Why I: Got Married Young

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I’ve had a few people ask in the last few months, how I met my husband. So I thought that the next post in my Why I series, could be about why I got married young.

I look younger than my actual age, and when people hear that I’ve been married for almost 11 years, they instantly ask my age.

I’m turning 34 this year and I married when I was 23. People always say that’s really young to get married, but I say if you know you want to marry someone it doesn’t really matter how old or young you are!

I met G-Man when I was 19, through a friend’s boyfriend. Our official story is that we met at Glastonbury music festival. The truth is we had met a couple of months before that, and had even had a conversation at a party but the evening wasn’t about meeting boys and so our encounter was brief.

So, when we met up at Glastonbury we were able to have proper conversations, relax and watch music together. And he stayed with me and my friend the whole time he was at the festival.

There was definite sparkage between us, and I knew I liked him. We saw each other pretty much every day from that point on. After about a month I knew this was something serious and the rest, as they say, is history!

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This was the first photo of us together, in my bright orange bedroom!

We look a little different now!

We got married in the garden of a little private manor house in Hatfield, under the roof of a mini garden pavilion, whilst our friends and families sat theatre style outside on the lawn. I walked up the aisle of lavender and it was the shortest but most-perfect ceremony. A beautiful September day, small wedding and fantastic start to our married life together.

Over the years, I’ve had friends ask me things like ‘how do you know when you’re ready to get married?’, ‘how do you know you want to marry someone?’ – and I almost always answer the clichéd ‘you just know’. And that’s because you do – you just know. As certain as you know you’re alive, you just know. And if you’re questioning it, then that’s between you and your partner to work out.

I love my marriage. We get on like a house on fire, we’re best friends and though we used to argue, we know how to argue productively now. I wouldn’t say we even do argue any more. He’s the best thing in my life, and I’m happy every single day because of him.

I don’t want this to sound soppy, but everything I’ve said is true. He’s a proper gentleman and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my days with him!

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Friends Without Faces

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It must have been about 1998 that I found this poem online. As a 15-year-old ‘geek’ who spent a lot of time on mIRC speaking to strangers, chatting on message boards and making ‘friends’ it really spoke to me. I printed it out and put it on my wall.

We sit and we type, and we stare at our screens,
We all have to wonder, what this possibly means.
With our mouse we roam, through the rooms in a maze,
Looking for something or someone, as we sit in a daze.

We chat with each other, we type all our woes,
Small groups we do form, and gang up on our foes.
We wait for somebody, to type out our name,
We want recognition, but it is always the same.

We give kisses and hugs, and sometimes flirt,
In IMs we chat deeply, and reveal why we hurt.
We do form friendships – but – why we don’t know,
But some of these friendships, will flourish and grow.

Why is it on screen, we can be so bold,
Telling our secrets, that have never been told.
Why is it we share, the thoughts in our mind,
With those we can’t see, as though we were blind.

The answer is simple, it is as clear as a bell.
We all have our problems, and need someone to tell.
We can’t tell “real” people, but tell someone we must,
So we turn to the ‘puter, and to those we can trust.

Even though it is crazy, the truth still remains,
They are Friends Without Faces, and odd little names.

by Thomas Teague

I loved how true it was, and even though it was written so long ago it’s still an ongoing reality for a huge amount of people. And I feel that years down the line I’m a lucky person to have made actual friends from these strangers with ‘odd little names’.

Some of these people live in other countries and it’s not likely that we’ll ever meet, but I would still call them friends. Others I have met only a handful of times but would call them friends. Some I meet regularly and would definitely call them friends. When the internet first became something you could have in your home, people thought I was weird to go and meet these people who I had never seen in real life, had never heard their voices or even knew what they looked like (it was unusual to post up photos of yourself back then). It was odd to travel, meet and spend a whole day with strangers – but they weren’t really strangers. And I enjoyed the buzz of nervous adrenaline involved.

