“I didn’t have to do any chasing, nor play games,” says Alba Arana, on meeting her husband. “He wanted to see me? He made plans. He paid attention to what I liked, made small gestures. His actions matched his words. Two years later, he is still the same man I married.” Here, she talks about finding love through her hobbies, learning to let men lead, and believing that she was worth it…
On letting men lead:
“I also had to learn to give up control. I would say, “Hey, let’s meet up, let’s have coffee,” as opposed to letting him plan the date. I wasn’t allowing men to pursue me. It stopped me from seeing who that person really was.
“Before meeting my husband, I promised myself that I would stop doing that. I told myself, ‘The next person who wants to date me will have to put in the effort, show the consistency, over the long run.”
On disassociating sex from dating:
“I was done with feeling like I had to build a connection with someone through sex. In the past, I used to think that I owed a guy for a meal. One guy took me to a $100 dinner on our first date. But I didn’t like him. He got upset when he tried to kiss me, and I didn’t want to kiss him.”
On the beauty of simplicity:
“I was taking salsa classes, and met my husband there. He asked for my number.
“Our first date was tacos and soda, right after work. We really clicked. Our second date was dinner. Our third date, we went to the mall. He wanted to buy me perfume. We had lunch at the mall.
“We were married six months later.”
On feeling deeply comfortable with someone:
“We both spoke Spanish, we’re both from Latino backgrounds (he is from Puerto Rico, my parents are immigrants from Guatemala and Honduras), we both shared a love of dancing.”
On dating with intention:
“A woman has believe it in herself that she is worth the things she’s asking for.
“No compromises, expectations high, and hold men accountable. Don’t make excuses or compromises for them.”
On reinforcing your sense of self-worth:
“A few things helped:
– Journalling and asking myself the hard questions. Making a list of aspects of the man I one day wanted to marry, about a year before we met. And he fits all that!
– Therapy for the last 2.5 years figuring out my trust issues.
– Indulging in my hobbies, learning what makes me happy. I used to take a different class outside my comfort zone class every month, like hot yoga, aerial yoga.
– I took myself on solo dates, I spent A LOT of time alone.
On demanding your worth:
“My husband tells me all the time: “You expecting me to give you time, attention, and care for you is not crazy ask. That is my responsibility as your husband. It’s not insane nor out of line ask.”
“The right man will thrive and do his best to give you what you deserve.”
Thank you so much, Alba!
(Photos via Alba Arana. Dancing photo by Ardian Lumi. Journalling photo by Alina Vilchenko.)