Tag Archive | relationships

Hey Now, Haenow, Don’t Dream it’s Over

You all know the song that goes “Last night a DJ saved my life”?

Well, it may be a little extreme but on 14th December 2014, an X Factor winner saved my life. OK, maybe he just cheered me up a bit in reality, but the events leading up to that night meant that winner:- Ben Haenow, will always, ALWAYS hold a special place in my heart.


*Ben on X Factor, photograph not my own.

Firstly though, let me address the fact that I do, indeed, watch The X Factor. I’m not ashamed. People criticise it, yeah there are novelty acts that slip through every now and then but we’ve got to remember, this is a ” light entertainment ” show aired at a peak time on a Saturday night. The more people talking about it, good or bad, the better. The reason I like it, essentially, boils down to the fact that I love live music. So many times in my life, I’ve been to local pubs and festivals and thought “how have they not hit the big time yet”, or ” its such a shame more people can’t benefit from hearing their voice”. X Factor has become a platform for those very people. I agree, once they hit the live shows, they get a commercial make over and are almost squeezed into a box to conform to what the show thinks they should be. There’s always the ballad diva, the novelty act, the good looking boy with the weakest voice but the voting public of teenage girls will love him. I get it, its pants. However… Remember this, these acts HAVE to sing live EVERY WEEK. They can’t hide behind auto tune. No, not all of them are good. Some look the part, put on the show, but vocally can’t keep it up. On the very, very rarest of occasions, a real talent will slip through. Although I’ve watched every series, I have only ever voted for three acts in the whole time the show has been running. Matt Cardle, Ben Haenow and Louisa Johnson. They all won. Louisa has recently really taken off, with upbeat dance anthems and a duet with Olly Murs. You’d be forgiven for thinking the other two had disappeared off the face of the earth, but you’d be wrong.

I’ve seen Matt Cardle live and his voice is perfection. This is what ex X Factor contestants are used to. Standing on a stage, giving their all to a crowd of people, live. On X Factor, they had a week to learn new songs, they understand delivering a performance. They haven’t been polished and guided through their career with the proverbial silver spoon in their mouths. Since winning, Matt has struggled with drink and drug problems, something I don’t condone but can fully understand. You go from Joe Bloggs, painter and decorator, scraping pennies together to get by, to having a record contract, a tour and money overnight. The support isn’t there for them. They choose to go on X Factor to get a break. And that break is instant. Matt checked into rehab, sorted himself and came back with an understated, intimate tour and was moved to tears on stage from the support he still had. Still has. Matt’s albums are mainly self-penned. His voice lends itself to soulful, heart breaking ballads but he’s definitely capable of upbeat too. His X Factor performance of “First time ever I saw your face” was spine tingling.

Matt Cardle, X Factor 2010 winner on tour in Birmingham in 2012. Photograph © me

I was fortunate enough to see Louisa Johnson when she toured with Olly Murs this summer. This is a girl who was just 16 when she auditioned for X Factor. She was studying, rehearsing and performing live every week. That is talent.  Pure and undeniable. Her winners single was a flop and she dropped off the radar after that. That didn’t mean she gave up. Just when people had written her off, she came back with the single “Tears”, a collaboration with Clean Bandit, and firmly established herself as an artist away from the show. She’s taken a more edgy, dancey route and it suits her. This girl too, deserves more recognition than she gets. Her voice is beyond her years.

Olly Murs and Louisa Johnson in 2017. Photograph © me

These three favourite acts of mine to come from the show haven’t even had the biggest success since winning. When you look at the likes of One Direction (who were only ever runners up to Matt Cardle), Little Mix and Leona Lewis, who all have international fame now, you could easily say I’m backing the weakest links. But nope, I have my reasons. And Mr Haenow has earnt my loyalty in a way he’ll never know (unless he reads this blog of course).

So onto 2014, Bens year. From his first audition right through to the final, he was my firm favourite. He had a natural gritty, rocky voice which instantly meant any song he covered sounded different enough from the original and distinctively “Ben”. On screen he came across as a cheeky chappy, white van man, down to earth. Each week he got through he looked genuinely shocked and grateful for the support he was getting. In the final he was up against a sassy, ready made artist in Fleur East. She performed as if she was born to entertain. Firm bookies favourite. But Ben, with renditions of Highway to Hell and Cry me a River both perfectly executed, always had my vote. I always remember the judges telling him how brave he was to sing the first part of “Man in the Mirror” completely acapella, just his voice, raw and exposed.

Now, let me explain my opening comment.

My then husband used to watch X Factor with me. When I say “watch”, he did at least used to be in the same room as me. Albeit on his phone, or his laptop. By 2014, he was aware that Ben was my favourite act that series, but more often than not, he’d be down in the cellar “working” when I was having my Saturday night chill out. Our son was no longer interested in watching TV with Mum and Dad. It became my thing. Watching X Factor on my own. 

The final that year fell on the weekend of 13th/14th December. 

In the early hours of Friday 12th December, I kicked my husband out of our bed where he’d fallen asleep after telling me he no longer loved me, and left me crying downstairs. Yes, while I sat crying, wondering what the hell was going on, what this meant, what happened now… he stayed up in bed, where he’d made the statement after I had said I needed a hug as we approached our first Christmas without my sister, and fallen back asleep so deeply he was snoring. If my memory serves me correctly, at about 2.45am, when I could cry and wonder no more, I went upstairs, woke him up and told him to get out. No man could say he couldn’t hug me because he didn’t love me and hadn’t for two years then stay in our bed and fall back asleep. I didn’t care where he went. 

Since then, a lot of people have said that maybe he couldn’t cope with how he thought I was going to be over Christmas. I’ll let you into a secret. The first Christmas and every one since losing my sister, is crap. No two ways about it. The only person that saw me cry was my husband. The one person that I thought it was safe to cry in front of. The person who had taken vows to protect me. Everyone else saw the brave face. I “got on with it”. I didn’t break down often. When I did it was with him. Turns out, he thought he was being strong for me. He wasn’t. I was strong for myself and my family. He was thinking of himself. Trust me, I’m not being nasty saying that. Comments that have been made since have proved this to me. I’m not cold enough to think my sisters death didn’t effect him too. We’d been in each others families for almost 18 years. I’m not saying he’s heartless, completely. But the thing that has stuck with him the most about my sisters death is the fact they were the same age. To this day he still speaks of her death as a life changing moment for him. How he needed to change his life because life’s too short. Cards on the table, the only change he made was leaving me. And even then he said he hadn’t loved me for two years. Since before my sister passed away. 

I had to phone in sick to work on that Friday, and our son had to take a day off school. Not ideal. I hate calling in sick. I hate letting people down. When I’m genuinely ill I go into work to be sent kicking and screaming home again. Lack of sleep, infact no sleep at all meant I had to take the day off, and our son had woken up and heard it all. There was no blazing row. Just that statement and my following order to get out. On Friday I needed to see my husband and have the inevitable “what now” talk. Long story short. It was over, he moved out. Saturday 13th I was back at work. Admittedly, I found paperwork jobs to keep me busy out back for most of the day. But I was there, doing the job I’m paid to do. That night was the first half of Ben’s X Factor final. The press had pretty much declared Fleur the winner, and although I tuned in, I barely watched as Andrea Faustini was voted off, leaving Fleur and Ben going through to Sundays head to head. I was numb. X Factor no longer seemed important. My life had changed overnight and would never be the same again. Nothing else mattered.


So much did change between 2.45am on Friday morning and that Sunday evening. Although I spent a lot of the time wondering what the hell I was meant to do now, and questioning how it had come to this, seemingly out of the blue, I also took the time to think stuff through, find things out, connect the dots and discover untold truths amongst the outward lies. It really is amazing how hindsight and discovering the truth will turn a situation around. When I should’ve still been mourning my marriage, I was actually starting to feel grateful I was out of it. Truth smacking me round the face, waking me up and forcing me to smell the coffee. Struggling only with how it had taken me so long to see what was going on the whole time. They say love is blind. Love had me blinkered and resigned. The blinkers were now off.

