Sarah's Story - The day I began to live again

Three years ago, I was alone; more alone than anyone I'd ever known. I had been through a horrific break up with someone I'd been with for almost a year. To that man, I was one hundred per cent devoted but that didn't stop our lives moving at different speeds. Eventually, we fell out of sync and he fell out of love with me. I was left to lick my wounds; little did I know I'd go on to cut my own…

Two weeks went by and the 'love of my life' went on to date my worst enemy; a vindictive bitch I hated with every cell in my body ever since I was a little girl. Of course, he told me we'd be friends forever but the more I spoke to him, the more he seemed to hate me. Eventually, I was no longer allowed to talk to him as he dated different girls, they hated me too much and would swear at me or threaten to hurt me if I attempted to talk to my ex-boyfriend.

While single, I realised I wasn't 'normal'. I'd spend way too much time on my own and when in company, I'd attention seek and attempt to make others feel sorry for me. Slowly, I lost almost all of my friends, keeping only one or two who enjoyed taking advantage of my intelligence so they could get their homework done. I began to self-harm late at night and told my mother I'd fallen against something when she saw my cuts. I was suffering from depression, I just didn't know it.

Over time, I managed to find new relationships and fall in love again, although these men were never good to me. They often swore at me, grabbed my wrists or disrespected me in whatever way they could but I was too ill to see how horrible they were; once threatening to jump off the balcony in our holiday flat when one cheated on me, totally blaming myself.

This wasn't to be the disgusting climax though. The last abusive relationship I was in consisted of my boyfriend almost killing me by strangling in my own home. He let go just in time, allowing me to fall face first on the floor like a ragdoll; crying, shaking and in shock. In between all the torture, I had attempted suicide four times.

It was a cold, wintry night when I started talking to him. I'd given up on love and enjoyed harmlessly flirting with as many men as possible just to make me feel better but that night; it was all about to change.

'Mike Pitman – active now' I saw on Facebook chat as I was sitting in a restaurant with my grandparents. It was another Friday night meal out and, as usual, I was bored with listening to my grandmother moan as my grandfather argued back. I turned my full attention to the five conversations I had running. One was Becky, the others were just random boys I had no idea of. I'd simply introduced myself and launched into pathetic flirting. I touched Mike's name on the touch screen so the chat box opened. All I knew about this man was that he had dated a girl in my year; nothing more, nothing less. I had had one or two brief conversations with him but nothing that gave away much.

"Hey :)"

"Hey :)" he replied. That's all it took to start something spectacular.

Over the following weeks, we got to know each other and he started reading my poetry online. I really enjoyed the attention as all of my ex-boyfriends considered reading a chore. This man actually liked to read my 'stuff'.

I found out he was two and a half years older than me, that he was into fitness and had basic ideas about his future. In short, he interested me, made me feel good and was my type.

Soon, we began to develop feelings for each other and realised we had to see each other in person. I was extremely concerned I'd be too nervous around him after developing panic disorders in the place of the depression I felt I'd overcome and he was nervous I wouldn't like him when I met him for real. How wrong we both were. The moment I saw him he looked different from all the other people rushing on the streets of Bridgend. He paced nervously but stopped when he saw me; my heart caught in my throat at the sight of him; perfection. He was just another six foot man to everyone else but to me he was something else… God-like with his muscular shoulders but insignificant in his stance. He smiled when he saw me; it was like the sun had come out even though one of his front teeth was snapped. This mere imperfection seemed to add to his gorgeousness. He now has that tooth repaired; even more perfect.

Overall, the day was amazing. We talked about everything as if we'd known each other all our lives and kissed gently in a sun-soaked local park, smiling at each other as we drew apart. I'd totally forgotten the nervousness that had consumed me that morning. This man was beyond perfect.

Just as all good things have to come to an end, he had to leave. We kissed outside the train station and he walked away, turning back to sneak one last look at me… Just like in the movies. He now admits he does that every time he leaves!

As time went on and we met up more often and we began to talk about our future. We talked far beyond the ideas of further education and began to toy with the thought of staying together 'forever'. Marriage, children and growing old together were hot topics during our late night conversations and it seemed perfect that we have the same views on it all.

