Friends Make Good Partners

Together 15 Years

Doug and Tim

Toronto, Ontario

Doug and Tim met on the Internet through a website called Man Line which doesn’t exist anymore.  Doug had been combing the internet for months and power dating. He had a list of men and their phone numbers that he had met and then scratched their numbers off and Tim’s number was the last number on the list. Doug still has the list with Tim’s name on the bottom. 

After a number of emails back and forth, they had their first phone chat which initially didn’t go great as Doug said, “So you’re the nurse, right?” At this point he had dated so many people that he couldn’t keep everyone straight in his head.  They still joke about this because Doug wasn’t completely sure who Tim was on the list. 

On the other hand, Tim had no list and in fact Doug was Tim’s very first steady boyfriend.  Tim had gone on a few dates—Doug quips that they were mostly with girls and nothing to write home about. 

They finally met at a Starbucks to speak in person. Tim had picked up the magazine that Doug worked for at the time.  He started flipping through the magazine and there was Doug’s kitchen reno in one article and in another he shared his best gluten free chicken recipe.  They had a nice chat and realized they were both from Manitoba and Tim had even been to Doug’s tiny little home town of Pilot Mound.  One of Tim’s friends was injured at a nearby ski resort and they ended up having to stay overnight in the Pilot Mound Hotel.  They chose to splurge on the room and paid $15 because they wanted their own bathroom—a shared bathroom was $10.00 per night. Tim and his friend didn’t have any money so they took the girl’s wallet who was injured and went down to the hotel bar and had a great time drinking beer with the locals. 

The coffee conversation led to their first official date—a dinner date. Doug was typsy because he had been having pints with someone beforehand.  Tim made an entrance walking up to the second-floor restaurant wearing Prada boots and a Prada shirt only to walk over and say that he had to leave and have a nervous pee which meant walking all the way down to the basement. At the end of the meal Tim came over and sat beside Doug on his side of the banquette. When they left, Doug walked Tim to his corner, they kissed goodnight and as Tim walked away, Doug heard him yelling, “You better call me!”  and Doug did.

Their second date was similar—another restaurant nearby.  Afterward they got caught making out in the bike room of Tim’s condo as someone saw that the bike room light was on and stuck their head in. Tim told Doug several months later that he didn’t wash his face from kissing that night because he wanted to prolong the feeling–a very sweet gesture.  

Enjoying the spa!

Doug claims he had to teach him Tim how to be a boyfriend and he was a quick study.  Doug threw a big party at his new home and Tim came with an ice bucket full of tequilla, ice and limes.  That was very intuitive. Tim knew how to vie Doug with tequilla. He came to the party with a friend/wingman and over the course of the evening he ended up meeting two of Doug’s old boyfriends.  By the end of the evening the only people left at the party were Tim and Doug’s two former boyfriends all sitting on the couch.  Awkward!  For some reason they just stuck around. When Tim went to the bathroom, Doug had to tell them, “You guys have to go.” 

Doug went on a big trip with a bunch of arts-industry people and he called Tim from China.  Doug realized he was calling this guy he hardly knew from a foreign country and that was his first inkling that he really liked Tim. Tim said he knew pretty quickly after very few dates that Doug was the one for him.  They agreed that having both come from a similar background in Winnipeg and rural Manitoba made a difference in their relationship. 

Marriage has been “discussed” regularly and Doug has been a bit of a hold out.  However, Tim says come back and see if there’s a ring on his finger next year. 

Doug says, not so much now as they are older and tougher. “The world has changed and now there are gay people running for President of the US.”  The 80’s and 90’s were hard and Doug says he missed out on jobs because, “I was trying to get into boys’ clubs and no one was going to hire the gay kid at the TV station or the record company. I found a nice home in publishing.” On occasion Doug will experience discrimination abroad as he is a travel writer and travels extensively.  Tim has not experienced discrimination as a nurse.

Doug says, they work together well because they are very good friends and they have the same sense of humour.  We joke around and don’t take anything too seriously.  Although Tim says, “Doug can hold a grudge like nobody else.”

They push each other’s buttons for sure and Doug says, “I fight with Tim more than I’ve fought with any other partner but our fights don’t last very long.  We sort of know when to back off or shut up or both.” An important skill in a relationship—know when to fold them.

Looks fade but someone who makes you laugh is the prize.

Doug
Doug and Tim on One of Their Many Trips Together

They like the same pasttimes—eating, drinking, and travel with the exception of their choice of television shows. Tim likes murder mysteries and action and Doug likes Turner Classics and ghost stories.

Doug’s advice for younger couples is to put away the phone and talk more about their feelings rather than letting it fester. “All this phone stuff keeps people from talking about how they feel–people keep things bottled up and don’t say what’s on their mind.”

Broadcast Love wishes Doug and Tim a lifetime of laughs, good food and some great travelling stories . 

The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face

Married 49 Years

Kees and Marie

Marie had planned a trip to Europe with her girlfriend.  They were both Greek and they initially went to her girlfriend’s families’ home in Greece.  They travelled to Holland and she stayed at family friends where she met Kees.  He was in a band with one of the brothers from the family where she was staying.  Marie had met a fellow at a dance and he wanted to take her out on a date and the family was very protective and said, “No, no, we’ll have a party and you can socialize there.”

Kees walked in, saw Marie in her red velvet coat with fur trim and her jet black hair and he knew she was the one. 

Marie was sitting beside this guy she had met at the dance and Kees sat down on the other side of him.  Kees and Marie just leaned in and spoke around him. He was no competition. 

They didn’t know how each other felt. Marie left Holland with her girlfriend and carried on with her trip around Europe.  They got to Italy and decided to split up for a couple of weeks and then reconnect in Greece and fly home together.  Her girlfriend went back to Greece to be with her family and Marie went back to Holland for a couple of weeks. 

Marie was in a car with some of the brothers from the family where she was staying and they asked her if she wanted to come to the band rehearsal and she said, “ Sure, I’ll come.”  They picked up Kees and he opened the door, carrying a bag of chips, looked at Marie and went, “It’s you,” with a big smile on his face.  Kees thought he had lost her.  The night before Marie was leaving to go back to Greece and fly home, they were spending time together and Kees was flipping through a magazine and reading his star sign.  He interpreted his horoscope to mean, “If you don’t say something now, it will never happen.”  He put down the magazine and said “I kind of really like you” and Marie said the same thing.  They went for a walk and had their first kiss.  Before she left, Kees said, “I’m coming to Australia for you.”  The next day Marie took a train and headed back to Australia.

Marie is of Greek origin and her mother wanted more than anything for her to marry a man with the same religion and ethnic background.  She had even tried to arrange some suitors who Marie didn’t like at all.  They okayed her trip because she was going with a Greek girl to a Greek family in Greece.  They had envisioned a big fat Greek wedding. When she returned her dad asked if she had met anyone—thinking she might have found a nice Greek boy.  You can imagine how it was received when Marie said, “Oh yes, I met someone and he’s not Greek.”  Her father said, “Don’t tell your Mom—I’ll tell her.”

Kees knew immediately.  Kees had had a fair bit of experience with girls which is why he was so confident that Marie was who he needed.

I was put on this planet to meet this lady.

