On a recent holiday, I met a guy. Never having experienced a holiday tryst before, it felt almost like Notebook-level shit (at least, it did the night that we went for an ocean swim, admiring the crystal clear constellations, before he slam-dunked me in the water…I’m pretty sure Nicholas Sparks wouldn’t have invented the part where we met half-sloshed on a pub crawl party bus). Damn, he was a looker. His humour, his charm, the fact that he was slightly older with a career not dissimilar to my own – I could practically feel myself mentally planning the wedding (and the drinks he kept shouting probably contributed to that, too). I’m not a complete headcase, I promise. Let me just say that damn, I rated this guy. And then, the nail in the coffin for all the dreamy holiday romances happened: he keeps begging you to stay the night, but moral code dictates that it’s too ratshit to ditch your solo mate. Actually, shit, I mean, eventually one of you has to fly back home, and then once the holiday’s over, that’s it – you both live in a totally different city, in a whole different life, you have to remind yourself they were probably only in it for the hopes of a root anyway, and you’ll probably never see them again. And that, my friends, is a long-winded metaphor for what I’m dishing on today.
When you’re a romantic like me, you may find it hard to see your amour in any light that isn’t rose-tinted. You’re so enamoured, you don’t notice that they’re only actually interested in you when there’s the chance of something physical goin’ on, that they aren’t making that much effort in other areas, or you even turn a blind eye to the little things, like the way they kinda spit when they talk – but we need to learn to notice these things (especially talk-spitters. Fuck that). Otherwise, we invest hours upon hours of mental energy into building a dream relationship that doesn’t exist; a fantasy that will honestly never quite be as good in real life, anyway. Idle minds are the devil’s playground, so they say - boredom also creates the perfect playground for mentally building a normal person up into some kind of Greek God-level superhuman in our eyes, which they’re not.
The phrase ‘what’s meant to be will be’ could be critiqued for removing self-responsibility and blah blah, but when it comes to love and heartbreak, I think it’s totally helpful. Really liked someone but they just didn’t feel the same way? Wasn’t meant to be. Had your heart broken? You learned a lesson. Broke up with someone, but struggling to get out of that kinda toxic sleeping-together-but-not-together thing? Trust your gut, there was a reason (if not many) why you split – if you’re really meant to be, then let go, and the future might see you back together. As someone once said, don’t count your chickens before they hatch, my lovelies.
Here’s another thing – there’s a line between attraction and respect. When your confidence is kinda low, it feels pretty amazing to know there are folks out there who find you Hot As Fuck. But, if you’ve had a string of hook-ups with no real success, you miss the feeling of someone being Into You As Fuck. We tend to romanticise the former lot so much that we throw away some of our own respect and boundaries in the process – and, when we do that, we may find those folks don’t often stick around. Cue heartbreak.
Don’t get me wrong, keeping things casual can be a lot of fun, but don’t fool yourself or over-emphasise a “spark” or a “connection” for something that’s realistically just sexual chemistry. The dating world is a rough one, we have to protect ourselves. Every time it doesn’t work out, dust yourself off, get back on that horse, and above all, remember – no, you’re probably not Ally and Noah from The Notebook. Don’t