Here are 8 romantic gift ideas to surprise your other half with this year and for years to come.
A romantic surprise can renew your relationship, especially when it comes from the bottom of your heart. You may even fall in love all over again if you are at the receiving end of a big surprise. The good news is that surprises don't have to be expensive at all. But if you can afford them, there's nothing wrong with wowing your significant other with a priceless gift. If you want to reignite that spark in your love life, here are some sure-fire surprise ideas for your other half.
1. Remind them with a note that you care for them
If minimalism is your hallmark, go with something that's less costly yet meaningful. A simple creative gesture of love could take the form of a note to your partner, reminding them that they are always on your mind. Everyone wants to feel loved, isn’t it? You can renew the passion for your relationship by leaving an unexpected sweet note for your partner. It could be anywhere, say at the coffee table or maybe when you go for a date night. Fun surprises such as love notes can change the game of your relationship.
2. Write your partner a love letter
Putting your feelings for your partner on paper may sound old-fashioned, but believe it or not, handwritten love letters can constitute huge romantic surprises even in this digital age. According to Babita Spinell, a seasoned relationship expert, writing a love letter to your dearest one is a cool way to validate your affection for them. When a couple is experiencing rocky moments in their relationship, a love letter could also bridge the gap.
3. Take them out for a romantic trip
The coronavirus pandemic has impacted the world's tourism industry. However, if you want to still work on your couple goals, you could mask up and embark on a romantic trip. Since international travel restrictions may still be in force, you may want to opt for an outdoor adventure such as camping. Sweep your partner off their feet by planning a beautiful romantic trip with them. You may want to keep the trip as simple as possible; elaborate plans could fail in the midst of the pandemic.
4. Take your partner on a shopping spree
If your significant other has been talking about wanting new clothes, consider taking them out for shopping. Since shopping clothes for your partner when you don't know their sizes can be tricky, you may want them to go with you to the shop. Your girlfriend/boyfriend will probably see you as their best shopping assistant. Offer your feedback as they try new clothes, and your partner will likely find the best clothes.
5. Shower your partner with Valentine's Day flowers
With 2021 and Valentine's Day up in the air, you may want to surprise your other half with gifts such as flowers. It helps if you know which flowers are her favourite - whether tulips, sunflowers or roses. To stay safe from the virus and melt your partner's heart, you could order Fig & Bloom flowers for Valentine's Day. They can make bespoke floral arrangements that will pleasantly surprise our partner, and your thoughtfulness can help strengthen your relationship.
6. Offer them a full-body massage
You don't have to be a licensed massage therapist before you can calm down your partner with a soothing full-body massage. In these troubling times of the pandemic, it's easy for partners to stress out. A massage therapy can enhance your partner's life by reducing their stress, strengthening their immune system and improving blood circulation. Assuming you want to make the massage experience even greater for your other half, you could call in an expert therapist.
7. Buy them a ticket to a show
Is your partner a music lover, a sports fanatic, or a big fan of comedy? Buy them a ticket to their favorite show, and it will be nothing short of a big surprise. When festive seasons like New Year's Eve come around the corner, attending live events with your partner can be fun. Entertainment programs can also educate couples and help them realize their relationship goals.
8. Buy them beer and wine
If your boyfriend or girlfriend loves drinks that much, consider buying their favorite beer or wine. You may have to visit nearby breweries in your zone to have that wonderful couple time. For partners who may not want to step out, you could still order your beer and wine from home.
Romantic surprises have healing powers; incorporate them into your relationship and have a good time with your partner.
Newly married? Dreaming of a honeymoon in the future when we can all travel again? Read these tips on how to make your honeymoon romantic and embrace your special time together.
A honeymoon is the ultimate holiday for newlyweds to enjoy their married bliss. After getting married, you would usually have a honeymoon booked for that same year, with some even opting to go straight after the wedding day itself. Whatever your preference, here are some tips to make your honeymoon romantic.
