Updated: Jan 2
Adult relationships & what they don’t tell you in the romance movies
Ah relationships! The pinnacle to a successful life. Our ‘better' halves as we often like to put it in our Instagram captions while we pose next to a night time backdrop of the River Thames. We smile as we soak up the comments “omg you guys are so cute", “I’m so happy for you" and our FAVOURITE “#goals" and just for a little while, we feel that little bit more in love with our partners as we sit and wonder how WE ever became anyone else’s aspiration. After having been single for the most part of 10 years, I can truly say that I know what it’s like to be on the other side of that Instagram photo wishing I could also be in love, double tapping while pretending that it’s me celebrating another year, longing to swap places with the girl posing with the ring on her finger and being hopelessly curious about what that kind of love would feel like.
I worked hard, my life was incredibly social, I would go to work and teach children and then I'd come home from work and feel like a child myself. A woman in her late 20’s STILL single, STILL living with her parents, STILL feeling like a child on the inside. That was until I found him or should I say until he found me and everything changed almost over night. It was so fast, at times I was terrified that it was too fast but nonetheless I leaped into it and allowed fate to catch me, hoping she'd have mercy on me as I fell and she’d break my collision with the ground. I guess in many ways I’m still falling as we approach our first year together but as I now stand on the other side of the Instagram photo, for the first time in my adult life I’m starting to see cracks in the picture and it makes my mind wonder, if I could stare at these relationships as a nearly 30 singleton and long for it in the ways that I did, what about the young people? What kind of sacrifices will they make to get that perfect photo? What will they put up with so they can become somebody else’s #relationshipgoals.
As my partner and I argue for the thousandth time over God knows what and as I cry and feel my heart beat out of my chest I get a sudden urge run over me to inform the young people what a relationship truly entails because no one speaks on the arguments, the fall outs, the terrifying scream that exits your body as you reach maximum frustration, a sound you’ve never heard from yourself before. A feeling ever so uncommon. No one tells you how your body can go from warm to boiling hot as you wonder if this will be the argument that ends your happiness and we certainly don’t get told how to resolve these issues, no one tells us about endurance or resolving through conversation.
Relationships aren’t as smooth sailing as the Instagram photo’s might suggest and sometimes in the heat of a fall out, you might even find yourself dwelling on the times when you were single. Instagram photos are just a captured moment in time, a snippet, something to make yourself feel good, an excuse for validation. If you want to know the truth about relationships well I’ll tell you, they’re both extremely beautiful and incredibly hard at the same time. They’re full of sacrifices and compromises, you can go from extremely happy to disastrously angry in a second.
As I approach my first year in love I can proudly say that I am truly happy, I love him in a way that I’ve never loved another but my God I am so thankful that I had those 10 years of being single. Even though I longed for a relationship for a lot of that time, the fact that I never ended up in one gave me time to find myself, to know who I was and what I wanted. I learnt a lot from the relationships around me and built up a picture of what I wouldn’t allow myself to endure. Being single gave me the opportunity to become my own best friend, it gave me independence, freedom and the chance to be selfish. It gave me the knowledge that I can be happy all by myself meaning I will NEVER stay with someone out of fear of being alone.
Young people, as you stare at these couples on Instagram it’s okay to want what they have but while you want and while you wait, don’t forget to enjoy the now. Being single is not a curse in fact it’s quite the opposite. It’s a chance to recreate yourself and to find out who you are.
So as far as Instagram goes, look, double tap and move on because your single years are what will improve your chances of finding the perfect partner later on in life!
Written by Shanice