To love and to part

9 Aug

It isn’t possible to love and part. You will wish that it was. You can transmute love, ignore it, muddle it, but you can never pull it out of you.

– EM Forster A Room with a View

In a time when travel is engrained in our culture, lovers are often parted. Most of us at some point will be interested in someone from overseas or with plans to relocate. Sometimes it doesn’t matter. Both parties know it’ll be a short-lived romance and embrace the experience without hopes of a future together. Sometimes the pull of love is too strong and people decide to change their plans. And then there are times when parting is inevitable in spite of a couple’s happiness and they must choose to default back to singledom or pursue a long-distance relationship.

I recently had dinner with a lovely wing-girl who’s found herself in this position. She enjoyed a six month relationship with a man who was moving overseas. When she started seeing him, she knew that he wasn’t staying in Sydney and she was, but they got along well and that undefinable something was there so she thought, ‘Why not?’

I really admire that my friend put herself out there despite knowing the relationship had a limited lifespan. I definitely (and to my detriment) possess the ‘don’t get hurt’ reflex that stops me from investing emotionally in something with a known shelf-life. I’m very much a future tense person, sacrificing the present by focussing on what may or may not happen, which is a terrible way to approach love. In Sex and the City, Jack Berger jokes to Carrie, ‘Maybe we should go out on a date before we break up.’ A sentiment I need to keep in mind.

So as you can imagine, it was with some trepidation that I headed to Bondi on Sunday, hoping to catch the post-City tomanMap enjoys the Bondi scenary Surf crowd. The eastern suburbs are an area I don’t know much about, other than the fact that they’re filled with temporary residents from across the globe, keen to enjoy beach-life while they’re here. A terrifying prospect for a woman who loves men with accents but fears falling for someone who won’t stay in the Land of Oz for long.

After recovering from the shock of seeing the huge queues of people waiting for a bus back to the city, I set about surveying the men enjoying the sun and salt-laced air. The first group of guys I approached were having a great laugh and they were friendly too. But sadly they were Irish guys living in Melbourne, so no luck there. The next batch were Sydney-siders plus one European who’d settled in Bondi. The third were all very attractive with insanely white teeth but didn’t speak English. Not very conducive to surveying. As I worked my way from group to group across the grass I felt like I was at the opening ceremony of the Olympics. There were guys from all over the world relaxing in the sun. In fact the international crowd outnumbered the local crowd, but I suspect all the Aussies were at the pub.  

So if you’re looking for someone exotic, I recommend heading to Bondi on a sunny day. Those of you not into the bar scene should strategically position your picnic basket near a cluster of guys on the grass. Hopefully they’ll speak English (or you’re multilingual) so you can invite them to share the food you’ve brought. Pavlova anyone?


54 Responses to “To love and to part”

  1. girlonthecontrary August 10, 2010 at 12:15 am #

    Even though I’m nowhere near Sydney I found your blog incredibly useful in my own life. I too have the “don’t get hurt” reflex and your blog reminded me I need to put myself out there a little more. Very well written post and great insight! Thanks! Also, I think I might be needing to plan a holiday to Bondi…..

    • Lucie Stevens August 10, 2010 at 9:40 pm #

      Thanks so much for reading! It’s always good to know I’m not the only one with this flaw! Good luck on your search for Mr Right.

  2. moviesaccordingtodes August 10, 2010 at 12:33 am #

    I am sort of having this same issue.
    My bf and I started dating knowing it would end. We have been together a year and a half and our end is quickly approaching. It is getting quite difficult. We are starting to distance ourselves, we aren’t spending as much time together or talking as much…the break up coming up in a few months is causing us to go through issues that might lead to a sooner rather than later breakup.

    • Lucie Stevens August 10, 2010 at 9:41 pm #

      Oh you poor things. Thanks for sharing and hope it all pans out for the best.

  3. sunshinediary August 10, 2010 at 12:40 am #

    Dating is one thing… falling in love another, right? But true true, as we live today, this is becoming more and more of an every-day problem.

    • Lucie Stevens August 10, 2010 at 9:45 pm #

      And yet it still seems to happen for lots of people. Don’t lose hope!

