Distance Doesn’t Count

39 years later

I’m coming out of what I later realised was an abusive marriage, having been told by an expert that my ex was a psychopath who wouldn’t rest until he destroyed my life, my family, and all my friendships. Something both of my closest friends also said, and they were all correct. As you may image I wasn’t in a good place, had no self confidence or worth, was struggling with acute anxiety, and really didn’t need to meet anyone else at the time for a multitude of reasons.

We kept quiet about our decision for 3 months as we wanted to be certain before we said anything, confiding only in my aunt and uncle who were completely unsurprised. We knew that both sets of parents were deeply invested in the relationship, mine adored my ex and I adored his parents, so we didn’t want to put them through on-again, off-again.

We eventually told them on 6th April, a date I recall as it was the day after my first play had been staged by my local group. That had to be the date as his dad was a superb amateur actor that could have graced any stage or film, and we didn’t want him upset during the production. Chaos immediately broke loose, and as I was the one that called time on the marriage, I was deeply unpopular.

Which wouldn’t have bothered me except that I met Tony on 22nd June, and miss perfect who’d never put a foot wrong was generally judged to have put far more than her foot wrong, and her reputation was ruined. Because no way would I meet someone, fall for him, and move in with him within 6 weeks. I had to do that because I lost my job through redundancy, couldn’t get a mortgage, and no one in my family would help me, so I had no choice. But that no choice was turned against me in the most untruthful way. Hey ho…don’t care now. LOL

So what’s so unusual?

As you’ve already guessed, Tony is from New Zealand. He said that for about a year before we met he kept getting a repeating thought in his mind “you have to go to England, you have to go to England.”

My father-in-law is 5th generation New Zealand, but my mother-in-law is Scots, born in Glasgow. So quite naturally his mother suggested that he should go to her family. He said no, it had to be England. So, and oddly, his stepfather said that his family in Croydon in Surrey would be pleased to put Tony up until he got on his feet. So off he went to England with no idea why he might need to be there. He loves it and is still here and has dual nationality.

The Bromley/Croydon Divide

I lived in the Bromley area, and never went to Croydon. It wasn’t a territorial thing, it was just that Bromley’s high street was known as little Oxford Street, as every single department store had a shop in the high street, alongside many quirky, original, local shops. You could go up one side, down the other, and get everything you wanted. Why drive?

Having made a success of my first play my co-author wanted to write another, it was her turn to choose the plot, and she wanted to set the play in the ladies rest rooms of a nightclub, as she said the conversations were hilarious. The only trouble was I’d never been to a nightclub, so we needed to do some research. She suggested Croydon as apparently Bromley nightclubs were stuffy and no fun!

I soon found myself trawling the nightclubs of Croydon from the most basic (being polite) upwards. My friend soon realised that although I was only 10 years older than her, there was a huge generational divide. I was from the slap him if he suggests anything inappropriate generation, and she was from the new world of free love. No judgement there, I would have made far better decisions had I had more life experience. In fact Tony once commented that being in his 30’s he thought he would meet a worldly-wise woman who might be a little jaded by life, instead he met someone of 34 who was completely unspoiled. Don’t think I’ve changed. LOL

On the evening in question my friend suggested that we went to one of the more upmarket nightclubs as she felt I would be more comfortable. The ones where ‘the directors and finance people went’. She read out a list of names and when she got to Blue Orchid I said that sounded nice. She said “thanks it’s the most expensive nightclub in Croydon, it’s £6 to get in!” So I paid as it was my fault.

Never say the words “I don’t want to meet anyone”

I did. Life laughed. So, we’re sitting quietly in a booth drinking lemonade in my case – last of the big party animals, when a drop-dead gorgeous guy with shoulder-length glossy, wavy, black hair, comes up and asks if we would like to meet two of his friends who were interested in us (but he hadn’t actually told them that), he said that one was an Australian, one was a New Zealander, but if we’d ever watched Neighbours we’d know what to expect! I said no, Wendy said yes.

