When we met, I didn’t expect life to lead us here. I’m happy to walk hand in hand with you into this magical adventure we call life. A year ago we decided to spend the rest of our lives together when we said the words “I Do”. Our love was always written in the stars and today I can say without any doubt that in any world, in every life, across the Universe I’d choose YOU. It will always be you.
My three wishes today: A lifetime of memories by your side. That our love keeps growing even while apart. That the life we’re building together takes new meaning with each new plan.
Let’s keep writing our happily ever after…. Happy Anniversary My Love. One year down, forever to go.
Love Is Not Tourism is a global movement dedicated to raise awareness about long distance relationship couples and families separated by travel bans/border closures during the Covid-19 pandemic. Some couples had to wait for a long time before they were allowed to travel and reunite with their loved ones. As of today, some of them are still waiting.
Ahmed and I had to wait because we married during strict measures. But 2021 came full of hope for us so we would like to share some of it…
I’ve wanted to share all about my relationship for the longest time. But for some reason, this part of my life feels so special that I wasn’t ready yet. A lot of people had asked me a thousand questions since I came back from my trip to Egypt so I guess it was time I shared a little of it.
I met Ahmed back in 2019 on a dating website. But before you say anything , no, I wasn’t looking for love in all the wrong places. Someone suggested I check the website out and since I was single, why not look at some profiles? I got a message from that cute egyptian and soon enough we exchanged Instagram accounts. I have to tell you that it was a recipe for disaster: he was looking for something serious and I just wanted to meet people and make new friends, he’s all fit and I’m all fat. A few days and insults later, we decided to delete our dating profiles and give it a try. You can like someone because of their looks you know, but you fall in love with their soul and that’s what was happening to us. You can say we met each other by chance, but stayed together by fate.
He was everything I didn’t know I always wanted. We tried our best to get to know each other using every social and messaging app available to us and of course, we met each other’s parents via video call. Did I mention he was very serious about this relationship? As a heart attack. So it wasn’t a surprise that I wanted to impress him on Valentine’s Day (here’s how) and guess what? It worked! He asked me to marry him that day and I said yes without thinking about it twice. I was more than happy. We made it official the next month and that means we told our families. His family was very happy and supportive about it. Mine thought I had lost my mind. Maybe I did lost my mind for him?
A few weeks after that, the Covid 19 pandemic was announced and it felt like the whole world came to a halt. We saw our hope dwindle as airports and borders closed and traveling was restricted. We never stopped looking for options. Then my friend Sean suggested we get married online. Ahmed and I discussed the option for some time. He still jokes about it and tells me it was worse than a job interview. I mean, he was applying for the husband position after all! We married online on August 10, 2020. Yes ONLINE! Yes, legally. It was kind of a secret. I didn’t want my family to call me crazy until after I was married. To my surprise, they were ready to support me in my decision (after saying we were crazy of course). It took us around 4 months to certify, translate and legalize papers to have our marriage registered in both countries (US and Egypt).
Fast forward to February 2021 after months of texting, talking, video calling and sleeping together “on calls”, my brother took my son Jay and me to the airport. Ahmed and I were finally ready to start writing the next chapter of our love story in Egypt! Our journey to Cairo was a mini adventure… but that’s a story for another day.
Long distance relationships are not easy. Closing the distance takes time. So until then, we will keep writing the most beautiful love story. Our happily ever after.
Sometimes we write the words we wish to hear. Because I know how it is for your soul to be tired. Tired of living the same day over and over again because every day is a repetition of the one before. So predictable, it actually hurts. Four letters in my mind: SSDD (same shit, different day – Stephen King described it perfectly in his book Dreamcatcher). People who can’t understand our feelings will give us detailed instructions on how to change our lives. It isn’t so easy for us, the ones living the life others say is so easy to change. We don’t need instructions. It isn’t like we don’t try. It feels more like we’ve spent our whole lives trying and it becomes a race without a finish line, with no real way to win so we can finally say “I’m here, I made it, this is the life I always wanted”.
