When we tell our story most people respond with oooohs and aaaahs, there's a lot of sighing, sometimes even a tear is shed.
We met in kindergarten (photo left, Clare and Paul aged 4). We were close friends in college but not boyfriend-girlfriend until our early twenties. Then career took Paul to London and college took me to Nottingham. We exchanged some letters in those pre-email days, (I never throw anything of value away, of course I still have his!) but then lost touch amidst the drama of dating and young independence.
Fast forward .... I moved to the States in 1987 and Paul was married, briefly, around the same time. Looking back now, we can both say we had life-lessons to learn and I sometimes say with a smile "I had to kiss a lot of frogs."
Fast forward again .... some of my American friends were joining classmates.com and I researched to find the UK equivalent friends reunited.co.uk. I joined using my original name, Janet, as I'd been using my middle name, Clare, for many years. Not long after I received an email from Paul who, I later discovered, had been looking for me on and off for years. (Part of his challenge had been the dropping of my first name in favour of my middle name - I didn't show up on the routine searches).
The rest really is made of fairytale stuff. We emailed for a while. We talked soon after. Then we talked every day. Then we planned a visit. I arrived at Heathrow and we saw each other for the first time in twenty-six years. He hadn't changed! (He said I looked better then ever!) He proposed seven days later. We had a tearful parting as I returned to California and then followed a difficult six months as we figured out where to live and where/when to be married. We chose 9th September 2006 as the wedding date and I moved back to my native UK nineteen years and a day after arriving.
We've been married for six or so years now and we're still like a couple of newly-weds. Of course there are the natural ebbs and flows of any relationship, but we love each other deeply, communicate and resolve conflict well and show our appreciation for one another on a daily basis.
One thing I so appreciate about our relationship is that we are truly partners, thinking of ourselves as "Team Myatt." What a difference this makes! As a former Lone Ranger, of the highest order I might add, there have been adjustments to make to become a team player, but oh the joys. I can recommend them.