Posts Tagged ‘love’

It’s a question that has vexed me for years and, as I find the gap between the end of my last relationship and the current time growing ever wider, the fact that I still don’t know the answer (and at my age too!) worries me even more!  So exactly how do you know when you’ve found the right person?

Ironic really – in my last (and first) long term relationship one of the reasons I fell for the guy was because I could imagine us together forever – don’t ask me how! It was just a feeling I had!  And yet we split up. I’ve never really had that feeling about anyone else since.  But how can I trust my own feelings when they turn out not to be true?! Maybe I’m missing out on a great relationship because I want this illusive ‘forever feeling’ that I think in my heart is an indicator of love but actually has no bearing on how a relationship will work?!

People often quote the ‘it’s a short life therefore you have to make the most of it’ comment in support of two opposing theories.  Ie, don’t waste time searching for the perfect man, life is short so enjoy the time you have with someone nice. But also don’t settle for someone who isn’t your perfect match – life’s too short to spend it with someone you don’t feel passionately about!  When I think of my life to come it terrifies me, in equal measures, to imagine being alone as it does to imagine being with someone.  What if I end up with someone who isn’t right?  What if I make a mistake? What if I waste even more of my life on someone who’s not the one?  How do I know if someone’s right for me?  What if I never have another partner?  What if I don’t go out with someone because i’m not sure if they’re right for me and then they end up with someone else and I realise I’ve made a mistake?

What if I’m alone for ever and ever?!

We’re all sold this beautiful picture of love and romance by books and movies – they make us want to feel the passion and magic that these fictional characters all seem to experience but we forget that most of these stories come from dreams and desires, not reality!  Honestly, I sometimes wonder if my habit of watching rom com’s and reading ‘chick lit’ has permanently damaged my ability to experience love as a normal human being!

Well, I’ve decided that my motto for this year is going to be ‘Do Something Different’ so maybe I should apply that to men and relationships as well?!  Singledom is all very well but it’s nice to have some variety! 2012 look out – I’ve decided this is going to be my year of plenty!!

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“So Cat, are you married? Any kids?” 

“No, I’m happily single actually”

“Oh, right.  I see…..” (Nodding head, sympathetic look)

I wasn’t always single.  From the age of 21 to 34 I was very much attached to one man (Nearly married as I like to think of it!) and always felt a strange sense of pride and, dare I say it, possession when talking to people about my partner.  “My boyfriend” is such an affirming phrase – it says to people “I am loved therefore I must be worthwhile”.   Which surely means that being single says to people “I am not loved therefore I am not worthwhile”.  It’s not true of course but it’s this sense of being defined by your relationships that is so prevalent in today’s society and so damaging to those who are struggling to cope with the aftermath of a break-up.  However successful, charming and beautiful you are if you haven’t achieved coupledom then you’re somehow incomplete.  If you’ve ever read Bridget Jones (or watched the film) then you’ll know what I mean! 

After the crying shoulder, tubs of ice cream and bottles of wine, what’s one of the first things people say to us when we split up with a partner?  “Don’t worry.  You’ll find someone else”.  What’s the first thing most of us do when we find ourselves single once again?   We start looking for someone new!  Some might say we are gluttons for punishment…. 

I often see people playing seemingly happy families  – in the supermarket, on holiday, walking down the street – and I can’t help but feel a bit jealous.  But I have to remind myself that I’m only seeing snapshots, one moment in time when for that featured family everything is good, nobody is rowing and the sun is shining!  Who knows what happens down the next aisle, or in the evening when everyone is tired and fed up or when they get home and the baby starts screaming as the gentle motion of the pram stops giving comfort!  We always think the grass is greener but I cannot truthfully say that my life is any worse now than it was when I had a partner, it’s just different – in fact if anything it’s marginally better than before!  I have more friends and more freedom although unfortunately less money! 

Yes, there are times I still miss him – I would be inhuman if after all those years I didn’t occasionally think of the times we spent together – but most of the time I don’t.  And yes, I hope I won’t be single all my life!  Because let’s face it, we are programmed to want to be with other people – this is not just a biological drive!  Most of us thrive on being around others – having friends is another way of persuading ourselves that we are worth something.  That if we were no longer around we would be missed, even if only a little bit.  And we enjoy the company of people who we share similar interests and values with.  So despite all the evidence that actually human beings should probably stay single (affairs, divorce, roving eyes of both sexes!) we still strive to find that ideal someone – the person we’re willing to share our life with if not forever then at least for a year or ten! 

But while we’re waiting to find the ideal there’s no reason not to enjoy the freedom of singledom – so all you couples out there don’t feel pity or sympathy.  It’s just another way of life.  And don’t feel envy either – enjoy what you have while you can as you may not always have it!!