Have A Lazy Day In Bed
There’s nothing like unwinding and relaxing in a tropical paradise. Whether you go for a Maldives honeymoon or you fancy a trip across America, there is always going to be an opportunity to lounge. And one way to get the most out of a trip is to have a day where you do nothing at all. That means having a lazy day in bed or around the pool where you do nothing but chill out in each other’s company. A lazy day in bed might be ideal if the place you’re staying in is a luxurious one. If not, then there’s likely plenty of opportunities to lounge around the pool, on a sun lounger, or one of those day beds if you get lucky. Make sure you are allocating some time to just chill out because the likelihood of you getting a moment like this might be pretty rare for those that do a lot of work back at home and may never get the opportunity to enjoy doing absolutely nothing.
Get A Couple’s Massage
A couple’s massage is the ultimate romantic treat that you both can enjoy. Instead of going into a separate treatment room, why not get yourself booked in a room together where you have individual masseuses but can enjoy the relaxing massage as a pair, rather than alone. When you’re on a honeymoon, you’ll likely want to spend as much time together as possible, and a couple’s massage is definitely one of those treats that can be enjoyed as a pair.
Watch The Sunset
Being able to watch the sunset isn’t something most will typically do when back at home. It’s good to see the world from a different viewpoint, and when you’re somewhere abroad, it can be nice to watch the sunset together. It can be a romantic and peaceful experience that will help say goodbye to the day’s events and a thing you do before going off and having fun in the evening.
Do Lots Of Activities Together
The purpose of a holiday is to have a great time to relax and do activities where preferred. However, when you’re on a honeymoon, it’s good to do as much of the holiday together, rather than apart. Make sure you’re taking advantage of any activities that are available, and that would be fun for you and your partner to do. Take some time to yourselves, whether it’s a ride across the desert on camel or water skiing along the ocean.
A honeymoon is the perfect chance to spend quality time together before it’s back to the reality of the daily grind. Use these tips to make the most out of your trip.
5 places to meet senior singles are explored in this contributed post.
Our society binds us with some tricky and notorious repercussions. All we hear about how to behave in a certain way and not to be off track of conventional and archaic social methods. But from the early part of human society, many love stories have grown or we can safely say that they have destroyed our so-called native ways. No matter what, love is eternally young. You fall for it once in your life no matter how much you have prepared yourself for it or against it.
While in later stages of life, it may seem a bit difficult to fall in love rather find a potent partner for yourself. When you become older, you might want to feel settled in your life instead of getting adventurous. Divorcee or not, in later stages everyone wants someone in their life who would care for them, make them feel warm, be there for literally no reason. But finding someone or 'the special one' is not an easy task whatever your age may be but it can be done with some measured effort. Some of the following may woo you to some extent and can allure you to try at least once in a while.
Apparently, most people tend to be more absolved from work in later stages of life than in early parts. Maybe that's why it is not that bad a reason to be involved in many separate community events in your senior years. There is no shortage of need for willing volunteers in today's chaotic social world. You can contribute in many ways. Any educational institutions would love to get you for your many experienced years. You can certainly take part in numerous NGO activities to make many human lives bit easier. Or rather you can be a yoga trainer or a salsa trainee. Simply you can just go out there and have fun and in the process, you might find yourself lucky enough.
Undoubtedly, a divine method to spend some sheer quality time and if you're taking the trip with your senior club then it would just the icing on the cake. Moreover, if the trip consists only single members then certainly you can fish for your prolonged romantic partner.
Online dating service
A must to have at a dig. DoULikeSenior is a vast pool of potent candidates waiting to be matched. You can definitely look through a profile of your choice and prepare yourself beforehand for the upcoming compatibility issues which you may have been wrongly done in the past and can be intimate and romantically involved with your preferred partner.
A lovely idea to utilize your extra time to help and heal others. There are a number of communities where you can enlist yourself willingly and they can put in touch with similar aged members who care for like you do. So, this is maybe just the foundation you and your would-be partner will cognate greatly for a fact.
