She Attended a Class Called “How to Be a People Magnet”—and Met Her Future Husband

"When I started the class, I was 34 and contentedly single."

Young multiethnic couple lying on blanket on grass. Latin woman with her african boyfriend relaxing on picnic blanket outdoor. Mature happy couple in love lying on grass with copy space.Rido/ShutterstockReader’s Digest editors asked the Reader’s Digest contributor network to tell us their stories of first-time love. The following piece was written in response to that prompt. To share your own 100-word true story for possible inclusion in the magazine or on, click here

I met my husband in a class called “How to Be A People Magnet.” I was 34 years old at the time and contentedly single.

A few years earlier, when I turned 30, it was amazing how the world’s perceptions of my single life changed. It went from “I envy your freedom and independence” to “oh, you poor thing, you must be so sad and lonely.” Even a doctor I was sent to jumped on the bandwagon. I was having some strange abdominal pain and when he couldn’t find anything that would account for it, he told me it was due to the stress of being over 30 and single. Needless to say, I found a different doctor who discovered I was lactose intolerant.

Some of the things the instructor in the class that day talked about were how to give a firm handshake, how to read a person’s body language so you don’t invade their personal space, and how to approach someone in a social setting and not look like a stalker. I noticed a man during a break and thought he was cute, but he was with some friends and we never spoke.

Fate intervened. I stopped at a bookstore on the way home and there he was. I walked up and asked, “Are you practicing what we learned in today?” And with that one sentence, my life changed. He and his friend had, in fact, not been practicing what they learned and it took months before we started dating. But 14 years and one beautiful daughter later, he still is my true love.  We have a few more gray hairs and wrinkles now, but when I look at him, I see the boyish good looks and decent man that make my heart skip a beat.

I didn’t understand the true meaning of love until I found it. I did realize that it wasn’t the fairytale we were all led to believe as kids, but the unbelievably strong bond that forms as you travel through life with someone and face great joys and deep sorrows. True love is not meant to be perfect; it’s messy and complicated and enduring. And it comes to you when you least expect it.

Suzanne Derham Cifarelli is a Reader’s Digest reader from Albany, New York. She is also a member of the Reader’s Digest contributor network.

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