Love is in the Air. Part 2 – Billy and me.

What with Valentine’s Day, Billy being so thoughtful and helpful, and this week being the 8th Anniversary of our first meeting, it seems an appropriate moment to waffle about Billy and I – how we met, and our life together. (The sick-bucketly challenged need read no further 😉 )

We first got to know of each other on a football message board which was for fans of all clubs and we had a really great bunch of people posting there. With Billy being a Newcastle fan, as Stephen was, we had some common ground. When Man City were drawn away to Newcastle in the 5th Round of the FA Cup in February 2002, Billy met a group of us City fans in the pub before the match – despite not actually having a ticket for the game himself. My first impression of him was that far from his claims on the message board, he was by no means ugly – in fact he was drop-dead-gorgeous. But he was very, very shy and quiet so I didn’t really feel I knew much more about him.(In case you’re wondering, it was a great night with City fans singing non-stop and left feeling very proud of our 10 men (Dunne was sent off) who made the home team battle hard for their 1-0 victory.)

After that, we e-mailed a little and Billy sent Stephen some NUFC magazines – and generally corrupted my first born off the Blue path which I was just getting him onto, and back to black and white which he’d first chosen at the age of 6 (thanks to Alan Shearer and Euro 96.) Then one day he was on his way back from visiting family in the south and stopped by to visit us in Chester, and stayed for dinner. After this, he visited a few times, and stayed overnight – in the spare room of course, and always when another friend was also staying over. At this point we were still “just” friends and to cut a long story short, I for one, had no idea that we might ever be anything more. We used to chat on MSN and ICQ for hours and got to know each other pretty well, and though I was completely unaware of any attraction myself though a couple of people, including my mum, noticed. I denied it because I hadn’t recognised it.Even when the penny did drop, I dismissed it as there was no way Billy could possibly be interested in a woman 9 years older, divorced, with two children!

Towards the end of 2002, we had an online conversation in which he said that actually he was – I was stunned! We decided not to rush into anything yet and discuss it when we next met. On Boxing Day that year, he went to his match (against Bolton) and fibbed to me saying he couldn’t get back home again so would I go and pick him up and bring him back to Chester for the night. I did, and we decided to give a relationship a go and see where we ended up.

Well after that, things flew! Of course, we’d been chatting for hours every night online for months, but our getting together was rather a surprise for friends and family – and there aren’t words to describe their shock when we got engaged in April 2003! (Billy proposed after England beat Turkey in the Euro 2004 group stages, on MSN. His friends pushed him into doing the job properly the following weekend, and he duly arrived with an engagement ring and went on bended knee. I accepted (again) having checked how the children felt about it and gained their approval.) I moved up to live with him in August 2003 and we married in December 2004.

So that’s a potted history of our getting together – but in the time since then, we’ve been through so much.

Billy took on a ready made family, and a 4 bedroomed house (with associated mortgage!) – a complete change of lifestyle from his single, carefree life before. Moreover, I’ve since come to realise that his childhood had not actually shown him any sort of normal family life so he hadn’t a clue how to go on as part of a family unit. I had had years of only having to think about myself and the children and had to get used to sharing a home with a man again. But I was used to running a family home, so it was left to me to organise, unpack and turn the house into a home.

Billy actually doesn’t much care where he’s living or what state the house is in, as long as he has somewhere to store all his sports stuff and sleep at night. He is so messy and unorganised, he had no routine, was not used to sitting and eating family meals, and certainly had never had to communicate where he was going/what his plans were to facilitate planning of said meals.

I would say it took us five years to get the hang of living together – we are such opposites in the way we live our day to day lives that we’ve had to chop and change ideas and routines constantly until we’ve found a way that suits both our needs. He is ridiculously messy, I am obsessively neat and tidy. I am organised and like routine, he lives for the moment and acts spontaneously. I am disciplined and get things done when they need doing, he puts everything off as long as possible even if it’s something important. I am very cautious with money, he likes to spend. I am a morning person but fade fast in the evening, he doesn’t get going until late afternoon but wants to be up all night.

And yet we HAVE found ways of making it work – because the very thing we love about each other is that we don’t try and change each other. I love that Billy lets me be myself and accepts me for who and what I am. He doesn’t mind me going off to do my own thing, he seems to enjoy my company when we do things together and he doesn’t try to crowd me when I need my own space. For my part, I don’t mind him doing his own thing either, whether that be a football trip to Amsterdam with the the lads, or lending a friend some support untilt he wee small hours.

We don’t really argue and we’re not ones for sulking either. We have a sort of unspoken rule that we don’t play guessing games with eachother, we don’t prevaricate if asked about something, but we tell each other honestly how we feel about it and if necessary find a compromise. This is very, very important to me as the thing I hate above all, is lies. Given that we are such opposites, of course we disagree over things but I love the fact that we can both see the other point of view when we talk it through and we can work out a way forwards.

We’ve had a pretty tough time of it since living together – my dad died a couple of weeks before I moved, and we’ve had more family bereavements since – my beloved Nan, both of Billy’s grandparents, his aunt (under tragic circumstances) and then his mum after a very intense year of illness. We’ve lost pets to old age, illness and accidents. We’ve had Billy’s demon with which to cope. We’ve had the usual challenges of family life – two teenagers who are good well balanced people,but nonetheless, teenagers with all the associated hormone ridden angst. We’ve had Raji move in with us which has worked out well, but like Billy a few years ago, he too, has no idea how to live as part of a family. We’ve had some pretty major financial worries which have put a severe pressure on our relationship at times. At those times, Billy retreats into himself worrying about things and I lose my husband for a time, which I hate and which makes the stress of keeping it all together even harder on me.

Somehow though, we’ve survived this far and surely, surely, if we’ve managed to stay close and loving through all these bad times, our relationship is going to be absolutely amazing when we get to good times. We’ve both matured, both learned some hard lessons, both taken on each other’s “baggage”. But some day, the kids will have flown the nest, finances will ease, and we will get the chance to just “be” and to enjoy a life together.

That’s the hope and it keeps me going, because I love Billy. When all is well in his world, I love the warm, caring, gentle, loving person he is. I love his intelligence and his generosity (of self). I love his cuddles and the way he loves my cuddles too. I love being with him whether alone or in other company. He makes me laugh, he makes me feel loved and he makes me feel special.

We’ve just come through a very stressful couple of months and this last week has been so wonderful because I’ve had the man I love back. He’s even been extra helpful (he’s no domestic God! 😉 ) and considerate, and I’m loving it. Please God, let it last. 🙂

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