Kees

Marie liked Kees right from the beginning.  She was quite naïve and had very little experience with men.  She didn’t think of herself as attractive so she was a bit concerned to throw herself into something and possibly get hurt.  After about a month of Kees being in Australia, Marie knew he was the one. Kees gave up so much for her.  What sealed it was when she went to him and said she didn’t think she could leave Australia and that’s when she knew for sure that he was totally committed to her.  The prospect of not being together was not something he was willing to entertain. 

They hadn’t been out together or had time alone together.  It just seemed to click—they had so many similarities even physical ones like tiny hands, Marie jokes.  It took nine months to get everything in order from the authorities so that Kees could go to Australia. Marie left in January, 1972 and in December of that year Kees arrived. 

In the meantime, they were writing each other.  Sometimes one or two times a day, sometimes even three.  Kees numbered them so you could read them in numerical order.  They have kept all these letters and they are numbered and dated—there are stacks of them. Kees proposed to Marie in one of these letters.  He wrote a poem and the last line was, Will you be my wife?  I’m coming to Australia and my intentions are to marry you.  He had to wait a week to get her response!

Marie thought it was all very romantic from the first letter she received and he made little cassette tapes and even sent flowers.  My mother would get upset every time another letter would come so their next door neighbour, who was about 70 at the time would race to their mail box before her mother got home and kept all Marie’s letters to the side for her so her mother couldn’t destroy anything. 

In order to be allowed into Australia, Kees had to have someone who would vouch for him and have a job arranged.  Marie’s father had arranged all of this for Kees and they became very close and had a fantastic relationship.  If it wasn’t for Marie’s father she would never have been allowed to marry Kees.  For years Marie’s mother didn’t want anything to do with Kees.  It wasn’t until she got dementia that she forgot about her feelings toward him and now she thinks he’s the best person ever.   

Kees arrived in December and they were married in June.  Kees was young and naïve and he didn’t realize that he should have had his own place.  Instead he lived with Marie’s family and as such was around her mother and open to her criticism on a regular basis.  He was taking her criticism very seriously and he was losing weight and very upset. He told Marie that he was going back to Holland because he wasn’t really happy.  Marie said “You go back to Holland and I’ll stay and sort things out over here and join you. “  Later that evening, he went to bed and a little while later Marie knocked on his bedroom door and said, “I wasn’t honest with you, if you went back to Holland I wouldn’t be able to come.”  Kees said “Okay then I won’t go back.” 

Shortly after that they put things into motion and asked Marie’s mom if they could get engaged in April and married in June.  Kees still had to get the approval of her family.  There was no issue with her father. He could see they were going to be happy and that they loved each other but her mother had to be convinced.  She was still keen on the Greek man but an arranged marriage would have been no good for anyone.  They married for the right reasons.  Marie’s father had two younger sisters and one had the opportunity to marry a friend and the father wouldn’t let the marriage go ahead because he wasn’t Greek.  She ended up marrying this Greek man that ended up physically abusing her and she was so unhappy.  Her dad did not want this to happen to Marie.  He said, “I’m not forcing you into anything–it should be your choice. Whatever decision you make, you will live with.”  Her mom had grown up with strict rules about how you were to live your life while her father was open to different ways of doing things. 

They were both very young when they met–Kees was 19 and Marie 21 and they got married when they were 23 and 20.  They worked very hard and did Marie’s Europe trip all over again together traveling for 3 or 4 months on their honeymoon where they really got to know each other. There was no expectation on either side to change religion.  They did Greek Easter and Christmas and the kids were baptized in the Greek Orthodox church.  Kees was fine with that, it was never going to be anything that came between them. To him it was important that the kids had some sort of religious base to work off. As it turned out the children got married in different churches. 

The engagement party was more for her mother’s sake than theirs.  It allowed her to do things in the Greek tradition.  Then it took a couple of months to organize the wedding and they were married in June.  Kees said he would have done everything the same except he would have had his own place to live once he arrived in Australia so as not be under the scrutiny of Marie’s mom 24/7.  He chocks that up to immaturity because he was only 19. 

In addition to being each other’s best friends, Kees says having mutual goals has always helped them work together.  They always set themselves goals—whether it be a trip or something they wanted to buy.  They always had similar ideas of what the goal should be and as a result it was something they could both get behind and they looked forward to achieving it. 

Marie said their focus was always on the family and children.  Whatever work they did, and they worked hard, it was all to bring themselves to a point that they could pay for the education of their children. Although it was difficult to travel because they were self-employed, they made a point of travelling overseas every four years so their children could meet their Dutch family.   

To think I went all the way to Holland to meet my life partner who I think I was meant to be with and it turned out wonderful!

Marie

Broadcast Love wishes Kees and Marie many more decades of laughter and friendship together.

Love at First Swipe

Michele and Tom

Together 11 years, Married 9 Years

Tom and Michele met online. On the site that they were on, you put up your profile and it asks for a radius of how far a distance from where you live you are willing to meet someone and then you receive a list of similar people. You review them and decide if you would be interested in contacting them. Tom’s profile came up and Michele decided to message him. She said to herself, “No one knows but me that I’m contacting him so if he’s not interested there are no hurt feelings and I won’t feel rejected. Tom answered right away. For some reason it was the only time Michele blocked her phone number after selecting him so she would be doing the calling. The following day, Michele decided to reach out to Tom. It happened to be Boxing Day and she was out shopping. Tom was leaving for Saskatoon, Saskatchewan with his kids to visit his family. On December 30, after Tom returned they went for a drink. When they were talking on the phone they went through the usual questions, like Where are you from? and Where did you grow up? Michele said, “I’m from a small town and I’m sure you’ve never heard of it. Tom said “Try me.” She said “Pilot Mound, Manitoba.” Tom said “Do you know the Brooks’? and Michele replied “Yes” and Tom asked further, “Do you know Derek Brooks?” Michele in shock replied, “I used to babysit him and now he is one of my closest friends.” Michele is from the same home town as me and it has a population of 700 people so you can imagine that she was quite surprised when their two worlds collided.

It was a Thursday when they met and Michele had plans for New Years’ Eve and Tom came with her to a party and met several of her friends. Two days later Michele took Tom to one of her closest friends’ for dinner.

Tom commented that, “It’s easy enough to sort out what you have in common and your interests through your on-line profiles and having both coming from previous relationships you have realistic expectations. You’re down to earth and more practical.” For Tom, if nothing else it was a bit of a pasttime-looking through profiles.

I was just looking for normal and was so pleasantly surprised. It was such an easy fit so soon after we met.

Tom

They started dating with greater frequency after New Years. Within four or five months they had a pretty good idea that they wanted to be together. Michele started to bring little end tables over and knickknacks to his house to make it look more cosy. After five months they decided they would just move in together. Tom said they were so comfortable and it felt right almost immediately. They were compatible and had everything they were each looking for.

Michele knew pretty quickly Tom was the one for her. She knew what she did and didn’t want and for her it was just all there with Tom. They didn’t make the commitment til a few months in but they knew beforehand. Early on in the relationship, Michele talked to a friend who had known Tom for years through business dealings and her friend commented, “If I had to describe Tom in one word it would be genuine.” It’s an amazing way to describe someone and her friend’s comments made a big impression on Michele.

