Ms ZiYou True Love
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The course of true love never runs smooth

You know it is serious when I start quoting Shakespeare. Following on from my May update, you’ll know the new man and I went away together. For 10 days, for our first holiday as a couple. And it went well, really well. So what happened next? Is it true love?

Recap on attempts at resurrecting my disastrous love life

So, after being single for a good few years with no sign of suitable men flocking to me, I decided to take action this year. And that I did. Firstly, I got my head in the right place. Then I worked out what I was *really* looking for in a future companion.

And the next steps were to hit up online dating and starting chatting to and dating men. And so I dated, and after the requisite number of terrible messages and bad dates, I found a good catch. You can read more in my dating as a feminist post.

Good things about the new man

So this is the part where I extoll his virtues, in particular how well matched we seem to be.

  • He loves to travel, even more than I do.
  • I am jealous of all the cool places he has been.
  • Additionally, we travel the same way.
  • And get on perfectly for a full 10 days with the odd mishap thrown in.
  • He is a rational and useful guy to have around.
  • While not being as keen a runner as me (do normal people not do 2 marathons a year?) he is prepared to go for a run or two.
  • Moreover, he doesn’t mind getting up early on a Saturday for ParkRun.
  • He loves frugal activities such as picnics and walks.
  • Is vegetarian and appreciates my cooking.
  • An atheist who loves visiting religious sites.
  • Childfree and not interested in kids.
  • Loves exploring and finds the beauty in interesting places.
  • Politically he’s a remainer, left wing and green.
  • And most importantly of all – he’s a feminist. And believes the patriarchy exists.

Things I can live with

That’s not to say he is perfect, far from it. Here are some of my grievances.

  • Cricket – yep, I have learned he really likes cricket. And you’ve guessed it, as someone born north of the border, I hardly know what cricket is. Apart from, you know, it goes on and on for a long time. And they seem to stop for tea? And rain? You can get the picture I’m sure. So recently with the world cup going on, he doesn’t mind when I come out with things like:

When I have learned about all the interesting things in the world, I might let you teach me about cricket

  • I have also caught him secretly watching football. My disdain for cricket is nothing compared to my dislike of men’s football.
  • He’s not in perfect physical shape (are any of us?) – yet knows this and plans to do something about it.
  • Can easily be convinced by colleagues, friends and acquaintances to have yet another beer or two.
  • He does not like mushrooms. This one is kinda painful, as I like to put mushrooms in everything and treat them as a superfood.

A bump in the path of true love

So, as you can tell from the relative seriousness and size of the lists above, there is definitely something there. All was going swimmingly I thought until *it* was casually brought up in conversation.

He has an ill parent that he needs to go back home to look after temporarily. And home is miles away – a 24-hour flight to the other side of the planet. He plans to take a sabbatical from work and go to do his filial duties.

What can I say? Obviously, he has to go, especially as he feels the parent might not last too long. And he feels bad about living on the other side of the world in case anything happens back home. And I 100% believe this is the right thing to do, no question.

Temporary long distance

So, we have ended up in a temporary very long distance relationship. Which is you know, not exactly what I was looking for. And it’s something I have never experienced before and don’t quite know what to do. It’s not the kind of distance you can cover in a weekend – just so far away, inconvenient and expensive to get there. Not to mention a hefty time difference.

What next?

At the moment it’s a waiting and seeing game. Will the parent get better quickly so he can come home? Or will it be a long and drawn out process? Being someone that plans her life down to the day, this ambiguity is not something I can easily deal with.

Yet it seems to me he is worth waiting for. And it’s the right thing to do. So I am attempting to take a stoic approach, and only ruminate on what I can control. Which to be fair is not much in this situation. My inner control freak and planner does obviously not like the fact I can’t organise my way to true love and have to wait.

Path to true love?

So unlike my usual persona, I know I just need to wait. But what I know and what I do are not always the same. Taking Shakespeare’s advice does seem prudent in this case and accepting this slight hiccup in the plan. Although as an aside, I don’t think his personal credentials in this arena are great from the female perspective, but he could write a damn good love story. And continually demonstrates a phenomenal understanding of people and relationships.

