"Relationships are like walkie-talkies, they only work if you are on the same channel and in range”
Paige and Tom live together in Hullbridge. Paige grew up in Leigh-on-Sea, and Tom grew up in Wickford. Tom moved around a lot in his adult life. It was in the midst of one of these moves that he met Paige. He was relocating back to Westcliff from Basingstoke and rented a room in his friend's house. His friend turned out to be Paige's best friend. Paige came over for dinner one night, and from there, their romance began.
How Paige came to be back in the U.K. at that time is a bittersweet, tale. Paige had taken the bold move, to take all the money that she had saved to buy a house and use it to go traveling around the world instead. After seven months of traveling through Dubai, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Australia, and Fiji, she ended up in Dunedin, New Zealand. On a fateful day in June 2017, she was planning to head back down to Queenstown to book her flights and to travel back to Australia for a year, on a working holiday visa. After a leisurely morning, Paige took a bus and was on a highway when there was an accident. An oncoming truck veered into the bus, and the driver was killed. Paige was airlifted to the local hospital with a broken pelvis. All her travel plans were over. Reluctantly, she returned to the U.K to heal.
It was when she was back home that her friend coaxed her into meeting her new housemate. Paige recollects "She would say, 'come over, you will love him, he loves traveling too,' and all I would say is leave me alone. I was on crutches and was fed up as I really wanted to be in Australia and was upset that my trip was cut short. My friend kept asking, she said that I would really like him, so eventually, I went over to her house and, I did. We spent that first night talking all about our trips and our wanderlust. Tom said, "She was firing jokes back at me, and I liked that. Lots of cheekiness from the beginning. I felt like I'd known her for ages. Everything felt easy." After three months they moved in with one other. They took a six-month tenancy just to prove everyone, who was telling them that they were moving too fast, wrong.
I couldn't wait to speak to Paige and Tom about what makes a successful relationship and see what love means to them.
Tom explained, "I was a bit of a commitment-phobe. I had spent the last six or seven years dating and not really feeling it. I wasn't really sure what it was until I met Paige.
Eighteen months later they became engaged whilst on holiday in Mexico, they are to be married next summer.
Tom continued, "I am the last of my lot. I am an only child. I lost my father at the age of fourteen and my mother last year. Paige was very instrumental in keeping me going. After mum passed away, I was pretty much alone. But I felt like I still had a family, Paige is my family."
Paige said, "I knew I loved him quite early on, everything just seemed to come so naturally to us, but it was a real turning point when his mum became terminally ill. I still wanted to travel, but the gravity of what he was going through changed everything, anything I wanted just went straight to the back of my mind. I wanted to be there with him, to support him and his mum, I never questioned that decision. I knew then after his mum passed away that we could face anything together. I felt that we were stronger than before."
Tom added, "The day my mum found out that she was terminally ill, she asked me if Paige was the one, and I said yes. After all Paige and I went through, I think the same applies for couples as it does for individuals, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger."
Emmaleen: Can you tell us a loving story from your relationship?
Paige: "Tom took me to a nice restaurant for Valentine's Day, a restaurant that I love. It was a disaster. It was not their usual service, they were very busy, and in the end, we ended up leaving to go home and have pasta in our pajamas. The next day I came home from work, and Tom said 'Happy 15th February!' He had decorated our home and prepared a candlelit, Indian takeaway dinner. We drank wine and played cards. It was a really lovely evening."
What is the key to a happy relationship?
Paige: "You need to listen to each other and be honest. Relationships are like walkie-talkies, they only work if you're on the same channel and in range."
Tom: "We spend so much time together, and we never get bored of each other. The key is accepting the other person entirely and to love the whole package, faults, and all."
What is Love?
Paige: "Love is absolute contentment inside the bubble you both live in. Even when there are storms outside, you find happiness in your bubble."
Tom: "It's just you and the other person. The outside world could be burning, but as long as you are with the one you love, it doesn't matter."
So what is their advice to anyone looking for love?
Tom: "It needs to be instinctual. Don't go looking, necessarily and don't force it, you don't know what it is until you find it. Usually, for a relationship to work, you just have to feel it."
Paige: "You should love and value the relationship that you have with yourself first. Believe that you are whole and understand that so is the other person. You do not need another person to complete you, but you should enrich each other's lives with both of your attributes. Don't look. Together, we are more than the sum of our parts."
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