Senior fitness class
Fitness training is a lot more fun when you are accompanied. Also, at this age, you should try to stay as much fit you can afford. Let us hope, there is another person who hopes just the same and bingo! you're in luck. After that, if you find one of your likings, you may be just sweat out together and it can lead to many fortunate possible futures.
Afterwards, be sure to make your partner feel special in a way which they never have experienced. Be romantic, be lively, be in love, because life is short. Above all, be true to yourself and your partner.
Inject some excitement into your relationship with these 7 tips to great date nights. Read this contributed post to find out more.
Being in a committed long-term relationship is one of the greatest things in the world. However, the natural spark of romance will inevitably fade over time, which can make date nights feel a little stale. Fear not; it is possible to inject the excitement back into those dates.
Follow these seven pointers below, and those future dates will be even more breathtaking than when you first dated.
Break Away From The Norm
The reason that many of your dates as a long-term couple feel stale is that everything feels too similar to normal life. Learn to switch things up, and the dates will become fresh and exciting once more.
This needn’t be a difficult challenge. Renting a car from RYDE for the day or weekend can turn a cruise around the city into a luxury experience for both of you. Alternatively, staying at a local hotel can work wonders without taking on the costs or time of taking a holiday abroad.
Even something as simple as having one of you turn up to ‘collect’ your date from home can change the mindset. Embrace it.
Do Something That Makes The Future Look Exciting
When you first start dating, the thoughts of what may await in the future is enough to give you butterflies. You needn’t lose those sentiments just because you’re in a long-term relationship. You just need to look for alternatives.
You needn’t be engaged to know that your relationship is heading towards marriage. It may seem a little odd, but a day of looking at potential wedding venues can be a lot of fun even if the big event isn’t on the horizon for some time.
Aside from the excitement, it shows that you are both still committed to each other for the long haul.
Or Reconnect With The Past
Alternatively, you can do the complete opposite by traveling back to the start of your relationship. Reliving the first date is undoubtedly one of the best ways to recapture that early dating magic. The excitement will return in an instant.
Recreate the photographs you took on that do to see how far you’ve come as a couple. Honestly, that’s one of the most exciting things of all, and should be cherished by both of you.
The harsh reality of life is that you probably have more responsibilities today than you did when you first started dating. You have careers, a home, and potentially children to consider. So, date nights are a commitment that may need to be planned.
Once they start, though, you can let the spontaneity flow. Create a list of date ideas and pick one at random. It might be great; it might be a washout. Either way, it’ll be memorable while giving you a chance to have fun and celebrate your love.
Start A Joint Hobby
Hobbies play an incredibly important role in our lives. While having something to enjoy with friends is great, a regular activity with your partner is a great way to keep the romance alive. Not least if you choose dance classes or something that can actively aid your sexual attraction.
This is better than a one-off date too as it is a continued commitment to each other. You’ll have a date night every week and won’t need to break the bank for it.
Face Your Fears
Facing your fears is a lot easier when you have a supportive partner by your side. So, heading off on special adventures can be a great option for your next date day. If nothing else, it’s a cheat to help get your heartbeats racing.
Theme parks are among the best options, not least because there are so many other things to see and soak in. Disney World tickets can be bought online at a cheaper rate than on the day while it’ll save you lining up. This is the type of date that will last in your memories forever.
Alternatively, real adrenaline junkies can try to organize a tandem parachute jump or bungee. For a few moments of a fear, you’ll gain a lifelong memory.
Go To A Show
Special events like sporting events or music gigs are a great way to embrace the energy of a crowd to inject magic into your life. You’ll also want to look nice without feeling the need to be as formal as you would at a restaurant.
When attending gigs, there are two great options. Either book tickets for an artist you love and that plays songs with sentimental value, or go to the local open mic night. This can be great fun while the sense of not knowing what you’ll hear makes it fresh and exciting too.
Ultimately, if you do something you love with the person you love, date nights will remain fun and exciting.
Relationships are not a race! Read this contributed post to see if you doing things that might mean you are rushing yours.
