So, after 5 years of being single and a quarter-of-a-century-life-crisis, I decided to get dating. However, having been out of the game for so long, I soon realised that there were aspects of relationships that I had completely forgotten about. Here are some of the them:
Date nights (when did the cinema get so expensive? And when did it cost more to have a decent centre-of-the-theatre seat?!), eating out (especially at the start when you’re too embarrassed to pull out a 241 voucher…), dining in (cooking properly compared to my regular can’t-be-bothered-beans-on-toast dinners), travelling here and there, telephone bills, Christmas, New Year, birthdays, Valentine’s Day… Hello overdraft/worth every penny.
When you look back to previous relationships, you remember the time that you were together. You forget about time that you spent apart. I forgot what it felt like to miss someone. To crazy miss someone. To viscerally long for someone – teenage dream style.
It hit me, out of the blue, during a hypothetical discussion about top three hot celebrities. It was not logical; I am sure that the television screen is not the only thing keeping him and Anna Friel from being together. I had forgotten what it felt like to feel possessive and jealous. I was struck by how wonderful it felt to feel something so instantly and intensely – like a dormant organ located somewhere in my gut was defibrillated back to life.
Nervous first meetings. Embarrassing conversations about you as a child. Better understanding a person by seeing them in context. And after a while, expectant glances at your ring finger/womb…
Sacrificing personal preferences and viewing pleasures to accommodate someone else’s plans, favourite food and television habits. I am glad that I learnt how to make the most of being single by pursuing hobbies, doing what I wanted when I wanted (within reason), and learning what makes me tick, as it has helped to discern what I can and cannot sacrifice in relationships. For example, I learnt that I cannot sacrifice time with my friends, efforts to run my own business, and weekly creative time as they make me who I am and bring me to life, but I can sacrifice Made in Chelsea for a cricket match, or a fuzzy and very American Rom-Com for a heart-rendering Michael Haneke film. But deeper than that, there is something about sacrificing your time to welcome someone else’s presence, pleasure, and problems. Something that I forgot about when I just had me to think about.
Men forget things. Hanging the tea towel back on the rack, putting the seat down, or what you just said.
Women remember everything. Even that tiny comment about a ten-year-old, worn and puff-less puffa coat being ugly. IT’S COMFORTABLE.
How difficult it can be to let someone love you. Sacrificing your self-sufficiency (I can carry that bag!) to let someone do something loving for you. Though, one of the benefits of being single for so long has been how easily being loving has been. I am so grateful for the opportunities to be caring and romantic towards one special person after five years or baking cupcakes and sweet treats for my colleagues…