  4. onepillawayfromchaos August 10, 2010 at 1:06 am #

    I’ve been seeing a guy who lives about an hour drive away from me and keeping my distance (no pun intended) due to our geographical locations. Considering how busy my life is, if the guy doesn’t live in my community, it’s a long distance relationship.

    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

    • Lucie Stevens August 10, 2010 at 9:44 pm #

      Thanks onepillawayfromchaos (great name by the way)! Yes I can see how that would be tricky. I suppose at the end of the day, if you really really really liked each other an hour wouldn’t be such a big deal, but if you’re only kind of interested, it’d be a hassle. Thanks for reading!

  5. CrystalSpins August 10, 2010 at 1:19 am #

    Very nice. I haven’t thought about international affairs for quite a while. (Although I’ve had a few.)


    • Lucie Stevens August 10, 2010 at 9:45 pm #

      Thanks Crystal! Sounds like you’ve already embraced the international circuit!

  6. Catherine August 10, 2010 at 1:29 am #

    This is really interesting, because I too find myself thinking of ways that a relationship may end before it even begins – and I would definitely do that if I was considering dating someone from another country. My sister, however, met a guy from Canada when we were on spring break in Cancun one time. She is more of a free spirit with love than I am. They had an amazing weekend, and she ended up dating him long distance. She would make 20+ hour car rides to see him, and considered moving to Canada to be with him. It didn’t end up working out, but I’ve always admired her ability to put herself out there. I’m just starting over as a single person (just got out of a 7-year relationship), so I’m trying to channel some of that optimism and willingness to go with the flow.

    • Lucie Stevens August 10, 2010 at 9:47 pm #

      Wow – snaps to your sister. I’m going to Mexico in January so I’ll try to channel her open-mindedness too. Good luck with your re-entry to the single scene. Enjoy yourself and have fun!

  7. El Clavo August 10, 2010 at 2:46 am #

    A story about finite relationships and distance.

    She had done it before. She told me she did not want to do it again. A visting student here, she went on exchange somewhere else. And met someone. Now she is back at home; not here with me, nor with the guy she is now having a relationship with.


    • Lucie Stevens August 10, 2010 at 10:06 pm #

      Ouch…hope you have better luck next time.

  8. thecodger August 10, 2010 at 3:26 am #

    I wish people here in the States would go back to wearing bathing caps. They always have been quite functional, but they’ve fallen out of fashion here.

    The Codger

    • Lucie Stevens August 10, 2010 at 9:49 pm #

      I’m not sure they’d be classified as fashionable here…I just think the life savers get away with it because everyone’s staring at their abs…

  9. blairpet August 10, 2010 at 3:56 am #

    I hear the same complaints from girlfriends here in Vancouver. Perhaps try “roughing it” in some of the more rugged areas near Sydney. Straight men (and the more interesting gays) are often found near untamed wilderness.

    • Lucie Stevens August 10, 2010 at 9:50 pm #

      Any specific tips you can offer us blairpet? Know any good campsites ladies should visit??

  10. TheIntentionalSage August 10, 2010 at 4:37 am #

    I would think that it might be worth it to ‘date’ someone who is leaving. I’m not a fan for this quote, but it seems that it fits: “It is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.”

    My point being that if one doesn’t take a chance with that person who is ‘leaving’ they will always have that ‘wondering’ in their head about that person who may have gotten away. If they take the chance and they turn-out to be a “non-love” interest, then all the better. That is to say, then they know that they wouldn’t be missing out on anything by this person leaving to go to wherever they are going.

    With Love and Gratitude,

    The Intentional Sage

  11. ciaralegale August 10, 2010 at 4:48 am #

    Your blog made me smile the first time today. and i love the quote: It isn’t possible to love and part. You will wish that it was. You can transmute love, ignore it, muddle it, but you can never pull it out of you.

    keep it strong!

    • Lucie Stevens August 10, 2010 at 9:53 pm #

      Thanks for reading Ciara and very glad to have made you smile. If you love the quote you should read the book – it’s one of my all time favourites: funny, witty, romantic and original.