When you think you’ve found the right person for your heart, your soulmate, it seems foolish to waste any more time. Indeed, when you are sure in your heart that you love your partner, you know that you need to act fast to move your relationship to the next level. Right? Well, in reality, you want to be cautious. Going too fast could be damaging for your couple. Of course, it’s a good thing to be enthusiastic about your relationship. But you need to make sure that you’re not rushing things faster than they should go. Both partners need time to establish themselves in a relationship, so that if you choose to speed up things too abruptly, your partner might feel like you’re stepping on their toes. While there’s no saying how fast is too fast, there are certain signs that can help you to adjust your pace to your partner’s.
Meeting is not the same than getting to know someone
Love at first sight is an aberration. Of course, you might meet someone you find interesting, but it’s impossible to know them and appreciate them for who they are when you’ve just met. The same argument is valid for online dating tools, such as Grindr for PC and Mac. Take the time to get to know someone before you allow yourself to think you’re in love. The process of understanding someone takes time and effort, but it is worth every second of it. As you do, you can get to grow your feelings for each other and create new memories. In short, if you fall in love at first sight, you are already going to fast!
How long before you should pop the question?
Relationships take work all the time. While it doesn’t mean it’s hard work, it would also be a mistake to take your couple for granted. But as you work to make your couple grow, you might come to realize that you want the spend the rest of your life with that person. You want the house, the children and the pet that goes with it. You are ready for the full package. There is no right or wrong as to when you should pop the question, but you need to make sure your partner is on the same page. In other words, it doesn’t help to plan an engagement proposal if you haven’t had a serious conversation about your future first.
Are you actually going to hurt yourself?
Are you so exciting about your relationship that you may not notice that you’re acting a little over the top? For instance, if you find yourself celebrating weekly anniversaries, then you might put your partner in an awkward position. OTT romantic gestures can be risky at the beginning of your relationship, especially as it can be used as a manipulation tool by an unscrupulous partner. Additionally, if your relationship isolates you from your circle of friends and relatives, it’s time to slow down and try to make it work in the real world.
In conclusion, the secret to a happy relationship is to go steady instead of fast. Taking the time to know and understand each other without creating overly romantic settings from Day One is the secret of making it work in the long term.
SHARE YOUR STORY!
Did you know each other for years and slowly fall in love?
Were you recovering from an illness, and that person was there for you?
Did you bond over food, music, or hobbies?
Perhaps you worked together?
Happy Valentine's Day!
Want to find your soulmate? You need to know this.
When it comes to love, most people have the true definition of love so wrong.
Think about the lyrics to some of songs you’ve heard about love.
They talk about how hard they want to fall, or how loving can hurt. There are even lyrics about not being able to live alone with just themselves because their world revolves around their lover.
Movies and television shows portray the fairy tale ending of “happily ever after”. But that’s not what love is, either.
Here’s what love is and is not:
1. Love is not lust-filled or extreme.
Chemistry is important, but it shouldn’t feel like you lose yourself when you’re together.
Nor should you feel like something is missing or that you can’t live without them when you’re apart. That’s called co-dependency.
When you are with your soulmate, love is uplifting and inspiring. It causes us to grow beyond our perceived limited possibilities.
Being in a soulmate relationship should be the icing on the cake, not the cake itself.
2. Love is not suffering or pain.
Love DOES NOT HURT!
It is easy and joyous. Your soulmate should contribute to your life, not constrict it.
And if you are feeling triggered by your partner, that’s what I call “The Mirroring Effect”. They are reflecting back to you things that you probably don’t like about yourself.
3. Love is not self-sacrificing.
In fact, it’s the exact opposite!
My favorite analogy for this is when airlines ask you to put on your oxygen mask before putting it on another. If you’re not loving yourself first, then you’re not going to be able to fully love another.
Also, don’t break up, or apart, from yourself to keep your lover. Stop sacrificing who you are to keep your partner happy.
Be 100% yourself and trust and know that is exactly who your soulmate wants!
4. Love is not judgmental or superior.
Love doesn’t judge. It doesn’t feel or act superior to anyone else.
