Web reunites sweethearts

18th May 2011'Michelle and Craig Swain married after reuniting on Facebook.  The pair dated when they were 14 and 17, but went their separate ways.  They got back in touch on the social networking site 23 years later.' PICTURE: MATTHEW PAGE

18th May 2011'Michelle and Craig Swain married after reuniting on Facebook. The pair dated when they were 14 and 17, but went their separate ways. They got back in touch on the social networking site 23 years later.' PICTURE: MATTHEW PAGE

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TEENAGE sweethearts who grew apart and didn’t see each other for 22 years have married after reuniting on social networking site Facebook.

Newlyweds Michelle and Craig Swain, of Whitwood, dated when they were 14 and 17, but “drifted apart” and had no contact as they grew up in different parts of the country.

Michelle went to the University of Staffordshire and moved to Oxford, where she got married and had two children – while Craig stayed in Pontefract and completed a degree in Leeds.

But after she got divorced in 2008, the couple rekindled their relationship after a chance reunion on the popular website. After a whirlwind romance they got engaged last August and married at Wentbridge House Hotel on April 10.

Michelle, 37, of Greenbank Close, said: “It’s like a story from a Hollywood film. It shows that you can have your happy ending.”

Michelle decided to “request” her high school sweetheart Craig as a “friend” on the social networking site after she got divorced – with a bit of encouragement from her family.

She said: “We’d dated as teenagers, but we went to different schools. I was at Castleford High and he was at Pontefract’s Park High. I can’t remember how long we were together, but we eventually drifted apart.

“Someone had mentioned Craig so I decided to get in touch. He accepted my friend request and we started talking on Facebook chat. We were both going through difficult times, but reminisced about when we were younger and the things we used to do.

“After we’d been talking over a period of time he asked if he could ring me – which I remember being really scary. I was really nervous and worried it’d be awkward, but we were on the phone for two hours. It was like we’d never been apart.”

After phone calls and online chats, the couple agreed to meet the next time Michelle was visiting family in Castleford.

She said: “I remember being extremely nervous. All I could think was ‘It’s been 23 years, I’ve had two children’ – I was worried about what he would think of me. I was panicking. He was exactly the same. He had the same attitude and the same cheekiness. I think because we’d spoken so often on the phone we just clicked and everything felt really natural.

“We started to see each other more and more often and decided to go on holiday in Lanzarote as friends. It was then we became more than friends and started dating.”

The couple continued to spend more time together – with Craig getting to know Michelle’s children Ben, eight, and Ella, 11. They got engaged on Craig’s 40th birthday last August and decided to plan their wedding for April.

Michelle said: “It’s been such a whirlwind. We didn’t want a massive wedding, but all our close friends and family were there to share the day with us.

“In his speech Craig told everyone how we’d got together because not everyone knew, and they all said it was a lovely story.

“Craig says I dumped him when we were teenagers – he mentioned it in his wedding speech and likes to wind me up about it whenever possible.

“It’s a joke among our friends now, even though I deny it.

“We’re so happy and excited about the future. I think things happen for a reason and I’m glad Facebook allowed us to get back in touch.”