Personally, I hope I stay with Mike for the rest of my life as I've never met anyone who has seemed as though he's made for me before. Of course, I've fallen in love in the past but nothing like the feelings I have for Mike. It's my dream to be with him, firstly, for over a year. This, to me, will prove we can stand the test of time. My thoughts are that if we can do one year, why not another? And so on…

Mike's story - The time everything changed

Things used to be very different in my life before today. 6 months ago I was a very different person. I had been through bad relationships, bad decisions and basically, a bad life. One of the main things that hit me hard was my breakup with my girlfriend at the time; I thought things were different, but everything was a lie. After we broke up I didn't know how to handle it. Where some people choose to suck it up and move on, some people do the opposite and break down. I was one of those people. By that point, I had tried talking to people but it was like no one cared. I didn't know who to look to for help or support so I did the one thing I told myself I would never do; cutting myself. After I had done it, I felt no different except the feeling of regret. I thought to myself, "what the fuck am I doing?" It hit me then that what I was doing was just plain stupid. It was almost like the wake-up call that I needed to sort my life out and not let myself get like that again.

After this point, I had no interest in girls, was sick of getting hurt and putting all my feelings and effort into someone and not getting anything back or being used for it. I told myself I was done for a long time. As the weeks went on I started feeling low again, a little empty inside and not very happy. I thought to myself that I needed to start talking to new people, so I began by talking to people that I was following and being followed by on Tumblr. I started talking to 3 or 4 girls from all over the world, they seemed really nice and were good to talk to but it just felt like it wasn't working and started eventually dying off to the point we weren't talking. I decided to go on Facebook and see what people were like on there. I soon came across some people and one stood out in particular; about 8 or 9 mutual friends with a very pretty display picture. Sarah Callaway. I thought to myself she looks like a nice girl to talk to, I'll add her. She soon accepted the request but we didn't talk right away, I thought I shall have a little look through her photos and try and get an idea of what type of person she is before I started talking to her. She seemed like a real and downto earth girl judging by her photos; nothing looked fake about her, so I decided to pop up and say a quick 'Hi' to see if she would wasn't really a 'Hi' though as I was kind of shy and didn't actually know what to say, so I told her she was "well pretty" and apologised for being random but that I thought she should know that. She went on by telling me a little bit about the fact she turned down a modelling job in Essex because it wasn't worth leaving everyone she loved for it. Then she told me all about her writing and what types of things she wrote. By this point, I was thinking to myself wow she is actually a really interesting person and was a lot different to anyone that I knew personally. We began to talk more about what we like doing and what subjects we were taking in school which gave me a really good idea of what she all about and I found it very interesting.

We talked more and more as days went by, then weeks, as we eventually became very fond of each other. We began to really like each other and we became so comfortable with talking about pretty much everything. We decided we were finally going to meet up on the weekend, I was so nervous and I know Sarah was as well. When the day came that we were actually meeting up, I felt really sick with nerves but over excitement at the same time, I didn't bother to eat in the morning because I felt I couldn't, I just got up spent ages getting ready, and then left for the train station. The whole journey there I was just thinking I hope she likes me when she actually sees me. Once I got there, I walked to the bus station where we had arranged to meet and stood there anxiously waiting for her. I grew more and more nervous as the time went on and she took what seemed like forever to show up. I finally saw her walking down the road, standing out from everyone in the crowd. I could notice it was her from a mile away; well dressed, long dark-brown hair and glowing skin. This was far from anyone else in Bridgend; she was like an angel that was dropped into Hell. She approached closer and closer and I saw a little smile on her face which looked like nerves but happy at the same time, which made me put a rather strange awkward smile on too. My heart was still pounding at this point, we said 'hey' to each other and began to walk in a random direction while we began to talk. Within minutes, we were already completely comfortable around each other and talked like we had known each other for years. We had an amazing day, wandering around the shops and joking about in various sections of clothes shops, making each other laugh hysterically. We spent a lot of time in a field sitting with each other on a bench in the sun talking about everything possible, it really was just perfect. Eventually we had to both go home; the end to a perfect day and I really didn't want to leave. We walked back up to the train station where Sarah waited for a lift home. We kissed outside the station and I began to walk to the platform, taking a little look back at the beautiful person I just spent a day with, smiling as she looked back me as well.

As the time went on we became more open with our feelings and emotions and talked more on more in depth about very personal stuff, we also talked about the future and what we wanted it to entail. We both had similar views on how we wanted to be in the future as far as being a couple was concerned, we talked about having children, getting married, growing old and spending the rest of our lives together, nothing felt more perfect than thinking I actually have someone who wants the same as me. I hope that in the future I will still be with Sarah for years and years. I cannot imagine being with anyone else, or sharing my life and everything I have to offer with anyone else but Sarah, I want to be able to sit with her in 10 years' time and look back on everything we have accomplished together, then 15 years, then 20, and so on… and still be the happy couple that we are today, It is something I wish for every night before I go to sleep.