For most of my life I have struggled with the thought of being with another human being for longer than a month, never mind my whole life. I am a selfish person who wants to wander around my house naked with hairy legs and my gut hanging out proudly. Yet, this is not something that I could ever envisage doing with someone else, mainly because most people have standards. I want to be able to go where I want without having to inform anyone or having to consider someone else’s feelings when I go out busting moves with every bloke that comes into the vicinity of my Dad moves on the dance floor. My perfect Sunday consists of staying in bed all day, not showering and being surrounded by a variety of Galaxy products not trotting off to Sunday dinner with the other half and his entire family. It just isn’t me.
Single life suited me perfectly after spending eight years being in three different relationships. I genuinely thought I was made for relationships and convinced myself that I was going to have the two point four family. Yet when I was twenty-four years old I was given an ultimatum by my then boyfriend, I had to give precise dates of when I would be ready to get pregnant, get married and buy a house. It’s safe to say that was the first time I was close to actually being speechless. I had been with this guy for three years and we had often talked about marriage, even looking at engagement rings, I just went along with it because that’s what I thought I was supposed to do. But now here I was having my entire life planned out before me and I hadn’t even reached a quarter century. That was the moment I realised that maybe I wasn’t a relationship person and that I probably didn’t want to get married, and I most definitely didn’t want children. Suddenly I felt completely alone and not just because I was a boyfriend short of a relationship, but because I knew there would be little chance of me finding a man who would want a relationship that wouldn’t contain the traditional milestones.
Luckily, I was taken in by my best friends and lived with them in a house share with three male students for a year and a half. To this day that was the best experience of my life. Not only did I learn how to live by my own means, but I learnt to have fun and be young. My ex-boyfriend was six years older than me and we met when I was twenty, I was a fully-fledged adult by the time I was twenty-one and missed all of the fun. So when I was let loose I made it count. I stayed up all night drinking with the students I lived with, I went out every weekend and threw up most Sunday mornings…generally on my floor. It was my personal heaven and I loved every gross second of it, but then things at work got intense and I decided it was time to move on and become an adult again.
Since then, I had a few flings but nothing serious and I spent most of my waking hours with friends, work and my bed. I had moments where I would have loved to have a boyfriend, but it wasn’t to join me to events, it was for the sex. I have never been the sort of person who is comfortable with one night stands and at one point I genuinely thought there was something horrifically wrong with me when my friends were totting up their numbers to well over twenty…TWENTY! I felt like a little wallflower in comparison and I thought I was missing out on some sordid little secret. Yet in reality after talking to my friends as we have aged, they find their sexual past to be an embarrassment. So there I was thinking I was the most prude woman to walk through our community and I was really just a self-conscious fool who was too scared to experience some fun. As much as my girlfriends may have regretted some of their past sexual experiences at least they had them to remember (dependant of their alcohol levels at the time of course). I wish I had been confident enough to have some liberating sexual experiences but it never really happened to me. The most adventurous I got was with an old family friend when I was 19 and I was shaking so much that he thought I had pneumonia, then I was shaking for a very different reason. There is a great episode of Sex and the City where Carrie is brutally shagged by a bunny hopping bloke and that was all I could think about during that little escapade. I was far from liberated or enlightened, other than finding out that men shaved their chests when I went in for the obligatory post-coital snuggle.
So that was life for me, the odd awkward sexual experience, lots of fun with friends and working hard, but then the inevitable happened. People started pairing off, having babies and the wedding invites began to taunt me from my front door. I was no longer able to just turn up at a friend’s house for a chat and some wine, it had to be meticulously organised around their children and there was most definitely no alcohol. The fun was over and I was the only one left who wanted to go and get drunk, it was a sad time. It’s hard adjusting to your group of friends changing while you stay where you have been for the past five years. No one seemed to notice that I was lonely or that I missed my friends, there was never any time for dates with the girls anymore. I love my friend’s children, it is just that it would be great to have some time where we could just be us again. Or that maybe my friends would realise that just because I don’t have children that I still get tired, I still have responsibilities and I would still love if someone visited me for once (I have been in a new house for a year and only one friend has actually been – children always being the preferred excuse). That along with the mandatory question of when I will have kids even though they all know my views, and my particular favourite ‘You’ll change your mind’. No, I won’t.
After a while I began to think that I would forever be alone and it didn’t seem so daunting, other than the fact that I would have to form a singles club so that I could still go out at the weekends. Then I met someone who was like-minded. He didn’t want kids and he wholeheartedly accepts that I will instead mother a litter of puppies who I will sleep with at night instead of him. He lets me have my own space and I allow him his, there are no responsibilities big enough to make us want to throttle each other. It is perfect.
I never thought I would be able to find the happy relationship where we both wanted the same things and still live partially as if we were single (in the ignorance state, not cheating obviously). We work opposite hours and generally only manage to see each other properly one night a week and due to that it is special. We still aggravate each other constantly, but we can also have fun and he is my best friend who I call constantly with any form of ridiculous anecdote. His family are mental and so going for meals with them is hilarious, not the stuffy Sunday lunches I have been forced into before. So to me our relationship is everything I wanted, the singles relationship and it’s a cracking deal. He even lets me have my hairy leg Sunday stinking of food with chocolate all over my mouth and encourages my slobbing. An exception to my no marriage rule I think.