Relationships are messy at the moment. At least, they have been around me. Am I the unlucky charm? Whoops. Maybe I can carry on blaming everything on Mercury being in retrograde. But all my single friends who are trying to date are being done over at every turn.
My friend met a guy, let’s call him Frank. She came back from a first date with him, flushed and excited, gushing about how lovely he seemed. And when I met him a week later, I also thought he was lovely. He was taller than her, a near miracle since my friend is a six-foot woman, and interesting and funny.
They seemed very well matched, enjoyed each other’s company, and went on several more dates. They went on drives, they ate vegan food together, and he even stayed over at hers, in a tiny single bed that’s not big enough for one tall person, let alone two.
And then he ghosted her.
“Ghosting”, if you’re unfamiliar with the term, is when someone who you’ve been talking to online just drops all contact with no warning. It’s a big thing these days, especially with dating apps being so popular.
It’s just too easy to pretend like someone doesn’t exist and never did by un-matching them on Tinder. Dating apps are a dangerous game in this modern era. It is easy for people to become flaky and noncommittal, always out there searching for something better.
Frank ghosted my friend, hard. She sent several messages, against mine and her friends’ protests that she should block him and not give him so many chances to reply. She spent hours picking apart what she did wrong (the answer is nothing, he was just horrible), and cried her eyes out over the whole sorry situation.
Being ghosted is such a horrible situation to be in, especially when you really fancy someone like my friend did.
If you yourself begin to lack interest in someone, then it’s just polite to send a message to say, “Oh I’m not feeling it, sorry!” You’re even insulated by a phone screen and don’t have to talk face-to-face, cutting out the crippling awkwardness. It’s so easy to avoid hurting and confusing people, and yet some people don’t even have the human decency for that.
My best friend from home broke up with her boyfriend, and that should have been that. Instead, he had to be really creepy and weird and insisted on coming to her house to “see her pets and her parents” (read: try and get her alone in her room).
She texted me in a panic, which lead to me speeding down the motorway in a 2006 Volkswagen Polo named Greg to go and rescue her. Who needs a knight in shining armour?
She told her ex that she had “forgotten” that she made plans with me before, and he still didn’t take the hint. I ignored him and just talked to her about makeup, and he STILL didn’t take the hint. He was there for another two hours before he had to take a bus back home.
Looking back on this now, it’s insane how he thought this was okay. Like, “Oh, yeah, let me just turn up at your house uninvited even though you’ve made it very clear that things between us are over”. No! Don’t do that!
If someone “forgets” that they already made plans with someone, when you’re meant to hang out, rest assured they didn’t forget, they just don’t want to see you. Take the hint, or someone will turn up in a mid-2000s car model and talk about things you hate to make you uncomfortable.
Exhibits C and D
My flatmate told me a couple of very interesting stories when I asked him about relationship issues. The first one was about his mate who broke up with a girlfriend a while ago. When the guy started up a relationship with a new girl and put a picture of the two of them on his Insta story, his ex then screenshotted the story, sent it to him, and told him, “stop this, I can’t take it anymore, please”. My flatmate’s dubious suggestion to his friend was to screenshot the conversation, put that on his story and expose her.
What is it with exes who can’t let go? People who you want nothing to do with seem to come back out of the woodwork to hang around like a bad smell whilst you try and ignore them. They’re exes for a reason. Does social media like Instagram maybe encourage this unhealthy behaviour?
My flatmate has also had a lot of bad luck in the relationship arena, recently. He’s still single (ladies, hit me up for details), but had been talking to a girl from his course for a while and had a date planned with her! And then he cancelled and rescheduled. It was just nerves at first, bless him – but then he did it again. And again.
They were meant to meet up four times, but he kept on cancelling, despite having nearly the entire flat yelling at him to just meet her, for God’s sake, it’s just a coffee! But he didn’t, and now she’s going out with someone else.
At the end of the day, I think he’s just a little bit love-shy. There’s nothing wrong with that, and at least he didn’t ghost her: I’m proud of him. Which just goes to show that the bar for acceptable behaviour is so low these days. I can’t comprehend people who don’t reach it.
There’s no rush to fall in love
In my personal opinion, looking at all the drama that’s been going on around me these past few months, I think many current relationship problems are caused by issues with communication.
If you don’t like someone, you should politely let them down and save them hours of upset and worry. Don’t leave people hanging for weeks on end when it could all be sorted with a ten-minute conversation. Sure, it might upset them at first, but you won’t be stringing them along and they can start to get over it.
I don’t want to leave this on a hopeless note, so I’m just going to say that you still have time. If you’re still single at 22, you have time. If you’ve still not been kissed at 18, you have time! There’s a myth that hangs around university that the first day you arrive, you’ll meet the love of your life and marry them after you graduate. Most everyone wants that to be the case for them. I know I did, and when I didn’t instantly fall in love with someone during Freshers’ Week, I was very disappointed.
But relationships can come at any time in life. My seminar tutor was getting married a while ago, and she met her soon-to-be-husband in her third year. But I know people who met their future husbands or wives much later. As a more general example, take Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. They met much later in life, and now she’s a princess and a national treasure. I’m sure that Meghan at 18 never guessed that one day a British prince would take a shine to her.
So, don’t give up just yet. You do have to kiss a hell of a lot of frogs to find your prince (or princess), whether that’s a real prince or just a person who treats you like a queen. I guess the secondary point of this article is that if you haven’t found your true love yet, they are probably royalty and haven’t met you yet.