So it happened. I turned 25 and technically at my age and current romantic status, I’m somewhat classed as ‘on the shelf’ – oh goody.
Having said that, as a newly single person I’ve been thrown into the ‘Dating Game’ without really having any prior knowledge or experience – constantly being in relationships for nearly a decade leaves you slightly lacking on what is the social norm.
But, through my relationships and recent singledom I have so far learnt the following things:
1. Teenage relationships/first loves are generally psychotic
My first actual relationship was at age 17 with a lad I met on a summer’s day through mutual college friends. Hormones were rife, drama was daily and the easiest way to sum the year-long partnership up is simply, psychotic. One day said lad promptly disappeared without us having actually broken up – technically we’re still together, 8 years going strong.
2. Telling people you dated your boss gives the wrong impression
Even if you were only a Christmas temp, worked together for a mere eight weeks and were a couple for five years – despite all of these factors, people will immediately assume you’re that kind of girl…
3. Parents can get a little too involved
It’s always nice when your parents approve of your boyfriend, it makes life easier. My parents, however, got what I can only describe as ‘attached’ to a particular ex – so much so that even though we’d broken up, he remained living with us for a further five months. #Awkward.
4. Accidental homewrecking happens
That sounds worse than I intended, but bear with me. Both of my more recent exes were in relationships when I met them, and though I certainly didn’t have anything to do with either of them while they were with their respective partners, not everyone you meet will always be single.
5. Just do what feels right at the time
I’d known my last boyfriend for seven years before we finally got together. Two months into the relationship, I moved out of my parents house and into my own flat – with the boyfriend in tow. Everyone thought it was mental and far too fast, and maybe it was, but at the time it worked and we both wanted to – so why not? There isn’t a life blueprint we’re supposed to follow, so as far as I see it, do what you want.
6. Work and pleasure don’t mix
Ever. Unless you both know exactly what you a) want, and b) are doing, do not do it. Although you’re never really meant to regret anything in life (everything is a lesson, blah blah) we all make mistakes. But seeing said mistake everyday from 9 to 5 is not what you want.
7. Dating is not like Sex and the City…or any other TV show or film
There’s no closet filled with designer clothes that you get to model night after night, from one swanky bar to the next. There certainly isn’t an unlimited supply of Jimmy Choos or Louboutins and there most definitely isn’t a swarm of handsome Prince Charmings waiting to woo you.
8. Sitting in your pants eating Pringles and watching Netflix is frowned upon
When you’re in a relationship, staying in and watching telly is socially acceptable. When you’re single, it’s considered a little sad. Apparently I should be ‘putting myself out there’ and letting my friends who are in relationships live through me as I recount my dating escapades. But all I really want to do is sit in my pants of an evening, feast on Pringles and watch everything on my Netflix list.
9. Men and women can never be ‘just friends’
As demonstrated here. The naive amongst us will inevitably experience what is apparently known as a ‘classic smash and pie’ by someone you thought was a) a friend, and b) genuine. Pick yourself up, learn from it and above all, never let it happen again. Men are never in it for the friendship and the sooner you discover that, the easier (and shittier) the world becomes.
10. Be happy
The most important thing I’ve learnt in the last ten years is that you should always put your happiness first. I know that I deserve to be happy regardless of my romantic status. I was in a relationship and I was happy – as soon as I wasn’t and I knew it couldn’t be fixed, I got out of it. I’m single, and although I have no idea what I’m doing, I’m rolling with it. I’m not going to spend this time pining for Mr Right, I’m just going to be happy.
– love Stef x