I watched the Sunday night final in bed. Still hurt. Still licking my wounds. Still angry as hell. But already starting to see light at the end of a very instant, very dark tunnel. A tunnel which I zoomed through at break-neck speed thanks to the dangling carrot of truth at the end of it. 

Ben Haenow won the X Factor. My phone was ringing and my best friend S was screaming with joy down it. S had been there first thing the morning after it all happened. She was the Watson to my Sherlock. The left to my right. And she was there for me when I needed her. So was Ben. 

We both loved Ben and when he won, I smiled with genuine happiness for the first time in 3 days. The X Factor winner is so trivial. So unimportant when you look at the bigger picture, but Bens win came at a time when I needed a switch to flip. So soon after my marriage breaking up and despite knowing stuff I hadn’t known three days earlier, I was still having conflicting feelings. I’m not cold hearted. I didn’t instantly stop caring about what I’d lost, what I had, what I was to do now. I got stronger as the minutes passed but I wasn’t about to go out celebrating anytime soon. Bens win made me smile. And the smile didn’t feel out of place on my face at a time where most people would probably still be wallowing under the covers in bed and crying themselves to sleep.  New Years eve, which I spent at another friends house, was the real “fuck this shit I’m not crying anymore” moment for me, but Bens win showed me that I would be fine. I knew, deep down that I would be, but after being with the same guy from when I just turned 20, was I sure?

I distinctly remember my ex calling our son the next day and one of his comments was “I bet your Mum was pleased that her favourite won X Factor”.  My son sheepishly answered yeah, still feeling awkward, confused and not understanding what was going on. That moment was the start of a pattern. No matter how little or how much time passes, what I do, where I go, who I see and how I feel will always be asked of our son. Just because I’m no longer loved, the control is still needed, craved, as if some kind of invisible puppet strings are still attached to me. As the time does go on, however, it’s become easier to ignore. Genuinely, his loss. His problem if he can’t let go. All I did was love him, and want him to love me back. Lesson learnt, I’m not sure he ever truly did. 

Anyway, I digress. Ending on a happy note, its only fitting that December, the worst month of the year for me, has this year, become the month I met Ben Haenow. After buying tickets as a birthday present for S, we attended the gig, the first of his tour, looking forward to fun times with our bestie and a sing a long. We didn’t have VIP meet & greet tickets so when we got in and had a browse at the merchandise, imagine our joy to see Ben just stood there,taking time to personally greet everyone. Even when he was notified he had to go ready for the support act, he still had time to pose for a couple of cheeky selfies and indulge us with a hug and kiss. The gig was amazing. Ben sang songs from his album, new releases and very new material. He was entertaining, enigmatic on stage and his voice was as wonderful as I’d remembered. It was a small venue, and it felt like he was aware of every one in the crowd. Putting on a winners performance.

Ben was buzzing, S and I were happy.

If you read this Ben:- Thank You! I kinda love you. 

Photograph courtesy of S

Photograph © me


It’s not you, it’s not even me. Its, erm, Complicated…?

I can see the headline now…“Instant Messaging Apps Fed My Paranoia”

I feel the need to apologise to everyone who currently knows me.

I’ve touched on my paranoid,over thinking mind before,and I even went as far as saying I no longer stress and worry about what people think. However that isn’t entirely true. 

When something “changes”, I assume the worst. My track record proves I’m usually right. That’s a hard feeling to shake.

I still worry. 

I’m still paranoid. 

I’ll still doubt you.  

I’ll still over analyise things. 

Its not your fault. Trust me though, its not really mine either. I wasn’t always this way. I’ve been broken, and although I’m essentially fully healed, there’s still a weak point. Certain situations balance precariously on that weak spot and, yes, it means I “have my moments”. Please, understand them and bear with me.  I am a better, stronger, more confident version of myself than I ever have been before. And, as much as I’m less tolerant of bullshit and being treated like crap, my good nature, and need to try and find the good in people and situations that really do have no good in them, still lingers. Its who I am. I care too much. Because of this, I struggle to remember not everyone is like me.

And here’s a confession for you. A blog exclusive, if you like.

I struggle to let go of things that were once so good but no longer are. My mind doesn’t accept that its often better to draw a line completely than try and salvage some of what once was, in order to cling onto a good memory. Now, this isn’t because I want things to be the same, or want someone back. Far from it. It isn’t every situation either. My marriage was so stale, and the good times were so long ago and so overshadowed by the bad times and revelations, that I successfully let go quicker than even I thought possible. And I have no problem moving on. No, the reason is because I don’t want something that was so meaningful to me to appear to mean nothing to them.

If you’ve read previous blogs of mine, you will be forgiven for jumping to conclusions and expecting me to go ” I’ve been cheated on, I don’t trust anyone “. I’m not going to. Yes. It played a part but it goes deeper than that. It goes deep into the depths of my self doubt and my own head. So, why am I saying its not me? Well, if it was me, paranoia would’ve played a part in my whole life and it hasn’t. If I was to try and pin point when it started, I’d say 2 years and 6 months ago. AFTER my marriage ended. 

When I started dating the person I ended up marrying, neither of us had mobile phones. Contact was made using an old fashioned land line, a couple of evenings a week. We both worked in town so it was easy to pop along and see each other at lunch time if we wanted to.  We got our first mobile phones together, but by that point we were living together. There was no chance to build up a routine of ” contact”.  I had no chance to start wondering “why haven’t I heard from him!”.

18 years later when I become single again, times have changed. I initially started talking to the guy I ended up dating just after my marriage broke up, G, on Facebook. Messenger has this handy little way of bobbing a persons picture down next to a message you’ve sent to show they have indeed read the message. Then it would conveniently show a wobbling “…” to indicate they were replying. Our messenger conversations had a very definate  start and finish. I wasn’t left hanging. We’d say goodnight and that would be it till one of us said “Morning”. We soon awkwardly exchanged numbers in my shop, remember G worked in the shopping centre where my workplace was located, and constant messaging commenced. I’m sure you’re all thinking my god she’s obsessive, but it genuinely was him more than me. He’d walk past my shop and wave, and by the next time I had chance to check my phone, he’d sent about five messages. I loved it. I thrived on it. In the later years of my marriage I wasn’t made to feel attractive. I actually told my then husband that I felt he would rather be anywhere but home with me and although he denied it, I knew how it was wrong that he’d come home later and later and then go straight to his ” office” in the cellar (how right was I in the end!?). I had sensed I was losing him, and despite his insistance it was all in my head, I was right. And he told me he hadn’t loved me for two years. So, he lied too. Now, I had a man texting me with things like “although my eyes are watching my boys play football, my mind is on you”. How is a girl not meant to love that!?!  After a few days of not seeing me, he’d tell me how much he missed me. Heading home after evenings at his, he’d message saying he wished I hadn’t had to go.  His favourite phrase in broken English was ” why you so lovely?”.  I got used to it. I got attached to the contact. No end or beginning to conversations, just a never ending stream of messages that only paused when we were together. I hadn’t had that kind of attention, hadn’t felt so wanted, in a very, very long time. Due to working in maintenance, he had early and late shifts to do work out of hours, but he gave me his time and made effort.

