Relationships are hard work?

It seems, as I tapped on in my post ‘Do we ever find a happy place?’ We’re all under the impression that once we bag ourselves a partner,  we will live happily ever after. Reality is, relationships are work.

You begin with the honeymoon period, getting that little flutter when you see the person. And you agree to everything they say as for some reason,  you’re highly opinionated self has been gagged because this person’s a hottie.  

Once the honeymoon ends, you begin finding little things they do that bugs the hell out of you. Like walking into your pad with their shoes on but insisting you take yours off at their place. The way they slurp their coffee grates on you, not to mention raiding your cupboards to detect the one box of chocolates you were saving for some much needed ‘me time’. They piss you off by telling you when to cross the road or when it’s time to make a move, and you can’t help thinking ‘how old am I?’

The spark is still there but it’s masked by the need to fire a spoon of strawberry jam at their forehead. However, when the negative thoughts kick in,  it’s important to remember how shit it is being single by following single – friend’s news feeds. And of course trying to remember whey you fell in love with the person in the first place.

You learn to live with the habits if it’s deemed impossible to change them. And perhaps one day you can even laugh about them or learn to find them cute. But there will always be things to work on in a relationship. That’s part of the excitement, muddling through on a journey together. 

Dating Negativity?

Listening to all my single friends’ dating stories, there’s definitely a level or negativity towards prospective dates.

It seriously gets as simple as ‘this guy was out partying last night. We can’t be compatible because I’m more of a home bird’. Couldn’t the guy in fact have spent the evening secretly eating pizza at home alone sat in his underpants but simply wanted to impress you?

Does this negativity build up with every disappointing date attended? This will make it impossible to give people a chance. A certain degree of open mindedness.

A Bitter Pill?

Whilst reading tweets from single ladies, I couldn’t help but notice there’s a lot of man haters out there. Have we forgotten how to give people the benefit of the doubt after one too many bad dates? Tarnished with the same brush, the women seem to have united to form a defence system. They protect the tribe, and throw shade to all the men they date and it doesn’t go the way they long for it to. I’m certain it’s probably the same for the single males too.

It saddens me that such hatred can occur from a situation which mimics trying on various pairs of gloves to see which one fits. It’s nobody’s fault if a date doesn’t flow, it takes two to hold a conversation and the fact of the matter is, it’s just not the right fit! My pet hate is when less confident people project the blame on the other person saying they’re not fun. Everyone is fun in their own ways and fun is measured differently from each individual anyway. Who has the right to decide what’s fun and what isn’t? What saddens me more is knowing that this attitude towards dating is diminishing their chances of finding the one because they have already given up hope, have already decided what type of bad arse person this is before they go on the date. Besides, who’s going to find a man/woman-hater attractive anyway?

We all need to be more open to date on the mission to find love, and kinder towards those who we meet along the way. They’re the ones who give us the experiences that make us who we are today, after all.

Do we only have the capacity to love a fair few at any one time?

Feeling saddened by the strained relationship with my eleven year old once again, I couldn’t help but ponder why there’s always strain with one of my relationships at any one time. Is this because my love will only stretch so far?

Prior to this, it has been the relationship with my partner that has suffered. David works away a lot and so it is easy to feel disconnected. Something in my head told me to keep pushing him away which meant I made excuses why he should return from camp. Even to the point of convincing himself that he was too busy and tired to drive. There’s no explanation why I felt this way. Only that deep down I perhaps felt a little resentment that David was away whilst I was bringing up our new born, and my other son. But I don’t think this was it. I was happy with our little boy. He was the apple of my eye, even more so now he was smiling and cooing. But that was probably just it. All my attention, energy and love was centred around our little bundle. Making sure he was happy. And the rest was distributed to my eleven year old who was hard work to say the least. He is definitely showing teenage behaviour. I don’t think I had anymore love to give. I’m not one of those people who find it easy to show affection as it is, which comes from losing someone close. It’s like a defence mechanism that shuts down emotions in the quest to never be hurt again. So maybe my nurturing instinct to love this baby was consuming all that I had to give? They do say that men feel pushed out once there’s a new arrival.

