I went through this long phase of hating relationships, swearing off them forever and vowing never, ever to get near one again – like relationships were germs… bad, bad virusy germs that would crawl inside my brain and kill me.
Understandably (perhaps), this was after one of those awful break-ups, where the guy literally got onto a plane and left the country, left me, left everything behind. So I woke up one morning and found myself an angry, jilted, scorned banshee. I resolved with a steely determination that I didn’t need relationships ever again. Relationships are like germs. And of course, everybody should avoid germs.
But of course you can’t plan how you fall in and out of love. One day, about a year later, This Boy comes along and before I know it, he’s kicked all that furious, celibacy-vowing resolve out of my system and settled deep inside my heart.
I am now in love in the most sickening way I have ever been in love with anyone. It’s like going on a detox program for ages and when you finally get off it, eat more cake than you ever would have before the detox.
Just a year ago, I would have hated the sort of loved-up romantic I am now – I thought them weak, needy, always distracted, not at all like the strong, empowered, independent individual I smugly saw myself as. And actually, when I first started seeing This Boy – as if in a fit of universal karmic retribution for having been so judgmental – I got a tremendous amount of shit for the relationship from everyone, for too many reasons to recount here.
Then somehow, in the midst of all that shit being flung around the room, I suddenly realised that I should just be peaceful about it all. I didn’t need to apologise to anyone for this or feel guilty about it. I wasn’t a weak person for falling in love with another person and enjoying the time I spent with him. I wasn’t a bad person.
The thing is, I guess we get this notion into our heads – thanks to the Grimm Brothers, reality shows and the legacy of chick flicks and/or Germaine Greer – that Happily Ever Afters are only to be gotten from being EITHER CompletelyTrulyMadlyDeeply in love with someone OR as a fiercely-independent, solitary, I-am-woman-hear-me-roar bitch of a single woman.
Depending on which side of the fence you’ve decided to be on, you think you can only be Truly Happy as one and Truly Miserable as the other. Compare:
* In my younger days, I felt wretched being single, believing only in that peculiar validation you get in a relationship.
* Then, after being dumped by that plane-flying-off ex, I swung right round to the other extreme, believing only in that self-defined validation found from being single.
Conclusion: Neither way works, of course. Eventually, you’re just as miserable in a relationship as you are out of one.
So heck, what’s a girl to do but learn to be happy either way.
This Boy now is incredible (and shall deserve another whole blog post of his own) and I have become all sorts of mushy for him. I create Pinterest boards of love-inspired image-quotes, and write his name and mine in heart doodles. Most importantly, I’m enjoying every moment of it and not feeling bad or silly for it. I’m also learning not to be so extreme about things – neither to despise the concept of relationships so strongly I start picketing outside my own friends’ weddings, nor to lose myself in it that to even think of being single sends me reaching for Lexapro.
I shall love being in love, enjoy it and most of all, learn that invaluable lesson of being free, within or without it.