After a while together, his messaging habits changed. I’d not get a morning text if he was on an early shift. He stopped saying he missed me. Messages were ended with a “x” rather than “xxxx”. My work mates said it was normal. It couldn’t possibly keep up the way it was. My rational mind agreed, but my paranoid mind thought, and knew,better. It had changed without warning. I’m very, very intuitive. What was right..? Rational mind or paranoid mind? Two weeks after I felt things had changed, he ended things. The whole its not you, its me, routine. My paranoid mind was right. It had been fuelled with being right, so my inclination to trust my gut feeling rather than be rational dug its heels in and stands firmly by my side to this day. G adamantly promised he wanted to keep a friendship, so I tried and quickly realised it was only me making the effort. For months after, I kept a few special text messages from him locked on my phone. It was clear he didn’t treasure our time together as much as I did. That hurt. That made my paranoia look at it all differently and doubt what we had. When your paranoia is right about a feeling, its hard to ignore when it crops up again. It took me ages to delete those texts, even after I started online dating.

The good thing about texting though, was that you were never really sure if a message had been read. You know, I’ve since realised this ignorance is bliss. 

My next relationship was the alley cat musician. Meeting online meant I had no way of knowing he’d read messages until he replied. Sure, you could pay for membership to allow you to see when messages had been read, but I wasn’t quite at that stage yet! We exchanged numbers on my birthday, a week after we’d started chatting. Texts were consistent till our first date, then completely ramped up after meeting, again, on his part more than mine. When he went to Italy for three weeks he said it’d be hard to keep in touch daily, but I heard from him way more than I expected to. One particular text exchange went as follows:-

D:- I’m so excited xx

Me:- About what? Xx

D:- Us xx

How is a girl meant to respond to that? I was giddy with excitement. Remember my blog about the power of words? They need to be used wisely. You don’t use simple words like that if you have no intention of following through. Maybe I’m gullible….? I know I cling to such words. Words are my thing, remember. Use them on me and be warned, I’ll fall for it every time.

 After Italy, I got a new phone which enabled me to install WhatsApp, something he’d been asking me to do since we got numbers. Word of warning, WhatsApp is not good for a paranoid person. It was the beginning of the end for mine and Ds relationship. 

WhatsApp has 3 indicators for the status of a message.

1 grey tick- message has been received by WhatsApp server. (The recipients phone is likely off, out of signal or service is down if it remains on this for a while)

2 grey ticks- message has been sent to recipients phone but has not yet been read.

2 blue ticks- message has been read by recipient.

Added to this, you can see if someone is online. If they haven’t changed their settings, you can potentially see WHEN they were last on. You can even check what time a message was read. WhatsApp is creating stalkers! 

This is what a paranoid mind sees.

1 grey tick- the person has blocked you.

2 grey ticks- they’ve got it, why haven’t they read it? Are they ignoring me, they’ve been online since I sent it!!

2 blue ticks- they’ve seen it. They’re not typing. They are ignoring me. Its been an hour since they read it.  Oh, they are online now…. Nope, still not replying. I’ll send them another just in case… 

D would often go AWOL for whole evenings , with messages not even reaching his phone. I’d wake the next morning to find he’d read them at some ungodly hour of the morning but still not replied. Even after nights we were due to see each other. I’d send a rant. Which would get ignored.  I’d get paranoid that if I didn’t message him, he’d think I’d stopped caring and then he’d never message and I’d lose him anyway. I’d send another to be told “I’m not getting into an argument, you’re pushing me away”. The original messages long since losing their meaning. It infuriated me. When I tried the same tactics with him, he turned nasty on me! We never really broke up. I just gave up. He never explained nor apologised just kept telling me I was wrong. Maybe I was too much, but come on…. He’s meant to be coming to see me but his phone remains off all night…..?? I think I had every right to rant! I’d go on and on at him, like poking a bear hoping for a reaction. The more he didn’t reply, the more I went on. He told me on numerous occassions that I was pushing him away. Truth be told, I’d long given up on him but he kept telling me to ” give him time” and I so desperately wanted the “I’m so excited” text exchange to be real. 

Also, because I care too much, I worry unreasonably. On one particular night I was meant to be visited by D and he went AWOL, I woke up to the news that a man in his 40s had fled the scene of a car accident in the early hours of the morning, leaving his passenger who was in his 20s stuck in the wreckage. I knew that an ex band mate of Ds  was returning to his native country that day, so my worried paranoid mind convinced me that D had offered to give his mate a lift to the airport and the crash was them. Trust me, a mind like mine can go there. I felt sick as the day went on. Much later in the afternoon, he sees the messages, even ones telling him about the crash and my assumption. I guessed he was at least alive. Or dying in a ditch! He doesn’t reply. I rant. That night he messages to say he got drunk at a mates and stayed there. No acknowledgement of what he’d put me through. 

We remained friends for a while after, with him insisting I was one of his best friends and he trusted me, but when the ignoring continued and it was only ever me putting the effort in, I realised I had to let go. I tried telling him it was a pointless, one sided friendship and I got told I didn’t understand. That he was “sorting his life out”. Because I cared, I felt I couldn’t let him down. So he got chance after chance but nothing changed. How could a man once so ” excited about us” care so little now? I clung onto the hope he’d get sorted and a friendship would remain. It was pointless. I forced myself to let go. He begged to talk to me to explain himself, but I was done. He accused me of being “like all the others”. That hurt, because I care what people think of me. Even though I was cutting him loose, I didn’t want his parting impression of me to be negative. I battled with myself over the need to rant and justify myself to him. Truth is, he didn’t care, so I shouldn’t. Ignoring his plea to explain himself was probably the first time I ever went against my nature. I sometimes wonder what he’s doing now, but I know he’s probably putting some poor person through the same again. 

This paranoia doesn’t just haunt me in relationships, it extends to friendships and other situations too. I’m currently organising a charity fundraising gig so have been messaging venues and bands. I’m shy on the phone, I can get my point across using the written word so much better. Again, social media apps and instant messaging let’s me know if an enquiry has been read. Sure, I don’t expect immediate replies, but to not answer, EVER? Rude! My feeling is this, if you can take 5 seconds to open an app and read a message, you can surely take two more to type ” yes” “no” or “message u later”. As a result of my own paranoia, I try really really hard to not open a message and let it be seen as read until I can grant a reply. Although I realise not everyone is as obsessive about it as me! 

I’ve said before though, I’m paranoid because I care. Because the person or situation is important to me. I’m sorry. I can’t help it! Its not because I dont trust you, its because I’m scared I’ve done something wrong. I know, I know, the more I bother you, the more likely it is that I’ll end up doing exactly what I’ve been worried about doing!

So, If I’ve asked you a question and I know you’ve seen that question but haven’t answered for a few hours… My mind will go through one, some or all of the following:-

They’re ignoring me

I’ve pissed them off

Oh God they’re dead

I shouldn’t of asked that

I’ve upset them

They’re somewhere they shouldn’t be

They don’t know how to answer, it must be bad.

Paranoia is very, very real. It verges on anxiety. There are many levels. I’m not at the delusional stage. I’m not claiming I have a mental illness either, because, believe me, I know people that have and its way more than what I feel and experience. And I’m not paranoid in a negative way, not really. I’m only paranoid in those situations that are important to me. With the people I am, or have been, close to. Perhaps I have pushed people away in the past. Although my gut feeling tells me if my genuine concern and worry could push them away, maybe they don’t deserve my friendship after all and they were infact wanting to walk away from me for other reasons, just used my guilable nature and turned it against me. If I think you’ve stopped talking to me, I’m not angry at you, I’m worried I’ve done something to cause it! 

I jokingly tell the people who come into my life that I get paranoid. Truth is, its no joke.

My current partner and I don’t live together. I’m grateful he’s not a techy geek. Simple texts is all we have. No read receipts. A vague enough routine for me not to endlessly stress that I’ve said the wrong thing. 

Remember how much words mean to me.

Don’t promise me the world, and leave me waiting for the journey of a lifetime.

Don’t say you’ll get back to me, then leave me hanging.

