Anyone who is divorced can tell you that the right life partner isn’t always found on the first — or second, or third — walk down the aisle.
Below, divorcées share the moment they knew they were ready to say ‘I do’ all over again.
1. When she felt that spark with a childhood friend.
“My husband and I have known each other since we were 11 years old. We met in sixth grade and remained friends for over 40 years. In the span of four decades, there were countless moments of companionship, tenderness and connection. When we finally got around to romance, all of those moments were already in the mix. Maybe part of the ‘knowing’ in midlife is realizing that relationships don’t come together in one Hollywood moment, but in the many moments — both glorious and trying — when you look at the other person and think, ‘oh, here you are. I’ve been waiting for you.'” — Abby Rodman
2. When she realized her life was better with him in it.
“There were two pivotal moments in my relationship with my fiancée: the moment I knew I wanted to date only him and the moment I knew I wanted to marry him. [When we first started dating], my fiancée and I were not exclusive and he knew I was single and out to mingle. In the first two months of our dating, each time I went out with one of my other suitors I ended the night knowing that I didn’t like spending time with them as much as I did with Andrew. Just about two months after our first date, I kissed someone else and swiftly decided I did not want to date, kiss or be with anyone else other than Andrew. The next night I told him as much, and to my delight he had already decided the same and had already wiped his slate clean. I never really thought I would get married again — I didn’t really see the point. One day it hit me like a ton of bricks: my life was better with him in it. He brings me peace every time he walks in the door. A little shy of two years from our first date he proposed and I accepted.” — Abby King
3. When he was there for her in a moment of fear.
“Twelve years ago, I developed a scarlet-red, golf-ball size lump in my breast overnight. My gynecologist took one look at it and left the room to order an immediate mammogram, ultrasound and surgical consult. Terrified and just needing to hear a familiar voice, I called my ex-husband and told him what was going on. He was silent the whole time and then simply said, ‘Well, good luck to you,’ and hung up. Desperate, I decided to call Jorge, the man I’d recently started seeing. Before I could even ask him if he would come, he asked me if he could. When I exited the imaging center an hour later, there was Jorge, sitting in the waiting room with his eyes fixed in my direction. He jumped up and came to me with his arms open wide. I melted into them. I had never been so happy to see someone in my whole life. [It turns out] it was just a horrible, but completely treatable, infection — and we just celebrated ten years of marriage!” — Lee Gaitan
4. When she broke all the dating “rules” for him.
“I thought our first date was just a casual drink with a coworker who, rumor had it, also had full custody of his daughter. I’d read all the blogs — you know, the ones that say what never to do on a first date, tips for dating after 30, tips for getting back on the market. They all said something to the effect of, ‘don’t talk about your ex, the split, your baggage.’ We broke all those rules before the entrée arrived. He was so receptive and had been through everything I had. I felt safe laying it all out there and hearing his story in return. I’d never felt so connected to another human being. We tore our beating hearts out and handed them to each other right there. I’ve never laughed and smiled so much talking about the trauma of divorce. We were inseparable from that day on. It sounds cheesy to say I knew from the first date, and I wouldn’t have said that back then, but looking back I see now that that’s when I knew he would be my partner through the next chapter of my life.” — Heather Leiva
5. When she saw him interact with her son.
“I wasn’t looking for a new relationship, but when we first looked at each other, I said to myself: ‘Oh no, I’m never gonna to get rid of this guy.’ He walked up to me and asked, ‘Can I buy you a drink?’ ‘No,’ I said, ‘I’ll buy you one, because if you buy me a drink you’ll expect something from me.’ He accepted my offer. Later that week we had a proper date and three months later, we were still dating, so I decided to introduce him to my seven-year-old son. A year after meeting, both he and my son were at my house watching and laughing at a movie. My son had his head on my boyfriend’s shoulder, and my boyfriend had his arm around my son. That’s when I knew he was right for me, and for my son. We were married three years later.” — Andrea Tate
6. When she realized she could be her complete self with him.
“I first met my husband, Richard, when I was 16 years old. In fact, he was the first boy I ever fell in love with. For six months we were high school sweethearts. But then he broke up with me, I graduated, and we lost contact with each other for 25 years. In 2006 he found me through classmates.com and emailed me. Talk about a blast from the past! I gave him my phone number. He called. After 15 minutes we discovered the important thing — we were both divorced. I asked him if he’d like to meet me for coffee that night. He said, ‘yes.’ We met at Denny’s at 9 p.m. for the longest coffee date in the history of dating. At some point during our marathon conversation he held both my hands in his and without hesitation told me that I was the same bold and brazen girl he knew in high school. I knew, right then and there, that I would never have to be anyone other than me with him. I knew I was going to marry him. And I did! Five months after we reconnected, we said ‘I do’ in a beautiful park on the last day of summer. This September, Richard and I celebrate 10 years of happiness together.” — Peggy Nolan
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