Michele’s children were adults and living in a different province. Tom’s children were 12 and 14 and he saw his children at different times of the week and on the weekend. It was not an issue at all, rather it was just a matter of everyone finding the new norm and establishing their relationship.

June 1st 2011, was the day Tom and Michele moved in together. That weekend they were lying in bed on Sunday morning having a practical discussion about their relationship and the fact they now lived under one roof. I think we had decided what we wanted in the other person and Tom just very casually proposed, “Why don’t we just get married?” Tom remarked, “We are both relationship people–we crave having someone in our lives. Since we were going to be together anyway we might as well get married.

The following year Tom and Michele were married by a Justice of the Peace in the Fort Gary Hotel in Winnipeg, Manitoba in front of a small group of friends and family.

It was a cocktail party and they got married in the middle of it.

Michele

Tom says he knows it’s a cliche, but appreciate what you have.

Once you have a certain amount of life experience, you realize what your priorities are and it’s not about having the biggest bank account and its not about having a track record of amazing trips or a garage full of fabulous sports cars; it’s about having genuine happiness in your life and the kind of people in your life that you want to share that with.

Tom

It’s just being able to sit back appreciate someone else’s company appreciate your quality of life and appreciate being able to laugh and just enjoy things and having stability and security and that feeling of being appreciated and loved by someone else. Those are the things that are super meaningful and if you take that into account and you understand what’s really important, it makes life a whole not easier. You’re not chasing some crazy rainbow that isn’t all that important.

I wish everyone laughs as much as we do.

Michele agrees 100 percent. Her wish is that everyone else laughs as much as we do–tears in eyes laughter. We enjoy each other’s company and he is my very best friend and there is no one I would rather spend time with. We have fun together–we play the music loud and car dance just getting the groceries.

When they moved back to Manitoba, Michele tried to book the table at the bar where they first had met and had a drink together and then Covid hit and the bars were closed. Some people have struggled in the pandemic because they have no outside social circle but we have enjoyed each other’s company. When they only wanted one person per household to do errands it was tough because they do everything together whether it’s getting groceries or going to the mall. They don’t like to go on their own because they really do enjoy each other’s company.

Michele says the biggest thing they work at every day is communication. Our communication styles are completely different. There are different things you can adjust. For example, how you do things to fit with how your partner does them or things you can meld together to match your partner’s way of doing something. Communication styles aren’t like that. You have to learn what your partner’s style is, understand it and appreciate it.

“I’m a talker,” says Michele. “I don’t need a yes or no but I do need to say all the words that are in my head. Tom is not. He is a muller and if something comes up he doesn’t react to the conversation. It feels to me sometimes and what I’ve had to get past, is the feeling that he’s shut down when really he just needs time to process.” If they are having an emotional discussion their extreme communication styles makes it tough. If it’s household things it’s not really difficult. They’ve grown the most from their abilty to adapt to their different styles.

How incredibly lucky it is that we found each other given that there were so many people on line.

Michele

Broadcast Love wishes Michele and Tom many more years of laughter and joy together!

I’ll Be Whoever You Want Me to Be

Together 8 Years

David and Janice

Victoria, Canada

A girlfriend of Janice’s who she met doing a commercial said, “You should meet film Dave. Everyone knows him.” and Janice said, “I don’t know him.” “He’s having his Halloween party and you should come.” Several years ago David was known for his epic Halloween parties–the kind where the police show up a couple of times. Curious to meet him, Janice rode her bike over in the rain and crashed the party.

Janice showed up in a Rocky Horror Show costume looking a bit like Magenta, the maid of Frank-N-Furter and introduced herself to David. Janice thought David looked like David Bowie and she said “Are you David Bowie? “ He said, “No, but I’ll be whoever you want me to be.” This was the line that attracted Janice initially.  He was supposed to be Buddy Holly.  A couple of hours later, David just remembers watching Janice walk out the door and thought I need to find out how to get a hold of her.  Janice was thinking I met this lovely guy and never heard from him again for two months but there was a reason for that.

It took some sleuthing after the party to get in touch with Janice as his buddy-who was Janice’s friends’ partner, was suddenly quite protective of Janice. He was a casual acquaintance that David would go to night clubs with.  In order to get Janice’s contact information, he found himself heading out for dinner with him and basically being interviewed.  Tired of the scrutiny, David took a different approach and went to Facebook and looked through his buddy’s partner’s friends, found Janice and sent her a message.  A couple of months later they finally went out on their first date to ReBar—a vegetarian restaurant.  They connected right away on a few things art wise like opera and film and ended up going to the Victoria Film Festival together.

David arguably knew the second she walked into the party that Janice was the one and definitely as he watched her walk out the door of the party.  They are opposite in many ways—Janice being a yoga instructor and David being a self-professed, typical Type A personality—always on the go.  Janice has tried to get him to meditate and he can do it for about one thousandth of a second.  Despite their differences, they have an understanding of each other and get along well. 

Many years ago, Janice was trained in Yantra numerology.  Each person has a set of numbers that relates to their year and date of birth.  Although it is unusual, David and Janice had exactly the same numbers.  Having the same Life Path numbers means that they can readily understand each other and each other’s motivations.  Despite their matching numbers, it wasn’t until the snow came that Janice knew he was a keeper.  Shortly after they had started dating, Victoria was hit with snow that lasted for a few weeks which is unusual.   David said, “Don’t’ worry I’m not working til March. I have a four-wheel drive and I can drive you to your classes.” Any time she needed a ride, he gave her one.  The nature of working in the film industry sometimes means you have minimal work and then you are fully booked 7 days a week at other times.  This was somewhat worrisome to Janice but at the same time convenient that he had no problem being available to drive her.

Janice says the key to them working is their sense of humour.  Everyday he does something to make me laugh.

As soon as Janice stopped looking for someone and started really enjoying her own company, things fell into place, and she met David.  We both came into this with a good sense of ourselves and are quite independent.  Janice having lived by herself overseas for many years is comfortable with being by herself as David can be away shooting for long periods of time.  In the eight years they’ve been together, he’s been to Greece, Hawaii, Italy, Ireland, and England.  Since the pandemic they have been stuck with each other and that’s working out as well.  They don’t have wedding plans in the near future because “shacking up” is working for them. 

Janice joined David at the tail end of one shoot in England and spent a few days in London and then they went to Amsterdam for David’s birthday. Janice had spent some time scouting out a restaurant for his birthday and had booked a restaurant, months in advance.  Restaurants are like people though and some photograph better than others.  That was the case in this instance and what looked like a fancy place ended up being a small little lunch time café with the owner doing everything from hosting to cooking.  In all good relationships, if things don’t turn out exactly as planned you call it an “adventure” and then you move on and in this case find some delicious hot Dutch cooked food and maybe a piece of birthday cake. 

David said what made Janice and himself work was their friendship as well as the fact that they are both independent and can go their separate ways, neither of them being needy.  David believes that if you are in a relationship that isn’t working you need to get out. Don’t spend your life unhappy because as Sybil says to Basil Fawlty in Fawlty Towers, “Was that my life?”  and he responds, “Yup. Sorry. Only the one.”

Broadcast Love wishes David and Janice many more adventures together.

