The next installment in the Love Story series comes from a key face in the world of dating blogging. Eve Greenow has been blogging about dating, relationships, sex, and more for the past 5 years, and her blog Never Settle won Best Dating Blog at this year’s UK Blog Awards. Today, she is taking a break from offering advice and talking about the story of her love life so far.
You can hear more from Eve here:
Blog: Never Settle
Okay, so I’m going to tell you the no-frills, complete truth. I may be mad writing this all so openly, but when do we ever hear real love stories in all their rawness? How can we relate or learn when all we have to compare to is hyped-up dramatised stories from magazines or clipped, picture perfect ones from romance novels?
And before you ask – don’t worry. No one was hurt in the making of this story… oh, wait.
I’ve been properly in heart-over-head, can’t-live-without love three times.
All three experiences were completely different.
I have also had many borderline-obsessed crushes with men who would refuse to like me back. We’ve all been there, right??
In turn, I’ve had men tell me that they’ve loved me for years, but decided to never tell me; only to reject my years of friendship entirely, when they realise I’m not theirs to have on a plate.
It’s been a mixed bag of emotions.
I find the psychology of relationships and dating fascinating, heck! I even created a whole website about it. But let’s come to that later…
My first love story begins at the naive and tender age of 17, however I’d previously been in a few relationships, despite my young age.
My first “proper” boyfriend at the age of 15, I was obsessed with to the point of desperation. He didn’t like me as much back and it was my first experience of trying to convince someone to like me, who simply wouldn’t. I was devastated when it ended, like all first relationships: it was all new. He broke up with me “out of the blue”, although I can see now it was never really going anywhere – we were children!
My first love was from the age of 16 with a boy from a different school. A mutual friend introduced us, and a few MSN (remember that?) conversations later, we were hooked. Truth be told, it was actually a really good relationship for the most part. I would then be with him until the age of 20, after making the decision to go to the same university together. My university experience was sadly hindered because of the relationship. I felt trapped. I gained a lot of weight, and was very lonely, despite having a few close housemates. Loneliness turned into depression and I was more isolated than ever. I didn’t go out, I didn’t drink, in fact I was a A* student because all I did was study, watch TV and eat.
I was also on the hormonal contraceptive pill throughout the relationship, which didn’t help all of the above. I thought I was happy, to an extent, but I wasn’t at all. I was a shell of my former self.
The relationship demise led to the creation of my blog: Never Settle. Which was inspired by my decision to leave the relationship, despite all my fears and worries about never finding love again. I broke his heart, and it was quite messy in the end. But it was the best decision I ever made.
Flung into the world of dating, after 3 years of an enclosed relationship was a breath of fresh air – but the air turned stale when I fell in love with a very tall, stand-offish man at university. He was friends with my friends, and it started off really well. But quickly things started to take a turn for the worse, and incidents reminiscent to my first 15-year-old boyfriend started to come to the fore.
I was breadcrumbed for about 6 months. I really liked him, but again, he would not like me back in the same way. However this time, instead of ending things altogether like with my 15 year old boyfriend, it was 6 months of late night “you up?”sand “wanna go for a drink?” randomly after no contact for weeks on end. It was impossible to move on because just when I would, he’d pop up again – either in person on a night out, or on my phone.
My friends were increasingly infuriated with me for sneaking off to go see him, and I can see why – I just would. Not. Give. It. Up. It was like a drug that kept on being like “go on, you know you want to…” I said I didn’t care, but I did. I was convinced I could change his mind.
It took a long while to realise that he was a commitment-phobe and it was never going to go anywhere. And once I knew that, I felt pretty comfortable just on my own. I had great friends, I was slim and exercised daily, I was genuinely, wholly happy. Not to mention having a job lined up in London meant that I could just enjoy my last months at university.
