I love a lot about life – my family, friends, music, comedy, technology, culture, food, London, etc, much of which I’ve discussed in my post about What Makes Me, as well as across my blog in general.
But I’ve never talked about my relationship status here. It’s felt too personal to go into, and it isn’t one of the subjects I’ve designed this blog to be about. However, as it’s Valentine’s Day, I wanted to address it this year.
I’ve been single for a long time, I see no shame in admitting that. I had girlfriends in school and college who I got on very well with, but after I left it was more difficult. And throughout my 20s it was basically down to my own shyness, coupled with a lack of social opportunities for meeting new people in my little seaside town.
On the whole, though, I didn’t mind that. Of course, I wanted to find someone, and was a little bit envious of other happy couples I saw sometimes. But overall I was happy leading a simple and routine life. And I wasn’t lonely, because I had a nice circle of friends, who I still meet up with when I visit the area. I also had something to look forward to, as I was preparing to move away to a city environment, where socialising would be a lot easier. Originally it was meant to be Exeter, but fate intervened and the opportunity to move to London came up instead, which is certainly not a bad thing!
Making friends here was my first priority, and it proved to be easier than I expected, thanks to the various social groups and access tours and other events I’ve been to, along with the people I’ve met as a result of my blogging. And that all greatly increased my confidence. There are a myriad of ways to socialise here, and I appreciate we’re very fortunate in that regard.
But what about finding love? That’s a different matter entirely, and I was never sure how best to do that. All I knew for sure was that I didn’t want to rush into anything, and I didn’t want to pursue any random person just for the sake of it. I wanted it to be something that evolved naturally out of a friendship. But where such a friendship would originate from was a complete unknown. Some people find success using dating apps and speed dating, and while I did check them out, I never felt comfortable with them.
My hope, therefore, was that developing my social circle in the city, by doing things I enjoyed, with people I got on well with, might eventually lead to something. I knew it wasn’t going to happen quickly, as people would need time to get to know me. Hopefully it wouldn’t take too long either, but if it takes years to find someone special, then so be it.
What I hadn’t anticipated, however, was that my social circle would join forces with my blog, to ensure I didn’t have to hang around as long as I thought.
My regular followers will have seen the name Claire appearing in my posts occasionally over the past year. A mutual friend of ours, who I knew through one of my social groups, had made her aware of my blog. Claire’s very kind feedback led to a nice exchange of messages, and we then met up to explore the Ocean Liners exhibition at the V&A Museum together, back in June.
Over the next few months we met a few more times, at exhibitions and theatre shows, just as friends. And then, in September, we discovered that we’d been developing the same feelings for one another, and so a wonderful relationship was born.
5 months on, we’re still dating, still exploring London together, and still very much in love. I couldn’t ask for anyone more beautiful, caring, confident, intelligent and fun to share my London life with.
In fact, as you can see from the photos in this post, one of our early dates was our charity abseil in October – so when I say it’s lovely to hang out with her, I meant it quite literally that day! You can still donate until mid-March, by the way, if you want to sponsor me or sponsor Claire.
We deliberately kept our relationship off social media, and I didn’t mention it on this blog, keeping any mentions of her to a minimum, to give us privacy. We’re just taking things slowly to see how we get on. But now our families and close friends know about us, and as we’re still very comfortable in each other’s company, I’m very happy to bring it out in the open (with Claire’s blessing of course).
I’m not going to write posts about it going forward, as our relationship is very special and personal to us. But you’ll probably see Claire’s name a bit more often when I write about events we’ve been to together.
And to anyone else looking for love, I say never give up, as it’s never too late, and try to get yourself out there so that people get to know you. I appreciate that’s easier said than done, but it can really help to find things you’re passionate about and mix with other people who enjoy them too, as you’ll already have common ground then. This could be socials, book groups, dance workshops, cookery classes, museum tours, game nights, theatre visits, sports, walks, blogging, or whatever it may be.
Whichever way you go about it, the more friendships you can generate and cultivate, the more avenues of possibility will open up. And even just one new friendship has the potential to unlock a new door to your future. So you never know where things might lead. The journey may take a while, but stick with it and be patient, because it’ll be well worth it when you finally reach your destination.
That’s certainly true for me. My London explorations and blogging efforts have produced a far better result than I could ever possibly have hoped for, making it all the more worthwhile. Thank you so much Claire, my love, for all the wonderful adventures and good times so far, and I look forward to sharing many more of them with you! 🙂