I recognised I was in the wrong and gave myself a big talking to yesterday which is something you can do when you reach your wise old thirties. And I made sure I gave David the attention he needed (having a partner is a bit like having another child). He responded well, I could tell by the Emojis. I felt like I had to reprogram the way I reacted to his gestures. I know this will sound like a scene from a hippie farm but I had to turn all the negative thoughts into positives. But it’s like a juggling act, now it looks like things are going wrong with my son.

I wonder if you can train yourself to broaden your capacity to love? The only godsend is, it’s the relationships who can cope with the strain, are where it falters. Another natural coping mechanism perhaps? The baby always bags the unconditional love. Even after waking you up all through the night and being incredibly needy. Things will get better, sometimes we need to be kinder to ourselves and give ourselves a break.

Do we ever find a happy place?

I get annoyed at the movies, such as Bridget Jones where you spend the entire first movie following the complications of the character’s quest to bag the man. And then the second and third films see the pattern start all over again where she loses and then bags the man. But perhaps this is simply the true to life, rollercoaster?

We spend so much time finding the one and assume that when they come along, everything will be ok. Our lives will be complete. This could be where the fairy tales ended as children where the beautiful understated girl bagged her hansom prince and lived happily ever after in the palace? But life is somewhat different. You face new problems.

The fact of the matter is, I was single for ten years whilst bringing up my son. Don’t get me wrong, I had relationships but they never lasted beyond nine months. I was fussy in my old age for one thing. Internet dating became an obsession where I found myself racing home to check out if their were any fresh meat on the site. It wasn’t until I accidently bumped into a guy (who wasn’t my type in the slightest) whilst having a shit day, when it all changed. David was not the older man I usually go for yet he put me in my place more than anyone could and was very worldly. These were both attributes I found attractive in a partner.

We took things slowly which worked for me. Every date was new and left butterflies in my stomach. David worked away a lot and was originally rom the Manchester which meant he had a daughter up there who he spent much time visiting. He was a good Dad which is also appealing. He soon built an amazing relationship with my son. David had previously been in long relationships so he wasn’t the type of guy to shy away from commitment. He was actually better at it than me, and it didn’t take long to say the ‘L’ word. Although we didn’t see each other every day, David called me every night. Sounds perfect? So why isn’t it?

The truth of the matter is, there are always problems. There is no such thing as a happy ever after (I hope this doesn’t rain on your parade too much). Eighteen months down the line and nothing has changed. We still enjoy each other’s company and the spark is most definitely there but that is just it. Things haven’t changed and don’t promise to anytime soon. Baggage has dealt us a rubbish card. Not on my side of things, I’ve never been married and bring my son up entirely on my own so no exes involved. Likewise work for me is not tying in any way. However, David is not yet divorced from his crazy ex, who has poisoned the mind of his child to the point that he doesn’t want to meet me under any circumstances. And David is married to his job which means he has to go wherever they send him and remain living a good hour’s drive away for the next six years. Some might say, be grateful for what you’ve got. Soulmates don’t come around too often but doesn’t this feel worse? You have found yours yet everything is working against you. Sod’s law I think they call it. If I didn’t realise how rare it is to find someone, then I would have given up on things a long time ago. I would say I’m very much hanging on in there. Am I patient or a mug? I find myself asking.

The moral of the story is, perhaps we need to stop looking for the perfect life and just make do with what we’ve got. Otherwise we’ll spend our entire lives looking for perfection instead of living it.

Just your average dating story- sixth instalment

 

thFNS8HR6AJames and I had been on a few dinner dates and with every second spent together, my feelings grew. There was nothing that I didn’t like about this guy. He was intelligent, confident and adventurous, and made me feel good about myself. However, there was a constant dull aching in the pit of my stomach that this was only meant to be a casual thing whilst he was in the area. I could not help strong feelings developing, there was just something about him. Or perhaps it was just the wanting what you can’t have? Part of me wanted to run away from it, knowing that I was likely to get hurt when the time came for James to leave but it was too exciting to do so. We laughed hard, and played hard: James made me feel alive again. I also felt safe in his arms like nothing else mattered in the world when we were together. But this was too perfect, and I knew something this good couldn’t possibly last forever.

We were good in every situation, from the adult alone time which was passionate and exciting, to socialising with family and friends. I seemed to instantly click with anyone James introduced to me, probably due to the fact, we shared the same interests and sense of humour. One evening whilst watching a northern soul movie it was obvious that we shared an interest in the history behind the music scene. “I would love to go to a Northern Soul event” I explained. “Let’s do it!” the carefree James’ replied. And there and then we decided to go on a mini adventure to a northern soul weekender.

