Ep. 35: Our Love Story & My Thoughts On Marriage

Apparently a lot of you really want to know how E & I met and started dating because this episode comes highly requested!


Well, wait no further as this episode will go through how we met, the 1.5 year journey from meeting to dating, the ups and downs along the way, the reservations we had about dating and how E officially asked me out. To cap the episode off, I chat about the most asked question: are we ever getting married? I share my thoughts on marriage, whether or not we will get married and how not being married brings a lot of judgment.


Buckle up because this episode has lots of highs and lows and ends with me crying.


As always, if you want to connect with me on Instagram: jeshessels


And if you have loved this episode, please do go rate & review on the platform you listen to! 


Love you all

Listen to the episode above or on iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, Google Play, Castbox or Stitcher (along with pretty much every other podcast app out there). Or click here to download! (basically, anywhere!)

Make sure to hit "Subscribe" so you can join us every Wednesday & Saturday for the Badass Moms Club!

Jessica takes us back to January of 2014. At this time, she was still with her ex boyfriend and studying at Humber College, finishing up her 4th year of her paralegal degree program. Emmanuel was also attending Humber College for Police Foundations.


Jessica had recently started going to the school gym, and this is where she initially met Emmanuel who loves working out at the gym. Jessica didn’t have much confidence at the time, hated being in the weight area and struggled to work out around so many guys. She spent a lot of time in the studio doing stretches and core work. It was basically where she hung out for a long period of time.


One day, while Jessica was in the studio Emmanuel came up to her and asked if she did gymnastics. Jessica remembers thinking that this was either the world’s worst pickup line or he doesn’t know how flexible people need to be for gymnastics. But either way, it was something to connect the two and get them talking. However, Jessica still had her boyfriend at the time and so they remained acquaintances who would chit chat here and there around the gym and when they saw each other on campus.


In A Limbo Stage


Over the course of a year, things started to fall apart with Jessica’s ex. Eventually he broke up with her, but she still felt very connected with him. She still cared about him, loved him and held onto the idea that he would get his life together. Jessica was not ready to give up the relationship and he continued to live with her, even though the two weren’t together.


During that year, Jessica started to talk to other guys. She slowly started coming to the realization that this wasn’t going to work out but she wasn’t fully ready to let him go. She was in this in-between limbo stage that was unhealthy and toxic. Jessica found herself sneaking around behind her ex's back, and even though they weren’t together, she still felt it was wrong of her to be talking or hanging out with other guys at the time.


Emmanuel and Jess started to talk more as they saw each other at school and the gym. They started to connect more as friends, but when Emmanuel would ask Jessica to hang out, Jessica would suggest getting food rather than spending time at either of their places. Jessica didn’t feel ready to go to Emmanuel’s place, and he obviously couldn’t come to Jessica’s place because her ex still lived with her. It was just easier to not be somewhere private.


Emmanuel started to notice that the two of them would never hang out alone. And at some point, Jessica posted a picture of her ex on her Instagram. Something made her feel hopeful about the relationship at the time. Emmanuel saw it, gathered what was going on, and understood. But he was also a little bit pissed off because Jessica wasn’t being truthful about the situation at the time.


Emmanuel is 4 years younger than Jessica, and they met when Emmanuel was 18. It’s not that he was upset that Jessica was potentially seeing someone else, but rather that he was annoyed she was lying and being sketchy about things. Emmanuel and Jessica continued to hang out and became fast friends. Jessica confided in Emmanuel and opened up about what was going on with her ex.


I’ll Never Date Him


In March of 2015, things had gotten so bad with Jessica’s ex that she finally ended things with him. And after that, Emmanuel and Jessica started hanging out more and more. While all of this was going on, Jessica was telling her friends that there was no way she would ever date Emmanuel. He was quite a bit younger than her and was still in the party phase of his life. She was saying all this to her friends, while Emmanuel was also telling his friends that he’d never date Jessica. They were just hanging out and having fun.


By that summer, Jessica started to fall for Emmanuel as they started to hang out even more. She started to realize that she really liked this guy. They were going to each other’s places and working out together at the gym. But Jessica felt worried and a little confused as to how she truly felt. Was she ready for a serious relationship?

When they were alone together, Emmanuel was kind, really funny, and smart. And Jessica liked these things about him. But he acted differently in group settings. Jessica knows now that it was the 19-year-old mentality. He was young and wanted to fit in. But Jessica saw a side of him when they were alone together that she really liked. Emmanuel was intellectual, wanted to have serious conversations, and was articulate. But in public, Jessica couldn’t stand him.


Jessica wasn’t sure she liked that aspect of him. But over time, Emmanuel was starting to mature, find his way, and understand that it’s cool to party and be popular but that stuff is short lived. That’s not going to get you anywhere in life. And he started to put his head down and work really hard. Emmanuel actually talks a lot about how being around Jessica at the time helped push him to up his game and get his act together. Emmanuel saw Jessica’s drive and saw she was going places. Being around her motivated Emmanuel to be a better person. From Jessica’s perspective, this was a huge compliment and very flattering.

