Sat in the office on a dull, grey Wednesday musing about the life I could have had if I had taken any number of different paths, I decided to change tack and start thinking about the life I actually have had. Now I’m only 27 so I’m not exactly a wise old lady but at the same time, recently I have realised that a lot of things have started slotting into place and I’m finally learning some lessons and working out how I can turn my life into something I am proud of rather than just a series of events that somehow happen to me. So I thought why not share what I think I have learned with the rest of the world and maybe receive some “constructive criticism” to shape my views even further and really cement my thinking. For part one of “Things I Know”, I thought I’d start with relationships as they are something I have been thinking about a lot in the last few months.
Obviously relationships extend beyond just romantic encounters but I tend to find that it’s the romantic relationships that cause me the most trouble. Luckily I am blessed with a wonderful family so I always know that we will overcome any blips that appear in that camp and my friends are equally fabulous too. To put my chatter about relationships into context, I should start by saying that I have pretty much been a serial monogamist… when I say monogamist, I mean I have mainly jumped from one relationship to the next; take the word “monogamist” with a MASSIVE pinch of salt!
It all started when I was 14 and I dated a guy who was 18, at that point we definitely wanted different things so we split up and got back together a year later when I was 15 and he was 19. Still to this day I don’t know why I agreed to be his girlfriend. I thought he was a nice guy but I had no desire to be someone’s other half; some people blame it on what was at that time the recent passing of my mother but personally I think I just figured I may as well tag along for the ride because, well, he was cooler than I was. Three and a half years of on-again, off-again passed with a few infidelities (on both sides) along the way and much character abuse because we simply weren’t well matched; finally I found the balls to call it off once I realised a super hot guy I was working with also thought I was hot. Done! I vowed to be single and love it; that lasted about a month and then a messy situation turned up where I went to the Christmas party with one boyfriend and left with another and then suddenly I was in ANOTHER relationship. 18 months later I left him for a new guy I had just started seeing.
The new guy was great at first, though when I say “at first”, I really mean he was great from a distance and even from date number 1 I knew things weren’t right and that I found him immensely annoying. So I did the right thing, I dated him for over 3 years just to be sure that my concerns were real and we definitely didn’t have a future together. Oops! During that time there was more cheating, though this time on my side only. At this point I had cheated on every guy I’d dated, mainly to prove to myself that I wasn’t stuck with them forever, that I could have other men if I wanted them. I still don’t fully understand why I didn’t just leave them, I think it was a fear that I’d have no friends even though I clearly did and most of them prefer the single version of me anyway.
Finally, when that relationship ended I really was single and happy to be single, determined to remain so even. Then I drunkenly slept with a good friend and he made it very clear that I had to choose between just being friends, now with a damaged friendship or a relationship. Given how well we got on as friends, I eventually opted for the relationship figuring it was better to try and fail than to give up before you’ve even started. That was my ex; he broke the pattern of cheating because I respected him and liked him as a person but he still fitted the mould in that I knew from the off we wouldn’t be forever. Regardless, I put my heart and soul into that relationship and was gutted when we split but a secret part of me was relieved that I could stop wondering “what if this really is my future?”.
Now I have rambled on for ages filling you in on the history and you’re probably wondering what 12 years of making the same mistakes over and over has actually taught me. Here it is: “If you know it’s not right, follow your instinct and get out sooner rather than later”. I firmly believe we all need some failed relationships to truly understand what we do and don’t want from a partner but once you know somebody isn’t the one, move on. It eats away at you wondering why they don’t understand you, why you argue so much and why you can’t seem to get through to them. You don’t need that; go ahead and be single instead, it’s far more fun and you get to spend your time doing things you like with people you like!
I appreciate that sounds simple, basic and obvious but how many of us really realise this? We labour at things thinking that if we love someone there must be a way but sometimes we need to admit defeat and realise that liking or loving someone doesn’t mean being with them is right. I wish I’d had the balls to end every single one of those past relationships sooner, at the point when I realised my gut instinct was right instead of being afraid of throwing something away that I’d later regret. Now I say follow your gut, every single step of the way, it knows you well and it’s telling you exactly what you need to hear; you won’t regret it no matter how hard it seems at the time.
Oh, and for the record if you are like me, not every beginning to a relationship will feel wrong and come with a ticking time bomb, I’ve recently met someone amazing and for the first time ever I don’t have that nagging feeling of knowing what our downfall will be so who knows what the future holds!?! x