The prospect of being a singleton during the winter months is bleak and lets not even talk about the Christmas presents your not going to receive from your other half. Gone are the fun summer roof top bars, barbecues and Ship Sundays where being single isn't frowned upon and dare I say FUN. Lets face it, the inner grandma in me surfaces as soon as it plummets to below 10 degrees. Anything below zero and I'm hibernating. Is it so wrong to just want to be at home, snuggled under a duvet in my comfies watching a good film whilst sipping on a hot chocolate? Not the stone cold reality of standing in a queue shivering my arse off waiting to get into a sweaty club in Brixton somewhere because you're 'on the pull' with your single friends. I mean we may as well not delay the inevitable of a night ending up in McDonalds whilst you drunkenly book your Uber home. I mean who needs a man when you've got chicken selects and sweet chilli dip? Perhaps this is where I've been going wrong.
Let me paint a bigger picture for you. I have always been fiercely independent. I've never wanted to rely on anyone for anything. I think the scariest part of being in a relationship, is one minute you can be blissfully happy and the next have your world pulled from underneath you. A feeling I'm somewhat familiar with. I haven't spent the last 25 years of my life being single. I was actually in a long term relationship where ultimately I spent five and a half solid years with someone who just wasn't right for me. Simple as. I say this so easily now but it did take a little while to get to this point and to be able to talk about it so openly. I by no means am looking for the sympathy vote, I'm far past that point but I really have had my fair share of heartache. I'm talking lies, manipulation, cheating. You name it, I've probably (unfortunately) experienced it. My blog is not one where I tend to generally divulge my personal life. I'm a particularly private person and tend not to overshare when it comes to personal relationships but being fully single for well over a year now, I thought it was about time I shared my personal experiences with you all and maybe even help some of you who have been /are going through something similar.
The Wanted really were spot on with their lyrics 'if love were a physical pain I could face it'. Girl to girl, going through a breakup is something I wouldn't wish upon anyone. If you've been through a major breakup yourself then you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. The tears, the constant sick feeling in the pit of your stomach, the over analysing, the sleepless nights. You get my drift. I mean there are some pros to having your heart broken: first the break up diet where you find yourself slipping into your tightest jeans and that fabulous new haircut in an attempt to wash that man outta your hair, but generally it sucks. Naturally as a single girl who has had her heart broken, I'm going to have my guard up. But is there such a thing as having your guard up too much to the point where you push people away by not letting them in? This is something I've been asking myself as of late.
One would assume that living in London, a city surrounded by so many people you're bound to meet someone easily. Correct perhaps for some, but I seem to have had the raw end of the deal. With that said, I haven't actively gone looking for someone. Friday night 'sharking' has been kept to a minimum. Instead, I have spent the time I have been single focusing on myself and rebuilding my confidence. I've learnt a lot of valuable lessons being single, mostly about myself but mainly that it's not easy to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again. It takes strength which is hard when your self esteem is at an all time low.
For me, going from being so heavily invested to single was something that took a little while to adjust to. When you spend practically every free minute you have with the person you love discussing plans for the future (I'm talking marriage, mortgages, money and children) to them feeling like a stranger naturally it's going to feel alien. Like your world has been turned upside down and given a good shake all at the same time. If the old me could give the new me some advice it would be that you really will be ok...eventually. Dad, if you're reading this you were 100% right, time really is the best healer. But at the time, who wants to take relationship advice from their parents?! If you are recently single then the best advice I could give you is to be kind to yourself and spend time focusing on rebuilding your confidence. This is absolutely key. After all to be capable of loving someone else again, you have to love yourself first.
As humans, we're creatures of habit and when you have your routine broken it throws everything out of sync. This might even explain why we often go back to what feels comfortable or familiar, even if it's not right. Believe me, I've been there and more than once too. But it never helps, your just delaying the inevitable and perhaps even causing yourself more heartache. If you can avoid it, don't go back. I'd like to think my Psychology degree has taught me to read people a little better but actually can you ever truly understand a man? I'm sceptical to say the least. As time has gone on, I'm really trying not to tarnish every man with the same brush so to speak but some of the stories I still hear over catchups with my closest friends leaves me with very little faith. That combined with my own experiences can be seen as a recipe for disaster.