Don’t tell me you’re excited, then show no evidence of it.
I wasn’t always like this. Maybe one day I won’t be again. If I haven’t driven you all crazy by then!

Behind the Rose Tinted Closed Doors

I used to, albeit briefly, suffer from “relationship envy”.

Used to. Past tense.

I don’t anymore.

I met my ex husband when I was just turned 20, and married at 23. From that moment on, I mainly, though not exclusively, hung out with other “couples”. I’ve explained before that I’m a “happy with my lot” kinda girl, so I never used to look too deeply at other peoples relationships, and “being single” became a distant memory. I couldn’t “relate” to my single friends. Dating someone else was an alien concept. I was married. I was sorted for life. Or so I thought.

Sure, our friends in couples went on fancy holidays together, while I had to accept that three nights in a tent in a wet and windy Wales with my husband, son and two insane dogs was all I’d get. That was jealousy of their situation though, not of the relationship itself. At the time, I saw my relationship as no better but no worse than anyone else’s that I knew. No envy. I was content.

When I became single though, after being told I hadn’t been loved for two years prior to him leaving, everything changed. My rose tinted glasses lifted and I started seeing my own relationship for the sham it had been, and as a “side effect”, I began scrutinising everyone else’s. Wondering what really went on behind closed doors. When everything you thought was rosy in your own bubble, turns out to be grey, you question everything.

I always remember an acquaintance of mine contacting me a fair while after the split. She’d only just found out and was asking me, and my ex some rather nosey questions, especially when she’d been my friend not his, and neither of us had seen her for ages. When I pulled her up about it, she apologised and said it was because she was “shocked, we’d always seemed like the stable power couple. If we had problems what hope was there for anyone?”. A bit extreme but it got me thinking. People, from the outside looking in, thought we were a strong, stable couple. Yet as soon as we split I looked back and saw more cracks in our relationship than Humpty friggin Dumpty after a fall. There was no chance of putting that back together. I’d either been a really good actress, or I was stupid and naive. I’m still undecided after two years! What I do know is that I became synical about long term relationships, and jealous of brand new shiny relationships that “seemed” better than my own. 

If you’ve read my blogs, I did go straight into dating, despite my underlying trust, confidence, insecurity and paranoia issues. (Oh hindsight, screaming at me right there. It WAS too soon. But hey, no regrets). For three months I was in a whirlwind. Spending nights at his was perfect bliss. Just me and him. 

A friend of mine also started dating someone new. After a very short while, she was telling me how he’d met the family, they’d done this that and the other, been out with her friends and they were planning a holiday. Suddenly nights in just the two of us seemed a bit odd. Mine hadn’t met my son, my parents or my friends. We rarely went out. I wanted what she had. It wasn’t healthy. I was jealous.

 My jealousy and envy wasn’t fair on my partner and it wasn’t justified. I was deliriously happy for the first time in a long while. Why was I ruining that for myself by comparing my relationship to others? Every relationship is different and they move along at different speeds. When mine broke up after three months, I was actually glad he’d never met my son. It saved any unnecessary attachment being made. For that, I was grateful.  Nothing had gone wrong in this relationship. Now though I wonder if it was my fault we split. Had I, subconsciously and unwillingly, put so much pressure on him to conform to my idea of a “normal” relationship based purely on the relationships of those around me, that I scared him off? If I’m honest, probably. I’m too stubborn to say yes.

 While I was seeing the musical, wandering alley cat, my ex announced that he and the new girlfriend were moving in together.  By this point they’d already been abroad a few times. My friends relationship still seemed to be going from strength to strength. They all had “normal” relationships. I was struggling to find a man willing to meet my friends, let alone settle down. I felt like a secret girlfriend. What was I doing wrong? What was wrong with me? Why did no one want to commit to me, show me off to their friends? My loved up friend was asking me when I’d see mine again, had we said “I love you” yet? Had we talked about moving in together? Of course, they had. I was answering with “I don’t know” or “no”. My relationships looked odd. They felt inferior to everyone else’s. Soppy Facebook updates seemed to be the only thing on my news feed. Although I was thoroughly enjoying my relationships, I was desperate to join in with the ” meeting the parents tonight. #excited” vibe of my friends. The little things. The normal things.

When the alley cat had wandered away for longer than before and it came to a natural end, I went on to meet my Mr Amazing. At first the relationship envy was still there. Much like first guy I dated, we didn’t do much, and I still had people questioning me. I felt they were dismissing the validity of my relationship. Some even seemed to doubt his existence. I wasn’t plastering photos of the two of us all over Facebook. We were happy just taking it slow. However, this one had me hooked at “Hello”, when you know, you know. I knew. I was instantly happier and more relaxed than I’d ever felt with anyone. No pretense, no airs or graces. Just him. As he was. 

After 4 months he met my son and I met his Mum. Another four months passed and he met my parents. Hes been to see me at work several times so has met all my work colleagues. In 18 months, thats all hes met. It doesn’t conform to “normal”.  And I don’t give a monkeys arse anymore. Who wants to be normal anyway?

So I decided to not only full on “bin” my own rose tinted glasses that had been sat gathering dust since my husband left me, but I chose to remove the second pair I must’ve been wearing whilst looking at other relationships. A friends relationship wasnt looking too good deep down, turns out there were trust issues on both sides, and he had a fairly manipulative and nasty streak. It ended badly and he’s been causing grief ever since. I’m not a bitch, I wasn’t happy to see a friend go through this, and of course I was there for her, but I was so blinded by envy I didn’t realise what went on away from Facebook status updates.


Another friend of mine starting unnecessarily slating her husband, who I knew was devoted to her, and I wondered if the text that made her giggle so much earlier had really been from him. A couple of friends revealed how their relationship was being tested due to financial strain. My ex and his girlfriend split, and I speculated that the same problems that I eventually uncovered in my marriage to him had maybe reared their ugly head on another unsuspecting victim.

Behind the “look how happy we are” statuses that made me envious, were cracks they didn’t want anyone to see. 

So, when people told me they saw their boyfriends four or five times a week, but they’d argued over something he had said to a friend about her, I’d be grateful for my once or, if we’re lucky, twice a week, catch ups knowing that every second was spent cuddled up, just the two of us, laughing and talking the whole time.

When someone mentions their finances are strained but their husband still goes out every weekend ignoring the problem, I’m pleased for separate bank accounts.

If disagreements take place over where to go on holiday, I feel lucky for my choice of “your place or mine?”.

Married couples, often both working parents, sometimes only cross paths in the evening, amidst the routine of cooking, cleaning, catching time with the kids, washing, making calls, paying bills. My once or twice a week with my Mr Amazing, every single second is spent focused on each other. No outside forces. No chores. Quality time. Every walk, lunch, movie- just us.

Now I’m not saying all those other relationships can’t or don’t work. Deep down I’ll always crave a settled family life. I’m just saying no relationship is the same. Who gets to decide what makes a relationship”normal”? There is no normal. Only different. Every variety of different can be right for those involved. 

Don’t compare. 

Don’t be jealous. 

Look at what you’ve got and appreciate it for all its differences.

You may not meet my Mr Amazing out on the town, partying the night away with me. We might not be discussing holidays or talking about moving in together anytime soon. But if you’re my friend and you love me, just know that he makes me happy when he takes me for fish and chips in a field, or kisses me in the pouring rain down by a muddy river bank. It works for us.

We’re not normal, but then, who is?

A rainy day with Mr Amazing. Just the two of us.


