I’m not the first (nor the last) woman to buy into the ‘happily ever after’ fairy-tale.
But time and life and broken hearts have taught me that love doesn’t have to last forever to be perfect.
Here are 5 of the relationships I’ve experienced along the way.
Each one opened my eyes to a new aspect of love.
Each a lesson, none a failure.
1. First love
The person you love with an abandon only possible of a young heart that’s never been broken. Flush with the heady glow of adolescence and infatuation,
you fall, and you fall hard.
You’ve just got no idea what you’ve fallen into.
Joined at the hip.
It’s all love notes and mix tapes. Schoolyard jealousy and tears.
Volatile. Thrilling. Hormonal.
Psychologists say your first love is a lot like skydiving – you’ll remember the first time you jumped out of an airplane much more clearly than the 10th time you take the leap. So too your first heart break. The first cut is the deepest.
First love is … unforgettable.
2. Mr Perfect
He’s probably older. He’s intelligent. He wears suits and nice watches. He feels far more mature than you.
He takes you to fancy restaurants. He opens doors, and always picks up the bill.
You’ll tell yourself he’s too good for me.
He has a polish and maturity to which you are not yet accustomed.
In fact, he ticks every box your Mum could wish for. He’s Mr Perfect.
But after a while, the relationship feels all too suffocatingly ‘perfect’ too.
I kept my chipped fingernails and messy hair, and let Mr Perfect go.
Living out the pages of a House and Garden magazine was not for me.
Mr Perfect love is … very sweet while it lasts.
3. The Big love
The once in a lifetime love.
So big. So passionate.
So terrifyingly addictive.
A red wine haze of conversations and late night confessions.
Stargazing and sunrise swims.
Kisses and make up sex.
This love will make you believe in soulmates.
But some love is so big it’s the enemy of compatibility.
A constant hum of anxiety underscores this relationship.
A gun pointed at your heart, just waiting for him to pull the trigger.
A break up with Mr Big Love will drag you through 50 shades of hell.
Like junkies, you both go back. Again and again.
Tap dancing in and out of your crumbled relationship until the gut wrenching end.
The come down will destroy you.
Big Love… is indelible.
4. The Bad Boy
Every girl needs to go here at least once (or in my case, more times than is safe for one’s mental health).
It’s fun. It’s wild.
He’s confident. He takes control. He’s masculine. He’s probably tattooed.
The attraction is insatiable.
But he’s indifferent, and so god damn infuriating. He won’t reply to messages. He’ll cancel plans repeatedly.
But you’re attached. Like a puppeteer, he’ll play you.
Like the good women who have gone before you, you’re convinced you’ll be the one to reform him.
Bad Boy love is … intoxicating.
5. The One(s)
Plural because. Well, forever is a long time after all, and life is messy.
But sometimes, two humans align. It might be for a year, a decade or even a lifetime.
For that chapter, this person becomes home. They’ll see you eating peanut butter out of the jar in your underwear and they’ll be ok with that.
So what have I learnt from all this?
That no one really knows what happily ever after looks like, and it’s best to keep it that way.
Let’s not skip through the pages, and jump to the ending.
Each chapter has its time. Its place. A lesson to impart.
So I keep writing this book.
Love is…. More Thicker Than Forget.