You Still Make Me Tingle

Married 60 Years

Fran and Tom

Ottawa, Canada

Tom had recently arrived in Canada from a farm on Northern Ireland.  He came to Brockville, Ontario with a high school education and $38.65 in his pocket.  Tom was at a party and as he was making his way up a set of stairs Fran grabbed his tie. Every province in Canada has a tartan associated with it and Fran, who had recently moved from Prince Edward Island to Ontario, saw the tie and thought he was a fellow Islander.  She was thinking it would sure be nice to meet someone from the Island.  Tom didn’t know what she was talking about when she asked if his tie was the PEI tartan.  Tom claims she wasn’t looking at his tie.

It was a Sadie Hawkins party which meant that women ask men to dance rather than the custom of men typically asking women to dance.  It’s based on Al Capp’s hillbilly comic strip Li’l Abner.  Fran asked Tom to dance as an apology for grabbing his tie.  Turns out they were both excellent dancers and continue to dance whenever the opportunity arises.   

Tom was actually at the party with another young woman who was expecting to marry him.  They weren’t officially engaged but they had discussed marriage and she was willing to change her religion for him.  She was Dutch Christian Reform and Tom was Catholic and was not willing to give up his religion, so she had agreed to take lessons in Catholicism.  Despite this detail, Tom asked Fran out on a date the following Tuesday.  He drove his then girl friend to teacher college out of town and proceeded to date Fran. 

On their very first date, they took a ferry from Prescott, Ontario to Ogdensburg, New York and attended a movie together. To Tom the date with Fran was just window shopping at first.  Fran knew he had another girl friend, but she thought she was quite young and that it wasn’t serious.  Fran was quite independent–she was a Home Economist for two counties and used to go to Montreal on the train.  One day she even received a proposal on the train whilst knitting.  Fran jokes that her government car and credit card were a big part of the attraction.

The night of their first date, Fran read Tom’s palm. Fran reported back to her roommates that she liked what she saw in his palm and she was going to marry him. A few nights later he met her roommates and they told him what she said, so Tom says 

I watched the whole thing happen from the sidelines.

Tom

“Fran has a way of telling you things without ever saying them.”  Tom knew that Fran was interested but at first, he thought it was just a passing interest.  Tom said, “Fran had everything I wanted in a woman.  Fran has a big personality, a great sense of being, and a good sense of humour.”  This last quality was possibly the most important because she got Tom’s jokes.  Other women he had met previously many of whom had just immigrated as well from different cultures, didn’t always understand them. 

Tom knew quite rapidly that Fran was the one but he had a problem because he was dating another woman.  In the small town where they lived, it wasn’t long before people reported back to his girlfriend that they had seen Tom with another woman.  He had to break things off with her.

Three months after they had started dating, Tom came by Fran’s office at lunch time on her birthday. Tom came to her desk and said he thought she would look better with an engagement ring on her finger. She made him repeat it and then said “yes” Although he did not take her out for lunch, they celebrated that evening at dinner.  Tom jokes that although it wasn’t a terribly romantic proposal, it was much better than a popular marriage proposal in Ireland, “Would you like to be buried with our folk?”  This was better.  They were engaged and married within the year. 

Shortly after the proposal, Tom had his appendix removed and Fran drove him to Prince Edward Island and dropped him off at her relative’s home.  He recovered for six weeks with Fran’s family while she returned to her job.  They wrote love letters to one another during this time.  Tom kept the cards and letters and one in particular that started with “Ever since your first touch sent a thousand tingles through me.”  According to Tom, Fran is not as forthcoming with her affection nor as romantic as he is and so this card meant a lot of him.  They still make each other tingle, 60 years later.

In the days of social media where people can hide behind a false persona, it is so important that you let the other person get to know who you really are and not the person you might be projecting on your profile.  You have to communicate with one another or you’re never going to get to know each other and your likes and dislikes.  Tom says he was always himself and had a good sense of humour and Fran knew what she was getting into—she loved his quick wit.  They were open and honest with one another right from the start.  They became comfortable with one another and it was like they had been together for years even though it had only been nine months or so before they were married. 

Fran says you have to hang in there.  They have been through a lot of things together—they have five kids and 12 grandchildren and they have had to work together.  It never seemed like that much extra work when another child came along.  “We made sacrifices and it’s not as expensive as people think it is.” Tom taught himself how to do different things like electrical, carpentry, and plumbing.  He never employed anyone to do work—if he couldn’t figure it out, he’d ask someone.  He once asked the man in front of him at the bank if he was a plumber and he said “Yes.”  Tom asked him how to do something and the plumber took him to the side and told him what to do and it worked perfectly.  This is how he was able to build a big addition on to their home.

Over the years, they discovered each other’s strength and weaknesses and worked out who does what.  Tom is more of a perfectionist than Fran.  He’s good at mechanical and fixing things—it has to be his way and just so.  Fran’s not as concerned.  She does some things better than him and he does somethings better than her. 

They have encouraged each other to do new things.  Fran gave Tom an accordian one year because she found out he could play a harmonica and told him, I think you should play.  Within two years he was playing in a band and continues to do so.

Broadcast Love wishes Fran and Tom many more decades of happiness and joy as they continue life’s journey together.

Love At First Sight–Not!

Arleen and Chris Together 41 Years

Arleen and Chris

Victoria, BC

Chris had recently moved to Port Moody, BC and was staying in a friends’ home and at the time was without a vehicle. Before the age of computers, people were reliant on calculators and Chris’s had broken down. The woman she was staying with said “I have a friend who lives in the same area as the office where you need to send the calculator and she would probably take it there for you.” 

Dodge Aspen

Arleen drove up to the house in her Dodge Aspen station wagon, looking every bit the part of a suburban mother, and when she stepped out, Chris was waiting for her—calculator in hand.  Arleen in fact, only worked part time in the area where the calculator was to be repaired and thought Chris had a lot of nerve asking for a favour from someone she didn’t know at all and said she couldn’t do it.  Chris thought Arleen was a snob. It was definitely not love at first sight for these two.

I don’t know what happened to the calculator, but I do know they met on several other occasions through mutual friends. On one of these occasions, they were at a restaurant with their group of friends, before going to a theatre and they sat beside each other and had an engaging conversation. It was at this moment they decided they actually liked each other—first impressions are not always lasting. Shortly after, Chris had a thought that she would like to get together with someone she wasn’t having an affair with, and Arleen came to mind. 

I enjoyed that Arleen and I’m going to call her and see if we can go out somewhere and have a nice time together.

Chris

 They did. Neither of these occasions were romantic dates. 

Arleen was married and had two sons and the day of their actual first date June 28th, was also the day Arleen was leaving her family home.  Her husband drove them to what was supposed to be just a dinner together at the Punjab restaurant on Main Street in Vancouver.  However, it turned into a date. Dinner was followed by a brief time in the Vanport Hotel bar—a working class “dive” bar that became known as one of the few bars in Vancouver where lesbians could meet and drink. Arleen insisted they leave when someone upended a table of drinks—it seemed like a sensible thing to do. They proceeded to go dancing for hours and hours and enjoyed each other’s company. They walked across the Granville Street Bridge, caught a bus to an all-night pizza place and arrived home at 4:30 am. They met again at a Meg Christian concert at the Van East Cultural Centre where they had attended with other people. Arleen came and sat beside Chris and started putting her arms around her and flirting. They went out for drinks afterward. Although this evening, once again, was not intended to be a date, Arleen drove Chris to her place in Port Moody where they had a play fight and then made natural progress from there.  Despite their connection, they were still both seeing numerous people including one person whom they both dated. 