James picked me up on the Friday morning and we made the journey to Prestatyn. It might have been a long drive but the time flew by as we sang to cheesy radio classics and polished off the continental breakfast James bought along the way. I felt young and carefree, like I was driving to a rave once again. Upon arrival, we dumped our bags in the little ‘love shack’ and ventured out for supplies. We stumbled along the casual dining restaurant that reminded me of a school canteen. The menu consisted of the 70’s classics scampi and chips, and roly-poly pudding (just to remain in keeping with the event I’d like to think). There were guys already dressed in their finest bangs and ladies parading in their platforms ready to hit the dance floor. We were soon full of excitement back at the love shack, getting ready for the all-nighter, helped along by northern soul tunes and rum. Whist James was busy in the shower I couldn’t help but desperately practice some moves in the mirror after beginning to feel that I could be out-danced by these professionals. As we entered the arena James took the words right out of my mouth “wow”. The dance floor was packed with all ages shuffling, side-stepping and spinning. It was like a scene straight from the movie. This talent had obviously been hidden as these middle-aged pros were working their mundane lives as bank clerks, teachers and nurses. It was at these events that they were awoken. James, with his usual carefree air, just began doing his own thing on the dance floor. I could not help but get frustrated that I could not copy one single step that the professionals made look effortless. I soon asked a lady who was stood at the side to show me some northern soul moves. She taught me the basic shuffle step and insisted “there’s no right way of doing it, just feel the music.” “But that’s too much arse.” James could not help but chuckle “less arse is more”. I soon got drunk and didn’t care about the lack of northern soul in my moves. I was enjoying the music and the company, and that’s all that mattered. We danced until our feet hurt which meant we were shown up by the older couples still going at 4oclock in the morning. The following day was amazing as we canoodled on the beach (which involved me screaming as I was carried in a fireman’s lift as an attempt to throw me in the sea). We cozied up in cafes sharing coffee and cake, and wondered around exploring the North Wales seaside towns. By the end of the weekend, I was tired and hung over yet I still mustered a spring in my step. I never knew things could be so good, and I certainly didn’t want it to end.

Just your average dating story- fifth instalment.

thDHOOFE9Z It was finally the evening of the first date with James. It took a good thirty minutes of trying on various outfits and tossing them aside in a pile on the floor before I decided on my new high-waisted jeans and crop top combo. I had no idea where we were going which didn’t help matters. James insisted on planning the whole evening, leaving it as a surprise for me. Apparently that’s what the guy does where he’s from. I wasn’t complaining, well apart from the fact I didn’t dare wear my new dress due to visions of us going gliding with my hair and dress flapping wildly in the wind. Obviously, I gave the chosen combo the wow factor by teaming it with healed platforms, and dedicating time curling my hair and perfecting my make-up. I felt hot and therefore, I had to take a few selfies as a souvenir (this is what I have found myself doing since passing thirty). I got into the mood by indulging in one or two glasses of rum and coke, and listened to music which brought out the minx in me. It was soon time to leave feeling excited yet slightly apprehensive not only that James liked me but whether I felt the same way about him. It had been a few weeks since I’d last seen him after all. I walked up the steps to the quirky little joint where I was told to meet my date. It was full of laughter, and eyes following me to the bar. Why is it, a lady entering a pub alone is instantly preyed upon? I glanced over to the bar and could not hide a smile of relief as my eyes met with James’. He had obviously made an effort, wearing a smart jumper and shirt combo. I could not help but wonder how many outfits he tried on that evening? Most probably just the one, men don’t seem to have this issue, apparently. As soon as I was in his presence my nerves disappeared. It was the familiar guy I spent, passing the time at the side-lines, chatting about nonsense. I think you can build these things up too much once it has been labelled a date. James did the gentlemanly thing in ordering me a drink, and the conversation flowed as it always did… With little or no awkward silences. How could this be possible, I could talk to this guy like a friend yet I still fancied him? This was new territory for me, usually I could gossip away with a guy because he was in the friend zone or I went disastrously shy after deciding a guy was hot and intimidating. After drinks, we ate at a tasty little deli by day that transformed into a candle-lit bistro by night. And yes, I could also eat infront of this guy. There was none of that delicately dicing my food into mouse-sized portions, and gently nibbling it after finding that my stomach had closed for the evening. We shared a love of seafood, and after both deciding on the same dishes, it made sense that we shared a few plates. However, I could tell that James was holding back and he would have most probably polished off the entire banquet in ten if I wasn’t sat opposite. This was kind of endearing. At the end of the meal there is usually that awkwardness of who would be paying the bill. I always offer and am happy to pay and can’t help but sometimes feel offended when I am refused. But I knew that this insulted men and I had to simple bite my lip and be grateful for the gesture, even if it is something out of a 50’s movie. As we walked to the taxi rank, I could not help but lean my newly delicate frame into his. There was a chill in the night air after all. Then, we suddenly stilled, and our eyes met. It felt like the perfect moment to seal the evening with a kiss, and right on cue, the smooth operator read the signals, swooping in for a kiss. As our lips locked, I felt the electricity, like the moment our hands first connected. In the taxi ride home, I could not control my giddiness, along with the smirk fixed to my face.

