We Asked 5 People The Moment They Knew Their Relationship Was Real

The romantic comedies we grew up watching would have you believe that the universe will give you some unmistakable sign when you've found The One. Music plays, and fountains you didn't know were there suddenly light up and jet into the air. Or, you keep running into that same cute guy in a series of increasingly serendipitous situations (you were in the same UberPool twice in one week!), which obviously means you're meant for each other. Don't get us wrong — fate brings people together in amazing, super-romantic ways all the time, but for most of us, the signs we've found that one-of-a-kind, real thing are usually subtler, and make perfect sense to us for totally unique reasons.

We've teamed up with Real Is A Diamond to ask people the moment they knew their relationship was real, because too often we only ever see the Hollywood or Instagrammed versions of this story. It could be a seemingly small thing — they know just when you need cheering up and show up with your favorite candy — or it could be something more profound that shows you share the same values on a deep level. Read on for these stories about those rare but life-changing moments.

I Knew It Was Real When ...

"After dating for about a year and a half we went backpacking together in rural California. Almost as soon as we reached our camp, a torrential rain storm started and didn't stop — for four days. It was too rainy to pack out, so we spent most of the trip in our tent, playing card games and trying to make freeze-dried meals over our little stove without drowning. We probably spent a combined 40 hours in a space no bigger than 4x7 feet, and somehow at the end of it, we still liked each other, and agreed we had a great time. I knew that if we could make the best of a situation like that (and not want to kill each other for taking up too much room in the tent), then we could do anything." — Sarah, 28

I Knew It Was Real When ...

"One time at my very manly boyfriend's manly apartment, I found an old copy of Little Women that looked like it had been lovingly read a million times. He told me it was his favorite book — it happens to be mine, too. That was when I knew he really understood women, little or not. That really got me." — June, 28

I Knew It Was Real When ...

"He held my hand in front of his straight ex-frat brothers, who he'd come out to a few weeks earlier. I know it wasn't easy for him, but it ended up being the best night. I got to know his closest friends, who I had assumed would be bro-y or unwelcoming, but now they're good friends of mine too." — Aaron, 26

I Knew It Was Real When ...

"When my now-husband asked me out, I didn't think it would be more than one date. He was a decade older, divorced, and a father. At the end of our first date — that cliché of "we felt like we'd known each other for years" rang so true — I broke my only dating rule and kissed him first. Getting into the taxi to head home, I vividly remember thinking to myself, 'Girl, you are in trouble.' I with-a-capital-K Knew that this guy was special, and he was going to change my life." — Mallory, 30

I Knew It Was Real When...

"When my fiancé and I first started dating 5 years ago, he’d do little things that I thought were nice, but I still considered typical guy behavior. He always walked on the side of me closest to traffic, and after a date, he’d ask me to text him when I got home — and he’d always reach out first if I forgot (which was often). Then, one day, I was checking something on his phone for him and noticed a note with a list of numbers. I asked him what was up with the mysterious list, and he told me that whenever he put me in a cab home late at night, he’d write down the car's license plate number in case I never made it home. He confessed he hated the idea of feeling completely powerless if something happened to me, and he never told me because he was afraid of coming off as paranoid or kind of crazy. He has lots of wonderful, lovable qualities, but realizing how deeply he cared for me and my safety definitely helped me realize he was a keeper." — Andra, 30

Designer: Mary Blount

This post is brought to you by Real Is A Diamond, as sponsored by the Diamond Producers Association. See more real connections at RealIsADiamond.com.