The people who actually changed their plans for romance: 'I just went with my gut'

Anya Ryan
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As Jessie abandons her plan to move back to New Zealand to stay in the UK with Tom in the new series of Starstruck, these young people reveal what happened when they actually changed their life for a new partner.

Jessie: "Have I made a crazy decision?"

Tom: "Yes…But I'm glad you made it."

In the first episode of the second series of Starstuck, Jessie (played by Rose Matafeo) is convinced by her not-yet-boyfriend Tom to stay in the UK instead of getting on her plane back to her home country of New Zealand.

"Let's just take things one step at a time. Take it slow," Tom (played by Nikesh Patel) says, trying to comfort Jessie.

Jessie is convinced by her not-yet-boyfriend Tom to stay in the UK

The series follows the pair as they try and work out how to deal with the consequences of her staying. Their relationship isn't the smoothest in series one and they go on to face a series of problems.

Like Jessie and Tom, these young people we spoke to also decided to change their plans for a new partner...

'I think we moved in together too quickly'

For 25-year-old Katie, the decision to move abroad with her boyfriend of three months didn't go quite to plan. "Originally I wanted to go to Barcelona, but we settled on Berlin because it was easier for him to get a job there," she says.

In their first few months away, the couple enjoyed their time together. But, after spending nearly every day together, things got more difficult with the pair ultimately deciding to break up while they were living in a flat together in Berlin.

"I think we moved in together too quickly. It seemed like a good idea at first because we both didn't really know anyone else living there. But it was very intense," Katie says.

Looking back, Katie would still make the same choice, as she had a "great experience living in Germany," but she encourages other people to be careful about making such quick decisions at the start of a relationship. "It is very easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of something new and not consider the long term consequences," she says.

'I just went with my gut'

Nick, who's 28, says he has "no regrets” about his decision to move to Southampton to be with his girlfriend Beulah. Despite being with her for under a year, he chose to change his plans to study Biomedical Science at The University of Manchester to firm an offer at The University of Southampton to be with her.

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Nick and Beulah are planning their wedding for May 2022

"I really wanted to do the course at Manchester," Nick says. "But for Beulah's course in graduate medicine, the finances weren't really there. So she decided to firm an offer at The University of Southampton."

With the couple reluctant to continue their relationship long-distance, Nick recalls having to consider his next steps. "I remember a very distinct moment where we had to weigh up our options," he says.

"I was reluctant to leave Manchester. It was a difficult decision but actually, I didn't really have any hesitancy in making it. I just went with my gut," he says.

Nick admits that at times he has resented the move to Southampton. "It wasn't just a decision to stay with Beulah, it was a decision about moving to a place I didn't really want to be. At points I would have liked things to be easier," he says.

The decision worked out for the best though because in August 2020 Nick decided to propose to Beulah and the pair are currently planning their wedding for May this year. "She was very shocked, but she did say yes!" Nick says.

Nick believes that without choosing to move to Southampton five years ago, his life might have been very different. "I don't think I'd be at the stage to get married. I might have travelled more and focused on other stuff," he says. "I am very happy and even in the low moments, I have never looked back."

'An emotional choice, but not a hard one'

Like Jessie in the first episode of Starstruck, 25-year-old Mariam* also had to make a decision about moving countries to be with her new partner.

Originally from Canada, Mariam met her now husband, Adam* through mutual connections in their Muslim, religious community. Despite being apprehensive about the move, she was keen to make the relationship work.

"When I met my now partner, he had five years of his career under his belt whereas I was still a student, so it made sense for me to move rather than him," she says.

Mariam describes the decision to move to the UK as an "emotional choice, but not a hard one". "I didn't realise that I'd have to have lived in the UK for 3 years before I could study as a home student, and that has been the only thing I have ever been really upset about," Mariam admits. "But I have a child now and I'm finally back studying."

Though she misses her friends and family back home, Mariam says she has never resented her husband for the move. "I strongly believe it is important to take ownership of your choices and not do things just for a partner, so that's what I try and do," she says.

'Delay any decisions that are going to majorly affect your life for as long as possible'

Dating expert Charly Lester encourages couples to be cautious before making big life sacrifices for each other. "We quite often get given advice on what to do at the end of a relationship, but not really at the start which is interesting," she says. "My personal advice is to delay any decisions that are going to majorly affect your life for as long as possible. Try and be as objective as possible and maybe consider the advice you'd give your friend if they were in your situation."

Charly does, however, advise that people consider "their pyramid of needs”"and what is important at their particular stage of life. "They need to think if a grand sacrifice is really necessary. If diving headlong in can be avoided then that's great. A relationship shouldn't be all or nothing," she says.