When it comes to romance in Films, TV shows, Novels, and the Media, it’s usually all about the chase. If the chase is exciting and there are obstacles to overcome before the couple ‘get together’, then they will live happily ever after. Right? Well, sometimes a relationship can end up drifting and sadly end as the couple becomes unintentional, as this story shows… 

This story has been written by someone I know. He told me this story, some of which I still can’t quite believe, and I asked him to write it down. It’s honest and it’s real, but he asked to stay anonymous.

His story reminds me that so often we focus on how a relationship starts and then assume it will work out. Well, he learned a lesson about long distance, and why thinking long-term is important.

So here’s his story, in his own words:

Love At First Sight

We’ve all been there; packed our bags, stocked up on pot noodles, wet-wipes and Lynx, AKA ‘a shower in a can’, and headed off to a Christian festival. You’d be lying if you said a small part of you didn’t hope to meet your future spouse over the next few days.

For us rural boys we never knew so many girls existed, let alone attractive Christian girls.

I was officially distracted

During my many annual visits to said festival, I would always tell myself: come on, don’t get distracted this year, but then this year… WOW! There she was, the most beautiful girl I have ever laid eyes on. I was officially distracted.

We spent the next five days doing nothing but hanging out together and falling for each other. Nothing untoward happened and the last day came. We said our goodbyes and agreed to call each other in the days to come.

Why Didn’t She Call?

This is pre-mobile days, which tells you something of my age now. To this day I still don’t know why I only gave her my number and didn’t take hers… Stupid boy!

We hugged and waved goodbye. Man, we probably wrote in the back of each other’s Bible as well… Do the kids still do that these days?

So I go back home and wait for her to phone me. A day passes, “ok, she’s just settling back in”. Two days, “she’s probably unpacking”. Three days pass “nothing”, four days, “nothing”, you see where this is going.

Happy Ending? 

Three weeks pass, summer is almost over and my gap year is about to begin.  Then… “Ring, ring… ring, ring” and what follows is my best transcript of what she said.

“I’m so sorry, I owe you a massive apology”. Too right, I’m thinking.

“There is a perfectly legitimate and valid reason for my rudeness, I miss you so much and can’t believe what’s happened, don’t be shocked but… my house burnt down!”

Stunned pause on my part. “Really?”

“Yes, really! Within days of returning our whole house went up in smoke; as a family, we’ve lost everything. Including my only way of contacting you – the piece of paper with your number on is now ashes”.

“Wow”, I thought to myself.

So we planned to see each other ASAP. We had this great long distance thing going on for about 3 months. I remember on my first visit to her new temporary home, her Dad put me to the test. We went to B&Q and he made me load the trolley with bag after bag of compost. I think I passed.

I also went to see her old house and she wasn’t kidding. The whole place was black, a ruin. Good job she’d bumped into someone I knew at her church and got my number off them.

Sadly there is a sore point to this story and that is why I’m now so careful around an open flame. (Read I Want To Trust Them But I’ve Been Hurt Before)

Then We Drifted 

When her insurance money came through she told me she wanted to travel the world. Great I thought, I’m on my gap year and we can go together. Unfortunately, my gap year ended up with me on job seekers and eventually getting a job in Gap, the clothing store. By which time she was halfway around the world.

And yes dear reader, the unthinkable happened… I was dumped by email! Gutted!

But I do have some sage-like wisdom. After this, I probably had only one other serious long-distance relationship. The thing I learned is that they will only ever work if early on you commit to planning on being together in the same place at some point in the future.

Long distance is never meant to be permanent

That doesn’t mean you have to “put a ring on it”, but without a plan to at least live in the same town/village/city/hamlet one day, you will never be together for long. Long distance is never meant to be permanent. (Read Can Our Relationship Go The Long Distance?)

The exciting “against the odds” start made me feel it was meant to be, but we just let it drift without any intentional planning after that. It’s a shame really.

Imagine If…

Imagine if we made sure that a relationship wasn’t always about the chase, that an exciting start doesn’t automatically mean a happy ending. Being intentional and thinking long-term can help us avoid getting hurt and hurting others.

Do you think an ‘exciting start’ can cloud people’s judgment? Comments welcomed below. 

Originally posted 4/12/2017