“So…do you have a boyfriend?”
The correlation between age and the frequency with which you’re asked this question is a direct one. As you get older it becomes the number one thing on the “none of ya damn business” list of topics that everyone and their mother will ask you. I did figure out a way to get relatives and family friends to stop asking me a couple years ago when after about the fifth time of being asked at a Christmas party I said, “No, but I know a couple of guys who would be angry to hear me say that.” It really does work like a charm. And, it’s half true. Not the them being angry part, but the me casually seeing multiple people at once at any given time.
I have been in love four times. And by in love I mean in love in love, like the passionate soulmate kind of shit that you thought was only possible in films. Once was when I was eighteen, we never actually formally dated or even slept together, but looking back on it he was definitely in this category.
The second time I fell in love was when I was twenty and it was with this person, who I actually slept with, that I started to think that maybe love was just a physical and chemical kind of thing. He was far better in bed than anyone else I’d ever been with, but over the course of our relationship I realised that while true love has to do primarily with that physical side of things, friendship is very important as well, and he was my best friend. We also said ‘I love you’ after only knowing each other for a couple of weeks the day after we slept together for the first time, which sounds crazy but seven years later we still say ‘I love you’ on the phone even if we don’t see each other anymore (it’s a long story for another day).
The third time I fell in love was well documented on this blog in my third year of uni with Dale. Like I said, the physical and friendship side of love is incredibly important, but I think that’s only two-thirds of the puzzle. The third element has to do with partnership, and whether or not you can actually live your life with this person. Do your values and goals and plans align? That’s never been the case with love of my life no. 2…our lives are so incredibly incompatible due to our flighty natures and thus seven years later we can still say I love you but know that it isn’t enough for either of us to drop everything. I don’t believe that true love is about finding someone that completes you, I think it’s about finding someone who meets this simple criteria of great physical chemistry, great friendship and partnership. It isn’t about finding someone you can’t live without, it’s about finding someone you don’t want to live without and I firmly believed that I had found that in Dale, as young and naive as we were. He didn’t feel the same and thus chaos and drama ensued, which you can read all about if you click on Blog Posts: Third Year above.
The fourth time I fell in love was with a German guy when I was twenty-five who is the sweetest human being I have ever met and I think the only similar feeling I have when I think about him is the feeling I get when I look at a dog. Just like a shot of serotonin straight to the heart. Similar to no. 2, our lives were drastically incompatible. There was no drama other than when we had to say goodbye and I cried and it was like a whirlwind affair, but I still think of him fondly and he’s on the list of people that I can’t honestly say what will happen with in the future, because timing is a bitch but sometimes it comes back around. Things and circumstances change so who knows? Not me.
I’ve had two boyfriends that are not on this list of people I’ve been in love with. One was a great friend and we really should’ve just left it at that (see Year Two: Grey). He was very sweet, and at the time our lives were compatible partnership-wise, but we were in university so pretty much everyone had the same lifestyle then. Although at one point I told him I loved him, it wasn’t like a deep kind of love. It wasn’t the same as the others, but he was depressed and I think I just wanted to make him feel better, which it didn’t, it only made him feel worse and like he was the worst boyfriend ever. ANYWAY. We were also pretty physically incompatible which is the most diplomatic way I can describe our sex life really.
The other boyfriend I had was in 2012 right when shit hit the fan work wise for me with my nightmare boss. This guy worked with me and we ended up living together at one point. It really can only be described as a casual fling that got way out of hand. I don’t know if it was that he was good in bed or if I was just great in bed and could make it work for the both of us, but whilst our sex life was decent, I think I really did all the work there. I certainly had enough experience at that point to be like, “I’ve got this.” Which, good thing, because he was lazy and never wanted to be on top, and the one time he tried I was like, “You know what, just fuckin roll over, you’re no good at this.” At the time this guy was a very sweet person and I did enjoy being friends with him a great deal. However, he was the first one to call me his girlfriend and I was kind of like the human embodiment of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ and was like, “Yeah, sure. Why not?”
Then on his birthday we were at a bar and I made a joke that made him spit his beer out and he said, “That’s why I love you.”
And I was like, “What?”
Then he told me he loved me and since I had basically just been mirroring his levels of interest and excitement in our relationship, I went with it. This is how I ended up living with someone I had no intention of ever marrying and wondering how the hell I could get my own space back. Luckily he made a colossal mistake which gave me an out and I was like, “Yes! I’m free bitches!!!” And I’ve been single ever since.