I met my now current boyfriend, and final love, on my last ever night out at University. I was rather plonkered in a club in Aberystwyth (yokos, not pier for any Aber alumni reading), and sat down for a rest on one of the sofas. He sat down next to me and we started chatting. Next thing, the house-lights were up and it was 4am. He’s told me his name and I said “Nice to meet you!” and ran off to find my friends who were tucking into a late-night pizza.
A few days later, and an add on social media, Matt messaged “do you want to go treasure hunting?”. We’d spoken briefly about geocaching – something I’d done as a teen and he was doing with his friends. I said yes, and we agreed to meet just outside the woods.
The woods… I mean nothing good ever starts in the woods, right? It’s the setting of horror movies, and I, for one, hate horror movies. So I told my friends to send a search party if I didn’t return by a certain time. Safe to say, it was a great first date. He was super nervous and shy – which I find hilarious now looking back.
We would continue a strong long distance relationship for a further year and then Matt joined me in London. But not all modern love stories end with “happily ever after”, it’s hard work.
We struggled to adapt to being nearer together, and I’ll admit it wasn’t easy. Matt had never been in a relationship and I had a level of expectation – but we carried on quite successfully for a few years and moved in together in Balham – into the tiniest “flat” known to man – things were good, I was happy and overall we had a great relationship.
But when you put two strong minded people together in essentially what is an attic, mix it up with new jobs and struggles at work, along with poor communication, things turned a little sour.
Not many people know this part of the story, but people should know that not all long-term relationships are hunky dory all of the time.
Matt and I broke up at the end of 2017, a week before Christmas. It was genuinely the worst part of my life so far. My friends rallied around me and I moved back into my old house in London temporarily. I cut off all contact with him.
After a month apart, and flung back into the world of singledom, I frantically read all my break-up posts on my website and knew what to do: know your worth, keep going and carry on. Which is what I did.
I dated to get my confidence up, rightly or wrongly, I enjoyed meeting new people and going for drinks and getting back to grips with dating apps. I met up with an old friend who told me he had always thought we’d end up together, and that he’d always liked me. But he had a girlfriend and it was a very confusing time. I had loads of inspiration for my blog.
However, in the background I knew what I was doing was actually not confronting the massive hole I felt in my life. I felt like nothing would replace what I had with Matt and I really missed him.
So, when out of the blue, Matt asked to see me again, I, like a stubborn mule, reluctantly went back to the pokey flat where we once shared our lives. We spoke for hours and remarkably resolved all the unanswered questions and miscommunications – the incorrect presumptions and the realisations that we never discussed. We started “seeing each other again” almost secretly, because the same friends who rallied around me were now so anti-him.
Getting back together felt like the complete right thing do to. It felt different. We sorted the communication problems, and no longer in the claustrophobic flat – we blossomed. The issues which broke us up were explained and discussed and we worked through them. But it wasn’t so easy for people around me, and sadly I have lost friends since getting back together. Despite knowing the ins-and-outs and that it was right for me, I guess some people couldn’t see past it. It was a pretty tough time, being considered a hypocrite with my blog, and a mug/naive for not moving on alone; but as with most things – it made me a lot stronger.
Two years on, and my love story has gone from strength to strength, Matt and I live together again – but this time in a 3 bedroom house with ample room. We’re super happy and know that we can, genuinely, get through anything. He’s been here for me through some of the worst of recent times, and the best. I genuinely trust him and makes me happy. Plus, he’s super chilled about my blog – which I can safely say, A LOT of people wouldn’t be.
So all in all, know your worth, but when you find love – hold onto it. Work through the issues rather than thinking the grass is greener. Long-term love really is possible, but it’s not necessarily the “happily ever after” with no problems, you may expect, we’re human after all!
If you would like to get involved with my Love Story series I am still looking for people to feature so please get in touch!
I am running the Reading Colour Rush this weekend to raise money for The Pamoja Project- I’ve already hit my target but any extra money will be going towards food support for vulnerable families in the area so please donate/ share!