So I mentioned I wanted to eventually write about starting again after my break up. Partly for me as a cathartic process but also because I was amazed by how many people have or are going through the same thing. When I shared bits about the last 8 months on my Instagram stories I had message after message from women saying how they had been there, or were there and I realised it’s not something that’s talked about much. How scary it is to start again when a marriage or long term relationship ends. Even I’m afraid to talk about it to be honest and it has taken me all these months to finally work out what I wanted to say.
So, I want to start a series called the Starting Again Series. To try and help other people going through the same thing and to talk honestly and hopefully with some humour about what comes next.
Break ups are hard. There’s no doubt about that but I honestly believe every relationship has an effect on you and shapes you for the future. Sometimes for the good and sometimes for the worst. Bad relationships can close you off and make it harder to open up, but if nothing else you’ll always take the things you definitely wouldn’t do again next time.
So, before I dive in and start writing about dating, moving on and all of that malarkey I thought the first thing to write would be about how I got here. Where I am now. I’m going to open up that dreaded chapter of life, the Ex Files!!! Because let’s be honest it’s better for me to waffle on here about my exes than on a first date ha ha. I’m not going to talk about every relationship I’ve had as I’d be writing an essay and some were brief and not worth considering here. The ones I’m going to talk about are the 5 big relationships of my life. The 5 people I’ve said I love you to. I’m sure with each one you’ll identify a similar love you once had because I think we’ve all had at least one of these types of relationships.
So first is of course,
MY FIRST LOVE
We all had one. The first proper relationship and the first time you ever said I love you. Mine was at College, aged 17. Back in my skater days when my jeans were baggy and a chain went from my front belt loop to my back pocket, I fell for a guy with spiky hair and a penchant for the Deftones. All part of the same friendship group we socialised together and spent all day at college together. He was my best friend and oh god did I love him. Passionately, like my life depended on it but then that’s how it is as a teenager, everything seems so much more powerful then, like you couldn’t live without them. He made me laugh and made me feel like the most special person in the world. We were on for most of my college 2nd year, but split just before I went to university. My fault. My stupid immature fault to be honest that I took a guy so nice and so lovely for granted and I paid the price when he eventually said he didn’t want to be with me. And rightly so. However, after some serious growing up and a heartfelt poem (yes people I wrote a poem) he luckily took me back and for the majority of university he was my boyfriend and we happily survived long distance for 2 years. He was the boyfriend who saw so many of my life events happen. A level results, turning 18, University life. He’s the reason for my first ever tattoo. I wasn’t stupid enough to get his name tattooed but the name he always called me. I told people it was because I liked Angel from Buffy, but the truth was it was for him.
When the relationship eventually ended it didn’t end in an explosion of negativity or because anyone did anything wrong. It ended amicably in an agreement that we loved each other, but that we were young and there was so much more to see and do and people to meet. A decision that was so scary we talked about it for two weeks before we eventually made the split. The moment it happened was actually so matter of fact that he even drove me to Tesco after so I could buy food. And that was that. I went back to Uni to finish off my degree and as I was away I would only see him when I returned to my home town and eventually less and less. I watched as he moved on and now years later eventually married, but he’ll always be my first love.
RELATIONSHIP SOUNDTRACK – Deftones “White Pony”
THE “NICE” GUY
I stayed single for the rest of Uni after him but when I had left and taken a job in theatre I met an actor playing the lead role in Peter Pan. One thing you’ll learn about me is I’m always attracted to talent. A man who has a skill or a proficiency for something always draws me in. Singers, actors, lighting designers, I find it incredibly attractive. So, when I met this actor who was handsome, funny and talented of course I was smitten.
I followed him from job to job, working in England and abroad as I managed to bag stage management jobs on the same shows as him. Years later I would follow him all the way to Essex where he’d been cast in a show. My parents adored him. They thought he was a super nice guy and he came to family parties and Christmases. We went on holidays, we talked about buying a house. We started to buy joint items like tv’s and towels and complied a ring binder file with print outs about mortgages and finances. All very practical and domestic and therein lay the problem. As the years ticked by as much as I loved him and we were like best friends, the spark had gone. The relationship ended, much to my parent’s dismay, with adult conversation more led by me to be honest, about how we shouldn’t settle into a domestic and in my opinion passionless relationship. I broke his heart, but I also knew a side of him that not many people saw. A jealous dark side that over the years had caused arguments where he would say the most awful things to me and behave atrociously. A side my parents and friends never saw. After the break up my friends finally saw this side and I knew I’d made the right decision.