I do realise that four years sounds like a long time to be single, but I assure you that single does not mean that I sit at home reading Cat Fancy and drinking Pinot Grigio every night. Quite the opposite. In fact, I would say that the best relationship I’ve had is one that occurred during the past four years since becoming the perma-single self that I am today .
I met a guy in a club and we ended up making out all night whilst he bought me multiple gin and tonics. I gave him my number before leaving and then the next day he texted me and we agreed to hang out. Hanging out immediately turned into having sex. I was under no pretence that something else was going to happen when I saw him again because I was probably as eager as he was to just pick up where we left off at the club. Then afterwards we were sitting on his bed, watching telly and he was still naked even though I had thrown my dress back on (I wish I could be half as comfortable naked as literally any guy I’ve ever known is being naked by the way) and at one point he was touching himself, and not in a gross kind of “I’m watching you and jerking off” kind of way, just in the same kind of way as when I squeeze my boobs when I’m thinking sometimes I assume.
When I glanced at him and didn’t say anything he laughed and was like, “Does this bother you?”
And I said, “No, why would it?”
He shrugged and said, “I don’t know, I thought maybe you’d think it’s weird that I’m still naked.”
To which I told him, “Well, I don’t” because I didn’t, and then we had sex again and I left.
Our relationship lasted for one year. An entire year of being with someone consistently but not exclusively. Both of us were quite busy with work, so we used to always meet up on Sunday afternoons at his flat, do the thing, watch some telly and then I’d go home. A couple of times he asked about seeing my flat and while I offered for him to come to mine once or twice we always ended up going to his for whatever reason. Logistically, it didn’t matter and I didn’t care. It was honestly a bit like hitting the jackpot to find someone that you’re very sexually compatible with, and I suppose in terms of partnership we were on the exact same page in that neither of us wanted a relationship, but we did want to continue seeing each other on a non-monogamous basis.
We did go on one date. He took me to a little Austrian bar near Edgware Road and we had the fucking time of our lives. He was very funny and in that respect we were kind of friends, but he wasn’t like the kind of friend I would text all the time or tell everything to, just the kind of person you can always meet up with and have a laugh. The date night was interesting because we got back to his and I presumed that we were going to have sex and he presumed that we would not.
When I asked why he said, “Well, because we’re drunk.” And then I realised that we had almost always been sober when we slept together. Basically every single time. When we met we were drunk but we just made out and the first time we slept together I think we had one drink while we awkwardly talked and figured out if we still liked each other in the light of day, but yeah. I told him it was totally decent of him to ask me if I was sure since we were drunk but that given I had been sleeping with him for about a month at this point, yes. I was sure. The only problem with that was that it was late and I was drunk and now tired and we had never discussed sleepovers, but we took it off the table forever that evening since I didn’t really want to wake up in Edgware Road and he can’t sleep with people next to him as it turns out. So I went home.
The only other kind of date-ish thing we did was that his birthday was on a Tuesday and he said he wasn’t doing anything for it on that particular day so I asked, “You wanna…like…you know? It’s kind of customary on people’s birthdays to like…you know.” So I went over to his via the Tesco Express near his flat to buy him a cupcake and a bottle of champagne because it seemed polite, then we ate those and drank that and did it then I went home.
At no point in this year long affair did I think, “Hmm…maybe we should take this to the next level.” I just didn’t see where adding anything to it would make it any better since I really didn’t feel like I was in love with him at all, nor that I would ever fall in love with him. However, I was extremely busy with work and not really looking to get distracted by a relationship and so this was a way to properly compartmentalise my relationships with men. My best friends are guys, so I have a tonne of male companionship in my life. All I really needed was someone I could sleep with who I liked enough to keep doing it on a casual basis, and thus that was probably the most ideal lifestyle I’ve ever had. Keep relationships and sex separate when in doubt, otherwise you find yourself living with some moron just for the sake of getting laid consistently. At least in my experience.
This isn’t to say that I wouldn’t someday like to have a partner. Quite the opposite, really. However, I do not want to settle for someone who just ticks two of those three boxes. As I get older and see the deterioration of long term relationships that some of my friends are in, I can’t help but be one hundred percent confident that the way I do things is definitely what’s best for me. I have never been a serial monogamous type of person (in case you couldn’t tell), and when I get into a relationship I tend to change quite a bit to either mirror the other person or be the kind of person I think I should be in a relationship, which is probably why they all ended. I turn into something different from what someone was interested in the first place and that’s no bueno.
