Thursday, 9 June 2011

Ain't like we're owed anything, issit?

You know when you're really tired, but the minute you switch off the light your mind starts tumbling?

Well the other night I had this thought. It's not the cheeriest thought in the world, but then most things aren't when it's 11:55pm and you're lying on your own in a bed made for two.

It just suddenly struck me as weird that we assume everything will end up alright. Blame Hollywood if you like. We all have our insecurities but ultimately, we hope it's all going to magic itself good in the end.

It can feel sometimes as if all your friends are married, engaged, or have found someone they're head over heels with. Mutual adoration is all over the place. Talk to anyone with hearts in their eyes and they'll reassure you at length that a similar future is waiting for you.

But there's no guarantee, is there?

There's nothing to say that's definitely going to happen. And even if it does, well, people cheat, don't they? Eyes wonder. More and more people end up not being together than those who do. Life gets hard, people fall out of love. If it can happen at 23, it can happen at 50.

I tend to bumble along, assuming everything will be fine. That things will just fall into place - somehow. That my next proper relationship will be the big one. Because it has to be, doesn't it? Them's the rules. I'm well due a seven year-er where moving in doesn't culminate in a shattering revelation, and engagement becomes more than just a thing you "like" on someone elses Facebook. Where the idea of children seems more an exciting natural progression than a terrifying way to lose friends and cripple your social life.

We think we're entitled to it. Well, I do. I assume this is what will happen. Not immediately, but eventually. All around me there are stories about how it hasn't; might not, probably won't. Yet still my mind says it will.

It has to.

But just because you've got the raw end of the deal a couple of times, doesn't mean you're owed anything - does it?


Anonymous said...

Oh, so true. So true. But it does help to get through the suck ass days doesn't it? To think one day everything will be okay. Even though year after year it isn't.

jman said...

And then there are the things which seem like the end of the world when they happen and later you think "thank god that happened!" Things like relationships happen because you are open to them; whether you have the maturity to make good choices is another thing (in this case the "you" is generic not a reference to YOU). Sometimes the fault is yours, sometimes the fault is the party of the second part and sometimes it is just how things have shaken out. But as Woody Allen said at the end of Annie Hall about why we keep trying despite the failure and despair, "we need the eggs". Nothing in life is guaranteed other than that it will end someday, and (in keeping with the theme of using other people's words) as John Lennon once wrote "life is what happens while we are busy making plans", so what you plan may not be how things turn out, but it doesn't mean that things haven't turned out for the best. OK I am going to stop now before I start to make any sense at all.

Elaine said...

Well, I've had a couple of 1s, a couple of 2s, a 4 and a 10 which all went wrong. The only good part of having a 10 go wrong is that is makes the others pale into complete insignificance, but other than that it hurts like hell and takes far longer to find yourself again afterwards.

For me, every time a relationship fails, I lose a little bit more belief in the happy ever after. So for now I'm just concentrating on trying not to be unhappy being single rather than trying to find happiness through commitment.

I hope that made sense!

Love Cat said...

I had a an eight year relationship and then an 18 month head fuck, then a 4 monther am currently 9 months into the current one.

After the 8 year one I thought it was just a matter of time but four years later I know that there is every chance it might not all be okay. I really do think the current boyfriend is it - but does he? Who the hell knows, I just have to enjoy what's happening and see where things go.

The reality is that I've got lots of female friends who are gorgeous, funny, independent, home-owners - in their 30s - and are all single. It's just the way things are.

I really do hope it will all be okay but who the hell knows. x

Kittie Flyn said...

Sadly humans aren't entitled to happiness, love or any of the like. I'm in my mid 30s and all of my friends are married, having kids, buying homes, settling into their lives... I'm not close to any of that. Even friends who swore they'd never have kids are having kids. I'm still very much single with a couple of failed long term relationships behind me. Oh well..I've loved and learned. According to the saying, 'tis better to have love and lost' so I guess I'm better than never having loved. Blargh. I wish I were strong enough to ignore the questions like, 'why are you still single' and 'what's wrong with you' but I'm not. They get to me sometimes. Your post says it all ...perfectly.

Blonde said...

No, we're not owed anything. But it's ok to hope for it, surely? x

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

Breezy - Oh, we should definitely think it...or else what else is there? It surprised me I hadn't considered the other option before.

jman - For sure. There are so many things that I think "thank god that awful thing happened". Really. Thank god, because if I'd spent my entire 20s in a relationship, I'd be a shadow of myself. I agree with Lennon, and this post isn't as pessemistic as it sounds. It's more about hoping for something other than a relationship to make you happy.

Elaine - Perfect sense. You do lose a bit of yourself, but then I think you get happier being by yourself and more open to other things.

Love Cat - I think that's the right way to approach things. You know, just see what happens. I just wish society allowed for that mindframe a bit more, instead of always pushing for the landmark events.

Kittie - That's my point I think. That while everyone's sitting there focusing on why you're single, why you haven't found anyone, really - it's normal. I haven't found anyone because it's an unrealistic expectation that I'll find someone and stay with them forever. Hardly anyone does, why should I be any different?

Blonde - God, definitely. If we didn't hope for it we'd be completely lost. I'm more just countering popular opinion that everything will somehow happen. It's good to hope AND be realistic. It helps you focus on "you" - like, everyone plants these landmark life events (boyfriend, marriage, babies) as if a man will suddenly make everything right, that it's destined to happen and you're some sort of failure if you don't. So many blog posts lament not finding a boyfriend or the right man, when really, if we didn't have society and friends and films and family around us saying that's how it should be, then couldn't we just be happy anyway? We're not all destined for everything to be ok, and that in itself should be ok. But it's not.

Dungeekin said...

