I was single and very sceptical at the prospect of getting a boyfriend. I had been in two long term relationships before and they have been nothing short of disastrous. Being single had given me a new lease of both socially and in terms of my self-confidence, so why did I need to get back into a relationship? I was genuinely happy alone. Being single helped me realise that I’m someone who enjoys their own company. I wasn’t afraid of going shopping or eating alone in public, and quite frankly watching a film by myself meant there was one less person to explain the plot line to. I socialised nearly every night without having to give an explanation about where I was going or how long I would be out for.
I initially was rather wary of the idea of settling down again. Why did I need someone else in my life who could dictate my behaviour, stop me from partying (god forbid) and generally pull rank with my emotions?
One of the biggest things that worried me about settling down again was the risk of losing my independence. I had watched friend after friend get a boyfriend over the years and eventually I watched each of them fall off the face of the earth because they were loved up. I didn’t want to be THAT girl who dropped everyone because she had gained a significant other.
And then I met James.
I don’t really think I had appreciated how good it would be to have someone around. All of a sudden I gained a new friend, someone I could tell all my secrets to without judgment. It’s nice to have a companion to check in with to see how their day is going, and it was even nice to be genuinely interested in their response. I was discovering new depths of caring and I realised that I had someone I could grow with.
But my favourite thing most of all is that it’s easy. I didn’t have to force conversation or pretend to be someone entirely different. Tireless amount of dating had in many ways left me fed up of having to make small talk with new people. First dates seem to prompt the same conversations over and over again; yes I have always lived in London, no I’m not vegan. But my first date with James flowed effortlessly, and for the first time in a long time I was excited for a second date.
Of course it hasn’t been completely seamless. Two independent people coming together would of course take some adjustments, a settling in period of some sort. James can be grumpy, and I can (and mostly am) scatty. He’s usually on time and I am usually late. We both have our own friends, jobs and lives that preexisted before the birth of our relationship. We had to learn to fit each other in to our own busy schedules, and establish routines which meant we could see each other without fazing everyone else out.
And it was exciting to suss out these new routines. There’s something both very simple yet satisfying in learning so much about another person. You become familiar with their quirks and habits, and naturally form a close bond to them which is second to none.
Being in relationship hasn’t stopped me from doing anything. I still like to go out regularly, see my friends and spend my evenings drinking pornstar martinis. However, now I also find a great comfort in spending Saturday nights cuddle up on the sofa with my other half. I don’t feel like I’m being tied down or held back at all, and now I realise it was completely irrational to harvest those thoughts in the first place. Like most things, being in a relationship is all about finding the right balance, and with James it has levelled our rather nicely.