I write a lot about dating, new beaus, love’s first passionate embrace, new unions and unexpected trysts, but what about the relationships newly formed? I hear you girls. It isn’t just the dating world that is as complex as the Rubik’s cube – the official relationship status doesn’t make it any easier either.
I should know, I’ve got 4 hefty ‘relationships’ under my belt. And when I say ‘hefty’ I mean, post the year mark. Even with a boyfriend, or a fiance… shit doesn’t get much easier, you just have more issues to mull over.
But this piece is dedicated to that newly launched relationship, the one where you still believe the stars sparkle in his eyes, and he is convinced you are a being formed in Aphrodite’s shadow. You’ve been dating for what, one-three months and decide that you dig each other enough to cast off any other suitors and get this shit exclusive. He’s yours, and you are his. Now what?
Well, now my friends, life begins. You can cast away the worries and fears of him dating someone else because he’s made a commitment to you, and likewise he can sleep soundly knowing the only person who gets to see you in lingerie is him. This is fab. It’s that euphoric state of bliss, where passion and love and sex and friendship collide into a new life routine that makes you wake up singing and go to sleep smiling. The romance is still wafting in the air like the smell of newly baked bread, and you both feel like – this shit is mental. It’s so good, can it get any better? He wants to see her whenever he isn’t at work or sleeping or eating. But fuck, even when he’s sleeping he wants an arm around her waist. She refreshes her emails every 5 minutes and checks her whatsapp every 2, just to smile at his recent anecdote. Life as standard before is now agony apart, and each second separated creates a throbbing ache in the chest that only the counterpoint can ease. You have become the other half of each other. He moves, you move. She smiles, he beams.
This, my dears, is called the honeymoon period. Don’t get too used to it, doesn’t fucking last as long as you’d first believed. What, he isn’t Prince Charming forever plus a day? No…no he isn’t.
Romance leads the way into our hearts, but once the relationship is on lock down and all these ‘efforts’ to get the other can now start to cease, the reality of life begins to show like cracks in a new build. Do you remember the episode of Sex & The City where Carrie accidentally farts in front of Mr. Big and believes this is the reason that her passionate sex life has now done a 180 flip? She is traumatized. After all, girls do not fart. We do not go for a piss, or burp, or shit, or vomit, or smell of B.O, or have any unneeded body hair … we are created in Aphrodite’s shadow remember? We are perfection. We are the essence of femininity. So when something happens that reveals we are in fact just mere mortals not dissimilar to man themselves, shit gets real. Hence Carrie’s devastated reaction. I understand how embarrassed she was, but on the other hand – when do we stop becoming romantic robots and start becoming REAL? This led me to think…
When does Romance give way to Reality?
It took about 7 months before my ex fiancée actually farted in front of me. Once that happened – the flood gates opened. Another month on and he’s finding it fucking hilarious that he shoves my head under the duvet afterwards and I have to gag my way back up to fresh air. Don’t get me wrong – I accepted he was human. It took the pressure off of me to be perfect too. But seriously does it have to be quite literally shoved in my face like that? If that didn’t work, he’d try make it cute so I’d laugh and simply get up and open a window. Looking back, I was very accommodating.
Sure, it’s a scary process. It’s the next big step to take – the step that allows you both to understand romance can exist but reality must also step in to the frame too. The pretense and persona of perfection is an impossible ideal to keep up, and it’s fucking exhausting. You feel like you can’t be totally at ease, even with the person you declare ‘you can truly be yourself around’. You can’t. You can’t go to the loo then loudly proclaim you ate something bad and that he shouldn’t go in there for at least 5 minutes without a gas mask and health warning. Not at the beginning anyway – I’m discussing here the threshold one crosses from romance to reality….where you’re on the cusp of becoming a ‘settled’ couple but still wanting to keep that mesmerizing image of each other. It’s a difficult time because, who makes the first move into reality? Who shows they’re a real human after all? If you start to reveal your more normal behaviour patterns, will he suddenly become turned off and distance himself? If he starts to show he’s happy to sit and fart and burp in front of the TV – will you still look at him in the same way that makes you want to rip those now-soiled trousers off?
