THE SINGLE LIFE

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After a year and a half of being betrothed to a beard, I have found myself in the single seat.

And I have no idea what I am doing.

There’s just way too much to think about.

All of a sudden I have to make sure I don’t get too drunk on a Friday because there is no one there to throw a jacket over my shoulders and chaperone me to my bed whilst singing songs from Frozen en route – except for my girls of course – but they’re normally ten gins down with me. I now have no excuses for putting on a few extra pounds because there is nobody overfeeding me Maltesers on the sofa anymore. I have to think about how I am dancing at parties, make sure that I look decent enough for public consumption more than just 50% of the time and I have to re-learn how to make sexy (but never starey) eye-contact with strangers because one wrong move apparently and you can end up giving your number to someone who – let’s face it – isn’t even halfway up your street.

It’s safe to say I am out of my depth. It’s also safe to say I am not alone in this.

I was talking to a guy at a house party on Saturday about the fact that he has found himself newly single for the first time in ten years. It has been 18 months for me and I’ve lost all control of my hands and – apparently – tongue, so imagine how he feels? He said a hot girl asked his name the other night and he shouted back, “I have a girlfriend!” and ran away. I could tell he was struggling with being a suave single male addicted to retail when he began performing show tunes (solo) all the way until 6am with a deranged look in his eye. Luckily for him he’s very good looking and I’m fairly certain he’ll grow out of it, otherwise I’d have told him to give up and find a cave to reside in with Lloyd-Webber for the rest of his life.

But back to me and my own incompetencies.

Adjusting to being single isn’t solely about struggling with being back in the dating game. It’s about watching a lot more Netflix and eating fewer takeaways. It’s about having a lack of warm jumpers to wear around the house, turning down plus ones to weddings and not having to compromise, which, I guess, is what your twenties were made for. But it is hard, no matter what Queen B says.

Although this newfound single status has been thrust upon me unwillingly, there is nothing to do except for enjoy it for what it is: a whole lot of me time. Of course, realising that the break up is a good thing will have to be scheduled between tears and regretful emails (no I’m not overly formal, I’ve just deleted his number), but it will happen. I just need to keep reminding myself that being able to put on a face mask of an evening trumps a spoon and some cake in bed. And let’s be honest, nothing beats a cuddle and some chocolate gateau, so this might take a while.

Basically, I’m single. And it’s a bit weird. And a bit sad. On the plus side however, it will probably make for some excellent writing material.

I will inevitably keep you posted on what I’ve been up to.

Wish me luck!

THE INFIDELITY

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Apologies for the dismal subject matter, but I wanted to write to you, quite frankly, about cheating.

I have talked in the past about lying and how we, as humans, deceive each other on a daily basis. I have commented on how commonplace adultery is. I have described it as ordinary. Normal. Almost to be expected. Although I still stand by these accusations, I can’t help but feel that my seemingly flippant attitude to the act of cheating has done those who have fallen victim to it a disservice. By brandishing it as the norm, it might seem as though I’m asking you to accept infidelity as a fact of life and move on.

Au contraire.

The fact is, if you haven’t been cheated on yourself, then you’re likely to know someone who has. I am using this commonality to question why we aren’t doing anything to stop it?

Tolerating it as normal – and jesus! I’ve even heard people say understandable! – is what scares me. It’s the ‘they all do it’ acceptance and the number of anecdotes I hear at the pub or at work that disappoint me daily because, despite humanity’s deep-rooted history with extra-marital affairs, cheating shouldn’t be the norm. It is not acceptable and it is certainly not understandable. In fact, it’s one of the most damaging things that can happen to a person or a relationship. And no, I’m not being dramatic. When it happened to me for the first time (that I know of) I felt like someone had punched me really hard in the stomach. And then some. As someone who likes to be in control, I was completely powerless to the act itself, and the fact that it couldn’t be undone. The idea that it would never go away was the worst part about it. And that’s the thing that I think people forget. Once you’ve cheated, you’ve cheated. There’s no going back.

But this secret that we all share needs to stop being the thing that we have in common. Being cheated on is awful. Cheating on somebody else is weak, selfish and disrespectful. And sadly, the majority of us have felt the effects of both. But even worse than that, we are the only ones who can put a stop to it, simply by not doing it. So why don’t we then?

Firstly, we need to start talking about it. Focus on why we do it. Why we shouldn’t do it. How we stop doing it. These discussions need to first take place in PSHE lessons in schools, then during awkward teenage chats with your parents and they need to carry on into conversations around dinner tables with friends and over breakfast with your boyfriend, husband, or future wife. We’re so ready to discuss the importance of good manners or instructing kids to never talk to strangers. When did the subject of lying fall off the agenda? And when did will power cease to exist as a noble quality?

We need to stop ignoring the elephant in the room and instead tackle it head on. We are not blind to what’s happening, we are simply choosing not to see it.

People say that you should never regret something that made you happy at that moment in time. Bollocks. If we all took a few minutes longer to make better decisions and be cautious with people’s feelings, then we could nip this vice in the bud and prevent a lot of heartache for a lot of people. Being broken up with is far easier to get over than being cheated on. Fact.

A friend said to me recently that hearts are like vases, you can put them back together but the cracks still show.

Don’t be the reason someone needs to buy more superglue.

Be the beautiful flower growing inside them instead.

The Friend

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Friends ran for ten seasons; a lengthy lifespan for a television series. But, much like this phenomenon, do real friendships have an expiration date?

Whether it’s because your bum chum turns into a lover, or whether you simply move away, a change in dynamic is inevitable when it comes to primarily platonic relationships. This change can come in the form of growing ever closer, or drifting apart.

Humans are ultimately going to do wrong at some stage. And although a true friend can, at times, be upheld as some sort of modern day superhero for putting up with you, they’re no exception to this fatal flaw. But it’s how much you would forgive them for which is the greatest gage of how much they mean to you. True friends are invaluable. If you think about your best friend and are unable to bring yourself to picture your life without them in it, then they will always be there. Basically, because you won’t let them not be, regardless of the mistakes they make, or how many times they falter. I guarantee that your bestie could poke you in the eye with a needle whilst getting off with your ex and you’d still find it in your heart to forgive them.

Your school friends will have been there with you as you slowly but surely grew into your face and your teeth were being forced into alignment by, what was essentially, barbed wire. Your university companions will have cleaned up your vodka induced vomit from the kitchen sink. Your work makes will have told you, (sorry, lied to you) that your behaviour was totally acceptable on Friday night, despite falling asleep in the loo until closing time. Your gym buddies will compliment your dewy complexion after 45 minutes on the treadmill and your oldest friend will tell everybody that your family are completely normal, whilst ensuring they never, ever mention that time involving your father and a red, glittery thong.

What I guess I’m trying to say, is that a friend can come along at any time, for any length of time, and for whatever reason. You might never truly be aware of why or ever really appreciate their presence until they’re gone, but they all play a part in your story. It’s whether you want to carry them through to the next chapter which is entirely up to you. There are those who will play a leading role right up until the end, there are many who will feature fleetingly and a few that you will kill off for good reason. Regardless of this, they were a friend and we can all do with at least one at the best of times.

The only friend that I can safely say we could do without, is a “friend with benefits”. The benefits of a friendship should not fall under the same category as blow jobs in my opinion.

But who am I to classify the capacities of friendship anyway?

A true friend is like a wonderwall: completely subjective.

The way I see it, as soon as you think you’re able to make sense of how to loosely define what a friend actually is, you’ve defeated the point of them.

After all, it’s impossible to define love.