Just your average dating story- fourth installment.

thSN36AX3P

It had been a few days and James still hadn’t called. ‘he’s just playing hard to get,’ I kept telling myself. I pondered, would I have been interested if he called as soon as we got back home anyway?… definitely not, I would have ran a mile. I just kept myself busy with the usual day to day chores. But then at times, the negative thoughts couldn’t help but creep in. Perhaps he genuinely wasn’t interested and just thought of me as a friend? It was me who asked to swap numbers after all and he was reluctant to give his out. Or better still, perhaps he’s gay? I presumed he wasn’t because he hunted me down with those primal stares but I could have misread the signals. It wouldn’t be the first time I had got it wrong. And then I would give myself a good talking to, ‘pull yourself together for gods sake, you are an attractive, intelligent woman who doesn’t let guys mess with her head’. ‘If this guy isn’t interested then it’s just not meant to be, and it’s his loss’. Just as I had talked myself out of being bothered about this guy, distancing myself, there was a text. Why do they do that? Just as you’ve gotten over the whole situation and laid it to rest, boom they catch you in their net again. It’s like they have a homing devise signally when that specific moment will be! The text was very basic “Hi It’s James from football. I was just wondering if you’d like to go for that drink sometime? x”. I appreciated the fact he typed a kiss on the end of his text. Not because it meant he loved me or anything high school like that but because it indicated that he was confident enough to use one. Naturally, now that I had gotten what I wanted, I was now questioning if I wanted it! The doubts kicked in, what if we are only good in the friends zone? Is there much point in starting something if he is only here temporarily? What is it with us, can we never allow ourselves to be happy? Naturally I wasn’t going to answer him for at least a day anyway. Call it payback. The power was now in my hands. James would be the one waiting by his phone, jumping up in excitement whenever he received a text (or at least that is what I told myself but we all know that men aren’t so hooked up on these things). By that evening, I had talked myself out of even going for a drink with this guy. I was concerned that it would end as all my dates had, with the guy being all over me, and I would be running for the hills. And this was a person that I didn’t want to have to turn down. He was a little too close to home for comfort and what is it they say? Don’t dump on your own doorstep. I left it until the next day to tell James, just to make sure that I made the right decision.

As soon as the text was sent, I felt a dull ache in the pit of my stomach. This didn’t subside. I felt a feeling of loss all that evening. The next day we were shopping with my parents in Bristol. But I felt on an old time low. Inside, I battled this by blocking out any James thoughts, and busied myself in conversation and laughing at my dad’s jokes. I was just hoping that there was no mention of my love life. There was nothing back from James. This made it worse because usually the guy would persistently text me in an attempt to win me over. But James obviously had more pride then this and decided to cut his losses. I respected him for this and craved him more. This made the realisation that I had made a huge mistake set in deeper. It was soon time for football club again, and I found the sexiest outfit I owned regardless of the fact we would be stood out in the cold for an hour. I mentally prepared myself to bump into James, harbouring both excitement and nervous feelings. We got there nice and early which was a mistake. I found myself a little jumpy, turning on my heels with my heart in my mouth every time a car pulled up. But as James’ brood somehow drifted in, I realised that he wasn’t coming. I held back the disappointment until my son was tucked up in bed. With the help of some Dutch courage from a bottle, I sent the text “I’m sorry, I think I made a mistake not going for that drink. It’s not often I meet guys I like. Is it too late?”. After what seemed like a lifetime waiting in anticipation, I received a reply, “Hi, it’s too late because I’m in London for a few weeks but we can go for that drink when I return?” I had never felt so relieved, which told me that I had made the right decision to change my mind. I also felt like an idiot for putting myself through all of this anxiety when James seemed so carefree about the whole ordeal.