  12. wordsfromawoman August 10, 2010 at 5:12 am #

    Fun post. You said, “I definitely (and to my detriment) possess the ‘don’t get hurt’ reflex that stops me from investing emotionally in something with a known shelf-life.” This is very limiting attitude because you never know exactly what the exact shelf-life might be. As to getting hurt, yes, if the guy’s married or a womanizer, it’s better to keep your distance. But otherwise you should be willing to take a few risks about getting hurt if in the process you’ll be getting happy far more frequently.
    So, how many guys whom you subjected to your survey have asked you out? 🙂 It sounds like a great way to pick up guys. Hmm…


    • Lucie Stevens August 10, 2010 at 9:56 pm #

      None so far I’m afraid, although I’ve slipped my business card to a few which is pretty brave for me. I’m only about a third of the way through surveying so I’m still hopeful. It’ll actually work out best if I meet someone right at the end of my project. Not sure how too many guys would feel if their girlfriend spend so much time surveying other men…

  13. intrepidtraveller August 10, 2010 at 5:56 am #

    Good post! I lived near Bondi for a year and you’re right…it’s FULL of internationals and lots of hot boys. Don’t let that put ya off though…many of them will probably never go home(especially the Irish!) 🙂

    • Lucie Stevens August 10, 2010 at 9:58 pm #

      I can’t understand everything the Irish boys say, but they say it with such a cheeky glint in their eye that I can’t help but love them!

  14. pillowchats August 10, 2010 at 6:14 am #

    I know this story a little too well, unfortunately. My bf is from Sydney and moved to NY for work, where we met. Like most Aussies, he’d wanted to travel around the world before “settling down”. Like most American girls who rather see the world through 2-week vacations at a time, I was not very supportive of the idea – he ended up not traveling.

    But, as I think back now (we are still together), I think he should’ve traveled. Hindsight is always perfect, and while I am comfortable with our relationship for him to travel now, my mindset then was completely different.

    In this era of LDRs galore and with all the technologies afforded to us, being in a LDR is easier now more than ever. Again, hindsight is always perfect.

    • Lucie Stevens August 10, 2010 at 10:00 pm #

      I think it’s normal to feel a little uneasy about your boy/girl friend travel without you at the beginning of a relationship. Why don’t you plan a holiday together now?

  15. ozvickijc August 10, 2010 at 12:52 pm #

    I fell in love with a Canadian once upon a time, when I lived in Melbourne and he was visiting there. I followed him to Canada, a true romantic, and now have two Canadian children. And one Canadian ex-husband. Would I do it again? Probably not, although I am happy with the life I’ve made here. International couples have a very hard time; you’re always choosing between opposing desires. But if you’re looking for Australian men, you’re looking in the wrong place: they’re all up here, in Whistler 🙂

    • Lucie Stevens August 10, 2010 at 10:03 pm #

      Send them home! This is why we have a man drought!!
      Thanks for sharing your story. It must have been really tough going through a divorce away from your ‘home’ network of family and friends. Maybe you’ll meet a nice Aussie on the slopes one day. : )

  16. christotechne August 10, 2010 at 2:22 pm #

    He moved to France. I went for a short visit. We went skiing. He decided to come back. We are now married.

    • Lucie Stevens August 10, 2010 at 10:05 pm #

      Oh I am TOTALLY jealous…you are living the dream…hope he originally moved to France because he has a lovely apartment in Paris you can use whenever you want…

  17. nicreh August 10, 2010 at 3:45 pm #

    Yes, I’ve been in one of those relationships, it’s not 100% easy, but it’s worth it. If I would say no to love on my adventures I would never experience love because I’m always on adventures! And that would be even more sad.

    I have a friend from Australia that lives in Brasil, she went out with this guy even though she was about to move back to Aus. Then she got a great job in Brasil and they’re still together! There’s good and bad stories as in everything else.

    But yes, heartbreaks is probably more common in today’s society. Pretty sad in a way!

    Great post!

    • Lucie Stevens August 10, 2010 at 10:06 pm #

      Thanks for reading and good luck on your adventures!

  18. sarahnsh August 10, 2010 at 4:05 pm #

    I’ve been in a long distance relationship before and it lasted two years. You do get to that inevitable point where either you move to a closer distance, or you break it off. I ended up breaking it off because I couldn’t keep up with it anymore.

    • Lucie Stevens August 10, 2010 at 10:08 pm #

      I think two years is a pretty good effort. Thanks for visiting and sharing your story with us.

