”, and it dawned on me that there is NO SUCH THING as universal traits, because everyone has different preferences. You will soon find out that my future husband has the wit of Oscar Wilde, the moral compass of Atticus Finch, and the pensiveness of John Grady (my sister is apparently always worried that my future husband is too fictional and does not actually exist in the world). In Happily Never After, I say that I will probably never marry a salesman, I don’t appreciate smokers, and I have never been attracted to Italians. But, hey, those are just preferences, and we all have the right to our own preferences. What works for me certainly may not work for you (that’s why you have your own ‘Prince Charming’, and I have mine), and my hope was to share with you HOW I came to those conclusions, and why I appreciate those preferences, to encourage you to be introspective and find your own. Money is something SO FAR out of my realm that I will never be able to bond with someone over it, and talking about the stock market and financial figures, but that might absolutely be you, and you might find talking about literature repulsive, and that is just fine because we are all built to be different.
His mom: Kent’s mom definitely gets some showtime in the book, and while NO ONE should ever sit another human being down and belittle them, I now have to appreciate her driving the wedge in our relationship because there’s a chance we would have gotten married, and I would now be 25, and divorced. That scene at the local town fair definitely tipped everything off, and while she was very unfair to me, I also have to thank her for seeing those dysfunctional tendencies that I obviously did not see at the time.
Ditching the “High School Sweetheart” Label: This was actually really difficult for me to get over, because so much of who I was previously depended upon that ‘High School Sweetheart” label. For six years, I told people the story of how we met in high school and dated in college; we really were that seemingly ‘All-American couple’, and when that label was stripped away from me, I had to reconcile with the fact that I wasn’t going to marry my high school sweetheart, and probably, whomever I ended up with probably had no relation to my childhood. He would not have been there to watch me win state championships; he would not have been there when I learned to drive my first car, graduate from college, obtain my first job. He will not have known how hard I worked for my master’s, building my dance team, the struggles of being a first year teacher. But, he will know other things about me, and for whatever reason, that is the way our relationship is supposed to go.