As featured in Cosmopolitan UK & Middle East, ASIA.
What would you do if you knew you would never fall in love?
“What if you knew you were going to spend the rest of your life alone, you would never fall in love, never settle down, never have children, what would you want to do? What would make you happy? What would fill up your time, your heart, your soul for the rest of your days? Are you currently doing that thing?”
Those were the questions I asked myself just before my 30th birthday when my heart was broken into a million tiny pieces by a Frenchman who resembled a bloody great Gucci model and smelt like a giant bar of chocolate. What can I say, he was my lobster.
Homeless, jobless and most certainly loveless, I turned up at my dad’s house and moved myself in, uninvited, staying there for months, wandering around the house in a threadbare pair of tracksuit bottoms and the unwashed T-shirt of my ex. I didn’t even wear pants – who needs underwear when you’ve lost the love of your life? Not me, I just wept and wept and then I wept some more, unable to form tear-free sentences for the best part of six months.
Because my thirtieth year was the year I realised that I might just be ‘that’ girl. You know the one. The girl who for no particular reason, doesn’t get the guy, doesn’t have children, doesn’t get the romantic happy every after. So I needed to come up with a plan. I needed to get back to basics. I needed to ask myself a few important questions:
What did I like doing?
What didn’t I get to do because of my last relationship?
What didn’t I get to do because I fell in love? More importantly,
what would I be happy spending the rest of my life doing if love never showed up again?
I then asked the same questions to my grandmas, aunties, friends, cousins, men, women, those in love, out of love, getting over love, getting into love. If you knew you were going to be alone for the rest of your life, what would you do? The answers became the beginnings of my first fiction novel – Love is a Thief – one girl’s journey to take back what love stole.
Because the idea of a life lived alone is still a challenging concept. Pairing off is accepted like a universal law, like gravity or post-30 cellulite. My aunt looked positively stunned stuttering,“B…b…but why wouldn’t you settle down?”Before clutching at her dull husband like a lift-raft. For others life outside of the social construct of coupledom opened their mind to exciting possibilities.
“When I think about making a decision that doesn’t involve factoring in the needs of my husbands and kids I feel giddy! Pleasing myself … what an indulgence!”
From career choices to clothes choices to knowing what’s in your fridge at the end of the day, finding The One involves daily compromise. And that’s before the associated health risks.
* Women in relationships are more likely to become clinically obese (Time Magazine).
* Single women live longer, healthier lives than married women due to the stress and wear and tear for married women to be everything – wife, mother, professional (The Guardian).
* Doctors and psychiatrists in the US went on record to state that “unmarried women are happier than married ones, achieve more, pursued their hobbies with greater concentration and are truly conversant with more subjects”.
Becoming unpaired has been the making of me. And I am not alone. There is a new generation of Freemales who actively avoid cupids compromising arrow because making space for The One would mean giving up a cherished hobby, time, goal.
The New Happily Ever After
I have been in love. I have been in crazy sniff-each-others-necks-watch-each-other-sleep love. But without him I have created a level of stability, security and happiness in my life that I’ve ever experienced before. I became a publisher author, my life long dream, something shelved by the distractions of love. As I sit here and write this there is sun on my face, the French language in my ears and a set of skis next to me ready to whisk me home. Working out what makes you happy in the absence of another, going out and devoting time to that thing, that to me is what it means to live.
Haven’t found The One? Maybe YOU were The One you were looking for all along.
What the Experts Say
‘How fulfilled we feel in life tells us more about our current thinking than our life circumstances’. Says acclaimed psychologist Katie Abbott “We live in the feeling of our own thought therefore have an equal possibility of happiness whether we are in a relationship or not. Its important not to look to one specific thing, like finding The One, as the key to unlocking your own inner happy’