  19. sociosound August 10, 2010 at 4:42 pm #

    Maybe not a guy, but I’ve dated a girl from Overseas. I thought of it as a great reason to travel to Oz from the U.S. PLUS the experience(s) rocked, too 🙂

    • Lucie Stevens August 10, 2010 at 10:09 pm #

      Yes it’d be a great opportunity to see a new place and experience a city as part of the family, rather than a tourist. Glad to hear you enjoyed your time in Oz.

  20. ondasea August 10, 2010 at 8:12 pm #

    Thank you for a very interesting and pertinent read, well the first part relating to entering relationships with people who one knows aren’t gonna be around for long.
    This has something that has happened with me a number of times, and I can’t quite say why it is.
    It happened again recently. This time a gorgeous French anthropologist, en route back to her project with a remote beach community on a faraway island.
    I’ve been learning over the past few years, to live in the moment and not deny myself an experience out of fear or whatever negative could detract from living life to the fullest. Knowing full well that there would be pain in separation, I embraced the experience and got to meet a truly remarkable woman, who I soon fell in love with, as she did with me. Should we have reserved comment on these feelings in an attempt to lessen any projected fears? I think not. We remain in love and, God-willing, we will meet again and take our love to whatever the next level is. I have no way of knowing if this will last or what will become of it. All I know is that my life is richer missing her and knowing that she misses me too. If loving someone is contingent on having my needs met, is it love… or is it just neediness? A caged bird soon loses its lustre.

    • Lucie Stevens August 11, 2010 at 7:23 pm #

      Thank you for sharing your story with us. I hope everything works out for both of you. Let us know how it unfolds.

  21. hoope August 10, 2010 at 9:09 pm #

    Distance was not the think that stops love. I voted for YES IF WE LIKED EACHOTHER.. thats whats matters if we like eachother then why lose the chance that this person could be the one .. the one soulmate !!!

    Enjoyed reading this .. Great post !!!

  22. namroodfanar August 10, 2010 at 9:22 pm #

    i never imagine my self falling in love with some one from overseas, thats not me. but its a nice story!

    • Lucie Stevens August 11, 2010 at 7:20 pm #

      Thanks for reading and who knows, some lovely person from a far-off shore might sail into your life one day. Let us know if it happens!

  23. Dan Wade August 10, 2010 at 9:42 pm #

    Surely it’s better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all. If you go through life hiding incase you get hurt, life would be so dull.

    • Lucie Stevens August 11, 2010 at 7:25 pm #

      Too true Dan. Sometimes it’s easier said than done though.

  24. Lucie Stevens August 10, 2010 at 10:14 pm #

    Thank you to everyone who’s visted today. I was so thrilled to come home from work and find it on Freshly Pressed. It’s made me feel like my manMap project really is worthwhile. I’ll think back on today in the future when I’m feeling disenchanted or unmotivated. Thank you for your support. 🙂

  25. Jeremy Lebor August 10, 2010 at 11:21 pm #

    Graet post… I really enjoyed reading your article. But here’s the thing… if you are with someone and you truly love them, nothing should be impossible – should it? – See my post… – Sure it’s not always possible to get up and move your whole life to follow someone, but ponder this… Nothing, or any situation should be impossible to a willing heart! – I have bookmarked your site and will visit frequently! – Thanks again.

    • Lucie Stevens August 11, 2010 at 7:18 pm #

      Thanks for reading Jeremy and I agree with you. If you and your partner really love each other, you’ll make something work, which is what I suspect EM Forster meant. Thanks for your link. I look forward to reading more of your posts.

  26. sayitinasong August 11, 2010 at 1:37 am #

    Love is difficult to find no mater what or where or who…so if you stumble upon a great person… go for it…grab it where you can!

  27. velvethandcuffs August 11, 2010 at 5:30 pm #

    courage indeed – kudos to your friend!

    • Lucie Stevens August 11, 2010 at 7:19 pm #

      Thanks for reading and snaps to you for your own courage (great blog you’ve got going there!).

  28. dyan August 12, 2010 at 9:27 am #

    Hi lucie
    I love this post.. I can really relate to your gal fren. A few years ago when I was single ( and desperate lol ) a mate told me to work hard and get citizenship in oz. That would “market” myself better ; knowing that I’m here to stay !


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