So, now I get philosophical as I know he could he be the one. I don’t think I’ve ever dated a man that was so well suited to me. And it’s not something I want to pass up due to a let’s be honest, a small amount of inconvenience and discomfort in the scheme of life. For me, the path is definitely difficult but I want to give it a chance, and the opportunity to flourish.

Over to you

  • What are your thoughts?
  • Have you been in a long distance relationship?
  • Any words of wisdom?

Thank you for reading – please leave a comment below and join in the conversation. You can also connect on Twitter or contact me privately.

36 comments on “The course of true love never runs smooth

  1. This just shows he is a decent selfless human being that will be there for a loved one when he is needed, even if it means taking a break from work, leaving home, facing hurt and disease, and being away from someone he is engaging in a promising relationship with.

    So… as frustrating as it may sometimes be having to take these “setbacks” and not being in control… it really is part of sharing your life with someone. You just have to live through it and evaluate if you’re up to it.

    Maybe you’re not that much into him on a emotional/passionate level if you’re having real doubts?… or maybe this blog post is just an exercise on detailing your thoughts

    1. Hi Sonia – thanks for reading and sharing your advice. And indeed, you hit the nail on the head there – I need to learn to live through this sort of situation.

  2. Without wanting to sound judgy (although I accept I do) you sound a little selfish in this post.

    Your partner may feel he has no choice but to go back and help. It may well be ingrained in his culture that that’s what’s done in these situations,something we brits struggle to understand as it’s not how many people view these situations over here (me included)

    Also, with respect while I accept you can’t and wouldn’t travel over with him at this early stage in the relationship to support him or even frequently with the distance, you are well in a position to travel to see him at least a couple of times while he’s over there and it not make a dent in your net worth. You also aren’t currently working so have the time. Could you not combine your love of travel with going to visit?

    Some things are more important than money and the people you love are one of those things. If it means enough to you you’ll make it work.

    If not then it’s back to the dating profiles to find another vegetarian feminist atheist church loving lefty who loves to travel, is financially solvent but happy to be frugal. Maybe this one who is also teetotal, not into football and has a six pack. I’d love to see your filter settings on these dating sites!

    Life is always going to throw things at you to scupper your perfectly laid plans and if this is going to derail the relationship it may be not as strong as you hope and think it is. They do say relationships are made at times of hardship not while things are going well and there is truth in that.

    Please don’t think I am judging you as that’s not my intent. Your blog and these posts are a great way to anonymously post how you really feel and God know i spend enough time ranting about my mother not helping herself without a thought of how difficult life must be for her. It’s cheaper than therapy!

    Good luck and I hope it works out for you

    1. Hi FBA – of course I know you aren’t judging – and indeed, I do tend towards the selfish side, one of my many character flaws.

      And yes, I could travel over, however, I don’t think my presence would help in this particular situation. Rocking up uninvited to ill people’s houses who probably don’t know you exist is not an ideal situation.

  3. He sounds like a total catch. I can understand the struggle of the distance. My BF and I have been doing long-distance for over a year now (he was in Korea and now in Italy), and there’s really no end in sight. I will say, it’s absolutely worth it to fight for the relationship if the companionship is there. See how it plays out. If it works – it works. Sometimes, just having that person to talk to is a great benefit in itself. I hope it all works well for you! 🙂

    1. HI Liz, thanks for reading. Wow, you guys are mega long distance – and no end in sight must be tough. You guys seem really committed. I like your advice to see how it plays out…..and I have my fingers crossed her!

    2. Thanks for reading Liz. That sounds like you guys are mega long distance and still going strong with no end in sight – that is inspiring.

      And your advise seeing how it plays out is spot on – I have my fingers crossed here.

  4. He sounds like a decent chap, maybe even a keeper. You survived a 10 day holiday together which frankly is a very very good sign (assuming, of course, you weren’t in separate hotels!)

    Following sport, and especially football, is a massive door opener in the male world. Any bloke who does so can enter a room with other blokes and instantly strike up a conversation. Such things careers and friendships are built out of. I’ve never been a fan of either cricket or football, and it’s definitely been a handicap. I’ve reached the point where I will happily sit with a bunch of mates watching a game in a pub – because it’s important to them, even if I haven’t got a Scooby Doo what’s going on.

