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Patience Made Her Heart Grow Fonder

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If at first you don't succeed, hang in there. That's the moral of today's tale. It took Alex 22 years and three tries to finally get what he wanted. Sometimes it just takes a woman a long time to make up her mind.

Alex and Cassie first met when she was 15. He was 17 and her best friend's brother.

"I liked him — he was always very nice whenever I went up to the house — but there was nothing romantic," Cassie says.

Cassie became a high school senior, and Alex went into the Navy. His sister — Cassie's best friend — suggested she write him letters to cheer up a homesick sailor. So they started corresponding, and when Alex came home on leave, he would drop by her house, often bringing flowers.

"A lot of times when he came by I was on my way out the door to be with my friends. He would stay and talk to my father. I liked Alex, but I didn't love him.

"Once when I was in a play he sent me a dozen red roses on opening night and made it a point to be in the audience. I found out later that by staying to see the play he was late getting back to his ship and almost got in trouble. But he never mentioned it to me."

Cassie liked Alex, but she was in love with someone else. She married him. Alex came home from the Navy and he got married, too. They lost touch, more or less. Through Alex's sister, she knew what he was up to. That's how she knew he was divorced when her own marriage broke up after 10 years and three children.

"I called him for some advice," she says. "He recommended a good attorney and helped me get back on my feet emotionally, too."

They began dating. But like before, they never seemed to be in love with each other at the same time. Cassie felt her feelings grow, but she wondered if it was a rebound thing. Alex wondered if she was getting too serious too soon and, besides, he didn't want someone with three kids. He had three of his own.

He encouraged her to date others and she took his advice. But his feelings were stronger than his logic and he asked her to marry him. She was involved with someone and said "no."

Six years passed before they saw each other again. He called her for a date. And very soon after, he proposed — again. But he warned her first.

"I'm going to propose to you in a few weeks," he told her. "And I want you to really, really think it over long and hard. Because if you say no this time, that's it, it's all over, I'm going to finally get out of your life."

Cassie thought about it for a long time. And she said yes. Neither regrets the 22 years that interrupted their lives together.

"He's a different husband to me than he was to his first wife," Cassie says. "All those years apart we feel we were growing. We've matured; we know what we want in life. Things that are important at 20 aren't so important at 40."

Did it take a long time for you to wind up with the right person? Send your tale, along with your questions, problems and rants to cheryllavinrapp@gmail.com. And check out my new ebook, "Dear Cheryl: Advice from Tales from the Front."

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