THE FAKE LOVE

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He was really funny.

Like, ‘my cheeks hurt’, ‘I almost just pissed my pants’, funny.

He smoked. He drank gin. He sat at the desk next to me at work.

I loved him. The only problem was, somebody else loved him too. That person was his girlfriend.

For us, there were no meeting of eyes across a packed room and it certainly wasn’t love at first sight. He was in a new city and I was a bit… lost. We got on. A few messages and intense after work drinks later, we kissed.

And that was sort of that.

By ‘that’ I, of course, mean full-blown affair.

But did I care that I was doing the dirty? Not really. I was going at 100mph and enjoying myself too much to notice his relationship falling apart, to care that the guy I was seeing was getting hurt too, to think about the innocent woman who was driving herself mad with suspicion or to realise that what I was doing was wrong. We spent all our time together at work. We spent all our time together outside work (that we could manage). We stayed late almost every evening. We drank together every night. We met up on lazy afternoons in galleries and on park benches. I would do all I could to see him: cancelling plans, avoiding dinner dates. I even called things off with the perfect guy for him.

It was safe to say I was addicted.

But, as with most addictions, they always leave you wanting more.

So, after months of empty promises, disappointment and getting in too deep, I decided to cut and run. There was no future for us. There never really was. And the stronger fix I was chasing was never going to be found. He loved his girlfriend – despite what he did – and I knew that we would never work. As soon as I realised that I was chasing an unachievable dream with a heart that I was sharing with somebody else, it was clear what I had to do. And so I did.

I’ll admit it, I did cry when it was over. In fact, it pretty much ruined Christmas for me. But the fact that I had dusted myself off by New Year and work resumed as normal – sans romance with him – come January 5th? It meant that I never really loved him in the first place.

In retrospect, I can now see that the all too familiar butterflies and beating in my chest that I mistook for symptoms of love, were actually just a byproduct of my anxieties surrounding getting caught. I realise now that it was the adrenalin – not him – that had made me fall in love with the ‘relationship’ we had.

So, to those of you enveloped in the heart racing, blood pumping momentum of an extra marital? Take this as a slap to the face and a shocking realisation that, actually, it probably won’t work out. And even if it does, do you really want to pursue a relationship with one who is so capable of deceiving someone they share a bed with? The beauty of an affair is that you get to realise what you don’t want in a partner and who you don’t want to become. You berate yourself for being so blind and stupid, but it also makes you realise just how powerful desire can be sometimes, how often it can be mistaken for the real deal and how careful you should be in the future.

The biggest lesson I learnt from falling for someone who was in a relationship with someone else? Don’t do it. Real love isn’t a half hearted, part time, sharing platter. It is a full time, kick you in the balls, can’t be without each other attraction that is both one hundred percent uncontrollable and easy at the same time. It is comfort, understanding and support. It is not holding hands under tables and hiding your phone from your partner. With real love, both parties will fight to the death for it. Not make excuses about rent prices and comfort zones.

Take it from me, never give your everything to someone who is giving theirs to someone else.

Two’s company and three’s (nearly always) a crowd.

THE TRUTH

sssh_by_publiccenzor-d4aziuaI’ve travelled the world. I worship Madonna. I hate you.

There you go, I lied three times and I’ve written three sentences.

There are jobs out there that are designed to figure out the truth: doctors, judges and scientists, to name a few. But outside of the work place, how much truth can we really handle? And given the choice, do we want to know the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, all of the time?

Our biggest secret as human beings is that we even have secrets. We like to pretend that we are honest, up front about everything and have never told a lie. We aspire to be deemed, “really genuine” by everyone we meet and it’s our own job to persuade the world that we’re legitimate – a bit like a second hand car dealer selling a motor he knows is flawed – because if we don’t sell ourselves as the real deal, then who will want us? Trying to be the perfect human being is impossible, because we’re impossibly flawed. But we’re triers, us humans. And that is why we lie.

We try to fool our friends into thinking we’ve ditched the guy that’s bad for us, we hide things from our lovers for fear of losing them and we persuade children that there’s a tiny person who trades their molars for hard-earned fairy cash. But who do we think we’re actually kidding? As humans, we know a lie when we hear one, but we choose to ignore it most of the time because it’s easier, because it’s not worth the hassle, or because we knew it was a lie all along (and being British, we’ll do anything to avoid an awkward exchange).

So, armed with the knowledge that everybody does it, why does it hurt so bad when we find out that we have been deceived by someone we love? Before thinking about their good intentions and whether you really wanted to know or not, you feel disappointed, hurt and then a little bit silly. Then, if it’s really bad, you feel like you’ve acquired a brutal stab wound, a gun shot and a slap to the face all at the same time.

It’s not until you take a step back and think about similar lies that you have told that you realise that they might actually have been trying to protect you from pain as opposed to inflicting it. But the cliches we so often use – Ignorance is bliss. Curiosity killed the cat. Things better left unsaid –  all tell us to stop searching for truth, because knowing it all might actually lead to our downfall. I am in no way condoning the actions of a liar but am merely drawing attention to the fact that it’s as common as a roast on a Sunday.

Do I believe that it’s right to be honest? Of course I do. Have I shared all of my secrets? Hell no. There are some things that I’ll take to my grave. So how many cats should we let out of the bag? The truth is, I don’t know.

All you ever hear when talking about the perfect relationship is trust, trust and more trust. But can we actually really rely on anyone?

A friend of mine said you could only really count on your mum.

And even she told me Father Christmas was real…

Just use your instincts as best as possible I guess. Good luck!