Finding your ‘other’ half is not exactly like a game of Wordle. Sometimes you need more than six tries to find success.
And yet, almost without trying, my brother and his partner, Tomáš, have been happily coupled for 13 years. I say ‘without trying’ as they have always made it look so effortless.
This past Christmas, when they came from abroad to visit, they unwrapped the ultimate festive surprise: that they’re getting married in Stockholm, later this year.
Ever since they met on Facebook all those years ago (Tomáš hails from Prague and my brother is from South Africa), it was glaringly obvious to all that they knew. Not that they’d get married or live happily ever after, but that they’d both found their ‘Best Love’.
Much like an unexpected bout of dronkverdriet after only two glasses of crisp Chenin on a Tuesday night, one’s soul starts to weep at the very thought of a love like this. It may not always be perfect or poised, but it’s a rare thing of beauty when two people decide on each other without compromise. And it allows us to dream of this kind of love too.
Here’s how our team found their ‘Best Love’:
I believe in the idea of a 'Best Love,' but this isn't a tough sell given my affection for affection and all things love-adjacent; I am @heatherloveslove, after all.
Recently, I have been thinking about whether there is a real hierarchy when it comes to love, or is it the 'Best Love' because we make it so. Of course, there are matters of compatibility and chemistry and, importantly, whether the person is a genuinely good egg at the end of the day. But all things considered, if love is love, then surely it can become the 'Best Love,' and if it can't, then it's a sign that it's not the right love.
All this is a complicated way of saying that I know this love I have is the best for me because my partner and I decide to make it so with our words and our deeds every day. And when our words and deeds don't match our love, we make amends, try again, choose kinder words, and the best appears again as it always does.
I knew this was the 'Best Love' for me because I never had a real chance to think otherwise — my partner tries so hard every day to make me feel happy and loved. I've never met anyone so generous with what they have inside; he gives his everything to every interaction, every task, every hobby. He is the person I hope to be on my best days, and the way he handles his worst days is a masterclass in resilience and grit. It is my 'Best Love' because he is the best person I know, and in witnessing him, I find myself trying to be my very best too.
It's been seven years since I met my 'Best Love'. To set the scene, it was another Saturday night with my parents. I was very likely complaining about being single when my mom, probably frustrated with me, stated the obvious: how did I expect to meet anyone, let alone my future love if I was home on a Saturday night? So, I promptly went on Tinder, and it was not-quite-voila as I went on a few other dates. But, when I finally met my 'Best Love', it was hard to ignore as what began as an average Monday night became us talking until the restaurant closed and then continued on the phone as I drove home. On Wednesday, we went on another date, and by Friday, I was at his parents' house for dinner. The rest was history.
I knew I had found my 'Best Love' when I was able to see all the qualities I aim for in myself, in my partner, knowing all the work it may take to get there together.
I'm generally quite bad at sharing my emotions (although proud to say I am learning how to better); it's always been a challenge in relationships (friends or lovers). So, finding someone who could so effortlessly share what he was feeling meant that I felt an instant attraction, and I continue to be inspired to be able to do just that one day, with his help. I think he'd say the same thing about the qualities he admires in me. For me, that's the incredible beauty of a 'Best Love'.
A 'Best Love' is a love that challenges you, holds up a mirror to you, keeps you in check, helps you grow, uplifts and supports you, loves you unconditionally, withstands the challenging parts of life, and celebrates the wonderful parts with you.
Before Tinder, I begged the universe for a love that was all-consuming, all-giving and absofuckinglutely thrilling at each and every twist and turn.
In reality, the only thrilling twists and turns in my love life were the circles I ran around former dates and matches when spotting them on the promenade.
My ‘Best Love’ came at a time in my life when I almost stopped trying or looking as I, honestly, had started to believe that my version of dreamy love didn’t exist. And my wishlist wasn’t even that strict:
Kind and calm
Sense of humour
Must love the outdoors
Must look at me with stars in his eyes
Has to be someone I want to kiss to death every minute and every day
Last year, I met him (on Tinder!). After only about 10 days into our third wave romance, we decided to have a candlelit bubble bath with wine and chocolate. Mid foam, he asked me if I wanted to be his girlfriend. The last time a guy was this ‘serious’ so early was in Grade 5 when Roelof handed me a Sweetie Pie marshmallow chocolate in the hallway on the first day back from December break. The choccie accompanied a letter wherein he popped the question: “Sal jy met my kys?” (Do you want to go steady?)
Much like my Grade 5 crush, this man knew what he wanted and went after it. He fought his natural instincts to act like a Capetonian, and opted not to ‘go with the flow’.
Oftentimes one is not 100% sure about what you want in a love or in life. But I always say “when I see it, I’ll know”. He already ticked all the boxes on my wishlist, but when he showed me how serious he was about being with me, my heart knew.