Love radically accepts. Love respects. Love supports.
5. Love does not fix your life or get your needs met.
If you need someone to make your life better, that isn’t love. That’s neediness.
And, that means that something is missing from your life you can’t give yourself.
Loving yourself means knowing that all of your needs are already met and that you are whole and complete exactly as you are right here and now.
Love helps you deepen in new levels of self-awareness.
Love is from the inside out. It is already within us and gets activated when we feel love for another. External love can shift and fade. Internal love is constant and permanent.
You don’t “fall in love” -- you expand in love.
6. Love doesn’t expect you to make your soulmate happy.
It is not your responsibility to make anyone happy but yourself.
Love is not pressuring your soulmate to make you feel a certain way or to do things for you.
Love is a partnership. It is fair and equal.
Love adds to your life, it doesn’t complete it (sorry, Jerry Maguire).
7. Love doesn’t die.
Love never dies, or fades, unless we choose it.
If love is activated in us, it can never disappear.
We may sabotage it, block it, or forget about it. But it never goes away.
Love is a verb. Flow it and receive it.
Love is an adventure. It is a moment-by-moment getting to know each other as we are constantly changing.
It is awareness. It is deeply spiritual. It is vulnerability.
Love is constant appreciation.
Love is joy.
Love is bliss.
Do you think you are undateable? Find out more in this contributed post.
Dating in the modern world is one of those things that can seem pretty intimidating to those on the outside. It can often feel as though things used to be incredibly simple and now there so many rules that the whole thing can be incredibly confusing and overwhelming. The truth is that dating really hasn't changed all that much over the last hundred years or so, aside from a push for more equality among people of different genders and sexualities of course. But that doesn't mean that it's always easy. One of the hardest things about dating is being in a position where you feel as though, because of who you are as a person, you're somehow less dateable than those around you. This is fundamentally untrue! There is nothing that makes anyone in any way undateable! With that in mind, here are some ways to help you stop feeling as though who you are is going to leave you all alone.
There are no leagues, only type
One of the most common things that you hear when one person is interested in or attracted to someone else but doesn't want to make a move is that they're "out of their league." This is something that is often reinforced by TV, movies, books, music, and just about every other aspect of modern society. Which makes it all the more ridiculous when you realise that the whole idea of leagues is complete and utter nonsense. Who you're attracted to in life has nothing to do with some kind of empirical scale of how attractive you are. It comes down to what you like about someone. It could be their looks, their brains, their personality, and any combination of the three. Just because you think that someone is amazing and beautiful doesn't mean that they're somehow better than you or above you in any way. Remember, there are no leagues, there is only type, and everyone is someone's type!
Find people more like you
If your anything other than the straight, cis-gendered person that society wrongly assumes is the default, it can often feel as though dating simply isn't for you. Things like Tinder, Bumble, OkCupid and all of the other dating sites and apps are great, but they do seem to be mostly geared towards a fundamentally heterosexual way of doing things. If you're a different sexuality or gender identity from "the norm" it can be tough to feel comfortable in those spaces. That's why it's great that there are more and more spaces specifically for people of different sexual orientations or genders to connect with each other. Services like Gay Girl, which can help women who are attracted to other women connect with each other without having to worry about interacting with men in the way that they do on sites like OkCupid offer a truly fantastic service. Being able to connect with people who are like you can make the whole process of dating feel that much less lonely.
Stop trying so hard
The reality of dating is that it should be fun. If you feel like you're putting a lot of pressure on yourself to find someone or to get out there, there's a chance that you're doing it wrong. If dating is causing you more stress and anything else, then the best thing to do is just to relax and stop trying so hard. There are other things in life beyond just trying to find someone to date. Spend some time with friends, or just focusing on yourself. The truth is that if you spend more time focusing on yourself, then you're going to be a more complete person which will make dating and finding someone else a whole lot easier. Besides, a lot of the time, the moment you stop looking for love, it falls right into your lap.