I know the feeling of wanting to disconnect yourself from the rest of the world or maybe just disappear for a while. After constant reminders of how you are not good enough you start to feel that it must be true, because after all, you’ve always felt like you don’t belong. So you wish you can just leave everything and everyone for a while, knowing they might not be there when and if you come back; of course you try to stay for as long as you can. A little support would be a lifesaver at this point but how to explain, how to talk about the secrets you don’t want to say? But we do, we stay… each time for a little longer because it is expected. We are adults. Maybe we stay because there is someone who will miss us or maybe because there is someone we always miss?
I’m scared that someday I will not find the courage to stay when all I want to do is to escape. Though sometimes late…I have to say it to myself: STAY. Stay because you’re missed. Stay because you are loved. Stay because life goes on and he makes it worth staying every day. Stay even when it’s taking a little bit more time to change; but sometimes what we are doing is changing the life of someone else. Whatever you do, know that there are people who want to understand… that they can’t live without you, and you don’t want to live without them. So Please, STAY.
After I wrote my previous post I couldn’t help overthinking about it. That is what I do, I overthink everything. I thought that I hated being in love. But not really, I just think I idealize love too much. When I’m in love I always want to be the best version of me. I always want to build something perfect that doesn’t exist. It can’t exist, nothing is perfect. I always see how to be better and of course, not everyone sees the same, not everyone is the same. Other people don’t always see it. If they are content with what they have then they won’t feel the need to be better.
When it comes to me, I’m always thinking of giving and not about what I can or should get in return. Always thinking of how can I make someone else happy all the time; to be a better partner, to do things the best I can so we can have a “better” (perfect?) relationship. Then I ask myself why I do all of that if I’m not getting the same effort in return. That’s when all the overthinking takes the stage… I think about how most of people put a lot of effort to get what they want. Once they have it? Why put so much effort on it? But me… I put on a little effort in the beginning and see if things are going to work. If I see it blossoming into something beautiful, then I put the effort into nourishing it, keeping it and making it the best it can possibly be.
That is how I know the problem is me. I get disappointed even when I know things will not always be 100/100. Relationships doesn’t work like that, we have to be prepared to give 80 in a day when the other person is feeling like 20 and whoever tells you they are supposed to be 50/50 they are lying. But I can see how efforts are not always equal and sometimes is not because they don’t want to, is because they don’t know how to. So I break my own heart. Not the other person but me, I’m the one who breaks my heart with expectations that can’t be real.
Now I’m at the point where I started to question if I was sabotaging my relationships. If I’m giving too much importance to things that can’t be changed (could they?). And I cry every night that I (over) think about all of this because I feel sad and of course, no one can see a reason why I should be. Maybe I don’t know how to balance my feelings.
After saying all of that, maybe I can get to the conclusion that I’m my own worst enemy. Someone told me I was asking too much of myself and expecting perfection. I said that I’m always thinking about how to fix everything and making it better. Not everything can be fixed? well in my mind, it can. So maybe all I have to do is fix myself?
You deserve someone who gives stability to your life, with whom you can go to sleep without having to ask yourself if they will love you tomorrow or not (but of course I will, for the rest of our lives together). Someone who would rather give up on being proud than give up on you ( I will never give up on us). Someone who makes you a priority and not an option, who gives you the place you deserve in their life. Why? Because you deserve love, honesty and respect. Love shouldn’t be a multiple answer question… loving should be your only choice.
Few days ago I stumbled upon a video by motivational speaker Daniel Habif and what it said resonated with me. It reminded me of the importance of giving priority and attention to your partner in a relationship. A lot of relationships “go cold” because we make a simple mistake: we stop giving the same attention, priority and details once the courtship phase is over and “we are sure” we have the other person. I watched the video a few times and spent quite an amount of time writing what it said in English, so I could send it to my S/O. I shared it with him not because I though he was failing at it, but because I want to build the best relationship possible with him. One in which both can feel that we are taking care of each other and giving the other the love we deserve.
Because of this, I wanted to share the part that captivated my attention the most and really touched my soul. I hope it talks to you in the same way it talked to me.