On June 28th of this year, it has been 41 years since their date at the Punjab Restaurant. Chris came out in the late 1960’s which was a little different than now.  It was harder. Chris, as a radical lesbian, was at the first Canadian march for gay rights in 1971 and worked at the Community Homophile Association of Toronto (CHAT). CHAT provided support services, education, and organized community events for Toronto’s gay and lesbian community. By comparison, Arleen says, “It’s so easy to come out now especially in urban areas where there is more support.” Having said that Arleen thought it was easy for her to come out from a societal perspective because of feminism. However, leaving the family home was not without its hardships. There was a strong feminist movement throughout the 70’s and a lot of that feminism supported lesbian relationships and it was political.  In fact, Arleen commented, “I felt that I wasn’t feminist enough without having a lesbian relationship.” 

Around January they went on a retreat together for the weekend and they got to know each other more.  Arleen decided Chris was interesting enough that she wanted to get to know her family and parents.  Chris had just decided that the last time she saw her parents was the last time she was going to see them.  Arleen wanted to meet the family and Chris knew they would like to meet Arleen, so she agreed to go back.  It felt safe for Chris going back because she had an escort. They were just going from Vancouver to Comox, a four-hour trip that seemed so hard and long for Chris, they had to stay overnight at the Arlington Hotel in Nanoose Bay before driving to Comox. After this trip, Arleen decided Chris was the one and she dropped the other people she was seeing.

In early February they went to a workshop together on how to change aspects of yourself through breathing and visualization. The fact that Arleen was even interested was for Chris, yet another example of how the many sides of themselves worked together so well.  It was a serious deepening for Chris and she realized Arleen was the one for her.

Chris had asked at the beginning of their affair that they not say “I love you” believing that the words brought a lot of baggage with them. On the weekend of summer solstice, Chris was staying with Arleen who was feeling she really had to tell Chris she loved her that weekend. At the same time a note had arrived in the mail from Chris. When Arleen opened the note she found the letters individually cut from a magazine saying “I love you, from an Admirer”—Arleen knew exactly who that admirer was. This is not just serendipity, this is a couple who was and continues to be in sync with one another’s feelings. 

On July 20, 2005 the Canadian parliament passed the Civil Marriage Act legalizing same sex marriage.  Arleen and Chris had discussed getting married and Arleen was not interested as they had been together for 25 years at that point, she had already been married, and as a feminist she didn’t see the point of marriage. Around the same time, they were considering marriage, Chris’s brother came for a visit and he told Chris he thought the gay movement was making a mistake going for gay marriage. Arleen had a different perspective, “If some people are opposed, we should get married as a political act.”  

When Chris was younger, she didn’t believe in marriage.  Her perspective has changed.  Chris sees marriage as important because of the bridging it allows. People who aren’t comfortable with words like lesbian or queers or gays because those words bring up bad things they’ve been taught in their head are more comfortable with words like wife and marriage.  Chris used the example of a woman they met in the elevator. The woman asked if they were sisters—something they get asked often even they though they don’t look at all alike. Chris replied, “No but we just got married.”  When people hear that you just got married there are tapes in their head about what to say, “That’s wonderful!”  “Congratulations!” Marriage is a cheerful word. If you give people who feel awkward with words like lesbian or gay, something they can understand like marriage, you can have a reasonable conversation and they will discover you’re a reasonable person and there is a bridging. 

Arleen and Chris had a preference to get married on the anniversary of their first date, June 28th however, the hotel they had chosen was hosting a large conference and they couldn’t get a room. They were married on June 29th, the day after the 30th anniversary of their dinner at the Punjab restaurant which turned out to be their first date and roughly 25 years after they moved in together.

They continue to celebrate both of these days. They also celebrate December 28th because that was the date Chris and Arleen moved in together—five and a half years after they started dating.  Chris had been in other relationships that had broken up after 2, 3 or 4 years and felt that it was one thing to go through a break-up and quite another to have your living space “messed with” and she didn’t want to repeat that.  Chris didn’t want to live together until their relationship exceeded her longest relationship.  Arleen shared responsibility for her two sons with her ex-husband so that suited Arleen fine that she had her own space.  They spent lots of time together with Arleen’s children while dating but Chris had no desire to be another mum or step on the toes of Arleen’s ex-husband, the children’s father.  Chris’s grandmother had a female lover in addition to her husband and they called her their Aunt, even though she wasn’t related and thus, Chris became the children’s Aunt. The kids were comfortable with their Mum having a female partner because Chris didn’t try to replace their dad. 

Arleen likes being in a relationship—some people are more solitary. 

I like having my person—my Chris. It’s not always beer and skittles but we keep trying to find ways that we can be more harmonious. Over time we have moved in that direction.

Arleen

They have been called feisty and still have fights but try and keep it as harmonious as possible.  Chris comments that they are both eldest daughters which at times is like two alpha dogs trying to live together and they are often both right.

“There’s a lot to learn about being with someone and how to do that. Not living together for five and a half years was helpful because there are so many things you discover about people it spreads the learning out in a useful way,” says Chris. 

When they finally got married 25 years later they were so sure and comfortable with that decision.

Arleen and Chris like many of the same things–dancing, a neat house, cooking. Arleen commented, “The gender difference allows for more separation in most marriages because there are different roles and friendship circles. When two women live together there is a lot of overlap, we really have to make sure that we take space for ourselves.”

Chris says she’s inspired by Virginia Wolfe’s A Room of One’s Own. “Even though we spend most nights together and we have joint bank accounts and friends, we still have our own bedrooms, offices, and bank accounts. It’s a way of getting space when you’re very together.”

They also go off to retreats separately.  Giving space in a relationship allows for growth both personally and as a couple.  This is a couple that has allowed and encouraged each other to grow. Arleen started writing in her 50’s and is now an award-winning author and poet. Chris returned to school and in her 50’s received her doctorate in literature and is currently an academic editor. 

In every marriage tasks are divided and understanding and appreciating each other for the roles they perform is huge.

Arleen

That’s a good reminder for me to thank my husband for being my tech support and putting on my shows for me so I don’t have to learn how to use our complicated remote control.

Broadcast Love wishes Arleen and Chris many more years of joy and happiness as they continue to grow together.

Know Thyself and to Thine Own Self Be True

Jeff and Rita

Victoria, BC

Five years before their first date, Rita met Jeff at a social gathering.  They had known each other professionally as they are both in the construction industry.  Rita is a designer and had used Jeff as a supplier for her glass.  They found each other easy to talk to and had a great conversation which ended when Jeff’s girlfriend showed up.  They had a connection—not a physical attraction but more like they understood one another.  Rita lost touch with Jeff as he missed a couple of quotes and was no longer her glass supplier.  Jeff was with his girlfriend for another five years.  Then one day they met on Tinder.  Jeff recognized Rita but she didn’t recognize him. 

