A Thirty Year Fling!

Jane and Joe

Today’s story is my favourite because it is mine! My husband Joe and I have been married for 31 years.  I first met my husband through a mutual friend.  I was in my early twenties and had just come out of a divorce. I got married when I had just turned 19 which is a story for another day. A good friend of mine, Susan, said “I have this guy I really want you to meet.” and she tried to set us up.  However, we both said “No, we don’t need to be set up.”  Then one night we were in a bar together and this guy came over to say hello to Susan and she later told me that that was him.  I didn’t think anything of it.  Soon after, I left Winnipeg in Canada and went to graduate school. In the first year of the MBA program each student belongs to a study group that meets regularly to discuss cases. In my second year we remained close and I hosted a dinner party for my study group and before it was over, my friend said he had to go and meet his high school buddies who had come from Winnipeg for a visit.  Later in the evening, I met his buddies at the bar and again at a party afterward.  My thoughts were cute but drunken goofballs–a little harsh on my behalf because I know I over imbibed in university once or twice. 

We all graduated a few months later and I went back to Winnipeg and the company that hired me flew me back to find a place to live and I met up with my girlfriend and she said “Now that you’re back, I’ve got to set you up with that guy.” Susan started to describe him and it turns out he was one of the drunken goof balls. Then I moved into my apartment and she was with me again and she said, “Guess who lives in this building?”  Okay Universe, I’m getting the message. 

Shortly after moving back, I called Joe and his friend and asked if they would like to have lunch with me. Joe said we’re both up in my apartment which was a couple floors above mine, and we can come down now and have a beer with you. And that was the beginning.

My friend from my study group wrote me a letter telling me about his travels and asking if I had met up with Joe and Colin, his two high school friends. He wrote, “If you want a long term relationship you should go out with Colin but if you want a fling you should go out with Joe. I had already started seeing Joe and besides, at the time, a fling seemed like a good option as I was planning on moving to Vancouver within a year. So I like to refer to our relationship as our ongoing fling.

It was a short romance because I think both of us knew early on that we would be together. We started dating at the end of May and he asked me to marry him in December. I definitely knew by about October that I was going to marry Joe. When I returned home from a business trip just before Christmas, Joe wanted me to open a present from him. Inside the wrapping was a piece of paper asking if I would marry him.

I would take the bus from work and then walk down the street to my apartment and on at least three occasions Joe “happened to be” in the elevator when I arrived. He has since confessed that he would wait and watch for me and then jump on the elevator. One time I asked if he’d like to come up and have dinner. I made Hawaiian Meatballs. When I asked Joe when did he know that I was the one, he said it was the dinner with the meatballs. So I had to include the recipe even though I haven’t made it in years and no longer eat beef. I have made them with turkey meatballs and vegetarian meatballs and they also work.

When I asked Joe what he thought made us work, he said

That’s the easiest question, it’s respect. I respect you.


If we had advice to give to people it would be to not give up. When the kids were around 6 and 3, Joe and I separated for ten months. We decided to get back together and of course there have been ups and downs in our marriage since and we know that we are committed to making it work.

I think the other thing that makes us work is our ability to go with flow. When you live in different countries and different homes, situations are not going to be as you anticipate all the time. For example, renting homes in Australia was a completely different experience than North America and took some time to adjust. You have to be able to go with the flow and just laugh sometimes.

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