Relationships

Useless Facts About Past Loves

I know things about my ex-boyfriends that no one else does. I know if they are self conscious about having 3 grey hairs. I know if they secretly aspire to owning their own business. I know if they sleep on the left side of the bed. I know that when they say ‘I’ve had a bad day’ they mean ‘I’ve been over thinking and need to talk it out’. I know that their best friend isn’t the one they spend the most time with. Granted, I made up all these things up (to ensure I don’t spill any secrets), my point still stands.

We spend time getting to know the ins and outs of someone and everything that makes them who they are and then, one day, things end. And suddenly we have all this knowledge about one specific person, and nothing to do with it.

You hear people ask ‘when you stop dating someone, where does the love go?’ My question is, when you stop dating someone, where does all that information go? What do you do with it? It isn’t transferable to your next partner (or at least, it shouldn’t be, unless you date the exact same people over and over); I’m pretty sure their new partner won’t want any handover notes or insight from you. It’s like all these little bits of information you’ve built on over the months, years, become worthless. Do we simply push them aside; forget about them to make way for the intricacies of your next lover?

When relationships end, it can seem like such a pointless feat. Why did we bother learning everything about this one person? What good came of it? But, you know, I wouldn’t change it for the world. There are mixed opinions as to what is the best part of a relationship – is it the early stages, when you are first getting to know each other and each new piece of information gets you closer to completing the puzzle? Is it later on, when you have discovered all their little quirks, everything that makes them, uniquely them, and you have a sense of true connection?

I honestly can’t answer that question; I love both parts and at the same, often wish for the part I don’t have. I love getting to know someone and I love knowing someone inside out. I just end up with all these little bits of information that can’t be applied to anything else in my life. Everything that was so important and treasured so dearly, is never to be spoken of again.

Once this knowledge has crept to an unlit corner in the back of my mind, sitting next to other redundancies such as how to multiply fractions, there is one thing I will continue to treasure – no matter whether or not it lasts, I have connected with someone on such a profound level that I felt comfortable sharing everything about myself with them and, in return, having the privilege of discovering parts of them few others know. That’s a pretty powerful connection. That’s what makes it worthwhile, long after the information ceases to be.

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Some Relationships Are Meant to be Friendships

Have you ever looked back at a past lover and thought ‘we should have just been friends’? I have, often. I don’t mean that in a negative way. I don’t mean that I’ve wondered ‘what was I thinking, we should have never dated’. I simply mean that some relationships are meant to be friendships.

Sometimes you meet people and there is an instant connection. You date them, because that seems to be the natural progression and for whatever reason, things end. You fall out of love. But that doesn’t mean you stop loving them altogether.

That ongoing love can be terrible or terrific. It can result in a heartbreak you struggle to get over, or it can give you a new lease on your relationship. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been really lucky with that ongoing love and that you definitely shouldn’t always stay friends once a relationship has ended. Everyone has to do what’s right for them.

That said, of the people I’ve dated, I now consider two of them best friends. Not just ‘we’re still Facebook friends and attend each other’s birthdays’ type friends, but actual best friends.

One of these best friends of mine has wisely answered the ever asked “why do you stay friends with an ex?” in the most simple and logical way. He said, “you spend all that time getting to know someone and you obviously enjoyed hanging out with them, why throw it all away?” I re-use his explanation all the time.

The people I have dated are still some of my favourite people in the world. They are people I trust with my life, people I know will look out for me, people who have seen me at my most crazy and know all my bad habits and still choose to be my friend. There is this unconditional love. They know more about me than most of my other best friends. They aren’t afraid to call me on my bullshit because they know I’ll still love them afterwards, and vice versa. It’s a unique relationship. It’s one I’m really grateful for.

A Little Thank You Note

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It’s no secret that the qualities you value in a friend change as you get older. Everyone gets busier and there is less time for people who don’t genuinely value, appreciate, support and care about you.

And so, this is just a little thank you to the friends in my life who care about me, through the good times and the not so good times. The ones who show they are there for me, even if it’s through something as simple as a text, because it is absolutely the thought that counts and often the simple things that mean the most.

It’s one thing to celebrate successes with someone but totally different to be supportive during sad times. It’s the people who are there for both, that are the most special.

To these friends I want to say thank you – I do not take you for granted, I appreciate you. I appreciate your friendship. You are incredible human beings!

