Whenever I pictured my future self, I always saw myself being alone. Not through rejection or heartbreak, but simply through choice.
I saw a woman who would take a spontaneous solo rendezvous to Italy, only letting her neighbour and a few intimate friends know of this sporadic embarkment. I imagined a woman coming home from her well earned journalist job and crashing on the sofa with a glass of red; with no kids to feed and no husband to clean up after. I saw myself living for me – entirely and completely alone. Maybe with the exception of a cat.
I used to always view someone who got in a serious relationship in their teens like they were going to miss out on so many experiences. No casual flings, no making out with strangers, and definitely not being exposed to the online dating world. Just the cocoon of security in their relationship.
I thought a relationship would hold them back. I thought a relationship would hold me back.
Yet I have come to realise that is not true. Because there are so many experiences that come from growing with someone. Neither being alone or being in a relationship is superior to the other, nor is there a right path to take within either.
As someone who has dibbled and dabbled with men and women in the dating sector, it is rare I ever come across someone I like. In fact, until very recently, I had never been in love.
You see, I liked dating. I liked the first date excitement. Getting to know someone completely foreign to you. Going to new places and seeing things all a bit peachier knowing you were on a D A T E.
Yet it would also come at an expense – economically but more importantly, mentally.
It would be painful to listen to a guy talk about how he found himself in Thailand; watch him drink a selection of pints which were brewed in different Asian countries; then watch him (fortunately) leave early as he had a flight to New York in the morning.
It was confusing to listen to a girl you had met only once before tell you all her trauma from her previous relationships. And when you catch yourself saying, “and how did this make you feel?” you realise you aren’t here for the prospect of romance, but for a shoulder of support.
I am happy to listen. To both the explorations around Asia, and the trauma of being cheated on. Yet it can be draining and confusing to be off-loaded to by a stranger, who you probably won’t know in five years time. Regardless, I would enjoy the camaraderie of meeting an alien for a drink on a random Tuesday night. A pint of Aspall please.
As alluded above, I have never been in love. Until now.
It is scary to make yourself vulnerable to someone else. And it is even more difficult to unpick the armour that surrounds your heart, and place it into the hands of someone else. But you have to trust that process and remember that although it may not go to plan, the same can be said for anything in this life.
If you meet someone who you get along with like a best friend; they make you laugh, you relish their company, you have great sex and you are a team, then fuck the rules of what you should or shouldn’t be doing. Because this is what life is all about. And it doesn’t happen very often. Hold onto that, to them and yourself.
I am indulged by sunsets, bubble wrap, and grapes that taste like candyfloss. I now get to share those sunsets, the bubble wrap popping and grapes with someone else. And that is just magic.