Pros & Cons List


Jessica and Emmanuel were falling for each other and spending a lot of time together, but they still weren’t official. One day during a walk to get ice cream, the two started discussing the pros and cons of dating. They discussed what would be good if they dated and what would be not so good. They talked about whether they wanted to try it. Emmanuel was nervous about going into a committed relationship and Jessica was nervous about whether Emmanuel actually could be in a committed relationship at this time. He was conflicted with his feelings for Jessica vs what society was telling him to do. Jessica told Emmanuel that it would have to be official. She didn’t want to be in this limbo stage of not knowing what was going on. She needed to know straight up if they weren’t going to date so that she could act accordingly.


On August 7 of 2015, they went out to eat at the Keg. Jessica remembers Emmanuel asking her a series of questions:


How do you like your food?

How do you like the keg?

How would you like to be my gf?


And of course, Jessica said yes!


They knew each other for about a year and a half before they started dating. Jessica attributes a lot of that time to the success of their relationship. Jessica and Emmanuel really got to know each other before they started dating. Through different stages and life challenges, they helped each other through things and became really great friends before anything else. There was no sexual component to their relationship for a long time. They are best friends and they love hanging out together.


Everything was very organic about how they came to be. There wasn’t any pressure and things developed on their own time. Jessica believes they needed to be friends first and do their own thing before they could come together. And it’ll be 5 years in August that Jessica and Emmanuel have been together.

Marriage


Jessica gets asked all the time whether she and Emmanuel will be getting married. She’s asked the question even more now that they have their daughter Esme.

Jessica explains that they will be getting married, but that they don’t know when. Jessica and Emmanuel both feel that their relationship does not need marriage, and that they will get married when the time is right. And the time has not been right. They do not feel they need to be married or that their relationship is any less significant or that either of them is somehow less committed or any less great of a parent simply because they aren’t married.


Jessica hates when people imply or insinuate these types of things about their relationship. And it happens all the time in minute ways. When they are out together, people will look at Jessica’s left ring finger. Or people make comments about them being together for a long time and not being married. Or they receive comments about having a baby but not being married. And even how it’s weird and they did things backwards.


Jessica thinks it’s disgusting and awful. If Esme were to hear those things when she is older, how would that make her feel? Would it make her feel as though her parents are somehow less amazing because they haven’t gotten married yet?


Jessica doesn’t agree or like the concept that a relationship is somehow better, more real, or more committed because you have signed a piece of paper. She thinks it’s bullshit. This may be true for some couples, but it isn’t true across the board. Emmanuel and Jessica are common law at this point, and she thinks that them not being married is actually a little bit of a different testament. If they wanted to walk away from each other it would be a bit easier and they wouldn’t have to get an official divorce. Being together and staying committed to one another is amazing. And Jessica resents people who think otherwise and who believe that marriage is a necessity. She has no issue if people have different values for different reasons, but Jessica resents people who pose those values onto her and Emmanuel or look down on them because they aren’t married. They are no less valuable.


There’s so much judgment around these types of things and it’s not right. Jessica and Emmanuel love each other and are in a great relationship. There are people who are in marriages and their relationship is horrible. And then there are people who are married with fantastic relationships. But it goes the same way for people who are not married. It doesn’t mean anything unless you make it mean something. It’s up to the couple. Having a title means nothing unless you make it something. It doesn’t mean you have better love or are a better partner.


Jessica and Emmanuel plan on getting married. But she doesn’t feel it’s really anyone’s business. The number one reason she wants to get married is to have a considerably large ring and have a great party, which she says is superficial. But to Jessica, their relationship is amazing because of who the two of them are as partners, individuals, and parents. And a marriage is not going to make or break the relationship.


Final Thoughts On Her Relationship


Emmanuel is Jessica’s best friend. He is such an incredible human being and she could not imagine doing any of what she’s doing without him. Jessica wouldn’t want to imagine life without Emmanuel. He is an incredible, kindhearted, give the shirt off your back, loving type of guy. He’s such a good boyfriend, an incredible partner, an amazing dad and is very hardworking. And he wants nothing more than to give Jessica and Esme the world. Having watched Emmanuel grow has been unreal for Jessica. He’s grown into this man that Jessica is so proud of.


Sometimes Jessica can’t believe he’s only 24. But age is just a number and Emmanuel is mature, wise and hardworking for his age. And it’s come full circle. Jessica motivated Emmanuel and inspired him to be a better man, but now Jessica is the one that is inspired. She sees how hard he works, how much he wants out of his life, and how he’s not willing to stop and give up. To stand beside Emmanuel is the greatest thing in Jessica’s life. Emmanuel has inspired her and pushed her to never stop trying and to never give up.


Jessica is so grateful to have Emmanuel in her life and she looks forward to seeing what happens next.