Finding “your person”: the stories of successful, longtime relationships

By Brittni Henderson

“Nothing beats that look she gives me and that feeling it gives me—just feels like home.”

Joseph Cabral, 25, of Lincoln shares this sentiment about his wife, Lauren, 23. There are times in our lives that certain people enter and somehow our intuition just knows that they are meant to be there. These individuals could come in when we’re young or later on in our journeys through life, but the feeling is the same no matter when it happens. Like Cabral described, these people just feel like home. It’s always at the most unlikely moments that these important humans make their impacts, but when they do, you just know.

For the Cabrals, the relationship started when they were young. Although the two lovebirds feel as though they’ve known each other for ages, their story started a mere six years ago, right after Joseph graduated from high school.

“My job at the time was seasonal,” Joe shares of his experience working at Del’s lemonade in Cumberland. “She would come to my work all summer long, but we finally starting talking on my last day that season. I felt so cool; I even gave her free lemonade that day! She was just a customer at first, but once we started dating, we got to know each other quickly.”

Since their relationship started when they were both rather young, the two didn’t have many responsibilities so they could spend tons of time together. As they started to grow up together, they both realized that it would take some effort to keep their relationship together, but they both knew that it would be worth it.

“To this day, we still try to spend as much time together as we can,” Joe says. “Between work and our daughter Mia, 2, there is less time, but I go to the gym early in the morning (even though I don’t work until 10 a.m.) so I can get back before she gets up and rush home after work to spend time with my family.”

Joseph shares that it was difficult for him to understand that people really do love unconditionally and want to make others genuinely happy because of the differences in backgrounds they shared. Trying to figure out why Lauren went above and beyond for him was a small obstacle, he says. Discovering that their bond was more than just a couple teenagers meeting at a lemonade stand, he knew that these actions were coming from a heartfelt place.

“Get to know each other as much as possible before you get too serious,” he urges to budding relationships. “Lauren knew all of my good and bad before we took off. Also, if you’re not laughing daily—good luck! Our relationship started because we are both clowns. We have a very stupid sense of humor but I love that about us!”

A set of best friends who rely on the strength of longevity of their relationship has created to get them through the tougher times. Alycia Pierce, 26, of West Warwick and Carissa Johnston, 26, Fitchburg, Mass., also met in the classroom—Mrs. Kalamusto’s kindergarten class to be exact. At first, their pairing was simply because they enjoyed playing together, but over time it became something very special. The best part? They lived only a few houses away from one another!

The younger years included many sleepovers, pool days at Alycia’s, and walks around the neighborhood. As adults, life has brought them down different paths but the foundation of their friendship helps them to resolve any issues that may arise.

“Through our teenage years, it became clear how different we were as people and that caused a lot of arguments,” Carissa says. “There were times we wouldn’t talk for weeks, and sometimes a month or two.”

“We realized we were different, but always want what’s best for the other person,” Alycia adds. “We accept who we have become as women and help each other work to be our best selves.”

Work moved these women from their hometown to places further away than just down the street, but the distance doesn’t hinder their friendship at all. If anything, it helps the two to appreciate the time they do get to spend together.

“We don’t see each other super frequently, but when we do it’s just like it was when she lived two houses down from me,” Alycia says. “When I was younger, I would be so mad when Carissa said she had multiple best friends because I wanted to be it. What I have realized, though, is that Carissa is such an amazing and impactful person in so many lives. Now, we are more than best friends, we are sisters.”

“Alycia is the yin to my yang,” Carissa says. “I used to be timid and shy as a child, and Alycia was more of a bold and flamboyant leader, but with age comes maturity and we are both on a more level field now. With all we have been through over the past 21 years, she is my support and my fun. I know whenever I’m with her, I’m going to be doubled-over laughing!”

Humor was what brought Diana Maloney, 34, and Raena Jacques, 34, both of Warwick together back in kindergarten at Warwick Neck Elementary. We’ll just say that young Diana asked Raena a fairly inappropriate question that they both joke about today. From then on, the two have been inseparable, proving that long-lasting love doesn’t only have to be in a romantic sense.

“It’s amazing to have someone in life that has been there through all of my highest and lowest points,” Jacques says. “Over the years we’ve seen each other through boys, fights, babies, marriages, new homes, new jobs, divorce, and tragic death.”

“We are pretty much the same person!” Maloney says. “Raena and I both own our own hair and nail businesses and work side by side at the same salon. Our significant others are best friends, and our kids are best friends, so we spend almost every weekend together, too.”

Maintaining the friendship hasn’t always been easy, but the two have figured out how to make it work by learning not to judge one another, listen, and even if they have opposing opinions, they take the time to understand and respect these choices. Maloney also admits that she has learned to choose her battles when it comes to disputes, especially when it comes to the men in Jacques’ life.

“I am very protective of her,” she says. “As we got older, though, I realized I cared more about my friendship with her than getting my point across, so I’ve learned to keep my opinion to myself—for the most part!”

Jacques agrees.

“My advice for lasting relationships is to choose your words wisely,” she says. “Women can be very tough on one another. Be mindful and respectful of each other’s feelings and choices in life. Accept and appreciate them for they are without judgment.”

Without knowing it, the two also described each other in the same way: “She is my person.”

So what’s the resounding commonality between these three different but also very similar love stories? Laughter, understanding, and support. Whether you met your “someone” on the playground, at a lemonade stand, or somewhere else along the path of life, maintaining the relationship may be difficult at times, but it’s reassuring and heart- warming to see how hard others work on this on a daily basis. Showing appreciation, gratefulness, and respect for the special people in your life is one of the easiest but also most rewarding things you can do.

Let’s start 2017 with an abundance of love for each other. Share your personal stories with us on Facebook!