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 eleven years now and joyfully renewed our vows on our tenth anniversary amongst family and the new friends not with us for the original event. 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.