Moving On

Something happened earlier this week that made me question myself and what I’m doing. In fact, two major things have happened.
My marriage broke down exactly 15 months ago. Since then I have been on several dates and actually had three relationships, including the current one, which, by the way, is into its 7th month (cue happy dance). My ex started a new relationship a month or two after the split and by all accounts is still with her and lives with her. My first relationship after the split started in the January. Not long before my ex started dating again. Everyone, including my ex, made comment that it was too soon. So my question is this. How long is long enough after a long term relationship breaks down, to start dating again? Also, is it different for men and women, and does it depend on who left and who was left? Because, quite frankly, I’m confused.
So here’s the deal. Quick recap if you haven’t read my previous blogs. I met someone in January 2015, a month after my husband of almost 15 years left me saying he no longer loved me. I loved my husband unconditionally. He is the father of my purpose in life, my gorgeous son. I wasn’t good for a while after that but for my son and my parents, I picked myself up and as a result, met someone without even looking for it. It wasn’t a conscious decision to put myself out there and meet someone new. I wasn’t ready then. It happened anyway. I only told close friends at first, as even I thought it would be seen as too soon. Then, out of complete respect for our marriage and history, I told my ex. I thought it was best he heard it from me than from mutual friends who had seen me with another man. At the time, his words indicated he was pleased for me. A couple of weeks down the line it transpired that he too was talking to someone, the woman he now lives with. Friends were concerned I should’ve spent some time on me before embarking on a new relationship, but to me, I thought, why not give it a go? As I said, I didn’t see myself as ready but I liked this guy, he seemed to like me, how would I ever know if I didn’t try. Life is too short, a motto you’ll hear from me over and over again. I’d done my grieving for my marriage but, at the end of the day, I was no longer loved so, I had been emotionally released to move on. I didn’t stop loving my husband straight away, but mentally there was no point in holding onto something that wasn’t going to grow back. He had, unfortunately, made that clear by the time I met my first new boyfriend. It was clear to me that the marriage could not be salvaged, and let’s face it, who, after hearing the words “I don’t love you anymore”, could go back into a relationship with that person and ever feel confident or secure again? I knew it was over. Why should I go through the heartache of trying to fix what couldn’t be fixed?

For a short while everything was fine, but then, for no reason it seems, accusations started flying my way. Didn’t I think my relationship had started too soon if I really was in love with my husband when the marriage split? What? I’ve said before, no one knows what’s going on beyond what we’re willing to tell them so who is anyone to judge whether it’s too soon? It seemed irrelevant that he too had moved on. Was it acceptable for him because he’d quoted he hadn’t loved me for two years? Was I, as the dumped party, meant to wallow in sadness indefinitely over my loss? A lot of people could not understand how I could move on so quickly from an 18 year relationship, my ex included. My closest friends were great, supportive and happy for me. It was the people I didn’t see often that seemed to pass comment. Seriously though….. what am I meant to do? I didn’t “get over it” immediately. Even in my new relationship, remnants of my life before kept creeping in, affecting how I thought, how I felt. I wasn’t over it, but I also felt the need to carry on. I had to carry on. I didn’t want sympathy. Many people didn’t know until months after that our marriage was over. I most certainly was not, a broken woman. Maybe that’s where I went wrong. People wanted to see me lose it because, placed in the same situation themselves, maybe they would. I didn’t. I couldn’t. My family needed my strength. I didn’t know my own strength. My ex happily moved on and introduced his new partner to our son, yet I was the one getting grief over meeting someone? I wasn’t crying in a corner over what I’d lost everyday, because, quite simply, I couldn’t. My son didn’t need to see that. So when I met someone and it felt right, I went with it. My choice, right? The relationship only lasted three months but in that short space of time I gained self confidence and a deep understanding of what I wanted. I couldn’t stay in the past. I couldn’t dwell on what had been, what could’ve been. I wanted to feel wanted and in order to feel that way again I needed to keep moving on. Hence going online to find someone. So, just to clear things up, not that I need to justify myself, before that first new relationship I hadn’t decided to move on. It came my way and I went with it. After that ended I did make a conscious decision to get on with my life, and that’s exactly what I did. That’s all I’m still trying to do. I’d done nothing wrong yet I was being made to feel guilty. What’s all that about? I fail to see what other choice I had. He wasn’t coming back, that was certain. I was SINGLE.

When that first relationship broke up, it hurt, of course, but it’s true I’d been through worse. I faced the expected “is it because it was too soon?”, and statements of “I did think it was too soon” from well meaning acquaintances. But for me, and under my circumstances, it wasn’t too soon. It was necessary in my journey towards making the decision to move on. I enjoyed it, and I bloody well had fun. The ex showed concern over my split but I did not want to talk to him about it. It was none of his concern. Quite frankly it wouldn’t be right. Advice left, right and centre that NOW I should focus on me and my son, people saw that relationship as a misjudgement on my part. As you all know if you’ve read my blogs, I didn’t take their advice. Only I could possibly know what was going on in my head and whether I was ready or not. I wasn’t looking for a guy, any guy, just to fill a void. I wanted a partner. The second one came along in May and I told more people about this one. I didn’t tell the ex but I think reference was made to my partner when we spoke. People couldn’t think any worse of me, right? Wrong. I heard a rumour about myself that I had a different man every week. Laughable…. but it led me to think, so what if I had!? What possible business is it of anyone’s? As long as I wasn’t putting myself or my son in danger, would I not of been entitled to do that, if that was what I wanted? Still, no-one passed comment on how quickly my ex found someone and subsequently moved in with her. I myself accepted that very quickly. What was the difference? Why was it ok for him but not for me? Because he was male? Because he left me? All of a sudden my life seemed to be the talk of the town. Yet all I was doing was getting on with life. It really wasn’t that interesting. It was normal, wasn’t it?

Back when my current relationship started in August, I told no one. Not a single soul until at least three dates in. I didn’t know where it was going but was happy to find out without the input of others. In fact I don’t think I went out of my way to tell many people that I’d split up with the previous one. I just casually dropped it into conversation that no, I wasn’t with that one anymore but it’s ok I’ve been with someone new for a month or so. I can’t seem to win. People still wish to judge. The difference is, after this weeks events, I no longer care. So what happened to make me not care what ANYONE thinks about my time as a single woman since my split? I have let a friend of mine stay at my home recently. One day this week my son came back home to collect his stuff for his subsequent three nights at his Dads. For some reason, he couldn’t get into the house and he made the assumption that my friend was in the house with the keys in the other side. They weren’t. They were out. In actual fact the lock was dodgy, which was worrying. Another incorrect assumption was made by someone else was that it was my boyfriend in the house and that they’d fallen asleep. Jumping to conclusions. Incorrect conclusions. And this annoyed me. My first thought was to get the point across that it wasn’t my boyfriend. I do have one, but this assumption had been based on the wrong person. The reason that riled me so much was because earlier in the week, the first major thing to happen was my boyfriend and I had talked about what we were and where we were going, leaving me feeling confident, happy and secure in my current relationship for the first time since my husband left. I didn’t want silly accusations to ruin that feeling. However, I then got to thinking “why the hell does it matter if it WAS my boyfriend”?. I’m a grown woman. I am actually, contrary to popular belief, ALLOWED to move on. A few months down the line and it could well be my boyfriend in the house.

So, move on is what I will continue to do. Think what you like about me, I hold my head and my morals high. There is no choice but to move on, but you can choose when you do it, and whenever feels right for you is exactly when you should.

“What are you looking for….?” The expectations when online dating.

