This is not a rom-com {Part One}

When Katie originally sent in this piece, she wrote in her email that ‘ I should say that this wasn’t the end’ and so I (obviously) went straight back and asked her to write the next part of the story for us. Which she ever so kindly did. So this is the first of a two part-er. Keep an eye out for the next part coming in the next few weeks.

This is a love story just made for Any Other Wedding. It is honest, and raw, and not all rom-com-esque like it first appears (although, really, I think all rom-coms should be like this). 

It tells of missed opportunities, and bad-timing. It tells of confusion and messiness. I love that Katie hasn’t tried to make it sound more romantic than it was (even though from the outside looking in, it really is). Because sometimes love isn’t neat and tidy, and doesn’t come how and when we think it should.

This is a love story that is real. Enjoy.

When people hear how G and I got together, they often respond with “aw, that’s so romantic”. 

And it sort of is. It’s also quite frankly the stupidest way to get together with someone I’ve ever come across. This is our story.

We met online, on the discussion forum for the film magazine Empire, we got chatting and we became friends, bonding not over films (I have seen NO films) but books. Of course I liked him then, he was lovely, funny, daft and chatty, and most importantly he sent me books he thought I’d like (direct route to my affection), but I never thought of him romantically. He was coupled up anyway, and was due to leave the country for Australia for a long while, and I was waist-deep in University. Before he left, I went round to his flat and cleared out as many of his books as I could stagger home with on the tube, and on the way home I remember thinking the best thing about this wasn’t the giant pile of free books but the fact that I would see him again. But still I only thought I would miss him as a friend.

I want to live here.

Then, of course, he left. And in a masterstroke of brilliant timing, I realised I had fallen for him. This is where it sounds all romcom… he left, I realised what I was missing. I told him, and we lived happily ever after.

Actually, he left, I realised what I was missing and… I didn’t tell him. I kept quiet, wrote him endless stupid letters and comforted myself with the EPIC pile of books I had pilfered from his flat. I told myself firmly… “this is silly, he is TOO OLD FOR YOU. He is going to be out of the country for OVER A YEAR. He probably ISN’T INTERESTED in a small bouncy ridiculous science nerd anyway. Really, you must STOP LIKING HIM.” I carried on like this for 3.5 months, and then I caved and told him how I felt. Although not in a romantic declaration of deep feeling, in fact I think my actual words were, in a text “you can feel me up anytime you like”. Class personified, me.

See? Classy.

So. This was in December 2006. He was due home sometime after December 2007. We’d only ever met four times, and we’d never kissed, held hands, or even hugged. But I really bloody liked him. And he liked me, the small bouncy ridiculous science nerdiness of me. So we agreed that if we were both still single when he got back, we’d meet up and see what happened.

And so began the longest 11 months of my life, not to mention the biggest phone bills of my life (holy flaming monkeys on a biscuit were they huge!). This is where people often go melty-eyed…

“you waited for each other for a whole year?” they say, and drift into a warm fuzzy image of us cosily professing our feelings, promising to wait, pining dreamily and sighing a lot. Longing is poetic, apparently. But it isn’t, though. Longing is awful. I was going through an immensely stressful time at university, and more than anything else I didn’t want the complication of a long-distance-relationship-that-wasn’t-even-a-proper-relationship-dammit-because-we’d-never-even tried-BEING-together-so-why-was-I-waiting-for-a-BIG-FAT-MAYBE.

I can’t even count the number of time I swore to myself it was over, it was just too hard, I couldn’t bear one more minute of this ridiculous relationship limbo, let alone 10, 9, 8 more months. Looking back, I really can’t explain how I waited so long. It certainly wasn’t romance or poetry. It was often ugly and messy. It was getting frustrated, getting angry, going out and snogging random guys in bars to prove to myself I didn’t need him. It was over-analysing texts, spending hours on MSN at odd times of the night, driving my friends crazy. It was loneliness and tears and just wanting needing wanting one hug, one kiss, one touch, and never getting anything but words. But Every Single Time, it was my phone beeping, and my heart skipping despite endless very stern lectures from my stressed out, messed up head. It was texting back just one last time, because I couldn’t stop myself, until finally it really was the last time.

Finally, he came home. The time had come to see what we’d spent all this time waiting for…

Categories: Engagement, Family, Friends and Relationships, Life Experience, Travel
9 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Posted October 31, 2011 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Oh lordy, I'm in suspenders!

    The epitome of romance is when you cause yourself pain, anguish and deem yourself downright stupid before it all works itself out.

    Bring on part two…

  2. Esme
    Posted October 31, 2011 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    Tell me NOW!! When are we getting part 2?? Eek, I want to know what happens!!

    Long distance love – the ultimate in romance, or just really bloody awful and lonely? Yes it's nice when you do finally see each other but I am NEVER doing that again!


  3. Mahj
    Posted October 31, 2011 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Ack, I'm on tenterhooks. More please!


  4. Posted October 31, 2011 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Da dar durrrrrr. (Scary Hallowe'en music!)

    And part 2 sometime is the next few weeks just isn't good enough!!

  5. Posted October 31, 2011 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    On, sod it, this IS romantic. I don't care what you say, Katie, even snotty wailing and flinging a phone against a wall and being horribly desperately lonely is romantic. Because despite all logic and rationale, and stern head lectures, and despite you being a SCIENCE STUDENT AND THEREFORE KNOWING THE PROBABILITY OF THIS WORKING OUT WAS MINISCULE, you still wanted to try, and wait, because of what could be. And that's the most romantic thing of all.

    This sort of post gives me faith in the human condition. I love x

  6. Mrs jones
    Posted October 31, 2011 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    I NEEEED part 2… Purlease *insert puppy dog eyes here*

  7. Posted October 31, 2011 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Oh wowza, I'm a little bit over-excited today about this. I was mega-bouncy this morning when I read Clare's (lovely!) introduction and now I am even more ridiculously excited that people are reading it and wanting to read more. AOW is so wonderful because you brilliant people can all see romance in a messy reality.

    @Esme… I totally agree, whilst looking back it was worth it all a hundred times over, I really wouldn't encourage anyone to go through that!

    @Anna K… ha, oh luckily I was a biochemistry student and a bit pants with probability-type calculations. :-D

    By the way, I ADORE the post title! Definitely was not a romcom. This was evident from the start because I do not look like a glossy-doe-eyed beauty when I cry, like they always do in romcoms.

    K x

  8. Posted October 31, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    Ah nooo, it ended! That suspense is as bad as the last episode of a Friends series used to be!

    Can't wait to hear more! It's so exciting!

    Katie you have patience, some serious, serious patience!


  9. Anita
    Posted October 31, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    Part 2!! Part 2!!!

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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