The best way to describe my current M.O. in one word would be selfish. I am extremely selfish, which in the past is something that people have used as an insult, but if anything I would say that I am intentionally selfish. It was around the time of breaking up with Dale that I realised that I was way too immature to be in a relationship. When he broke up with me I thought it was the end of the world, that he was the only one for me and that part of me was missing. And that makes no goddamn sense because you shouldn’t be an incomplete person.
The gaps in whoever I was were constantly being filled by personalities of the men I dated, thus changing me into someone I was not. I’ve always been willing to let other people make the decisions and set the pace for relationships, that way I didn’t have to make any decisions, which is lazy and completely consistent with my procrastinating nature. I can put off making decisions about my own life so long as someone is there making decisions about my life with them.
I have been quasi-proposed to twice. They don’t count because there was no ring and if you like this then you’re definitely going to have to put a ring on it, but I did seriously consider spending the rest of my life with two different men at two very different points in my life. Personally, in hindsight I know that marrying anyone would have been a huge mistake. In those instances I feel bad for letting it get to the point where that was when I chose to make the decision that I should have made way earlier, which was a hard no. It’s difficult to be with someone you genuinely like and wish you felt that kind of passionate love for, and it’s easy to think, “Well…it’s good enough,” but it wasn’t.
If I hadn’t started being selfish in 2012 then I would have spent a lot of time settling. Since 2012 I’ve made a couple of huge decisions which were all in the interest of making other people happy, and every time it made me miserable. It isn’t that I don’t like the people I love and care about to be happy, it’s just that sometimes people ask things of me that aren’t at all in my best interest because, even if they don’t realise it, they’re just as selfish as I am. Which is why I try to keep my selfishness to my own life and minimise the impact my decisions have on others. Hence…
If there’s anything that being single (in the not having a boyfriend sense of the word) for four years has taught me it’s
I love being alone. To the extent that I’m pretty sure I’m a bit of an introvert. I love being with people, but it’s exhausting and for every hour I spend in the company of others I need about three hours alone. This isn’t new. How do you think I had time to sit and blog about my love life at uni? Certainly not in the company of others. It was like a debrief session from all the crazy shenanigans I got into.
Taking time to yourself is easy at university, especially when you’ve got an en suite, a kitchen and no need to leave your room for an entire day or two. However as an adult you’re constantly thrust into social situations where you can’t just go to a library to do your work, you’ve got to sit in an office with people staring at you, which no thanks. Add a relationship on top of that…
The boyfriend I lived with and worked with was a real eye opener to how much I don’t like being in the company of other people 24/7. It struck me one day as I was showering and my boyfriend walked in and was like, “We’re going to be late can I get in the shower with you?” I obliged and then immediately realised that there was literally nowhere I could go to be alone anymore. I was never alone. Ever. And it drove me crazy. My four years of solitude since then have been making up for that one year of hell in which I spent every hour of my life in the company of others.
I have finally gotten to a point where I have tried and tested different ways of living and honestly that “All By Myself” scene from Bridget Jones is a lot less this
and a lot more this
Again, this isn’t to say that I want to be alone forever…nay. I just don’t want to settle, and given that I have found four people who I thought were “The One” that makes me confident that there’s probably a couple more people that fit that description out there.
If I break it down, let’s say that I’ve properly met approximately 2,000 men since I was 18 and started livin la vida loca when it comes to my dating life. Of those 2,000 I’ve slept with…quite a few…less than 100 but more than average I’m sure. Of that group I’ve actually monogamously dated four. Two of those people I actually loved, neither of whom fit the 3/3 physical compatibility/friendship/partnership, but then there’s probably another five guys that fit 2/3 in terms of my True Love Pyramid Theory. That means there’s only about 1 in 1000 men that I feel that chemical insane true love soulmate shit kind of attraction to. Lucky for me this kind of attraction is instant and instinctual and the one common denominator of every man I’ve been physically and insanely in lust with is that they smell like honey crackers. Which sounds weird as hell, but at least I have something to work with here.
I’ve been having sex for a decade now and I’ve done the maths and I just need to take my data and refuse to settle because 1 in 1000 isn’t that bad when you think about it.
This has been an excerpt from Be A Slut: Do Whatever You Want …A book by yours truly which shall be released on the 1st of May 2017.