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Finding “True Love”


Warning:  You are about to embark on something really sappy. 

Helenna and Barry

More specifically,  I’m going to tell you about finding the amazing person I decided to spend the rest of my life with, and why I believe that “true love” actually does come when you aren’t looking.  Like, at all.  I know that it’s a cliche, but it was true for me and who knows, it might end up being true for you too.

I have a number of single girlfriends and one of them asked me the other day how I met my husband and if I had any advice on how to find “the one.”

I told her that I really had no advice on how to look for that “special someone” because I was doing everything but looking when I met Barry.  In fact,  I was just coming off of a relationship with a drummer…one of many that I dated over the years (yes, I was a real “band-aid”  like Penny Lane from “Almost Famous”),  and it was a tumultuous relationship that I was really messed up over.  Finding someone else was the last thing on my mind.

How did my husband and I meet? I was his waitress.

Fast forward a month or so and we went on our first date, and having had the tortured drummer off of my mind, I was actually able to focus on this incredible person I had met.

I’ve never really talked about this before, but by many of society’s standards we shouldn’t work as a couple.  Or at least, that’s what one might think.  He’s 18 years older then me after all.  But from our very first date it worked and we just clicked.  I knew he was older then me, I just didn’t know by how much, and I honestly didn’t care.  All I knew was that I had found someone incredibly interesting who I could talk to about politics, religion, filmmaking, and art.  We had all of our passions in common and it felt amazing.

At one point I stupidly broke up with him for a night convinced that it wouldn’t work because our age difference was too great.  Ironically, I went and saw “Love Actually” that night and quickly realized I was a freaking moron.  If society at large had issues with our relationship, that was everyone else’s problem and not mine.  And to be fair, no one had actually given me a hard time about dating an “older man,”  it was all in my head.

I asked a girlfriend of mine who was married to a guy 16 years older than her if she had any advice about adverting the potentially prying eyes of the judgmental masses.

She told me, “as soon as you are totally ok with it, no one will even notice.”  And she was right.

The moment I gave a big middle finger to the world about fitting into the box of what society tells us is normal, I felt empowered and incredibly lucky to have found the person who was my absolute best fit in this world.  And because this moment begs for a cheesy saying…he does in fact, complete me.

What’s hilarious is that because I’m half asian I still look like I’m in my mid 20s or so, and Barry and I have a joke we used to crack up over when we lived in our old apartment.  Every time this one couple got in the elevator and saw us holding hands they would go silent and stare at us.  Once they left we’d laugh and impersonate them saying “Oh, there goes that nice man with his adopted asian daughter again.”  We love it when things like that happen because we’re planning to write a romantic comedy one day about the hilarity that often ensues.

Almost 10 years together now and nearly 7 years married,  every single day is more and more fun. We are a perfect match, and if I had judged it from the beginning and not had an open heart, I might have missed the best thing that has ever happened to me.

So, I guess I’m sharing this with you all just to say that you never ever know when you’ll meet the perfect person for you.  But if you keep an open mind and look past any preconceived ideas about what you *think* true love will be like, then you might just find it.

xoxox hels

*originally published in on Feb 16th, 2012

Helenna Santos

About Helenna Santos

Helenna Santos is the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Ms. In The Biz. She is also an actor and producer with Mighty Pharaoh Films and can often be found on panels at conventions such as San Diego Comic-Con, and has been interviewed by major press outlets including CNN. Her work as a contributing writer has been featured in MovieMaker Magazine, Backstage Magazine, IndieWire and BUST Magazine. She has produced numerous award winning short films, digital series, and feature films. As an actor, she can be seen most recently in CW's "The Flash," as well as ABC's "A Million Little Things" and "The Good Doctor", and the highly anticipated Netflix limited series "The Baby-Sitters Club".