It’s less unusual these days what with internet dating, and Catfish regularly shows us the dangers of meeting and trusting people online. I’m lucky that I’ve never knowingly been duped or in danger from any of the people I have “met” and count my blessings that the small group of people I have become acquainted with have turned out to be who they say they are. Most recently I have become part of the blogging community more and mostly with runners – they’re a lovely lot. Running certainly brings people together through sharing their stories, struggles and achievements, and I’m really glad to be a part of it.

It’s a strange place, the internet. We share more openly and honestly than we would face to face. We can air our anxieties, problems and wishes. We can create a stronger appearance of ourselves and be selective with how people really see us, all in the name of popularity and being liked. But when it comes to the crunch we all just want to be accepted for who we are.

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The ‘x’ Factor

I think it’s safe to say we all know the ‘dance’ of dating has changed a lot since the days when it was called courting and people weren’t allowed to touch each other without the permission of their Fathers. I’m talking Pride and Prejudice times here. I have recently found out that even a touch of the hand was considered a highly forward move and could set any girl’s heart a-flutter.

The thing that got me thinking about this was that recently, in two separate conversations with friends, the subject of a ‘x’ at the end of a text message was brought up. The first occasion was whilst talking with a friend about a guy she’d just met in a pub. She liked the look of the guy and spent a while chatting to him, and when her and her male friend were leaving the pub, they asked it the guy she’d just met would like to come back to hers for a few more drinks. Her male friend (just a friend) was asked to do a little digging into the new guy’s history and suss out whether he was a keeper or a chucker. So she went to the loo and when she came back the new guy had agreed to come back to her’s for a few. So they spent the evening chatting and getting to know each other. Then on leaving they swapped numbers. The next day he texted and asked whether she’d be back at the pub the next week (he worked there). It was all very straight forward except for a ‘x’ at the end of the text. Now my friend’s very straight down the line. She doesn’t tend to over think things and will be very straight forward with you. Except this threw her, and got us all into a bit of a debate. Should she write a ‘x’ back, when she replied?

Now I’ve got a bit of an issue with the ‘x’ or typed kiss. It’s all these social network’s fault. You may have noticed it with your friends on Facebook particularly. My friends are all very flippant with their kisses on the ends of their status updates. For example; “just off to walk the dog x” or “about to cook chili x” or “all men are bastards and I hate my life x”. Get the idea? It really grates on me. The sad thing is, I’ve found myself, on occasion, having to stop myself doing the same thing….. oh dear.

Anyway, this was relevant to my friend because we had to decide whether he was the kind of person who automatically writes ‘x’ at the end of everything, or if he was doing it in a flirty way (or even in just a friendly way). In the times of Austen an ‘x’ at the end of a letter would have probably promised marriage. We decided that she should ignore the kiss and just reply how she would normally, whether she put a ‘x’ or not should be different from what she would have written to anyone else.

Another friend brought this up the other day when she was talking about men. Men in general, she’d worked out, are not that dissimilar to us women. In fact they can be more neurotic and pedantic. She illustrated this by telling me about an argument she’d had with one of her house mates. He’d told her he could tell when she was pissed off at him because she wouldn’t put ‘xx’ at the end of her text messages. She thought back to the text he was referring to, and remembered that she had, in that split second, deliberately not added the ‘xx’ because she was in a mood with him, and she hadn’t felt like sharing the love at that moment. And it was the fact that he had noticed the absence of kisses, that troubled her the most. He was right about her motive (despite her not really taking much thought over the decision at the time), but it got her into thinking about all his text messages where he hadn’t put kisses either. Before this she wouldn’t have thought into it, but now she realised he was as analytical and deliberate as her.

So this is the power of the ‘x’ in a text or email. It feeds our neurosis. A quick simple text, sent on the spur of a thought, gone in a flash…. and then obsessed over for hours (sometimes by more than one person!). The simple art of courting/dating made complicated by one little letter.

That certainly gives new meaning to the ‘x’ factor.