The things we sacrifice to make a relationship work

Japan's Princess Mako announced her engagement to a commoner, meaning, under Japanese law, she must forgo her royal status.

Most of us will never be faced with such a dilemma, but many will make sacrifices for love.

Anya left behind her family and everything she knew after meeting Duncan at Glasgow University.

Anya, a pseudonym adopted for clandestine communication with Duncan, grew up in a strict religious family in Glasgow.

"A relationship based on love was just not an option in my life. Or so I thought," she told the BBC.

Meeting Duncan changed everything.

"I had never realised how trapped I was."

Anya resolved to leave home and pursue the relationship.

Anya's family dragged her home and, she believes, drugged her.

With the help of her university tutor, Anya managed to escape to the Netherlands.

Duncan drove her to the airport.

"Duncan asked me to swear I wasn't ripping my family apart for him, because he couldn't live with being the reason for so much heartache," she said.

"I wasn't running away for him, but, whether he liked it or not, he was involved because he had shown me love. Love equates [with] freedom, freedom I didn't have."

Anya tried to reconcile with her family when she returned to Glasgow a few months later.

Her brother was getting married in Bangladesh, and her parents were keen for her to attend the wedding.

Anya travelled to Bangladesh, where she was kept against her will.

"They calmly spoke of killing me and themselves."

Anya fled to the British embassy. She never saw her family again.

"I was now free to attempt a proper relationship, but it cost me everything."

Five years after Anya fled from her family, she married Duncan.

"We moved to the first place I was able to call our home. We've lived here for 10 years and had three kids. And he's still with me."


Pnicha Kerdphol grew up in a privileged Thai family.

"Growing up in Bangkok, I used to have maids and drivers who would take care of me," she told the BBC.

"It would be fair to say that I had a comfortable life."

Pnicha left Bangkok in 2014 to study for a master's degree at University College London, where she met Lee.

"Having fallen in love with his positive energy, I decided to leave Bangkok and start my new life in London. "

Pnicha said that people were surprised when they discovered her upbringing.

"This is not another story of a poor girl from the countryside marrying a wealthy Western man. My story is completely different."

Pnicha started a street-food business, much to her family's surprise.

"They never thought that I would choose something so laborious."

In the end, Pnicha is confident that she made the right choice to follow her heart.


Natasha Stubbs was an aspiring actress in New York. However, a holiday took her life in a different direction.

In 1999, Natasha took a trip to the Dominican Republic to "escape the millennium bug".

And, once there, Natasha, 26 at the time, "gate-crashed" a party, where she met Fidias.

Six months later, Natasha and Fidias were married. They had spent a total of three weeks together.

Natasha recalls how they were "pursuing a similar path", her an actress and Fidias a musician.

Fidias planned to move to New York to join Natasha. However, after two years, Fidias's band split up and he decided to join the family business.

Natasha reassessed her options.

"I felt one of us had to make a sacrifice in order to make things work," she told the BBC.

Natasha moved to Santo Domingo.

After 16 years of marriage, and three children, Natasha and Fidias decided to get divorced.

Looking back, Natasha can "see so much joy" but admits they were never truly compatible.

However, she says she "adores" her three children, who of course she doesn't regret.

"So, I stay here, alone."

Natasha regrets not following her dream, and feels trapped in Santo Domingo.

"The thought of starting over is overwhelming."