When you try something new for the first time, it’s ok to be nervous, wary, keep battling in your mind whether you should or not. There’s no rule book. When I first went online with the intention to meet someone, I didn’t tell any of my friends. What I didn’t want was “words of advice” from well meaning friends who had been there and done that. In my experience, I’ve come to realise that no two stories are the same. Everyone’s journey takes a different path. However, although ready for a new relationship, I wasn’t sure what to expect for a number of reasons. Setting up my online profile, I always knew I’d keep it short, to the point and most of all, honest. It’s easy online to lie about things, your age, the way you look, your job. Everything. I wasn’t tempted to do that, I told my real age and posted current pictures, but how would I know that the person I was talking to would do the same? On the couple of sites I signed upto, it asked your preferences of an age range, distance, even height, body type and whether you’d date someone with children. You even had the chance to choose what level of education you wanted a potential partner to have. Ludicrous to think that using this information, the site would “recommend” people for you to chat to. The only one that made sense was distance. I don’t drive. I needed to find local men. At the time, it didn’t occur to me that by entering your preferences, you could actually exclude the one person you are destined to meet. Should we have set criteria when looking for love?
Another tricky part was the “what are you looking for?” question, designed to find out if you want to just find friendship, fun or marriage material. I never got this one right. At first I put “looking for a serious relationship”, it was an option, I chose it, it was truthful. Hardly any interest at all. Probably scared people off thinking I was a full on type that would suggest walking down the aisle a week after meeting. So I changed it to “casual relationship/dating”, and this option led to a string of men sending me their mobile numbers in the first message!! Errm, no thanks.
I went back to the original idea and started messaging men myself, with a bit more luck. On the next dating site I went to, where I met my other half, I chose the “casual relationship/friendship” option… with the intention of telling any person I spoke to that I was ready to settle down and wanted a relationship but that the whole “what are you looking for” thing didn’t work for me, as I always chose wrong. I wanted to be honest but honest was getting me nowhere. To this day I’m still being teased about my choice…..he’ll learn, bless him. I still tease him about what he wrote in his “blurb”. Somethings though dear readers, will remain private.
After making this blog public, a couple of friends have asked me to expand on the whole online dating part. I can’t say with certainty that my stories have encouraged them to give it a go, but if my words can help, so be it. I’m well aware that my online experience, as a whole, was an enjoyable one, but others don’t have as much luck.
If you’re new to my blog, go back and read the previous ones to give an overview.
So, roll back to April 2015. Single again. Ready to move on. My husband was 3 years older than me, the guy I dated in January was 4 years older than me. Choosing my preferences online was an eye opener. Having met the father of my son at just turned twenty, I can’t say I’d really had chance to make an opinion on who I would and wouldn’t date based on things such as age, height, job etc. So:- Age range. Well, I didn’t want to date anyone younger than myself. Can’t really justify why, but for some reason I didn’t, so I entered my own age as the start point. How much older would I want to date? Again, for no other reason than it being the age of my previous boyfriend, I entered four years older. Straight away that meant the site wouldn’t recommend anyone outside of that age range. It’s only now that I think to myself….. why does it matter? I’ll be 40 next year. No, I don’t think you heard me, I’ll be FORTY next year. Age is just a number right? RIGHT? 40 is the new 30, right? Why do we care about age? Why do people lie about their age? Does it matter? No. Age is maturity, and I’ll take that over childishness any day. I didn’t want younger. I wanted equal or older. I wanted to find someone with similar experiences and outlooks on life as me. I didn’t think I’d find that in a younger guy.

In a very strange online situation when single, this way of thinking proved kind of true. I found myself talking to a guy on Instagram. Now, most of you will know that Instagram is not a dating site, but a photo sharing site. I happened upon a beautiful photo of an owl, my favourite bird. I commented to the photographer how lovely I found the photo and we got chatting. We started talking about other stuff, and both started liking each others photos, esp the selfies we were both fond of posting! Our messages became quite regular and after a while we exchanged numbers as holding a conversation on Instagram was proving complicated. That’s when we really got to know each other. I discovered he was a few years younger than me, and that was fine because we were never going to have a relationship. He was actually quite local, very coincidental, so it became quite apparent we’d eventually meet up. His views on relationships were very different to mine but we had a lot in common. Turns out he was on the same dating site as me but we would never of been matched because I’d disregarded anyone younger than me. Plus, he didn’t want to be tied down in a relationship. He wanted fun days out with good company without the pressure of “when will I see you again” hanging over his head. At the time of meeting him this suited me too, but ultimately I did want just one guy to settle down with. Again though, a good friend had been made. Another wonderful outcome of 2015. He too, has recently started dating someone, one person he does actually see going somewhere. What a difference a year makes, eh?


When going through the guys I’d been recommended to look at, I noticed at least two who had set up their profile saying they were older, but upon reading their profile it said they weren’t that age, they were in their twenties and just liked older women! Ha! This just baffled me. You get to set your preferences. If I’ve entered 30s-40s, whether you like an older woman or not, I’m not interested in you! Again, if you’ve read my posts, you’ll know that the very first person I spoke to online has become a good friend of mine. He didn’t lie on his profile… (oh ok, he told the tiniest lie.. he made himself a couple of inches taller, a lie he pointed out himself when he brought me a coffee into work), and he fell within my approved preferences. So, well done to the website concerned. Good match. He was 40, had kids, lived locally.

I started online dating at an age where I’d accepted any man I’d meet as a potential love interest would most likely have some “baggage”, purely down to the fact they’d be approaching, or in, their forties. Ex-wife and/or kids. So now we move onto whether we’d date “someone with children”. I have a son. My pride and joy who is with me four evenings a week. It’s very important to me that people know that he comes first. I put down that having kids was essential. In my inexperienced mind back then, I did not think that anyone would accept me or want to date me if I had a child and they didn’t. How would they understand? If they’d reached the age I was looking for and not had kids, they probably didn’t want to be around kids. Right? Is it easier for a guy with children to date a woman without children than for a woman with a child to date a man without? At the time I believed it was. General perception is that the child spends most time with its mother after a split. Thankfully in my case, we do try to split the week as equally as we can. However, I’m sure I’m not wrong in thinking that a guy with no children would see issues dating a woman with children purely down the fact they’d think the children would be around most of the time. I didn’t meet the guy I dated in January online, but the fact that he had kids that he saw regularly endeared him to me even more. After a month or so I started making suggestions that we should meet each others children. His guard went up. It was a bit strange. Like I said, in my mind, I didn’t think I could date someone without children, and that someone who had kids would be more accepting. I did eventually meet his boys, and got on well with them. He never met my son. In three months. Each time I suggested a kick about down the park with the kids, he’d make excuses. It was strange. Then, I dated the musician in May. He, again, fell within my preferred age range, distance etc and he had two kids. They were, however, grown up. 17 and 20. Still, my boy was 11, hardly a toddler! So, he’d been there done that and would be fine meeting my lad. Yet his texts constantly asked “do you have your boy tonight?” and I learnt pretty quickly that the answer “yes” to that question would mean I wouldn’t see him. I’m sorry…. I have a child. He comes first. I wouldn’t palm him off on someone else for an evening because you have issues about meeting him. Ironically, since we’ve split he’s met my son and they get on well… hmmm!
When deciding to write this post, I reached out to friends to hear their experiences of online dating. I’m interested to find out about other people’s situations, good and bad. Even I used the word “baggage” when referring to exes and kids, but they aren’t really baggage. They have helped make us the person we are and whoever we date should accept them as part of us. An old school friend of my sister had a lovely story to tell and a very interesting perspective on the whole “children” side of things. She said:-

“Met my other half in uniform dating, I was a student nurse and wanted someone in the medical profession. He works on emergency ambulances. Chatted for 2 weeks and played the game of questions and answers so got to know each other. I felt chilled as I’d dated this way before, no pressure on where it was going or anything. Met after 2 weeks, in daylight, went back to his and the rest they say is history. He told me he loved me after 5 weeks. Kids played a big part, although he loved me he always said if our girls didn’t get on we couldn’t be together. Very lucky for me that our girls get on like a house on fire. Been together 3.5 years and get married in October. He always said he didn’t want to get married, was with his ex for 20 years and never got married. He changed his mind saying I’m the one!”