Of course, it's important to remember that, just because it's expected of you doesn't mean you have to be particularly interested in dating at all! If dating isn't something that you're especially concerned with, don't let anyone try to tell you that there's anything wrong with you! There's no reason why you can't live an incredibly fulfilling life built around your career, your family, your friends, and your passions without needing to add dating and romance to the mix. Dating and falling in love can be wonderful things, but not if you feel like they're something you have to do instead of something you actually want from your life.
Do you have it All except that special someone to share it all with? If you think you could benefit from my 12-Week Program, then keep reading as I've got something to change your luck for the upcoming fall winter season.
I have already met and spoke to a few of you and many of you are asking for more. More tools, more coaching, more videos, more guidance. So here I am serving you to reach your goals. I created a program that will get you the relationship YOU deserve for the life that YOU have designed.
I leave no stones unturned when helping you uncover what will help you reach your relationship goals. Of course, it will not be easy and you will have to dig deeper and learn to choose a significant other. That is correct, you read this right, you must choose the next partner that will share the rest of your life with you. Your decisions are yours and you will take 100% responsibility for your happiness. I'll be here to help you through my proven system. It has worked for thousands of singles and it will work for you too.
During this program, you’ll discover: 12-Week Group Class
Twelve 90-Minute Sessions
Some of the material covered includes:
What is Conscious Dating?
Life Purpose and Life Vision
Taming your Inner Critic
My Requirements, Needs and Wants
My Relationship History and Patterns
My Relationship plan
Lifetime Partner Profile
Attracting the right Partner
AND MUCH MORE
RECEIVE a 147-Page PDF to print.
It's the Program Book and it includes 18 Exercises
in English or French.
Classes are in English but participants can ask questions
in English or French.
Remember to ask about our bonuses!
Don’t waste another second getting bullied by the voices in your head. Your life and your mission are far too important for that.
You’ll be glad you did.
Please reply to 1-855-383-2323 to register or ask questions and my staff at Absolute Bachelor Club will take care of you.
To your Success,
Founder, Certified Matchmaker and Dating Coach
Updated February 28, 2018
I Left the Love of My Life
by Karen Cross (cir. 2013)
I left the love of my life because
I thought I could do better.
Now I'm childless and alone at 42
Laughing and dancing with my fiance at our engagement party, I thought I might actually burst with happiness.
Surrounded by our family and friends, I looked at Matthew and felt certain I had met the man I was going to spend the rest of my life with.
Quite simply, he was my soulmate.
It all seemed so simple to my naïve, 19-year-old self.
I was, I smugly told myself, the girl who had it all.
So why, 20 years later, do I find myself single, childless and tormented by the fact that I have thrown away the only true chance of happiness I ever had?
Eight years after that wonderful engagement party in 1989,
I walked away from dear, devoted, loyal Matthew,
convinced that somewhere out there,
a better, more exciting,
more fulfilling life awaited me.
Only there wasn't.
Now I am 42
and have all the trappings of success
- a high-flying career, financial security
and a home in the heart of London's trendy Notting Hill.
But I don't have the one thing I crave more than anything:
a loving husband and family.
'My father warned me not to throw this love away. But I was sure I'd find Mr Perfect around the corner'
You see, I never did find another man
who offered everything Matthew did,
who understood me and loved me like he did.
Someone who was my best friend as well as my lover.
Today, seeing friends
with their children around them
as I know I am unlikely ever
to have a family of my own.
I think about the times
Matthew and I talked about having children,
even discussing the names we would choose.
I cannot believe I turned my back
on so much happiness.
Instead, here I am back on the singles market,
looking for the very thing
I discarded with barely a backward glance
all those years ago.
I know I can't have Matthew back,
and it hurts when I hear
snippets of information
about his life
and how content he is.
Fifteen years after I ended our relationship,
he is happily married.
At this time of year, so many people will be assessing their lives and relationships, wondering if the grass is greener on the other side.
Many will mistake contentment for boredom, forgetting to cherish the good things they have.
I would urge those who are considering walking away from such riches to think again.
How different things would be for me now if only I'd listened to Matthew when he pleaded with me not to leave him in 1997,
tears pouring down his face.
I was crying too,
and it tortured me
to watch the heart of the man I loved
breaking in front of me.
But I was resolute.
'One day I might look back and realize
I've made the biggest mistake of my life,'
I told him as we clung to each other desperately.
How prophetic those words have proven to be.
'I will always be here for you,'
And I, arrogantly,
thought that somehow
I could put him on ice and return to him.
Matthew and I met when we attended the same comprehensive school in Essex.
We started dating just before Christmas 1987 when I was 17 and studying for my A-levels.
By that time he had left school and was working as a motorcycle courier.
We got on like a house on fire, and our families each supported the relationship.
Before long, we had fallen in love.
Matthew was romantic but incredibly practical, something that would later come to annoy me.
His gifts to me that Christmas were a leather jacket - and a pair of thermal leggings.
Two weeks later, when we'd been seeing each other for less than a month, he proposed.
We were in my little Mini Clubman when he shouted at me to stop the car.
Scared something was wrong, I braked in the middle of traffic and we both jumped out.
Then, oblivious to the other drivers beeping their horns, he got down on one knee in the middle of the road.
'I love you, Karen Cross,' he said.
'Promise you'll marry me one day.'
I laughed and said yes, thrilled that he felt the same way that I did.
In the summer of 1989, while out for a romantic meal, Matthew proposed properly with a diamond solitaire ring.
Two months later, we held our engagement party for 40 friends and family at the little house we were renting at the time.
The following year, we bought a tiny starter home in Grays, Essex, which we moved into with furniture
we had begged, borrowed and stolen.
We giggled with delight at the thought of this grown-up new life.
I was in my first junior role at a women's magazine
and Matthew worked fitting tyres and exhausts,
so our combined salaries of around £15,000 a year
meant we struggled to make the mortgage payments.
But we didn't care,
telling ourselves that it wouldn't be long before
we were earning more
and able to afford weekly treats
and a bigger home
where we could bring up the babies we had planned.
the housing market crashed
and we were plunged into negative equity.
Struggling should have brought us closer together,
and at first it did.
But as time went on,
and my magazine career - and salary - advanced,
I started to resent Matthew
as he drifted from one dead-end job to another.
I still loved him,
but I began to feel embarrassed by his blue-collar jobs,
despite his intelligence,
he didn't have a career.
Then he bought a lurid blue and pink VW Beetle.
Why couldn't he drive a normal car?
Things that now seem incredibly insignificant began to niggle.
I began to wish he was more sophisticated and earned more.
I felt envious of friends with better-off partners,
who were able to support them as they started their families.
I stopped seeing Matthew as my equal.
I stopped seeing all the qualities that had made me fall in love with him - his fierce intelligence, our shared sense of humour, his determination not to follow the crowd.
I saw someone who was holding me back.
I encouraged him to find a career
and was thrilled when he was accepted
to join the police in 1995.
It should have heralded a new chapter in our lives,
but it only hastened the end.
We went from spending every evening
and weekend together,
to hardly seeing one another.
Matthew was doing round-the-clock shifts,
while I worked long hours
on the launch of a new magazine.
Our sex life had dwindled
and nights out together were rare.
I stopped appreciating little things he did,
like leaving romantic notes on the pillow
or scouring secondhand bookshops
for novels he knew I'd love.
He was my best friend,
yet I took him totally for granted.
After festering for weeks about his shortcomings,
I told Matthew I was leaving.
We spent hours talking and crying
as he tried to convince me to stay,
but I was adamant.
My parents were horrified
that I was walking away
from a man they felt was right for me.
My father's words to me that day continue to haunt me.
'Karen, think carefully about what you're doing.
There's a lot to be said for someone who truly loves you.'
But, I refused to listen,
convinced there would be another,
better Mr Right waiting around the corner.
I moved into a rented flat a few miles away
in Hornchurch, Essex,
and embraced single life
with a vengeance.