“For me it’s about winning her over 31 times a day, a month. This requires commitment, focus, art. This is about that if life goes round, you go around with her. It’s about her always being on your priority list, it’s about her being the responsible of your “what do I wear today?” It’s about praying together, it’s about being three: God, her and you. It’s about you getting lost, to find yourself in her, it’s about who you are, for her to be. It’s about making her laugh and that you’re the one who ends up melting with her laughter.
Stay with whoever makes space for you in her/his life, because in her/his bed … any stupid one does. It’s about not falling in love with the white dress, neither of the wedding, nor the ring, nor of the house. It’s not about looking for restaurants with stars and VIP lounges, it’s about your best neckline, being your brain. It’s about not wanting to change the other and the other for that very reason decides to change everything for you. It’s about that in a sick world, she is your medicine! It’s about you losing, so that the marriage wins. Many, many say that if you love something, you should let it go. Please! Only a coward would let go of something he loves and does not fight for it. If you do not get it, at least you will know that you gave your life for something higher than you: LOVE. If the gold gets oxidized, it was not gold. If love ends, it’s not love.
And please! Learn this darling: not because you have reached at the end or in the last place to someone’s heart, this does not mean that you are the least important. For me this means, that all the previous ones were not important enough to stay forever. There are those who look for their better half to complete his lost half, but there are some others, that we are looking for a complete person to make orangeade together… for our lifetime.”
We live in a world that makes us hide love when our love or the person we love doesn’t conform to the norms of society, culture or even religion. Sadly, this what teach us to hate so openly and love in secret. We forget that we walk through this world for just a moment in time. That people will not be with us for an eternity and that we run out of opportunities. Because of these reasons, say and do what you feel. Love as much as you can today because there might not be a tomorrow. No secrets… Share your love for the world to see.
Recently, an old friend approached me to ask about my opinion/advice about a situation he is in regarding his love interest. He wanted to express himself anonymously ( reason why he asked me to write this) in hopes to finally reach a decision and feel some peace in his heart. This is what he had to say:
” Many people ask the reason why, well, I can only tell by my experience because a woman loved me in a special way. Like no woman ever loved me before. She loved me in such a way, that I told her I couldn’t offer her material things and she said to me don’t worry, I fell in love with you because of the way you are, how you treat me and the way you treat other people. Well, you can say it’s easy and go for it! But no, the truth is that it’s very difficult. You must be asking Why? Simple: it’s an impossible love. Why? It’s a love so pure, so beautiful. It doesn’t seem real. The impossible part is because she is married and has kids. But not only that…her husband’s family feels a great affection towards me. Her life with him hasn’t been easy. You will understand the dilemma. Do you think is right to take away the woman he already has? Would I be a scoundrel? That’s the reason why I pushed her away from my life. I made up excuses to push her away but, why I think about her more with each passing day? Should I wait for fate to work in my favor? Keep looking for love? In some other eyes, some other gaze. Someone who is like her, if that even exist. I can’t seem to forget about her; we met and we hugged each other tighter than before. She looks beautiful to me even when disheveled. I haven’t forgotten about her! I wish I could try to build a new life. Could I? Who knows… Does she knows? Do I know? Perhaps God knows? “
While my friend here is facing a true dilemma, someone close to me told me recently that we couldn’t control love. I think the heart has reasons that the reason doesn’t understand. I talked to my friend a couple of days ago. He assured me he was finally letting go of her and forgetting about her. Funny that he says that, he talks to me about her almost every day.
There’s so much in my mind all the time, but words don’t linger enough in our minds and heart to keep them for a long time. Little love notes help me keep track of everything I wish I could say but I choose not to. Love can be so overwhelming at times, it’s one of the feelings that I can hardly manage and keep under control all the time. What can I do? I’m a hopeless romantic.
Sometimes it feels like floating in an endless ocean with soft waves carrying me effortlessly all the way to you. Why today it feels like I’m drowning? I don’t even make an effort to go back to shore… So I let myself drift away farther and farther away from myself and all the way to you. Music plays in my head, I can hear Blue October as the sound gets lost inside my head…
“Sometimes it feels just like I’m falling in the ocean
Let the waves up and take me down
Let the hurricane set in motion
Let the rain of what I feel right now come down
Let the rain come down”