Of course we're allowed to hope, and to believe - because in all honesty, it DOES happen - but I find expecting/assuming is what leads to disappointment.

It took me until (whisper it quietly) 40, with a failed marriage, two 5s, one three, several twos, and another continent, to find The One.

I know that feeling of being alone in a bed and thinking you're the only human on the planet that hasn't found That Person - but then you realise that:

1. If THAT many people 'find it' then it HAS to be there - it's just not Fated to happen for you yet;

2. All you see is the public lovey-doveyness, you don't know what's happening behind the scenes, leading to;

3. People DO fall out of love, otherwise it wouldn't happen so often (though for the record, not everyone cheats).

As recently as last August, I'd given up expecting or assuming I'd get the happy ending, choosing instead to focus on just being happy in and with myself.

Never stopped hoping though, and while Life may not owe you anything for your prior tribulations, Fate does have a way of sorting things out. It just may take longer than you expect, and come from an odd direction. :-)


Redbookish said...

I find Julian of Norwich quite helpful: All will be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

And that you generally get where you're meant to go, but often not by the route you expected.

And my self-created internal 'mother' phrase: 'It'll be OK' (my mother never thinks this and panics and is unreliable in these matters, so I needed to create an alternate soothing mother voice).

Other clich├ęs available.

But these help.

Ruby A said...

If you lose hope, what else do you have? If I accepted that I could die alone, without so much as a cat to leave my books to, would I bother getting out of bed? Dating? Brushing my hair? Nope. But I do all those things because, like most people, I labour under the delusion that because I am a Good Person and have had Bad Things happen to me, it'll be OK and I get the love I deserve.

We've all bought into that lie (or at least, that delusion), which is why those of us who are single have to defend ourselves, why we develop 'perspective' after a relationship ends, why we get a little bit down when our friends get married and have babies.
Everyone expects these things, and when you kick against it it exposes just how deeply ingrained those expectations are.

Gemma Graham said...

Lovely post.

I've had all those thoughts and more.

But in spite of the protestations from family and friends who pat me on the head and say "There, there, you'll find someone, plenty of time yet", I've come to the realisation that, given my history, and basically Who I Am, the likelihood is that I won't.

But you know, everything WILL be alright for me, because I can still make a difference in my lifetime without having a significant other. Sure, I'd love to have someone to share it with, but I don't *need* anyone else to get by, or to be a good person, or to achieve. I'm alright all by myself.

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

Dungeekin - In my opinion, it should be fine for the girl of your dreams to come along at 40. To me, that makes more sense than your perfect partner coming along at 21, or 26, or even 30. Biologically it makes sense, but who falls in love because of biology? It's all chemistry, init. The more you experience, the more you've got to share. And it DOES happen, you're right. There's nothing wrong with hoping and believing in that. But there should be an alternative just in case.

Redbookish - That's a good way to see things.Totally agree there isn't a specific path everyone follows - but I suppose I'm getting to the age where all my friends seem quite settled, and you wonder why is it ME who has to buck the trend? And shouldn't it be ok anyway?

Ruby - That's the thing that gets me. The weight of expectation. Of your friends, family. Half the time after a break up we end up feeling really bloody good on our own, until we remember we're supposed to be doing it with someone else. Y'know, coz society said so.

Gemma - That attitude comes from both sides I find. Other single people who are desperate - DESPERATE - to find their next man, to happily coupled friends and family members who are preoccupied with whether you've found you're next love yet. It's like, "Well no, I haven't. And I might not. But I'm having a lot of fun without all that, so will that do?". Usually not.

Leigh said...

It's the same as the belief that makes people continue to get married thinking that theirs will be the 1 out of 2 (or 3 or whatever the statistic is at the moment) marriages that doesn't end in divorce.

We believe everything is going to work out for the best because to accept that it might not would just make us miserable. And no one wants to be miserable.

Helen said...

For me, now, I just don't think it's going to happen. And I'm not even just being pessimistic. Every time I've met someone I've thought "this is it". But they never have.

I'm 30 this year, own my own house, have a good job and am shortly moving to a better one. I think I'm bright, funny, attractive on a good day. But I've never been "enough".

So I'm focussing on me. Doing my house up, doing things I love, living life for me. All my friends, bar a couple, are married, engaged or heading that way. The last guy I met and liked told me on Saturday that I'm just not "special" enough. Fuck it.


modelofamodernmajorgeneral said...

I've been thinking about this for most of the day (and it hurt my brain cell), and I keep on coming back to the same word: hope.

Hope is what drives us forward, and gets us to the end. Never let go of it; however dark it may get, I would suggest that it *will* get better.

You're beautiful, intelligent and precious, you'll get what you want, even if you do have to wait a bit for it. And when it gets there it'll be awesome, promise.

AFC 30K said...

I agree with the Major. Hope. I've seen some really good friends give up hope and then, after a while, Bam, they find 'the one'.

Having been with Wifey for 15 years I have to say that the name of the game is patience and compromise.

We all search for love (it's a human condition!) and love can be a shitty game. As the Script so poiniently said 'when a heart breaks it don't break even'.

Focus on you and you'll be fine :-)

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

Helen - That bloke is a special breed of fucktard to tell someone - anyone - especially you, that. It's simply never the case (unless you're like, a clone or something, and they don't exist yet). That's his problem, not yours.

modelofa - I agree. Whatever happens, things will be ok. If that's with a bloke, then great. If it's just me and some mates, also great.

AFC - Poignantly put. Nothing wrong with putting yourself first. Because we all know when you do meet someone, that's usually the thing that has to go out the window more often than not ;)

AFC 30K said...

"Putting yourself goes out of the window when you find someone".

Ohhh, how true is that statement!

And then kids come along and then you really know what it means to not put yourself first!


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