When they began talking about their backgrounds, they realized how similar they were. Their fathers were both in the oil exploration business, so they moved around and lived in many different countries.  Sometimes it was glamourous and sometimes you were in the middle of the Arabian desert without air conditioning.  They both went to boarding school and had lived in similar countries while Jeff was in Tunisia, Rita was in Libya—they had lived parallel lives. As Jeff explained,

When you are in your formative years, it influences who you become.  You have a broad perspective on life, but you never grow any roots.  When it comes time to settle down and live with someone in one place it’s difficult.

Jeff

Rita had a fear that a partner would take away from her freedom to travel and to live wherever she wanted in the world.  She still has a hard time putting down roots.  Jeff understood this and was patient and didn’t react when she said she was moving to Spain in eight months shortly after they met. 

They had planned to get together in August, but they were both busy and the meeting was postponed until September and in the meantime, they got to know each other through text and calls.  Jeff had a Thai massage booked in Chinatown in Victoria which happens to be the oldest in Canada and one of the oldest in North America and they agreed to meet afterward.  Incidentally the masseuses name was Love.  The walls are paper thin, and he could hear Rita come in and say to the receptionist that she was waiting for Jeff.  He walked out of his massage and was bowled over—it was a magical moment he will never forget for the rest of his life.  Time stopped–the chemistry was so thick in the air he knew immediately he was in love.

As they were walking down the street, Jeff reached for her hand to hold.  Rita thought that was a forward move and at the same time it felt right for him to hold her hand.  Not only did he hold her hand, half a block from the Thai massage place he kissed her—he felt he was walking on air and he couldn’t help himself. Rita was concerned that he’d just broken up with his girlfriend and people would see them together.  Just as she voiced this to Jeff, his best friend drove by, pulled up beside them and asked “Who’s this?”  Victoria is a small town.  Before they went for dinner, Jeff asked Rita if she would like to see a project he was working on that was a couple of blocks away. He wasn’t expecting his team to be there but there was a push on to finish the project and they were working late to finish things.  Rita found herself thrown into the spotlight with a team of guys he’d been working with for years.  An interest in innovative construction projects became just one more thing they had in common.  Their second date had already been arranged—they went dancing at a night club on the water with a live band.  Again, Jeff was totally smitten and was waiting on the street for her taxi to arrive.  Rita met some of his siblings and friends that evening.  They spent the next four months travelling and having fun together and Jeff fell deeply in love. 

Shortly after they got back together because they did break up as love is never that simple, they were on a hike. Rita and Jeff stopped in a clearing after a couple of hours of hard slogging on the trail.  As they looked out over the landscape they kissed, and it was a spiritual and ethereal moment—they both felt transplanted to another space and time.  They looked at each other and wondered what had just happened.  It was after this moment that Rita said she knew, Jeff was the one. 

However, Rita did not go down without a fight. Rita has always pretended to be someone else in a relationship and being with Jeff was the first time where she could be completely herself.  It took several uncomfortable moments but now they both feel they can be raw and expose themselves honestly. Rita has gone from a space where she didn’t allow herself to fall in love or even say the words to a place where she can honestly say that she truly loves Jeff. Rita calls Jeff her oak and herself a river where she flows all over the place and he’s steadfast–they even have a painting of a river and an oak.

Jeff’s steadfastness is what has allowed me to open up and feel secure.

Rita

Rita still needs her space—she spent years living on her own and raising her three children and travelling from Quebec to Mexico and then to BC.  She felt a relationship would make her half the person she was and realized she had some issues to deal with.  Rita still needs three nights a week at her home.  Rita suspected she was hurting Jeff’s feelings when she would say certain words like “needing my space” which he interpreted as not wanting him around.  Rita had been reading about her enneagram because she was searching for ways to speak to Jeff about her needs without hurting him. The enneagram is a personality test that describes nine personality types. It was on the coffee table in her living room and Jeff flipped through the book and once he read about her enneagram, he understood what was behind her request for space. “I love that our relationship exposes so many parts of ourselves including parts of ourselves that needed to heal.” 

Jeff teases Rita that she is Little Miss Sabotage.  On New Year’s Day, four months after they met, Rita broke up with Jeff.  In her words, she picked apart everything and found little things as reasons why their relationship wouldn’t work. 

Jeff was devastated and confused.  Jeff described the breakup as having a supersonic missile that came in and blew down the layers that he had built up over his lifetime to protect himself.  He had to deal with the fall out.  One night, a couple of months after they had broken up, he had this spiritual experience which was quite new to him.  He was lying in bed reading and he felt this presence swirl around him.  He knew exactly who it was—it was Rita’s heart telling him not to give up on her.  Jeff replied out loud “What the hell are you doing here?  She doesn’t want to be with me.”  This experience as strange as it had been for Jeff, gave him hope. 

While this was happening, Rita was across town feeling very confused about whether to listen to her heart or her head.  They were apart for three months and during that time Rita realized what he meant to her. Her heart was telling her she missed him and should be with him and her brain was saying, “No, No, No.” Ultimately her heart won out and Rita made him cookies.  She dropped them off with an apology note as she had blamed him for everything, and she realized it wasn’t all his fault.  As Rita contemplated their relationship, she did a lot of reading and some inner searching. She realized her fear of commitment and her relationship with her narcissistic mother and not being able to attach herself to a loving relationship might have had something to do with the breakup.  Rita asked if they could go for walks together and get to know each other as friends.  Jeff told her he was never going to be able to be just friends with her nor would he be able to wish her well in another romantic relationship, but he would certainly go for a walk with her. Of course, by the end of the walk they were holding hands.

It’s been a year and a half since they started going on walks and they have never been happier together.  They describe their connection as spiritual and people see their connection and it makes them smile and maybe gives them hope to find their true love. Every morning Jeff wakes up and thanks his lucky stars because he is so happy. 

Rita would say “knowing that relationships are always going to expose both the good and the bad in each other, allow the grace of time to learn from it and learn that life isn’t always comfortable.  The beauty of these moments is that you can get through them and grow stronger.  Don’t throw in the towel when it goes awry as maybe there are lessons to be learned.  Allow yourself to explore a little bit more.”

Jeff quoted Shakespeare, “Know thyself and to thine ownself be true.”  It’s very important to know who you are and be comfortable with that person because if you want a relationship to succeed you must be that person.  You can’t hide out or have elusions out there because you’ll never be happy, and neither will your partner be truly happy.  You can fake it and make relationships last and for long periods of time, but it doesn’t mean the relationship is working—the way relationships should work.  

“Love expressed from yourself in its most genuine form is the most satisfying thing you can do in this life.  I think we are all here to find that experience.  This experience is not meant to be easy it’s meant to have lessons and trials and tribulations and tragedies but ultimately you want to find that moment where you get the love experience.  When you do, your heart will be free and open and soaring and you’ll feel nirvana. To get there you have to be honest and willing to accept that you’re not perfect and you’re in an imperfect world and there will be obstacles that are thrown your way that hurt you and damage you and realign you in ways that aren’t always good for you going forward.  Somehow you need to grapple with the fact that all of that is okay if you learn from it.  If you still go back out there and are willing to love yourself and that other person you will find your true love—someone who accepts you and can bring out all of you.”