RELATIONSHIP SOUNDTRACK – Evanescence “Fallen”
THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY
Have you ever seen that episode of Friends when Monica is dating the millionaire and she just doesn’t fancy him, then she kisses him and is like “Oh Wow”? Well that’s how it was with this guy. We were friends for years. Someone I worked with, drank with and partied with. A lot of my time was spent with him and another guy friend. I’d been single for a while and I knew he fancied me. I remember saying to my other friend, life would be so simple if I liked him back. He made me laugh, we had loads in common but I just didn’t see him that way. On a night out, a stupid dare led to me kissing him and I had THAT moment. There was chemistry. Serious chemistry. And that was that. We were together. I spent one of my best Summers spending almost every day with him and my other friend, drinking corona, having barbecues and hanging out. I loved him. I was his first proper girlfriend and I adored being that. He’s responsible for two of the most romantic moments of my life, one involving a can of coke (you had to be there) and the other when he asked a busker to play “Drops of Jupiter” a song I adored and a gesture I never fully appreciated at the time. When I look back I always think we were together years, but actually it wasn’t that long and sadly it didn’t end in adult amicable chat. It ended badly. My heart broken. And despite the fact I wanted to forgive and move on, he didn’t. A bitter blow. Its so much harder to move on when you still want to be with the person and they don’t feel the same. That’s why he’ll always be the one that got away. I loved him and god did I fancy him and that took a long time to fade away, if it ever did. Maybe it’s a control thing, that he got rid of me and I had no choice but despite the fact it ended badly and what’s to come next made the situation event worse, I’ll always look back on him, us and that Summer with the fondest of memories and the biggest smile.
RELATIONSHIP SOUNDTRACK – Athlete “Tourist”
On the back of heart-break, I partied HARD. I went out almost every night and drowned my sorrows in Bacardi and coke. And I fell in with a new crowd of people, one of which was “The one that got aways” friend. Dangerous territory. Not least because he was his friend but also because he was so wrong for me. A fact I can see now years later with the benefit of hindsight and time. But I was broken and for some stupid reason I thought dating this guy could fix it and I couldn’t have been more wrong. Totally mismatched he thought I loved to party. Which I did at the time but it wasn’t a lifestyle I could or wanted to sustain, so months later when the partying stopped he became annoyed. Like I’d led him on to believe I was a different kind of person, which I guess I had.
The relationship was painful, explosive and damaging. I spent evenings sat waiting for him all dressed up for dinner, stood up with no word or call while he partied the night away with friends. Or weekends spent on my own while he went for a 3-day bender in London. We broke up 4 or 5 times. He would move all his stuff out in a dramatic gesture and a week later reappear and move all his stuff back in. Accusing me of being a nag about housework while he sat all day (rent free) in my house playing PlayStation in his pants. My best friend came to regularly expect my call at 1am with her husband automatically getting his keys ready to come pick me up when my name flashed up on the screen. It was destructive and I definitely deserved better and yet I was scared to break it off. Scared to be alone I guess and also because I genuinely believed that it was my fault because of him and the what had happened with the guy before. A guy who now wouldn’t talk to me and held nothing but anger for the fact I was dating his friend. This broke my heart even more. I ended up in counselling. Partly because I was struggling with weight loss because of food intolerance’s but my sessions were over taken talking about my boyfriend and how he’d hurt me that week. Eventually I found the strength to call time on it. A forgotten birthday and a last-minute lame attempt at a present was the final nail in the coffin. Then after a look in his phone, (something I never did) revealed he was looking at houses to live in on his own, he wanted to live a bachelor life, I finally knew enough was enough.
RELATIONSHIP SOUNDTRACK – James Morrison “Undiscovered”
I was single for a long time after him. I was left wondering why is it so hard to be with someone, to live with someone. But the truth is when you meet the right one, it isn’t hard. Its easy. And that’s the way it was when I met my most recent ex. It was easy. Dating was easy. Date one we both said we wanted date two. We were honest about how we felt. He was romantic and kind and when he eventually moved in living together was easy. There were no arguments about house work or jobs because he was a grown up. That’s the thing, the last two guys had been younger than me and I know that had at least some part to play in things. The truth is when you meet Mr Right, you know. And I did know. I knew he was the one I was going to marry. And I did. A beautiful wedding full of laughter and friends and family. And even though things are over now I won’t ever regret that or being with him. Thanks to him I have two gorgeous dogs, some incredibly happy memories and a career that I love. He supported my move to full time blog and I couldn’t have done it without his support.
RELATIONSHIP SOUNDTRACK – Air Traffic “Fractured Life”
It didn’t end well. I wish I could say it did but as I said every relationship shapes you and makes you who you are. Its been a tough year but there are so many positives to take from what’s happened and my life now, something I’m going to write about very soon. So, it’s time to shut the book on it now and move on. He’s firmly set in the pages of my Ex files and I’m excited about the future and whats to come for me in life and in love.
Here’s to starting again and so begins “The Starting Again Series”.