‘I know he’s the one for me’
After just one week of living in New York, the city locked down, and a summer of love seemed unlikely. I did go on a series of virtual dates, with around 20 guys over four months; some were funny, kind and smart, and some were a little weird. One or two of them became my friends. Then, I finally got a call from Mr Right on the long weekend of 4 July. We started talking and he was everything I’d hoped for – except he was in Michigan, hundreds of miles away. In early August, he casually mentioned he’d be coming to NYC to meet me, and the next day he drove for 10 hours to take me for dinner.
After dinner, we went for a long walk, and the next morning, he asked me if I would come back to Michigan with him. Without a second thought, I said yes – which is unlike me. As we shuttled between NYC and Michigan over the following months, our love grew stronger. He got a job in New York early this year and we moved into our first home together. Last weekend, we celebrated one year since we first spoke. The time has gone by at the speed of light. I know he’s the one for me. Pratishtha, New York, US
‘There was a sense of the right people meeting at the wrong time’
In 2018, I was on a bus ride in Nepal with my legs held against my chest when another backpacker sat down across from me. With a five-hour trip ahead, I thought I’d strike up a conversation and we soon realised we were at different stages on the same hiking trek. She was German and I’m Irish, and as the bus rose into the mountains, our conversation deepened. When we reached our destination, we said goodbye and I joined my friend, with whom I was travelling, for lunch. My mate asked had I left my number in case she wanted to stay in touch. I hadn’t; too nervous. But I changed my mind, ran back and mumbled to her about my blog – less untoward than a number, I hoped – then ran off again. Three weeks later, a comment was posted on my blog: “Not as bad as I expected.”
As I travelled Asia for five more months, we sent messages back and forth. She suggested I stop by in Berlin, so six months after the bus ride, we reunited in Germany for three days. It started awkwardly, but something clicked on the final night. When I went back to Ireland, she followed. We toured the west coast and had the best time. I then returned with her to Berlin.
But there was an ominous inevitability about the whole thing. Maybe a sense of the right people meeting at the wrong time. I headed to the US and we kept in touch, but over the months our messages dwindled. When I returned to Ireland in September 2019, we both decided to do our own thing – but I’ll always be grateful for that sweltering summer bus ride in Nepal. Barry, Berlin
‘I changed my flight home to spend more time with him’
In the summer of 94 I spent five weeks camping in the Canadian Rockies while gathering data for my dissertation. The park rangers gave talks about bears, wild flowers, and so on – and I can’t remember what Milo’s talk was about, but I remember being entranced by his passion for the natural world. Uncharacteristically, I sought him out afterwards. We chatted and he offered to take me for a beer with his friends. Things moved quickly, both of us knowing I was only there for a short while. It was clear we had something special. I phoned my parents to tell them I was changing my flight home to spend more time with him.
Milo showed me places of such beauty in the mountains that they literally moved me to tears. But I knew it couldn’t last – I wanted to see the world. Leaving him was agony. For the next nine months, I thought of Milo constantly. But eventually, I was absorbed by my finals and started to move on. I saved up for a round-the-world trip, and planned to see him en route. But before I left the UK, he sent me a letter to say that he’d met someone, and it was serious. I felt as if a door to an exciting future had slammed shut. But there were other doors to open, so off I went to find them. I’ve not seen him since, but we reconnected via Facebook a few years ago. I met my Welsh husband in New Zealand and we have two boys. Milo had two boys of a similar age, so I get regular flashes of a life I might have had if I’d followed my heart and not my head. Sue, project management lecturer, Kent
‘We were inseparable for the first half of the holiday’
In the smmer of 1989, I was aged 15 and on a school trip to the Spanish town of L’Estartit. On the 18-hour bus and coach trip, I sat next to a friend, and somewhere in France, in the middle of the night, we decided that our long friendship had potential for more. Some serious snogging followed and we were inseparable for the first half of the holiday; it was a maiden voyage into true love that I’d never forget.
But one night, I sneaked out to a bar with three girlfriends, where I was shown attention by a slightly older lad who offered to walk me back to the hotel. As he left, we kissed and there standing in the hotel doorway was my bus boyfriend. He looked crestfallen and hurt by my betrayal, and didn’t speak to me for the rest of the holiday, despite my many apologies. Later that summer, bus boy moved away, and I never saw him again. I’ve always regretted my behaviour that night. Despite many years of searching on social media, I have never been able to track him down. Philippa, Devon
‘We locked eyes during a health and safety talk’
In summer of 2012, my partner and I first locked eyes during a demo of how to lift a heavy box at a health and safety talk. It was a grey day and we were both training for work with a catering company at the London Olympics. We struck up a conversation and we realised we’d led near-identical lives for the past 20 years. We’d both just finished a gruelling first year of law school and had grown up five minutes down the road from each other in Putney. After the session, I found him on social media, and then began an intoxicating summer in London.
Our first date was at an open market in Shoreditch, where we dared each other to try new things. We crisscrossed the city over the next couple of months – late-night drinks in bars, meeting each other’s friends at festivals and trips into the countryside – and by the time we returned for our second year of law in the autumn, we were hooked. Nine years later, after a few career changes and more travelling, we’re in a small town in rural British Columbia, where we set up home. We will remember the summer of 2012 for ever. Phoebe, project manager, Nelson, British Columbia, Canada
‘My one crush was the person who seemed out of bounds’
In 2013, I worked part-time as a server and hostess at a popular music venue and nightclub in New York. I was newly single and many attractive musicians played at the venue, but dating got old, fast. My one crush was the person who seemed out of bounds – my sexy, Italian manager. My heart fluttered when we met on my first day and, after a couple of months, he asked me if I wanted to grab a drink after work. It was then I realised that maybe our feelings were mutual.
Eventually, he asked me on a date – sort of. He asked if I’d like to take a chartered sailboat cruise, and said to bring a friend if I wanted. I didn’t bring anyone. We had a cocktail on a rooftop, took a sunset sail around New York harbour, then went on to a wine bar for dinner, where we talked about art and painting. The perfect date. We celebrated eight years together on 5 July. I never expected my crush to turn into a long-term relationship. We joke that the only good thing to come out of the place where we worked was meeting each other – everything else about it was awful. Kelsey, paralegal, Brooklyn, New York
‘I tried running away to France’
It was the summer of 1984 at Butlins, Skegness, and I was 15. I first saw her at the disco: she had blond hair, played competitive tennis and was French. I had to battle with another English lad for her affections, but my disco moves, sense of fashion and cheeky patter won the day. Soon, I was ordering a pint of lager for myself and half for her at the bar.
We spent the week arm in arm on the monorail, laughing at people below us. I dumped my entire family for the week and waited for her like a distressed dog outside her chalet every morning. We raced around the go-kart track, threw darts, played pool, and kissed. Then suddenly, it was our final night. Michael Jackson’s cruel song Farewell My Summer Love was the hit that year, and I knew every word. Once home, my love still burned, and I phoned her secretly until my mother put a padlock on the phone after the bill came in. I even tried running away to France, but was captured 40 miles away in the western coastal town of Irvine. The pain of losing my first summer love was an initiation into a world of emotions that still confuses me to this day. Alan, Berlin, Germany