Starting at the age of 14, I wrote in a diary almost every night for eight years.

I wrote about a lot of things, but if I’m being honest, I wrote mostly about guys. I documented all of it: the crushes, the relationships, the pseudo-relationships, the late-night AIM exchanges that might or might not mean something. I always wanted love; I was obsessed with it. But nothing ever worked out for very long, and it all just left me feeling crazy and defeated. There is a lot of torture on those pages.

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And then, when Doug and I started dating, my entries abruptly stopped. I didn’t mean for it to happen—I’d planned to keep a diary my whole life—but when you’re happy, you simply don’t need to spend several hours a week sorting out your feelings.

Finding a healthy relationship freed me up to think about other things and to explore different types of writing. My diaries helped me work through a lot of shit, but love helped me grow up and move on.

I did, however, come back to write one final entry the summer after I graduated college. I didn’t know at the time that it would be my very last—I still had this idea that I would one day return to it—but reading it now, it’s clear to me why I never did.

Here it is:

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Here’s something I’ve never said or even thought until very recently: I think I may have found the person I want to spend my whole life with.

I’ve been in enough relationships to know how different this one feels. With the others, I was always anticipating the end. I was always even partly looking forward to it ending so that I could move on, no matter how “in love” I felt. If I did try to picture any of them in my long-term future, it felt really suffocating; I never wanted to let go of the possibility of meeting someone else.

And then, for three years straight, I was single. And in that time, I think I grew up a lot. And I learned some things, like that good guys are hard to find once you realize what your standards are and that you can’t date just anyone. I also learned that I am not cut out for flings. With guys, I want all or nothing. I’m good at relationships and I’m okay being on my own but I don’t know how to handle in-between stuff, and it never leaves me feeling very satisfied. The idea of dating became less and less appealing.

And then last summer my three-year dry spell ended when I started dating Doug. It didn’t feel very serious, but it felt nice just to be in a relationship again.

It crumbled quickly, though. We broke up less than three months into it. I was slightly upset but mostly okay with it. It was familiar, being alone again. It seemed like the easier thing.

But then something totally unexpected happened: we started over. It took a lot of conversations and a lot of trust and openness, but we created a new relationship, completely different than the one before.

And it’s been unlike any of the other relationships in my past. This one doesn’t feel doomed like the others, which peaked early and then progressively got worse and worse until there was nothing left. This one just seems to develop and grow more as time goes on. I feel closer to Doug each day. I’ve never felt like it’s fading.

I desire to be with him so badly, and when he’s away for a few days, my heart literally aches. I don’t remember ever missing anyone this much. Before, I always eagerly welcomed time alone. When Doug is gone, though, I just want to fast-forward through time.

When I look into my future, it is him who I see. I used to worry that I would never not be terrified at the thought of just one guy forever. But with him, it doesn’t feel scary. It feels calm and content and natural. It feels like it would be a huge relief to never have to date again or break up again. It feels secure.

I don’t think we would ever run out of things to talk about or laugh about. We’re both cynical, but we both see the humor in every-day life. We both like to analyze people and relationships. We’re both creative. We both have very close friends, but also very active inner worlds that we go to alone. We’re both loyal to our families. We’re both content just to read.

Spending forever this way doesn’t sound scary at all. It sounds perfect.

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