A Shout Out To My Parents – 30 Years of Love

My parents recently celebrated their 30 year wedding anniversary. While divorce rates may be dropping, 30 years is still pretty impressive. The thing that makes my parents’ anniversary even more impressive is that not only have they gotten through 30 years of marriage, they’ve done it with a whole lotta love and happiness.

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After 30 years together, they still can’t go a night without talking to each other. They still have date nights. They are still very much in love.

Their relationship is one that makes me believe that ‘till death do us part’ does exist. Their relationship has also taught me a thing or two about what it takes to make a marriage work, because as much as you might love someone, there’s a lot more to it than that.

So, here’s what I’ve learnt from my parent’s shining example of 30 years together;

  1. Marry someone who amazes you
    My dad genuinely believes that my mum is the smartest women he’s ever met. If you asked him, he would gloat about her intelligence in a heart-warming way that only someone who is truly amazed by their partner could gloat. Whether it’s their intelligence, humour, skills, kind-heartedness, or something else entirely, being amazed by your partner seems to make you a lot happier to be around them, day in, day out, for the rest of your lives.
  2. You need to plan time together
    After 30 years, 3 kids and both of them working, my parents prove it’s not only important but very possible to still make time for each other. They exercise together every week, go for beach walks, have movie nights, head out dinner or even out dancing and I believe that making time just for each other has been an important part of their long lasting marriage.
  3. You need to plan time apart
    On the other hand, they also plan separate holidays – my mum goes on girls’ weekend getaways, my dad goes on boys’ golf trips and they each have their own, separate hobbies. This has also taught me that keeping your own identity and giving your partner space means you’re likely to be even happier to see one another when you come back together.
  4. Sometimes love means agreeing to do it their way
    During any relationship there will be times you disagree with your partner’s way of doing things. Sometimes these are big things (raising children) and sometimes they are little things (how to cook chicken). If you know your partner really cares about how to cook chicken and you only kind of care, bow down and tell them you think their way is a good idea. From what I’ve seen, it makes everyone’s lives easier.
  5. It’s all about offering to make a cup of coffee
    Big romantic gestures are nice, but my parents prove that it’s the small gestures that really count. Every morning my mum offers to make my dad a cup of coffee and every night he offers to make her a cup of tea. These ridiculously simple gestures show you are thinking about the other person and offering to do something that will make their lives that little bit sweeter.

Finally, I’d just like to give a big shout out to my parents, for they are the reason I continue to believe in love.

How I Handle Break Ups

Apparently it’s the season to be breaking up, with a bunch of celebrity couples recently calling it quits, according to Cosmo. I’m normally not one to believe the magazine gossip but this seems to ring true in real life – maybe something to do with the year coming to an end, people reflecting on their last 12 months and what they want for the next 12.

While this doesn’t apply to me, it did get me thinking about break ups and particularly how people deal with them. Everyone has a different way of coping. Perhaps you pull out the emergency Ben and Jerry’s and cry while reading over old texts. Perhaps you instantly erase their existence, deleting his phone number, unfriending him and throwing away his tshirt. Perhaps you drag your friends out for a night of single girl dancing, debauchery and rebound hunting.

I know I have a pattern whenever someone breaks up with me. I handle it the same way, I move on in the same way.

First, I cry. A lot. I think about how wonderful they were and all the wonderful things they did and all the wonderful times we had together. I am sad, I miss them and I cry. This first stage varies in length. Sometimes it might only last a week. Sometimes it continues over months.

After thinking they are wonderful and being sad, I switch gears. I chuck it in reverse, go back and think of all the flaws. There are always flaws. We are human, so everyone has them. We might find them hard to see when we’ve got our rose coloured glasses on but those shades are long gone now and the flaws start to come into focus. Big or small, it doesn’t matter, just find some flaws.

And if you can’t think of any flaws, if your ex defied humanity and was, in fact, a perfect person, then think about the flaw of why the relationship is over. They chose to end things with you. They didn’t value or appreciate you as much as they should have. They chose to leave without asking you to follow them. They chose to leave for someone else. They chose to leave to ‘find themselves’ because they weren’t convinced their place was next to you.

I ask myself why on earth I would want to be with someone who didn’t want to be with me, who didn’t appreciate me, who chose not to wake up next to me anymore. They couldn’t see what they were letting go of and that is a major flaw.

I find these flaws and remind myself of them, over and over again, until I don’t have to remind myself anymore and I just know. I know that the relationship was flawed and I am better off without it. I know that while all relationships have flaws, they didn’t think ours was worth sticking around for, and I am worth more than that.

And then I smile to myself and realise what an idiot they were.