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October 24, 2013

Potential Relationship Issues? A Triple Whammy!

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Everyone has heard of the potential relationship issues when it comes to the workplace, long-distance and an age gap…but what about combining all three?!  My most recent relationship was all three, and after the experiences I had associated with that relationship, I wouldn’t have had it any other way…

We met in a small town in Wyoming in early June of 2009 where I was the General Manager of a hotel, and she was one of my four summer “work & travel” employees from Russia.  Initially we didn’t even like each other’s presence, but after a couple of weeks we began getting along rather well and even started to enjoy each other around the office…though she had turned 20 just two months prior, and I was going to turn 33 in five months.

It was the day of the anticipated employee pool party, and nearly everyone was present.  It was a celebration that day, so I bought some Patron and introduced the Russians to some good tequila!  After becoming thoroughly inebriated, I made a move on Kate which was completely accepted and reciprocated.  After sobering up I told Kate that we should go to Salt Lake City…and we did.  Obviously we really started liking each other after that, and on the 4th of July, 2009 I asked her to be my girlfriend.  We had a great summer even though we had to hide our relationship from all the employees, guests, other managers and upper-management during property visits.

After completing a 4,000 mile road trip in September, I dropped Kate off at the airport, sending her back to Russia to continue working on her degree.  We spent countless hours and tears communicating the next eight months until she returned to the USA in May of 2010.  That time I was no longer her boss, and that very challenging aspect was no longer a factor.  We had another good summer and after completing a second 4,000 mile road trip I dropped her off at the airport again, so that she could return to Russia and finish the last year of her Undergraduate studies.  We spent countless hours and less tears during the second time we were apart, but the feelings were not diminished.

In April of 2011 I decided to go to her hometown of Yekaterinburg, and see what life in Russia was like.  I enjoyed my time there during the month, so upon returning stateside I made plans to return to Kate in Russia.  I quit my job, sold or gave away all of my belongings, and bought a one-way ticket to Russia which I used in July.  It was an interesting time, to say the least.  We rented an apartment and lived together until our relationship soured and I left for Europe.  I left Yekaterinburg on the 4th of July 2012…on my own accord and on the promptings of Kate.  Our breakup was completely mutual, but she seemed to take it harder…and I seemed to hang on longer.

What was the main lesson I learned from the experience?  Truly, you cannot choose who you love…and when it is right, it is right.  That isn’t to say that it would stay right, but at the time it was right.  As we develop throughout life, it is important to love as much as possible!  You never know if the relationship will bring you to new prophetic heights or take you around the world…but loving, living and learning are the essential components to becoming a full person.  It is certainly possible to do so within a more “socially acceptable” relationship, but again I claim, you can’t choose who you love…or when you will love.  All that we can truly choose is HOW we will love, which was my lesson in the bigger picture of life.

I have been back in the USA for nearly one full year (after living in parts of Europe and Moscow before returning) and I cannot find an appropriate position for my qualifications, making do with temp jobs for the time being, and trying to keep a positive attitude about my situation.  Would I trade any of my experiences for the stability I had before going to Russia?  Absolutely not!

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About the Author

Chris Brown





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