Being a fully paid up member of the single mum community I get to partake once again in the world of dating. Now back in my younger days it was somewhat more straight forward. Girl would meet boy, boy would ask girl out and then they would start ‘dating’. Oh how things change.
I have been separated and therefore single and carefree for nearly 3 years. In that time I have at various times been on Tinder, Plenty of Fish, Match and all the other equally badly named apps and websites. I have met people who clearly used photos taken 20 years ago, men who just want sex and a man who despite saying he was divorced was in fact very happily married. The comfort and ease of being able to sit at home and swipe right or send a wink to someone you fancy means there is always the fear of ‘what if’. And also the ability to be able to keep your options open by ‘accidentally’ not deleting your dating profile. In our throwaway society even love, friendship and emotion have gone the way of fashion, furniture trends and food fads.
In the spring of 2015 I met a cheeky, confident and charming chap from Yorkshire. I fell hard and fast and we had a summer of weekends in Yorkshire, trips to London and a holiday in Portugal. Then as we moved into Autumn, the season of death and ending, it slowly became apparent to me that there were other girls competing for his attention. Messages popping up on a phone screen, evenings where he was unexpectedly AWOL and the earrings found in his home when I do not have my ears pierced. I had caught him out and he did not like it. Neither did the other girls. His expectation that he was entitled to juggle multiple girls left me speechless and hurt. We live in a culture where we can buy one trend of clothing in the spring and by the time the autumn fashions hit the shops we discard the now old and off trend items whilst busily stocking up on the newly fashionable. I for one think it sad and depressing that people can so easily apply this philosophy to the matters of the heart, to love.
Badly burnt by the guy I renamed ‘Dickhead’ I distracted myself with my work, my kids and buying my own house. By the autumn of 2016 I was exactly where I wanted to be professionally, socially, emotionally and mentally. I was happy, relaxed and enjoying my life in a way I had not for many years. Then the work Christmas party happened and the journey of love and heartache started once again.
Over the next few months I fell in love with a man who was everything I had ever wanted and had ever hoped for in the person who would be my partner and soul mate for now and as I grew old. He became my best friend, my lover, my protector and the guy I was planning on spending the rest of my life with. He loved me like no other guy had done before and I knew he loved me. There was a very large elephant in the room though and one that would ultimately be our undoing. Whilst maybe not still loving someone else he was living with someone else. It was complicated, he never said it was going to be easy or quick and I do believe at some point in his life he will leave her. That does not mean that he and I will end up together with our happily ever after. For anyone who has been ‘the other woman’ it hurts like nothing else. It tears at your heart and soul and eats you from the inside out. You become neurotic, untrusting and unsure of anything that is said or happens. Whilst he could be fully involved in my life, my kids and my world there were elements of his that I was not allowed to enter or be involved in. Trips on his mum’s boat on bank holiday weekends, suppers out for family birthdays or even his birthday.
Somehow we are still the bestest of friends with a connection I have never had with anyone during my 34 years on this planet. He is the person I can call at 6.30 in the morning when I need an urgent favour, the guy who will have my back at work and the person who is my moral compass. In return I am the person he can tell anything to and I will not judge, I am the person who understands what it is like to be in a lifeless and loveless relationship and I am the person who will help and support him at work when our boss is on his case. In many ways he is my soulmate but I struggle with the concept that a soulmate can be someone other then the person you marry and grow old with. Maybe he will forever be the love of my life.
New suitors come and go and I am currently quietly excited and optimistic about a forthcoming date with a guy who is, to borrow Love Island terminology, my type on paper. But with the pressure now released from the relationship with my ‘soulmate’ I am as unsure as ever over whether I am any closer to what every one wants, a happy ending. At least now being back in London I might have more opportunities to meet ‘the one’. Now if only I could do that very un-London thing of actually talking to some of those handsome bankers on the Waterloo & City line I see every day!