The first to arrive was 6’2″ of dark haired, six packed, Australian surfer, followed by 5’10” of red haired, shy, New Zealander. I looked at him and thought “Oh he’s got red hair, he’s short, and who dressed him his trousers are arguing with his shoes!” He knows all this, and believe me it’s a good thing, because when he sat down he said “Hi I’m Tony, have you ever been to Rome?” He too was fed up with chatting people up and wanted to meet someone who could talk to him about life, the universe and everything. Boy did he pick well, he hasn’t known silence ever since!

The instant he spoke I thought “Oh it’s YOU!” You see, from that moment there was no doubt in my mind at all that this was the one. We’ve been together ever since.

Judging by appearance?

Two points, I realised later that I didn’t expect him to look as he did, as when I’d known him in past lives (he reckoned we’d known each other about 800 years). Second point, when you meet that special someone nothing else will matter, not your type is null and void because they are.

My grandmother never remarried in the 33 years after she lost my grandad. My mother had no doubt the moment she met my dad, and nor did he. My aunt was engaged before she met my uncle and the man broke it off, she was devastated, and the family rumour was that my uncle was second best. We asked her once and she said to my cousin “make no mistake about it, if your father had so much as walked past me I would have grabbed you and followed him anywhere”. He felt exactly the same.

My cousin also found the most unexpected man, whom she thought was a friend and 6 years later they looked at each other and went “oh!” If you’d talked about her type he was not it, but he was perfect. Sadly they didn’t have the time they deserved. My brother found the one after a spectacular false start, and he couldn’t be more fortunate, she is literally wonderful.

So, if you’re despairing about finding the one, don’t worry. When they walk past you, you will know. When they speak you will know. And unless you know don’t commit.

By not knowing I mean making them fit the image you want, as I did, Tony did, and so many before and since us have done, when you know that this person is hurting you, not right for you, or doesn’t value you.

Also, don’t think you won’t argue, wish you’d never met them, want to throw things, and think about leaving! True love has to withstand the force of human life, and it is not easy at times. It also has to withstand children, your respective pasts, families, work, money worries, and so on. But if the relationship is right – it will be the one that does withstand those things. The relationship where you can admit the stresses to each other and deal with them together.

As I so romantically say – and brace yourself for this outpouring of slush…

Your soul mate is the wretch you can’t leave!

To your happiness and finding your soul mate (hope this gives you hope…and the courage to stop looking…you won’t miss them)

Deb xx

P.S. Yes tony knows that too! Impossible or not I wouldn’t change him for the world. He’s simply the best person I know!


Published by debdancingstarhawken7

I'm a writer, public speaker, medium, and spiritual thinker. I suffered from acute anxiety from the age of 16 until I was well into my 50s, after fearlessly exploring many ideas, philosophies, and tools, I finally found methods that helped me return my mind to a better normal. One of the things I hated about anxiety was the way people treated me like a fool or a problem, I have two degrees and I'm a (much) retired black belt, my IQ is decent, but I constantly felt like a complete idiot, something that was exacerbated by never feeling like the real me. The girl who could laugh endlessly about the smallest things, and had a real excitement about what life had to offer her. I didn't need anyone else to tell me I wasn't 'right', I knew that better than anyone. My mission now is to support people suffering as I did with a message of support with what they're going through, tools and ideas that might help, and a strong message of hope for the future. At 63, which I am at the time of writing, many people I know are in a rut, yet having beaten anxiety I'm now doing more with my life than I ever did when I was struggling just to get up in the morning, let alone face the day. It's a wonderful feeling - so the main message is that it doesn't matter how long you've been struggling or what age you are, when you beat anxiety you will get an entirely new lease of life - and that's fantastic at any age. On a personal note I'm married to my soul mate, we have 5 cats, and I live in the middle of the UK. I follow a number of fantastic thinkers, as it's important to immerse yourself in healthy thinking as often as you can, I'm a Toastmaster and professional public speaker, and I keep life simple and encourage my clients to do the same, and my friends.

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