Keeping in Touch Through

My friends Jonathan and Amie finally got married. It only took them nine years to get there.

Theirs is a love story as much as it is a story about the lives young single people live in the 21st century.

Normally, I wouldn't pay much attention to somebody else's romance story. But I was there at the beginning, and followed them through their lives as the story played out. And, I was there at the synagogue for their June wedding a couple of years ago.

Jonathan and Amie had met nearly a decade earlier, when they were both in graduate school in Cleveland, Ohio. I was living and working in Cleveland at the time, and had met Jonathan at a Hillel dinner. Neither of us went to the dinner intent on meeting another guy, but as two single male New Jersey transplants in the Midwest, we had a few things in common and quickly became friends.

A month or two later, Jonathan met Amie at a Jewish singles event. I had been living in Cleveland for more than a year, but didn't know her. I remember how excited he was after that first meeting. He could not stop talking about her, and could not believe that she and I had never bumped into each other on the singles circuit.

They began dating, and were a bona fide exclusive couple within months. They made a nice couple and complemented each other quite well. He is a secure, principled, take-charge man with strong leadership qualities and a deep spiritual side, and she was a sweet, attractive, demure scientist.

I was first friends with Jonathan, but easily became friends with them as a couple as well. We socialized together at community events, parties and dinners. There was even an attempted set-up and double-date with an adorable friend of Amie's.

They were a great couple, but after almost two years together, they had to split up. She needed to move to the West Coast for a prestigious job as a researcher. Months later, Jonathan would graduate with a master's degree and relocate to the Deep South.

They decided that a long-distance relationship would eventually fail, so they both moved on with their lives. But they kept in touch, and occasionally saw each other when time or geography permitted.

For this roughly five-year period, whenever I spoke with or saw Jonathan, Amie's name would inevitably pop up. It was hard to think about him without her. He'd say something like, "I just spoke with her last week, she's well." Or "I'm going out to the West Coast next month for a conference and am going to see her." Or "she's coming to see her mom in New York over Thanksgiving, and I'll be up, too, and we're going to get together."

Timing Is Everything
Keeping in touch with an ex, however, is not always the greatest thing to do. In some cases, it can be downright unhealthy and impede future relationships. But timing is a crucial, if not latent, element in where a relationship may be going, or not going.

Education, family pressures, work, geography and other life-factors all play a role in the timing. Many young people today hold off on getting married until they are settled professionally and financially. To further complicate these sorts of life decisions, people today frequently switch professions or make career changes requiring graduate school. Graduate school is usually tough enough without having to worry about planning a wedding.

Remember what Orson Welles intoned for the Gallo wine company: "We will make no wine before its time"? He might as well have said, "We will make no marriage before its time.".

While no appropriate time- related word rhymes with marriage, the point is clear: Timing in a relationship is delicate, even intricate. If the timing isn't right, things cannot be forced.

So, while Jonathan and Amie were apart, they went on with their lives. Both had met other people and had relationships during their years apart. But neither met the right person.

During his toast, the best man stated, "I knew she was the one for him about six years ago, when Jonathan and I were having a conversation and her name came up. I knew then that this is the woman he was supposed to marry."

Of course, the best man was not the only one in attendance with those feelings.

A couple of years before the wedding, Jonathan and Amie had a big talk about reigniting their relationship. He was in Washington, D.C.; she was in Washington state. A job opportunity arose for her, and she moved to D.C.

Less than a year later, they were engaged. And now they are married.

It only took them about nine years.

Roy S. Gutterman is a Syracuse, N.Y.-based writer. To contact him, visit:



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