Broadcast Love wishes Rita and Jeff many more years of adventures as their love for one another continues to grow.

DinHer Club

Kathleen, Jael, Alisha, and Kathryn

The Brunch Club

Ottawa, Canada

Pre-pandemic, and no longer willing to wait for the moment when she had a boyfriend in order to try out the many fancy, fun places and restaurants in her city, Jael invited a group of women to join her and thus the DinHer Club was formed.  Once a month, anywhere from 8 -18 women met at a restaurant and had dinner together. 

From this large group, a smaller group of four women now get together once a month for brunch. This foursome all work in social services and their paths had crossed through their professional lives.  Kathleen, whom Jael has known the longest used to work with Jael; Kathryn was a mentor to Jael when she was in school and then they lived in the same apartment block for three or four years; and Alisha shared a hotel room at a work conference with Jael and it was a great experience and they’ve been spending time together ever since. The DinHer Club had a wreath making party and it was at that party that things really “clicked” for this group of women. Not only do they meet for brunch, but this group likes to shop together and cheer each other on when they find the perfect outfit. 

My undergraduate degree is in Social Work, and I know how hard this profession can be.  It’s part of the reason why I went back to business school—I knew that I would burn out if I remained in social services for the rest of my career.  To have a group like this to share what happens during your day and know that there will be no shock because of the comfort and safety felt within the group is invaluable in this line of work. They are able to have honest conversations about situations.

Each of the women have their own groups of friends, but there is something unique and special about this group when they get together. 

They described their group and their conversations as authentic, honest and hilarious. 

If you can find a group of women, any age, who are supportive and kind and love you, that’s the best. I am lucky enough to have a group of girlfriends that I would do anything for. They’ve picked me up through bad times and I can say I’ve done the same for them. You have to take the initiative to find your people. Just like Jael, I love good food. When I first moved to Victoria I didn’t know anyone other than work colleagues. I decided that my husband and I, both of whom love food, should start a dinner club. Through six degrees of separation I was able to get three other couples together all of whom had recently moved to Victoria-a friend from high school; a work colleague of a good friend I met on a summer job; and a sister-in-law of a friend from grad school. It’s been 25 years, 12 of which I have not been an active member–showing up only when I’m back in town. However, the women continue to be an integral part of my life and though not as often, the group continues to meet.

So the question I posed to these women, is “How do you find your squad of women?”

Jael commented that “It’s important to have your historical friendships from high school, and family members. As you get older and you start to understand who you are and what you value, surrounding yourself with people that share your values is key to having friendships that are not taxing or exhausting. These friends fill your cup up, build you up and you leave any interaction excited for the next time you get to see them.

Alisha says “friendship can come in different shapes and forms. Look for relationships where you feel energized at the end of meeting rather than ones where it takes something away from you–a friend should add good, rich things to your life.  If you’re in spaces with people where you feel lonely or you feel you have to hide pieces of yourself, those people aren’t your people. Keep looking. You should be able to show all the different sides of yourself with your group of girlfriends.”

Kathleen said, “The big dinHer club where there were sometimes as many as 18 people was a little nerve wracking but being courageous and putting yourself in those situations to try and make connections with people is the best way to go about it and find your people.” She didn’t know anyone at first and just put herself out there. 

Both Kathryn and Jael commented that you need to honour what feels good—so if you find yourself stopping yourself from saying things or not being able to be genuine or honest or maybe you leave feeling disconnected or anxious about having shared something or your not excited to see certain friends–honour how you feel! It’s okay to have those friendships–we all have them.  What you want in this group are genuine connections. Look for friends where your interests are because that’s where you’ll find people in your adult life who connect with you now versus people who you know because you lived in the same community or went to the same school.

If gathering people together does not come naturally to you, Priya Parker, in her book, The Art of Gathering provides advice on how to do it. She says, “It starts with your need.” Ms. Parker uses the example of a mother who is working outside the home, last year teaching kids at home, cooking, cleaning, etc. and was completely burned out. She was feeling exhausted and still wanting to carve out time to spend with her girlfriends. The woman sent out an email to her girlfriends for an Exhausted Mom Dinner. Her friends responded immediately and the group was started. In the case of this group of women, Jael started with a need/desire which was to go to some nice restaurants without having to wait for a guy to go on a date. From that need, she determined the format–a dinner out at one of the restaurants with girl friends and the DinHer club was created. Jael is a natural, instinctive gatherer of people.

The next point is about roles–people play different roles in the group. Jael is the ‘gatherer” and the brunches are held at Jael’s because in her own words, “I like to control things and I love hosting.” Everyone brings something to the table–alcohol, fruit, the all important bacon and even recipes. The menu for their brunch during our interview was quiche and two types of pancakes–vanilla bean with Earl Grey cream and lemon poppyseed. This group likes to cook together but it doesn’t have to be that elaborate–order in or make it a potluck.

Lastly, its the atmosphere. In this case, they’ve all known each other for years and more importantly, Kathleen commented that it’s a safe group of women.  “I’m incredibly vulnerable on a different level than with other groups of friends I have because I know I’ll be supported and there will be no judgement.” Alisha summed it up, “The older I get, the more complicated life is and the more busy life is and the more pulls in different directions I have, friendships that are low barrier, easy and accessible where we make time for each other and put in the effort and you can talk about anything are the life blood of my life. Without this group, I wouldn’t know what to do with all my thoughts and energy and feelings.  We share our deep dark secrets and the beautiful successes of our lives.  It’s a really powerful, supportive group of women and I feel really grateful to be a part of it.”

During Covid, Ottawa had very strict lock down rules–Jael, being single, was allowed to see one other family.  She committed to not seeing anyone else so she could visit Kathryn’s family.  Alisha and Jael worked together and were able to see one another through work but were asked not to see each other outside of work.  They still stayed in touch in other ways.   Now that they are all fully vaccinated, they’ve been able to start up the brunches again.  The full DinHer Club will start in November, now that all the restaurants are open.  Starting next month, the men in their lives, who haven’t met each other, will be allowed to join them for dinner every second month.  And of course, this dinner with partners will be held at Jael’s. As for the larger dinHer club, no men allowed.

Broadcast Love wishes you many more years of celebrating your lives together and supporting one another.

The Heart Knows What It Wants

Together 4 Years, Mexico

Don and Lupe

18 Years ago, Lupe moved from Guadalajara to Peurto Vallarta, Mexico. She loves the ocean and sailing so she decided to move near the ocean and her sail boat.  Lupe has a passion for photography and posts her nicest photos on her facebook page. Don is a professional photographer and he liked her photo and decided to check out Lupe’s profile. Don thought she looked like an incredible person and someone he would like to know and he sent her a message. He wasn’t looking for anything romantic–he just wanted to let her know that he liked her photographs. Don didn’t even think he would get a replay. Lupe answered and was very polite. After a little hesitation on Lupe’s part, they started a conversation about the photos. Nothing too serious was discussed at first and they found they had a lot of common interests. Then one day she asked him where he lived, he said “Germany.”  Lupe says, “What would happen if I knocked on the door right now?” and Don replied, “We’d go for coffee.”  They messaged each other back and forth for about a year.  Her daughter invited her to Paris for her birthday and who wouldn’t say yes to that. Lupe asked Don if he would like to meet up in Paris.  It was just a three hour train ride for Don so he said “Let’s do it.” Before they met, Don asked Lupe if she was married.  Lupe jokingly told him she was married to a guy in the cartel who was in prison to see if she could get a reaction from him.  Don bought it for ten seconds before he realized she was pulling his leg.  A few months later they met in Paris. 