Just your average dating story- third installment.

girls-shopping-iclip

The cute guy smirked, and replied slightly taken aback “yeah, I left my Christmas jumper at home today”.

After the holidays, we began chatting our way through the cold whilst waiting patiently for our monsters to be released. Which resulted in me unusually arriving at the pitch side ten minutes early, and suddenly planning what I was going to wear the for the next match day. We actually had a lot in common for example, we both seemed to have a desire to never settle in one place for too long on a quest to seek out new adventures. James wasn’t the ‘married man desperately seeking a flirt with a single girl’ type that I first decided (which would have been obvious if he wore a ‘My Light is on’ button badge, just saying!). He was actually just babysitting his cousin’s children after school and was taking them to clubs. And to add to the perfect scene, my son conveniently became best friends with his brood (yes, I know… It’s too much like something out of a chic flick).

As always, we shouldn’t get too carried away with these things. Nothing is forever after all. But one thing was for sure, I was having fun and enjoying this guy’s company, even if it was in the friends zone at this point. James felt familiar, he was laid back which made him ooze a warm, friendly ora which I’m sure, allowed him to instantly feel at ease with anyone he met, and makes him the sociable person everyone loves to be around, and invites to parties. However, it wasn’t the usual friend zone. This was new territory… I also fancied the guy and felt challenged by the things he said. For the first time in a while, I had met a guy confident enough to put me in my place if I was cheeky, and one who didn’t feel the need to keep reminding me ‘you’re gorgeous!’, ‘why are you still single?’ (a note to people going on first dates). More to the point, for the first time in a long time, I didn’t feel the need to run away.

After a few days of chatting I decided there and then that the next time we met, I was going to drag us out of the friend zone by getting James’ number. It was a Sunday (meaning there would be a five-day window when we wouldn’t be seeing each other), which was the perfect excuse to request anyone’s number. I was cool, confident and playful, as I suggested “we should exchange numbers and go for a drink whilst you’re here”. I caught at the corner of my eye, my friend (the married one who was feeling slightly awkward standing next to us) suddenly looked dumbstruck! James coolly replied “yeah, good idea but I haven’t got my phone on me right now”. Part of me felt deflated, thinking that I had overstepped the mark, and he was making an excuse as to not give out his number. But I’m certain I didn’t show it. I thought what the hell, what have I got to lose? I conveniently found a pen in my handbag and wrote my number on the back of James’ hand. As our hands connected I felt something, I’d hate to say a spark because that is too much of a clinche’. I was certain that James found my confidence hot and I felt sexy and seductive even if nothing came of it. After James was dragged away by the force of his hungry brood, I turned around to my friend and said “you’re shocked I had the balls to do that aren’t you?” and she replied “Yep, I was impressed!”

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A mathematician has identified a formula for falling in love

So to cut a long story short:
being proud to be you (even if you are a little on the eccentric side) + putting yourself out there + speaking your mind (being as stubborn as a mule) = finding true love.

Metro

AD_159514836.jpg Nope, you plus me does not equal love, it all about the three Ps (Picture: Getty)

A mathematician says she’s identified the three traits required to fall in love and conveniently they all begin with P.

The three Ps in question, according to Hannah Fry, UCL maths lecturer and author of The Mathematics of Love, are being proud, proactive and provokable.

But don’t worry, everyone can crack the formula; it’s just about playing up certain aspects of your character. Starting with…

1. Pride

Being proud to be you is the first important step in your love equation. Hannah explains:  ‘Play up to whatever it is that makes you different.’ We know, we know, that sounds cheesy, but it’s backed up by actual research from dating site OKCupid’s founder, Christian Rudder.

[metro-thumbnail-link url=”http://metro.co.uk/2014/11/27/why-women-should-never-go-halves-on-a-date-4964827/” title=”Why women should never go halves on a date”]

Members of the site can rate each other’s attractiveness from 1…

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