By now I was an editor on a national magazine.
Life was one long round of premieres
and dinner or drinks parties.
Matthew and I remained close,
even telling each other about new relationships.
But though I'd dumped him,
I never felt the women he met were good enough.
I can see now I was acting out of jealousy.
I clearly wanted to keep him for myself.
Our closeness was,
however, called to a halt in 2000
when he met his first serious girlfriend after me, Sara.
One night shortly after his 34th birthday,
I phoned to ask his advice about something.
Matthew was unusually abrupt
and asked me not to call him again.
'Please don't send me birthday or Christmas cards
any more either.
Sara opened your card last week
and was really upset.
I have to put her feelings first.'
I hated the fact Matthew
was suddenly putting another woman before me.
How dare she come between us!
Over the next few weeks,
I'm ashamed to say
I vented my spleen at both of them
in a series of heated phone calls.
I was completely irrational.
I didn't want Matthew back,
but felt upstaged by Sara.
after one particularly nasty argument,
Matthew put the phone down
and refused to take any more of my calls.
I didn't realize it at the time,
but I would never speak to him again.
I met Richard.
It was a whirlwind romance,
and within a year we were engaged
and buying an idyllic farmhouse
in the Norfolk countryside
while I continued my journalistic career,
commuting to London.
He was a successful singer
and, as we toured the country,
I thought I had finally found
the excitement and love
that I craved.
But Matthew was never far from my thoughts,
and Richard complained
that I often brought him into conversations,
even comparing them both.
They were so different.
Although outwardly romantic,
Richard was repeatedly unfaithful,
and I never felt secure enough
to start a family with him.
after three-and-a-half years together,
he walked out,
having admitted his latest paramour
was pregnant by him.
My life fell apart.
Over the next year,
I struggled to pull myself back together
and did a lot of soul-searching.
I finally understood what my father had meant.
I realized Matthew was the only person
who had loved and understood me.
When I heard through a mutual friend
that he had split up with Sara,
I wrote to him,
apologising and asking for forgiveness
- and a second chance.
It was six years since we had last spoken,
but naively I thought he would want to hear from me.
What I didn't know
was that Sara
was still living at the house
and it was she
my very personal letter.
It included my phone number,
and she left me several angry,
I had inadvertently caused problems
in Matthew's life,
so it was unsurprising
I never heard from him,
despite writing several times
over the next few months.
In the end,
I left it at birthday
and Christmas cards,
thinking he'd find a way
to get in touch
if he ever changed his mind.
Then, I heard a couple of years ago
Matthew had married
his new partner, Nicola.
For a few moments I couldn't breathe,
then the tears came.
Matthew and Nicola still live in Essex
and, as far as I know, don't yet have children.
That's the next milestone I truly dread.
It's been 11 years since Matthew and I last spoke,
and I have to accept that door has closed.
Perhaps he has found what he is looking for
and I am a distant memory.
I have had one other
significant relationship since Richard
- with Rob -
but that recently ended after four years.
Rob reminded me a lot of Matthew.
He was decent and honourable,
the life and soul of the party but with a kind and sensitive side.
But we were each too jaded
by previous heartbreak to make it work.
And while I wanted children,
he had a grown-up son and didn't want to start over again.
So once again I am on my own,
my mind full of 'if-onlys'.
If only I'd stayed with Matthew,
we'd almost certainly be married with children.
Or, maybe Matthew wasn't the right man.
I will never know the answer,
but my decision to leave him
has definitely cost me the chance
of ever becoming a mother.
Now I can only look back
and admonish my selfish,
When I visit friends and family back in our home town,
I can't help but hope I'll bump into Matthew.
I'd like to think I'd say sorry.
That I will always be there for him.
But I wouldn't be surprised
if he turned his back on me and kept walking.
To those out there thinking of walking away from humdrum relationships,
I would say don't mistake contentment for unhappiness, as I did.
It could be a choice you'll regret for the rest of your life.
Dr. Laurie Betito Quotes