We love a good love story here on AOW. Not the ones that are all 'our eyes met across a crowded room, fell in love at that very moment and everything has been rainbows and roses ever since' though.
No, the ones we like are the real love stories. The gritty ones that remind you that behind that story that sounds ever so romantic and fairy-tale like, love can be hard. But that even though it is hard, it is worth it.
Katy’s love story is one of those stories…get your cup of tea, sit back, and enjoy…
“Well, I’m definitelynot going to University a virgin and I am definitely going single. Seriously,people are deluuuding themselves if they think they can go to uni with aboyfriend and maintain their relationship. They are – like – so stupid.”
“Yeah, totes. I meanuniversity is all about self-exploration, finding the real you, reinventingyourself – how are you meant to do that with a boy who’s known you half yourlife in tow?”
This is the conversation that involuntarily has mecurling my toes up and blushing like a beetroot whenever I think about it.
The girls who had this conversation were seventeen,innocent and arrogant. Be kind to them – don’t judge them too much. Interestinglythis conversation took place on a bench outside a chapel – the only quiet placeto get a decent suntan at my secondary school (also a convent). It’s not reallywhat we are saying that makes me grimace. It’s the fact that I’m pretty sureall the Nuns at lunchtime mass could hear us. They must have laughed all theway through the Hail Mary’s and halfway through the Our Fathers.
Yes, if I had popped into existence in front of myselfat that point and said a couple of months after your 18th Birthdayyou will meet a man that will become your boyfriend and who will remain yourboyfriend for the next 6 years and eventually become your husband – I wouldhave pissed my pants.
But, that’s what happened. I went to a teeny weenyvillage in deepest darkest Paraguay and fell in love. Oh, the cliché. Girl on aGAP year falling in love – duh, of course she will! But, what she normallydoesn’t do is stay in love, go back to university in England do a 4 year degreeand keep that love alive until the present day. That’s a bit more…..unusual.
In fact, only 0.01% of all relationships that startbefore one or both partners go to university survive.
At the point of stepping on that plane to go back tothe UK to start my degree I was unwittingly stepping into “highly improbableland”. I was more likely to get kicked by a runaway donkey than successfullymake my way through university relationship intact.
But, it happened and we did it. We are getting marriedsoon and people we meet are always amazed and awed. They think the story issooooo romantic. As my Father said to me “Gosh, when you think about it itsounds like a fairy tale.”
It wasn’t a fairytale. It was a lot of blumminhardwork.
There were a lot of phone calls, internet chats,texts, “web cam moments” (yes, I’m blushing just thinking about it), andseveral near break ups. Many sacrifices were made and many plans put on hold.
Yes. There were temptations on both sides, althoughnot nearly as many as you might think.
Yes, I sometimes wake up at night andlook at him and think “He can’t have spent 20 months being celibate – I mean heis a good looking man – he must have cheated on me, must have kissed someone atleast” but then I remember I trust him with my whole heart and know he wouldnever do anything to hurt me (and that he has a serious affliction thatwhenever he gets drunk he tells me everything that he has done or is going todo in a long truth telling monologue that lasts hours – very useful in a futurehusband).
Would I recommend it to others? Well, no. The journeyis so full of heart break and longing and just, sadness, that I wouldn’trecommend it. I would whole heartedly support anyone that wanted to try a long-longdistance relationship, but it’s not like I’m going to say “Gosh, Phyllis – it’ssuch a blast. Really fun! You just gotta try it!”
There was no money to go back and forth and sometimes,there was no money for phone calls. Skype was rubbish and often he would haveto travel ages and ages just to get an internet signal. My love life literallyconsisted of text messages at some points. I spent almost 3 years without asummer because the only time I could go was my summer holidays and there it waswinter.
There are still challenges now. As one friendput it “to be in a long distance relationship is to have your heart split intwo”. He is close to his family, I am far away. At some point he will be faraway from his family and I will be close. We are having two weddings in twoseparate countries which means our families never come together to celebrate.
But, it’s worth all the heartbreak. I don’t regret amoment.
He loves me. I love him. You just got to make it work.