Over a lovely dinner on New Year’s Eve, my husband and I (why do I always say that in my head in the Queen’s voice?) were talking about our Ex boyfriends/girlfriends – this may be an odd conversation for a couple I suppose, and I have no idea how we got onto the topic – and how those people have taught us things about ourselves and life.
I consider myself to have had four boyfriends prior to meeting my husband – those that I would call boyfriends and not pigs, flings, mistakes, interludes – and I think I learnt something important from them all.
Possibly unconventionally, I remain friends with them, at least to say hello if I bumped into them and maybe go for a coffee. Of course, I’d still be gutted that I hadn’t suddenly turned into a supermodel, their faces full of sick horror of the fact that they lost me, but I think everyone wishes for that!
(If any of you are reading this, hello!)
- The ‘high school sweetheart’. We met at school and somehow, through those messy teenage years, managed to stay together from 13 until we were 19. On a miserable day I’d say they were wasted years that crippled my confidence but really it spared me the near constant heartache of being a teenager. We spilt up during my first year of university when I finally realised that his argumentative streak had worn me to apathy (and I met a really hot barman). Life lesson: sometimes you just grow apart.
- The older man. He was a clever, driven older guy (26 to my 20) who wrote a song about me. I was pretty infatuated at the time, who wouldn’t be. He gave me my passion for charity work and a better understanding of who I was but broke my heart piece-by-piece until I had the courage to walk away. Life lesson: you can’t make someone love you not matter how hard you try.
- The cad. On, off, on, off, breaking my already broken heart even more, until I met someone else. At which point he made his mind up but it was too late. Great when we were together and I felt hot as hell, but as soon as I walked out of the door it was like I didn’t exist until the next time. Life lesson: chemistry is great but it doesn’t make a relationship.
- The one I ran away with. Fun, this was all about fun. Laughing and being my very childish self, pulling me out of the anxiety and depression I was in and pushing me to do new things outside of my crippled confidence. We ran away to Spain – which is still the best and most exciting thing I’ve done – but he was (and remains) and incorrigible flirt which drove me to suspicious, jealous spite. Life lesson: sometimes you’re better off as friends.
What followed was what my good friends would refer to as my ‘Adele’ phase (running out of the pub in floods of drunk tears when they played Someone Like You). Two years of being single, getting extremely drunk, meeting ALL the wrong guys, wishing I would meet ‘The One’ but not being at all ready for it and finally being happy and content by myself in my little house (eating Monster Munch for dinner and collecting cats)….at which point I did meet The One, when I least expected it.
I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason, people come in and out of chapters in your life and I certainly wouldn’t be the person I am today without learning these things.