Don had suggested they meet in the train station in Paris–what could be more romantic? He got off the train and Lupe wasn’t there—he looked all around and she was no where to be found.  He thought I’ve been stood up but I have a couple of days in Paris to enjoy.  Walking into the train station he saw her hiding behind a column.  Lupe was nervous and second guessing her decision to meet this stranger.  As an architect and designer, how a man presents himself is important to Lupe. Don was tall and very stylishly dressed, had a beautiful bag and he had brought his cameras. Lupe decided she would show her face and said “Hi, I’m Lupe.” With the exception of a few months, they’ve basically been together ever since. 

We spent a week in Paris and then I took Lupe back to meet my family in Germany and I knew right then that it was all over. 

Don

Don came to Mexico in late summer and this four-week visit was life changing–he was convinced that Lupe was the person he wanted to be with and Don decided he was moving to Mexico. Don went back to Germany, sold his home, shut down his business and said goodbye to his whole life and by December he was living in Mexico.  At first, his family was reluctant but then they were supportive. His mother, who’s German was trying to understand this move and asked Don, “What’s Mexico like?” Don replied, “It is the opposite of Germany.” His family couldn’t understand why he would move to Mexico to be with a woman.  He said, “when you know something is for sure you need to act on it and this is what I need and what I want.” 

Lupe commented, “We both knew in Paris.” They both love art and museums and while in Paris they dedicated one day for museums, one day to photograph walls and one day to photograph doors.  “How many people would like to do that with you?”

What an amazing present from the universe.  I would never have thought that I would be so in love.

Lupe

Lupe commented that they are so much alike. When they were unpacking Don’s things she realized they had very similar taste and it was like she was unpacking her own items–they even had some of the same things.

They are so in love and adore each other and it’s obvious to everyone around them.

There has never been a formal proposal–they both “just kind of knew.” They had planned a big party with over 100 people and then covid came and they are just waiting for it to be safe for people to come and they will reschedule. They were also under a lot of stress as Lupe owns a hotel and during covid the business was shut down. Her hotel business has since recovered and they will begin planning the ceremony again.

Lupe’s advice is to follow your heart.  Lupe had been divorced for almost ten years and Don was divorced as well when they began conversing on facebook. Lupe was very happy by herself and was not looking for a relationship. “We started up the conversation as friends and as such there was no pressure to impress each other because you wanted to be together.” Their relationship was very casual and after awhile Lupe thought to herself, “Don is a very nice guy. It was an amazing surprise that I found him.”

I never thought he was going to be the love of my life. 

Lupe

Don said it took him a long time to learn two basic things. Firstly, just live your life. When Don turned 60 he decided he wasn’t going to look for anyone in his life.  He didn’t have anyone in his life at the time and decided that if he never was in another serious relationship he would be okay with that.  He wasn’t looking for anyone and it just happened.  Don says, “If you are looking for someone, stop! Just live your life and let it happen. You have to be comfortable with yourself first before you can be comfortable with someone else anyway.” 

Secondly, Don has learned that if you do find someone and you are in a committed relationship, you have to realize that relationships are hard and you have to work at them. “When you get over the honeymoon period of it, you have to work at it if you really want it to work.  You have to stick out.” They both agreed things are never going to go perfectly.  Don says, “We have become so used to the idea that if it doesn’t work, you just throw it away and go onto the next. You can’t just dispose of people the way you dispose of stuff. Obviously there are some relationships that aren’t going to work.  However, if you really love each other most of the time you can work things out, even if you need to involve a third party like a counsellor.”

Don and Lupe were very secure with who they were as individuals. Even with that sense of security, they still had to be open to change—Don lived in Germany and moved to Mexico.  He had gotten to the point in his life where he thought “Why not.”  Don kept an open mind–previously he had lived his life thinking he wasn’t going to make big changes and then a few years ago he changed his perspective and it was one of the best decisions in his whole life.  When he left Germany there was a little snow on the ground and he had to catch a couple of trains to the airport and he came here and it was a tropical paradise.  He feels blessed to be here with Lupe and every morning they wake up and say how happy they are.

Broadcast Love wishes Don and Lupe many years of romantic adventures together.

It All Started With a Dance

Together Four Years, Engaged for One

Hana and Jean Maurice

Victoria, BC

Hana had not been out with her girlfriends for quite some time and they decided to go to a nightclub where they could dance. Jean Maurice lived about an hour and a half away and was visiting some friends who took him out. Hana saw Jean Maurice and mentioned to her friend that she thought he was cute. Her friend, being a good wingman, went over to Jean Maurice and suggested that he ask Hana to dance with him. He asked for her phone number and texted her later that night. The next morning Hana called him.

A week later, they had their first date–dinner at the Cactus Club followed by a nice walk on the beach.

There was no particular moment when Jean Maurice decided that Hana was the one. Over the course of a year and a half of dating, they discussed their likes and dislikes. Hana liked going to the gym which was really important to Jean Maurice as this is really an important part of his life. Hana likes to travel and he doesn’t love to travel but he thought okay he could do that for her. They both had children and Jean Maurice’s daughter, Olivia was just 11. Olivia is very protective of her dad and if she didn’t like you, she would let you know. Hana passed the Olivia test and over the course of time, they fell in love.

Hana knew he was the one because of the effort he made to come and see her. For over a year, they lived in two different cities–an hour and a half apart. Jean Maurice came out every weekend and sometimes he would even come during the week and leave early in the morning to get to work on time. There was no specific event where she decided he was the one, she just knew about a year into the relationship that he was the one for her.

Jean Maurice asked Hana to celebrate their third anniversary in a particular restaurant in Nanaimo. As they were driving, Hana looked over and saw her son and daughter were next to them on the highway and she thought that was odd. When they pulled into the parking lot, she saw some of his friends park as well. That’s when she realized he had invited people to celebrate their anniversary with them. They had dinner and visited with their friends and then Jean Maurice stood up and made a very romantic speech about their relationship and proposed. Jean Maurice said he wasn’t nervous. “I never get nervous,” he said. Hana’s biggest surprise was the speech he made–as long as she’d known him he wasn’t the person to stand up and speak.

Their wedding plans were put on hold because of covid but they have ready to get planning again.

Hana said that when they have problems they don’t run away from them. They stick through any disagreements and work through everything.

Jean Maurice, who was born in Haiti, jokes that,

We put up with each other. We come from two different worlds and culture but at the end of the day, we like each other and care for each other.

Jean Maurice

Jean Maurice takes his life and work seriously, but when it comes to play his whole perspective changes and he is a big kid. Some people might judge him for this while Hana takes him for who he is. It’s important to accept your partner for who they are rather than trying to change them.

Broadcast Love wishes Hana and Jean Maurice all the best as they begin their life together as a married couple.