So, after the two guys I dated not wanting to meet my son, I had started to think that meeting a man who would accept that I’m a parent would be tricky, even if they themselves were parents. The story above proves that guys are most certainly not scared off by a woman with children. This wonderful man put his daughter first too. Imagine if the guy I dated in January and I had stayed together, fell madly in love and then our boys eventually meet and hate each other? I couldn’t stay with him. We would’ve wasted our time and had our hearts broken. I often thought I’d pushed him away with my constant suggestions at getting the kids together, but I know in my heart, like the guy in the true life story above, it wouldn’t work if our kids hated each other. Going into the relationship with the musician was a little different due to his kids being older and living away, but it was still important to me for him to meet my son. The longer he put it off, the more difficult it would become. Feelings develop over time, and if my son really didn’t like him when they met, it would affect my outlook on the relationship. I have also been told of a relationship where a childless woman is dating a guy with a kid and she’s been known to say she doesn’t want kids of her own and that she’ll “tolerate” his. Personally, they’d be out the door if those words were said to me.

One thing that was essential for me and the only thing I believed in putting a measure on was distance. I knew I wanted to be with a man I’d actually see. The guy I dated in January lived within walking distance to me. Personally, a long distance relationship wouldn’t work for me, especially as I’d always have to rely on the guy coming to me due to my not driving. However, a friend of mine in Barnsley got talking to a guy online in Derby. She also can’t drive but the online connection was so strong they made it work and a year on he now lives with her in Barnsley.

The one part of the online preferences I really did struggle with was the physical preference, how someone actually looked. Height wasn’t and isn’t an issue to me. I’m only short, I’m unlikely to find someone much shorter than me. So I entered my own height as a start point and 6ft 4″ as the tallest….. the musician was 6ft 2″. We looked funny! Body type…interesting one… the options ranged from average, to athletic, to a few extra pounds. Anyone who says looks don’t matter are not being entirely truthful, I believe. You have to find someone slightly attractive to want to talk to them and find out more. It’s true that looks aren’t everything but they do play a factor. I’m not a shallow person. I didn’t think I had a “type” but I was being asked to make a choice. I chose “average”. What if the man of my dreams had listed himself as “a few extra pounds”? I would never know. It even wanted me to choose preferred eye and hair colour. Thankfully, I think those options could be left as “any”. Like I said, I didn’t have a type. Or so I thought at the time. I have a type. I very definitely have a type!

Thankfully, the dating site where I met my current boyfriend did not have such set criteria for entering preferences. Had it had the same questions, I would not of met the wonderfulness that is my other half. He’s older than I set my preferences for, he’s around an inch shorter than me, his frame is tiny, far from average, and, he has no kids. After meeting my son for the first time just before Christmas, they have become friends and get on really well. When we first started seeing each other he made a comment that it must be difficult for me to date with a child. Difficult, I agreed, but not impossible.
Due to the fact I work 9-5.30, he works shifts, he’s not originally from this city so doesn’t have a huge community of friends here, we would probably never of met or crossed paths in day to day life.
If I had used the same criteria the first dating site forced me to use, we would not of been matched.
My words of wisdom…?
Keep an open mind.
Age is just a number.
For me, there’s got to be an initial physical attraction and that only grows the more you get on, and can quickly disperse if you have no other common ground.
The right person will accept you for who you are.
Be honest, be yourself and there’s no need to compromise.
Online dating gives you guidelines to help you find a match.. but sometimes, just sometimes, you need to go a little outside those lines 😉

Time goes “Bye”.

“Time is a created thing. To say ‘I don’t have time,’ is like saying, ‘I don’t want to.”
― Lao Tzu

How many times have you said “there aren’t enough hours in the day”, or “if only I had more time”, or even “the day has flown by”?
Time. No matter how hard we try, we can’t stop it. We can’t even slow it down. What we can do is spend it more wisely.
We fill our days with work, and family, household chores, mundane routine . Those responsibilities eat away at your day, and often gnaw away at your evening too. By the time you’ve done everything you need to do, and can finally stop, it’s time to go to bed. Sleep is the only free time you get. I work full time, and I’m also a mother. I have two attention hungry dogs. However, I am a firm believer of the following quote-


I don’t have loads of money. I can’t drive, so can’t always physically be there for someone. What I do have is “time” for those that mean something to me. It takes a few seconds to send a text to tell someone you’re thinking of them. If busy when a friend is in need, I will make the time to get back to them. It may not be hours of my time, but with what little time we all have to give, it would most definitely be ALL I was able to give. And that, to me, is priceless. If I only had 5 seconds free out of 24 hours, those 5 seconds would be spent on anyone that needed me. Sounds hardly worth it, but the point I’m making is that everyone says they have no time, but what we don’t realise is that the little time we do have can absolutely make someones day. Since losing my sister unexpectedly at the young age of just 39, I have realised with a jolt that life’s too short, and we don’t know how much time we have left. Though grieving, I knew I never wanted to waste another second wishing I’d spent more time with the ones I hold dear to me. As we went into 2016 two things occurred to me. Next year I’ll be 40, the milestone age my sister never reached. Also, my son becomes a teenager this year. No longer a child, but instead a young man growing more independent as time goes by. My time with him is too short at the best of times. I’m not going to waste the time we have got left wishing I’d made more time. Making time is easy. It’s getting your priorities right that’s difficult for some people.


Why is time important to a relationship?
What makes us worthy of someone else’s time?
Hard questions, but I think the answers lie in what the other person thinks of us rather than what we ourselves actually have to give.
I’ve been in a relationship where I started to feel I was no longer worthy of the other person’s time. Yes, I worked full time too, but was always prepared to make time for us. No matter if you are married, live together, live apart from each other, or you are in a long distance relationship; it is important to make some time for just the two of you. Again with the introduction of social media into our daily lives, physical time becomes a battle against cyber time. Facebook, especially, can feed you with stories, updates, photos etc for hours at a time. Hours wasted. Hours that could be spent having a drink in the pub with the ones you hardly see because you work so hard. Messenger means we become contactable 24/7 and for some people it almost becomes too difficult to log out. Some people even start to believe that they need to keep checking their messages in case they miss something important, even though the world would still continue to turn and the sender of a message would still be there a couple of hours after time spent with those that should mean the most to you. Couples should set aside some social media-free time, during dinner or for a family night, or date nights, so no one feels neglected in favour of the news feed. I feel that if the relationship is important to you, then you could easily put your phone down for a couple of hours. If you struggle to press the off button on your phone, then it’s obvious you don’t feel your time is best invested in the relationship so instead it’s time to turn off from that instead. You shouldn’t have to battle for someones time and attention. If they care for you, they will give it to you unconditionally. In turn, if your partner is constantly putting the social media lives of others, and work over your needs, even at a time when a break from it could be taken, you start to stop trying. Stop making the effort. Stop asking for the attention.
This can get out of hand, with neither partner bothering to interact with the other. We lose touch of reality, and with the ignored partner no longer spending time vying for the attention of the other, either or both will begin to feel neglected, undesired, and unappreciated. Would you really make the effort for someone who didn’t even seem to notice you are there? Then relationships can become victim to influences and issues that normally would not have affected you before. For example, if your partner seemingly has no time to sit and chat to you yet constantly checks their phone and social media, it can arouse suspicion, and even make you feel jealous that someone else is more worthy of their time than you are. You’ll be in a position where you can’t help but wonder who they are talking to. Who warrants their attention over you? Unfortunately, some relationships reach the point of no return. When being ignored by someone who should be investing time in you, you become needy, and often nag to get attention. Then you are seen as problematic, and unwittingly push the ignorer even further away as they just don’t see what your problem is. We are all worthy of a persons time, especially when you are meant to mean so much to each other.
A basic human need that is in all of us, is the desire to have interaction and stimulation from another human being. The relationships we have with other people will effect and influence our mental state, determining partly whether we feel happy or sad. When a person we rely on to change our mood the most becomes unavailable to us, then we are more likely to slip into a bad, depressive mood, hence leading to the feeling “why bother?”. Being around people we enjoy being around, those that we love, is only effective if we get their attention too. If the person we wish to spend time with is tied up with work or other things, then we aren’t going to get the happiness we crave. They need to be there in body and mind. If we are not made to feel worthy of their time, we begin to feel like a hassle in their life, a hindrance even.
My boyfriend, as mentioned before, works shifts. When we are lucky enough to have an evening off together, he doesn’t look at his phone at all. It stays in his pocket. His time, and attention, is on me. The time has been put aside for me. We recently had a silly little bet between ourselves which resulted in me winning a meal of my choice from him. When he texted to say he’d have to start saving, my genuine reply was;”The meal doesn’t have to be expensive. Time spent with you is more valuable than money spent”.