I guess my best example is my ex fiancée (I know I know it was only 13 days on engagement, let it go will you!) who started to practically live at my house with my parents. I had an en suite and he picked me up one night when I was out in Rochester on a Netball social. He drove me home and once we got indoors, I was SO DRUNK I decided I didn’t want to go for a piss in the toilet – I wanted to wee in my bathroom sink. I mean when you’re drunk, that seems perfectly acceptable right? So, he’s had to strip me down because I couldn’t get my own clothes off (I was VERY DRUNK OK? Don’t judge me!) and whilst he got ready for bed himself I casually climbed onto my bathroom sink and loudly declared ‘I was going for a tinkle somewhere funny’ with my legs dangling over the sink like a toddler in a high chair. He came in and quite literally cracked up, grabbed me some tissue because I couldn’t reach all the way to the toilet (who puts tissue next to the actual toilet? Fool), told me I was a naughty drunk ‘noo noos’ and put me to bed. Another ‘human’ moment – I’d just bought a new double bed which was smaller than my old one. I had a habit of getting up in the night still asleep and just climbing over him to go to the loo. I sleep walk by the way. It’s my thing. I was half asleep on this occasion because, as I climbed back over him I misjudged my new bed and rolled right over him off the bed and fell onto the wooden floor. It was pitch black and he goes ‘Noo noo… are you ok?’ and I am lying on the floor having woke myself up properly in pain with no idea how I even got there. We spent about half hour laughing before I dragged my ass back into bed and we went back to sleep.
Then there’s a memory with the ex before him (the evil one who was so evil I believe Satan made him in HIS image) who was, on this rare occasion, actually being nice to me. I was drunk (Shit am I ever sober?) and I was lying in his bed – puking up into a washing-up bowl he went and got for me. I was hungry so he made me a burger but I was laughing too much to eat properly and the lettuce fell all down my chest. And in between laughing I was puking up into the bowl. So we have eating a burger – lettuce on my bare chest – pink alcopop puke in a bowl – laughing – more sick – more burger. Not a pretty image is it? After he decided I was just about able to sleep okay, he climbed in next to me and left me to it. He also cleaned my sick bowl up in the morning because I was such a mess I thought someone had let off a grenade in my head.
This isn’t some admission I need AA guidance, it is just a few stand out memories from my relationships where I have behaved less like Aphrodite, more like an Ape. Low and behold, it’s what being human and being real is all about. Every couple will identify with their own moments similar to mine, and they will also know these moments are actually what make the relationship so much more beautiful. They don’t diminish the love, but in fact help it grow. It’s a shock, for sure, but it’s true. However scary it is to allow room in your romance for reality, it’s a step that must be taken. I’m not saying you two have to hold hands in the bathroom while one of you takes a shit (I know a couple who actually did this!) but you can start to accept each other’s imperfections. I mean sure, I didn’t particular enjoy having my head shoved under the duvet whilst he laughs because ‘this one is proper smelly’, but did it mean that when I woke up in the morning I didn’t want to cuddle him because the incident was too harrowing for my innocent mind? Please, as if. My love for him transcended natural bodily functions.
So for once, I actually have a half-decent concrete answer for my moral question – romance gives way to reality when you both allow it to! When you’re feeling comfortable around each other to show some true colours, or when one of you accidentally allows your realism to slip, and the other follows suit. If some guy gets turned off to the point of heading off radar because you once burped in front of him – he’s a shallow tosser and doesn’t deserve your second glance anyway. Anyone who wants to keep you on a pedestal isn’t interested in the real you they’re interested in the image of you, which is an impossible and unsustainable existence long term. Tell him to go buy a blow up doll instead, she never changes.
Oh, and to the guy I’m dating at the moment. Yes, yes I pissed in my bathroom sink. Yes, yes I found it hilarious too. Yes, yes I puke up when I’m too drunk. I also find that funny. And yes, yes I burp and say ‘bollox’ after rather than the feminine ‘pardon me’ response. I’m just keeping my shit real.