    Aesthetics and fitness are important – but if you stay together, you will both eventually end up looking older and probably fatter. A bit of friendly competition in a couple so you are both making an effort in this area, isn’t a bad thing though.

    On the mushroom front. Does he eat quorn? Maybe you can compromise?

    My question would be: “Why does it have to be a long distance relationship?” Can you not go with him, or spend even a month or so out there? If nothing else, you might be able to knock a few other countries off your list in that part of the world?

    1. Hi Greencat – thanks for sharing your comments. And yes, we even managed it in the same hotel for 10 days straight!

      I see what you are saying about sports there, it’s def a male bonding opportunity. I’m just picturing you there, sipping your drink as everyone else intently follows the football.

      As tempting as it is to up sticks, I’ve got quite a few commitments, a house and feline that stop me doing that at the moment. Not to mention a lack of an invite!

  5. Hi Ms ZiYou,

    I can definitely relate to your dilemma, as I was in 2 long-distance relationships in the past, and 1 of them was with the man I still consider my true love (we were together for 10 years, 5 of them long distance – as it so happens, he also was a sports freak and a carnivore, 2 things I most definitely am not). Both times I left because of the long-distance thing, which caused too many communications issues. To this day I regret it (for the 2nd guy, not the 1st one though).

    The fact that he’s leaving you (and his job) for an ill parent is an incredibly commendable thing to do, as others have mentioned, and I definitely think you should cut him a LOT of slack and seriously consider traveling to see him, even if it breaks your budget a bit and even if ultimately the relationship doesn’t work. At minimum, you will know you did everything you could, so you can never blame yourself in the future regardless of what happens with him. Plus, you’ll see a new country and score major points with his family.

    I will also add:

    – regarding his love of sports: first, you don’t have to love *all* the same things he does. When he’s watching sports, you can go do something else. Also, I agree with Greencat 66 that sports tend to be essential for men in a way they’re not for women, and that you might benefit professionally if you learn a bit about it. For me personally, I always hated American football, until I finally had to learn about it for work – and guess what? I actually enjoy the game now… and feel quite stupid that I didn’t do it sooner 😖

    – regarding mushrooms: how about cooking them separately, just for you? For some dishes it may not work, but for things like soups, or risottos, you can easily just prepare it without mushrooms and serve it to him that way. Then add your mushrooms to your plate. Done. Other option: maybe he can cook for the 2 of you, the way he likes it, and you prepare your mushrooms separately.

    Best of luck Ms. ZiYou!! Long distance is so tough but I think you have the right instincts with him – he seems like such a good, sweet guy. I hope his parent recovers soon 😊

    1. Hi FF – thanks for reading and your kind words. I am so impressed you survived 5 years long distance, especially with a carnivorous sports fan!

      As for travelling out – it’s a possibility but I’m pretty sure it will not win me prizes – but hey, let’s play it by ear and see what happens.

  6. I say give it at least a month and see where he’s at (literally and figuratively) at that point. It might be too soon for a long-distance relationship, but it’s also probably too soon to give up on someone who sounds very promising as a partner.

    I’ve done long-distance for short periods of time. It sucked, but it was doable. In fact it wasn’t until we were in the same city again that both guys broke up with me. Hard not to take that one personally. (To be fair, I had issues. Then again, so did they.)

  7. Hi Ms ZiYou, sounds like quite the catch! Feminist, atheist, lefty and green 😊 Like other commenters I agree that you’ll just have to wait to see how this plays out.

    For the past 16 years my partner and I have spent about 1/3 of that time long-distance and across different parts of the world. In fact, that bugger is in Shanghai right now eating Szechuan food without me! But those stints apart have really strengthened our relationship and proved that we want to be with each other. So it can work, but you’ve just got to see how you feel about it. Even with the time difference you can send each other messages (which definitely wasn’t the case 16 years ago!)

  8. The “Good Things About the New Man” list is really an impressive collection of characteristics. Each one is better than the last.

    My partner and I did long distance for years, from lots of different locations across the world. While it was frustrating, whenever I fully considered the situation, I would just ask myself: is this bad enough that you are willing to break up with him? The answer was always no, and so then I would tell myself there was nothing I could do but just hope for the best. I don’t know if this approach is a good one or not, I just know it gave me a sense of (albeit temporary) clarity. Now we are married, so it seems to have worked out. So far so good! 🙂

    Anyway, good luck with your guy! I’m rooting for you, either way! 🙂

  9. My husband and I started out long distance – we’d more or less settled things before we saw each other for the first time in years 🙂 This was pre FaceTime and he was sometimes on bomb dumps where he couldn’t even have his phone with him, but if it’s the right person, it can work out. And not having him local does give you time to focus on your own stuff, which isn’t all bad. Oh – and long distance means you’re building a relationship based on the non physical aspects first, which are more important anyway.

    1. Thanks Angela – it’s really cool to see how many people have long distance relationships in the past. And that is a great point about building a relationship based on all the non-physical parts.

  10. Secretly watching football.. the Shame!!!! Lol. Lefty marxist green feminist… and vegetarian! These are good things?! I would be sprinting away from that.

    But seriously he sounds like a great guy looking after his parent. That’s commendable and definitely worth sticking with. Even outweigh the ‘plus’ points.

    There is major cognitive dissonance going on. You cannot be capitalist fire hoarder AND socialist green, and both ‘feminist man’ and a normal bloke. Take care…

  11. Hey, your dating posts are the best. That’s your niche in the PF world. 🙂
    Yes, I was in a long distance relationship.
    Mrs. RB40 went off to Uzbekistan for Peace Corp for 3 years after college. It was really rough for us.
    We were together, but we also tried dating other people too. In the end, I realized that she was the right one for me.
    She came back and we got married.
    If you love someone, set them free.

  12. You’ve let your secret slip Msziyou to all you sassenach readers; you are not frugal, just Scottish!
    More seriously.
    10 days is a lot. If it works after you end up missing your train in Wroclaw because he misread the platform number and your boasting of language skills get you nowhere with Piotr the surly ticketmaster and you need to kip in a flop house where he proceeds to drink.to miss tomorrow’s train… everything else will be fine.
    If you share so much in common including not wanting kids (either your or my mistake) then it’s quite simple – but not a choice based on reason but instead feelings – we lookforward to reading more about all this.

    1. Hi GFF – it’s not really a secret, just hidden in layers in the blog. I use tons of Scottish words and phrases that those outwith the Gaelic lands do not.

      And you are right that 10 days navigating across unknown lands is indeed challenging – so fingers crossed it all works out.

  13. Hi Ms ZiYou

    Your post appeared in my feed while I was away but I wanted to read it properly when I got back.

    I understand what you’re going through having been through similar myself, not the long-distance part of relationship but the caring for poorly parent part, resulting in long periods of not seeing each other.

    It was a conflict of emotions for a long time, including my own selfishness, pity for him, wanting to support him, feeling helpless, wondering if I should move on but feeling bad about it etc.

    In the end, we drifted apart despite our efforts (then back again for a short while).

    Some relationships can work long distance – a friend of mine has been in one for nearly 20 years – he lives in the US (with a fear of flying), she lives in HK. They talk every day via skype, she uses up all her holidays to fly out to see hie and it works for them.

    I hope it works out for you as he sounds like a decent chap but don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t.

    PS – nowt wrong with men’s football – aswell as a male bonding thing, I find that it’s a very easy way to strike up a conversation and break the ice with a man I’m interested in 😉

    1. Thanks Weenie for sharing your experiences – indeed ill parents seem to be a common occurrence once you get to a certain age – I guess one of those facts of life we all realise but never think will happen to us.

      I am in awe of all these people keeping mega long distance relationships going – that seems like so much hard work and planning to keep things together.

      And that football opener and all your knowledge will do you proud when you hit the dating scene – men will love you.

  14. Just seen this, and am a bit late to the party, but I thought I’d add my tuppence worth as an ‘old married lady’!

    Basically, when I was looking for that special someone (over 20 years ago now) I decided that my criteria would be just those things that were really, really important to me. So, there had to be that indefinable human chemistry plus he had to be kind, generous and decent. That was it. Differences in interests or food? Not important (and, actually, good because it challenges assumptions and behavioural ruts on both sides). It worked for me.

    It sounds as though your guy fits the most important criteria so my advice would be to hang on in there and see how things feel to you in, say, 6 months. Good luck!

    Jane

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