As I've met men along my journey of being single, one thing I get asked which actually infuriates me is 'so why is a girl like you single?' Firstly, I didn't know it was a crime to be single and secondly 'why are you single then, huh?' It's like that scene from Bridget Jones where she's sat at the dinner table surrounded by smug couples. This could well be me when I'm 40 but hand on heart I would rather be single than be with someone who isn't right for me. I honestly feel like I've wasted enough time, so why waste anymore. Wouldn't you agree? From the age of 18-25 I would say I've changed so much as a person and is it so wrong to want to focus on myself and figure out who I am and exactly what I'm looking for in my next relationship? Not only that going through a painful breakup really can be exhausting and take it's toll on you both physically and emotionally. It's something you have to feel ready for again and this takes time. No boyfriend, no problem(s).
They say the best way to get over someone is to get under someone. Maybe so. I'm guilty of this. Well not so much in literal terms but for seeing what else is out there. By out there, I mean
heading straight to Tinder and frantically swiping right. I'll openly hold my hands up and say I'm guilty of this. When your newly single, you can feel lonely and miss having someone by your side.
So when I stumbled across a profile that read 'Alex, 26 from Clapham enjoys Sunday brunches, cuddles, walking his French Bulldog and is partial to the occasional Netflix and chill' naturally I was intrigued. This was obviously helped somewhat by the fact he looked like Zayn Malik. Sorry but did I just come stumble across my dream man? #BOYFRIENDGOALS Girls you're thinking the same as me.....he has a dog! So swiping right and actually getting a match made me feel a little bit giddy. I stress here that this was my first experience with Tinder so naturally I was curious. Now onto the entertaining part....
Alex, 26, from Clapham had messaged me. Want to know his opening line? 'If I were to f**k you I'd snap you like a twig'. In my head I remember thinking, Gemma welcome to the single world. This is what you've got to look forward to. For the purpose of this post I've actually gone through my past matches and picked out a few of the worst opening lines to share with you, for comical value of course. They go something like this:
Simon, 25: "I've swiped through a thousand miles to find you Gemma"
Lewis, 26: "Listen, I'm not here to put boots on caterpillars. Do you wanna f**k?"
John, 25: "You're well tall"
Simon, 28: "So the tinder gods have brought us together Gemma, praise be to technology. I just got back from a little trip to Amsterdam and I'm going to crack a bottle of wine open at mine tonight so you should come over if your drinking skills are up to it ;)"
Liam, 28: "What are you looking for?"
Dan, 27: "Do you like it big?"
So there you have it, Tinders finest. I couldn't even make them up if I tried. I can now look back and laugh hysterically but at the time remember feeling at an all time low with a fear that this is the best that being single has to offer. The whole dating app world seems really unnatural to me. Partly because I'm a bit of a romantic at heart but also because I'm quite traditional. I'd definitely prefer to meet people under more normal circumstances. But what do we even class as normal these days? We live in a society where it's becoming more normal to not be monogamous so maybe this really is the best we're going to get.
I think ultimately, you either get lucky or you don't. Dating apps haven't worked for me so far anyways and quite frankly the calibre of men is poor. I don't claim to be an oil painting but I think I'd rather be single and wait for Mr right, than Mr right now who's just going to screw me over. With such a superficial stance to dating how can you really know if your well suited to someone by an edited profile picture and witty blurb. I don't think I have seen more 'personal trainers', 'models' or 'entrepreneurs' in my life let alone on an evening swipe on Tinder. At the best of times I go for the wrong men, but isn't this just asking for trouble? The way I see it, I'd be dodging a hundred bullets at a time.
As I get a little older, I'm more focused on being successful and comfortable within my own skin than having my time wasted by the Alex's of the world. Being single really isn't so bad. I've learnt a lot about myself that I overlooked when I had a boyfriend. I ultimately fell into the trap of having someone take care of me in an attempt to control me and ultimately lost sight of who I was as a person and what I really wanted from a relationship and even life. But I can confidently say that I will never let this happen again.
Being single is after all what you make of it but I would be lying if I said I didn't want to eventually make and share memories with someone that truly made me happy. A Mr. Right, if he really exists. After watching How To Be Single, perhaps it's time to be a little more like Robin: a fun-loving, wild co-worker who enjoys partying and free drinks (perhaps minus the one night stands) in a bid to truly embrace and enjoy the single lifestyle. Ultimately, the best advice I could give anyone who has gone from being in a relationship to single is not to worry about finding love but let it find you. It will come along when you least expect it. So for now, let your hair down and enjoy the ride!
For all of my fellow single ladies out there, I would love to hear your experiences, good and bad. I probably have rambled on far too much but if you've made it to the end of this post then thank you for sticking with me.
Cardigan - Glamorous
Bodysuit - Glamorous
Jeans - New Look
Bag - Zara (similar)
Heels - Public Desire
Shop this post: