In mid 2015 I swore myself off relationships. I was convinced that no relationship was worth having. Any boyfriend or girlfriend I had was bound to become some kind of parasite seeping into my life and clouding my sense of ‘self’ and as far as I had seen in my 20 years on Earth no relationship ended well, all that gets left in the rubble of a love gone is resentment, hate and a whole lot of wasted time and money.
So there. No relationships. That was the finite plan…apparently.
Then, in early 2016 I met Shaun.
Now, I don’t want to create any false pretences about how I instantly fell in love with him and the whole affair has been a fairy-tale and all my troubles in life have been healed by the power of love and glitter sprinkles over me whenever he looks my way and we’ve never had an argument and when we go out for dinner he picks me up with his noble steed and gallops off with me sitting side saddle on the back with one hand on his sword and one had gripping a tuft of mane. No. It hasn’t been that way. But it has been incredibly unexpected and bloody delightful and I do love him so much that sometimes it feels as though my chest will cave in.
Truth be told, when I first met Shaun I found him annoying. He always seemed to be the loud guy at the party and was OBSESSED with pizza. Whenever we were at a get-together with each other that lasted until the next day he was always spread out on someone’s couch with a family sized vegetarian pizza on his lap. But when I actually started making conversation with him I was dumbfounded at how kind he was. He never said a bad word about anybody or anything, he was always cheery and happy to see his friends. He was one of those people that you talk to once and you know they’re good.
So, over the following months Shaun and I talked more, saw more of each other and one weekend when I stayed at his, actually, let me rephrase that: after staying at his house for the weekend I had my foot in the taxi to go to the train station and hop on a train back to London I asked him “so are we properly together now?” and his face lit up like a puppy that’s getting a belly rub and he said “yeah”. Aw. Young romance.
The whole dating someone, becoming someone’s girlfriend and then falling in love thing took me completely off guard however. I didn’t move to the UK to find a boyfriend. I moved here for me and to grow and learn and discover. So when we first declared that we were and official couple I hit panic mode and became so worried that having a partner would halt my journey of self discovery and ruin the whole notion of why I was in the UK in the first place.
But I pushed through. My mantra when I was scared was ‘how will you ever know if you don’t let it play out?’. I didn’t want to give up someone I was falling so deeply for, and I also wasn’t willing to compromise the city I was already in love with, so I played it day by day.
So now I sit here, on a park bench waiting for Shaun to meet me after work to go for dinner. I am completely smitten and I feel such a strong sense of capability and independence within myself. I cannot wait to see Shaun, I miss him even though I saw him before he left for work 10 hours ago. It turns out that Shaun wasn’t and isn’t this ‘thing’ that happened while I was on a journey of self discovery. He has been part of the journey.
Being with him has made me constantly question and examine my beliefs, my actions and my perceptions of the world. He’s told me when I’m being a dickhead and when I’m being selfish. I’ve discovered things about myself that I never would have on my own. And in turn, I have done all of this for him too. Our relationship has worked because we don’t let each other stagnate. We push each other and love and support each other.
At the end of the day I guess it wasn’t a relationship I was so against, it was a crappy one.
It is possible to be with someone and still feel like your own person. It is possible to be in a relationship and not feel suffocated. It just takes the right two people and a fuck tonne of effort.