When you’re in a relationship it’s so easy to take your partner for granted, I do it all the time.
I rely on my husband, I lean on my husband, and I know he’s there and would do anything for me.
I probably don’t take the time enough to realise how lucky I am to be loved by him and to love him.
Whilst having lunch with a friend of mine this week I was reminded of this. My friend is in her 40s and single and we talked at length about what life is like for her as she searches for Mr Right.
Beautiful, clever and funny, my friend has travelled the world and is independent, successful and down to earth. She sounds perfect on paper, right? But in reality her love life is a disaster and she finds it really frustrating. She is signed up on dating websites Tinder and Bumble even though she knows how superficial it is. I have never been on a dating website so I wouldn’t even know how one works, I’m too old fashioned to have ever used one.
“They are are just full of men with tattoos wearing football shirts. It’s a meat market where people try to swipe their way to photographic perfection,” she tells me.
Her most recent date arranged through Tinder bored her to death but she was far too nice to opt out early. She stayed for hours whilst he drank himself into oblivion and according to her still didn’t get any more interesting!
There I am sitting at the dinner table struggling to understand how she can still be single – in my eyes she is a great catch. However it seems the dating game is so much more complicated than when I was out there on the singles market a good ten years ago.
From boring guys to Mr Flash who picked her up in his posh car and hadn’t even got off her driveway before he asked the question “Do you eat carbs?” She told me “I knew it was going no where as soon as he forced that question my way. The girls he dated clearly didn’t eat whilst I live for bread and potatoes!”
It’s maybe not the best question to ask on a first date. What made me sad listening to all of this was how she felt so alone in the single life, all of her close friends are in relationships and most have kids.
She explained to me how everyone “comes in twos” even dinner parties consist of couples together. I was suddenly taken back to my 20s when a lot of people I socialised with were getting married and having babies by 25. I used to feel like the odd one out for not having found Mr Right and for not being ready to settle down.
I remember a news editor I worked for always giving me the Christmas and bank holiday shifts as he would say “You are the only one who is single with no family, so what does it matter to you if you work unsociable hours?”
However being single in your 20s is more acceptable and let’s face it easier than if you’re in your 40s because society says so.
There’s a pressure put on people, an expectation and if by a certain age you’re not in a meaningful relationship then it’s perceived that there must be something wrong with you. Being single isn’t a disease, there are lots of positives like being your own boss, being able to be spontaneous, making decisions just for you and having a selfishness that evaporates once you find the one and start a family.
My friend didn’t set out to be on her own without children but sometimes life takes us on a journey that we follow but can’t control. What struck me was that even if you are in a relationship you should cherish your friends, especially the single ones. You should spend more time with them without the other half lurking and make sure they feel supported. We all lead different lives, after all it would be boring if we were all the same and we need to celebrate that. Love comes in all kinds of forms not just from marriage, but friendship too. I’m a true romantic believing there is someone out there for everyone and maybe my friend just hasn’t met her one yet.
I’ve suggested the TV programme First Dates as her next step and she seems quite keen on this idea.. who knows, maybe Mr Right isn’t as far away as she thinks.