It’s approaching mid September and I’m lounging on a large bean bag looking out through the French Doors watching the clouds and seagulls dance in the sky. I’m in my happy place by the Yorkshire coast. It’s so quiet here as the summer season has ended and there are only a few visitors here like us. Perhaps it’s because it’s so quiet and peaceful away from the hustle and bustle of normal everyday life, with no doorbell or phones ringing, respite from the mundane chores, that I’ve had time to sit and ponder.
What makes one relationship work and another fail?
Is it a work of fate or purely accidental?
We all start off in a relationship determined to make it work, to endure, yet some just can’t survive. I’ve watched relationships break down and am amazed that some are horribly acrimonious, painful, wounding and tumultuous, leaving those involved emotionally scarred. Some are dispassionate, matter of fact, they grew apart c’est la vie, divorce quickly and smoothly and go their own way. Then there are those who fall out of love but still are firm friends, so have a camaraderie which means the break is amicable, supportive and contact is maintained. Finally there are the star crossed lovers, fate has introduced them at the wrong place and time in life, love is complicated and often due to respect to others close to them they leave it unrequited, a precious memory and yearning for what might have been.
I look back at my love life, I haven’t been with many men, I can literally count the number of my sexual partners on one hand. Perhaps it’s part of my Taurean nature that I like to be in long secure relationships before opening up enough to move forward to turn it into a sexual one. I can hand on heart say that I never imagined in a million years that I would end up married to someone I have known almost my entire life. Funnily enough we very nearly gave up on each other, ours could have been a relationship that ended before it had time to begin.
We first met at primary school, I was the year below Dave and at the time he had a crush on my sister who was in the same class. He moved on to the local secondary school whilst I was shipped away to an all girls boarding school. 5 years passed and I was expelled from boarding school so ended up joining the same school as Dave for the 6th form, at that time was dating my first love. As will happen I split from the first love ~ shortly after the split I hooked up with Dave. BUT being a fickle teenage girl and quite a bitch back then I ended our brief relationship after only two short weeks to return to the arms of my ex. The relationship wasn’t meant to be however and we split for good not long after our reunion, although we are still in touch to this day and I look upon him as a good and trusted friend and a lovely guy.
After this period I had two more relationships but still kept tabs and sporadic contact with Dave. I once travelled over to Nottingham to see him and ask him for relationship advice about my then current boyfriend. In my angst I absentmindedly reached for his dissection kit and slowly dissected his belt as we chatted, I hasten to add he wasn’t wearing the belt at the time! After that we spoke on the phone often, usually late at night, for hours at a time. It occurred to me that this was the love of my life and I intended to ensnare him to make him my husband, somehow I would need to convince him of this too.
We started to hang out within the same group of friends, a mix of my school year and his, we all got along brilliantly. One night, to the amusement of my onlooking friends, I thought I was charming Dave and telling him of my intentions as I leant nonchalantly against the fire surround in the pub. Dave however, had returned from the bar to sit down with our peers and I was in actual fact talking to myself (a little embarrassing I admit). Anyway, Dave whilst being friendly wasn’t exactly responding to my advances (not surprisingly considering I had previously dumped him). I nearly gave up, despondent that my quest wasn’t going to end in success. I clearly remember sitting with my friends one bank holiday night whilst at a “disco” in The Pavillion (now knocked down replaced with houses). Anyway, after a pep talk by my friends and oiled with a dram or two of liqueur I approached Dave with a boom or bust last ditch approach. Using the oh so sexy words of “I can’t seem to get the cigarette machine to work, could you help” whilst furiously batting my eyes and trying to look sexy (I probably looked like some mad demon drunk woman with something stuck in my eye). Anyway, being too polite to refuse to help we moved over to the alleged malfunctioning cigarette dispensing machine (which obviously was working perfectly) and Dave extracted the preferred brand and gave them too me. Gratefully I kissed him, he kissed back and the evening was spent pretty much pressed up against each other, doing the painful for others to watch, public display of attention aka snogging each other’s faces off.
You’d think ahhh, all fairy tale and glitter happy endings at this point but no. Over the ensuing two weeks we struggled to find conversation, the sexual attraction was there but mistrust of what had happened before meant we were both wary and circling around each other. Dave tells me now that it was at this point he almost ended it but thankfully chose to bring the elephant out of the corner of the room, bring it centre stage and address it. This as the pivotal moment and the first one of many humps in our relationship we had to overcome. Within three months we were living together and after six months engaged, eighteen months after that we were married. As Dave recollects we were both in the right place at the right time, as Dave had also made the decision before I approached him that he was ready to settle down and intended to look at his next girlfriend as his potential future wife.
Sadly Daves mum passed away after our engagement but before our wedding, so although it was a bittersweet day for us we both felt her presence with us. Since then we have lost loved ones, moved house 9 times, had three beautiful daughters although also lost 5 babies through miscarriage too. Faced work and health challenges and financial/business risks to get us where we are today.
So roll on twenty three years and we have renewed our wedding vows. Despite ongoing humps put in our way we continue our journey together, side by side, best friends and soul mates. Each challenge draws us closer together when it could have so easily drawn us apart. We proudly look at our grown daughters and marvel at their tenacity and strength brought about through trials and tribulations which gave them an unorthodox route to adulthood. We also have our fabulously naughty but adorable Hairy Trio who provide solace and unconditional love when we need it.
I have to admit that I am not easy to live with, although the years have mellowed me somewhat and they have definitely rubbed off some of the sharp edges. I am still pretty stubborn, weird and determined though, I like to have things a certain way and am difficult to sway. Also I am painfully insecure and lack assertiveness for the most part, unless acting for others. As I grow older I don’t react well to change and cling to routine and the familiar. Yet I am not and have never been a jealous partner, I believe in a persons freedom to interact with the opposite sex and to go out and socialise on their own ~ I don’t ever wish to be consider a shackle.
As we approach our 50’s together we find we only keep to our core group of friends and seem to have retreated more from society and draw strength and comfort from each other. Dave is and has always been far more sociable than me and still enjoys his time away drag racing, which is his thing and I tend to stay away.
The vows through sickness and health, for better for worse have been thoroughly tested yet we still have that magical bond. I feel awful that more often than I’d like he has to pick up the slack because some days I physically can’t do what needs to be done. Dave still makes the butterflies flutter when I see him, although we are older, fatter, greyer and less physically fit we enjoy so much laughter when we are together. For us as a couple we seem to be able to read each other more and more, without the need for words. The love is still within us, only deeper and richer than the love we had in the early years.
We are so lucky, I don’t know if we were brought together by fate or if it is just a coincidence that we gelled at the right time in our lives. Whatever it was that drew us together I am hugely thankful, I hope I haven’t just jinxed us and tempted fate writing this blog, which I dedicate to the one and only Dave Mawer, my best friend, true love and soulmate 💜
My hope for future years is for us to remain close and hold onto our strong bond. My wish is to continue laughing and having fun as we enter our golden years, watching our daughters find their place in the world and fly.
Together ’til the end