A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.”
― Charles Darwin, The Life & Letters of Charles Darwin

How did it get so late so soon?”
― Dr. Seuss

Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.
― Stephen R. Covey

In truth, people can generally make time for what they choose to do; it is not really the time but the will that is lacking.
– Sir John Lubbock

A year in the life of…


1st January 2015, I found myself single on New Year’s Day for the first time in 17 years.

Christmas and New Year had been, quite frankly, crap for my family for the past couple of years. Infact, the whole years themselves hadn’t exactly been wonderful. Life changing, yes, wonderful, no. This blog isn’t about that, although I will give you a quick overview to help understand where I’m coming from when I say that the description “crap” was actually the worlds biggest understatement.
April/May 2012- My mum discovered she had breast cancer. A mastectomy, chemo and radio therapy later, she did have the all clear.
Nov 2012- My only sisters marriage broke up.
28th Dec 2013- My only sister passed away at the age of 39, cause of death listed as “sudden adult death syndrome”. No warning. They might as well call it we don’t have a fucking clue syndrome.
Dec 2014- My mum, dad and I all have to have our hearts tested off the back of my sisters passing to make sure there was nothing hereditary they’d missed. My sister’s three boys had already had the tests and been cleared.
Early 2014- My dad has a hernia operated on. Soon after he is diagnosed with prostate cancer. Thankfully not aggressive, but he would have to live with it for the rest of his life.
11/12th December 2014- My husband of just over 14 years left me. We’d been together since May 1997. We met when I had just turned 20.
That’s all I’m going to say on that, but if I refer to some things, you’ll now know what I mean. Through love in our marriage, our amazing son came into the world. Truly the most wonderful gift ever.

So, starting this year single was, in the greater scheme of things and honestly looking at the bigger picture, not the worse thing my family had had to endure. I was still here. I have a very handsome now 12 year old boy who is in a very lucky position of having two parents who absolutely love him and want the best for him.
However, it became apparent that there was a lot I didn’t know about me. First of all. I didn’t know how to be on my own. I’d never had to be. I lived with my family until March 1998 when my ex and I moved in to a rented property together. We eventually bought a house in December 2002 and our son was born in August 2003. So, apart from separate nights out, I’d never been alone. Even I didn’t realise how big a deal this was. After the split our son started spending three nights with his Dad, which was great for him, but what was I meant to do? How was I meant to do this? I’m not being a drama queen here, but truthfully, I didn’t know. As I said, we met when I had just turned 20. He was my first serious boyfriend, as the school boyfriends don’t count. We started living together less than a year after meeting. It was always me and him.
For the first few weeks of 2015, I tried to fill each of the three nights I had to myself with going out. It was ok. It was expensive. It couldn’t carry on. The thought of being home alone with my own company genuinely filled me with dread. I wasn’t sure I liked single me. I couldn’t remember her.
As we headed towards the end of January, I picked up a pencil and started drawing again. Something I never really had time to do with a very chatty son around who needed love and attention and feeding.. things which, in a heartbeat, I would put above doing anything for myself. However, now I had three nights a week where that wasn’t the case. I loved drawing, with my music on, glass of something in my hand.
Then the completely unexpected happened. I met someone. I didn’t go looking for it. It was there, and opportunity came my way. Again, this blog isn’t about that, more about the journey of the whole year. So, long story short, I spent three months with this guy. I’ll admit, I fell for him. In hindsight it probably was a bit too soon. I was vulnerable and as many friends told me, I needed to focus on me for a bit first. The way I saw it though, I now had something to do three nights a week, and more often than not, that’s exactly what I did, went to his. On the occasional night I couldn’t, the nights spent with me, myself and I were much happier. I did like me afterall. I don’t regret those three months at all. It was exactly what I needed right then and there. He made me laugh, made me feel wanted, made time for me. However, looking back, we hardly ever went out. The nights were spent at his. I knew I was a social butterfly. I was happy and content, but it was becoming hard work trying to break him out of his own little shell. The break up in April wasn’t nasty, he just felt he wasn’t ready after his own marriage broke up. He was honest and decent about it. I was upset and felt lost all over again but….. I also knew I’d faced worse and got through it. For the briefest of time I wanted him back. I would’ve waited for him to be ready. Life however, had other ideas. The spending time on my own was now bearable, enjoyable even. Though I still felt I was missing something. My friends were/are great, but, I knew I did enjoy company on a more companionship level. I wanted to move on again. If there was one thing my sisters death had taught me, it was that life was too short. I wasn’t about to start wasting any time. No one knows how much we have left.
At the end of April, I started yet another “first” for me. Online dating. Now, before you judge me, I work full time and my son is with me for four nights a week, and for those four nights I turn down any offers of nights out unless they include my son too. Opportunity to meet someone the old fashioned way doesn’t come around often. The guy I met in January seemed to be the exception to the rule. So online I went. Kept my profile short, simple, but honest. The very first guy I started talking to was, and probably… if I’m honest still is, my soul mate. We clicked. We chatted every night into the early hours. His life and split and interests mirrored mine to the point I was starting to think I knew this person and I was being cat-fished. We arranged to meet, early May now, seemed silly not to, but before the date he took the opportunity to break the ice by bringing me coffee into my place of work. The click was definitely still there in person, and the date later in the week was probably the best I’d ever been on. But…. and there is a but…. he had a wobble and told me he went online for a confidence boost and wasn’t expecting to start talking to someone he got on with let alone wanted to meet, and if he was honest, it probably was too soon and he wasn’t over his ex. I was gutted, he was me but male… we should’ve been so right for each other. The date still continued after this revelation, and it still ended with a really unforgettable kiss. In a very very strange turn of events, a situation at work led me to spend a great deal of time with this guy over the months July-October, as he offered to give me lifts to work while my own shop was being relocated. It’s fair to say we have remained friends and he’s grown to be a good friend, one I can vent to if needed. I’m very happy he’s still in my life.
After that date didn’t lead to a new relationship, back online I went. Another guy had contacted me. O.M.G. Not gonna lie here… DROP. DEAD. GORGEOUS. 6ft 2″ God wanting to talk to me. Note he only had one picture online… didn’t really trust the guys with only one picture but chatted away anyway. Very easy to think it may not be the man in the pictures. We exchanged numbers and online chatting progressed to texting…. constant texting……. I asked for more pictures which he dutifully emailed and they were all of the same guy so looked promising. We went on our first date in the middle of May. Yes, it was him, and yes, there were fireworks. What followed was the most rollercoaster of a relationship in the history of short relationships…..He revealed that first night that in just two weeks time he was due to go away for the best part of three weeks!! He cursed bad timing as now he didn’t want to go! After two dates, a night in a hotel and him asking me if I’d wait for him because he really liked me and wanted to see if it would go somewhere when he got back, I found myself walking on air for three weeks while a guy I’d only just met was texting me sweet nothings from a foreign country saying how he didn’t want to be there and wanted to come back to me. It was everything a girl wanted to hear. And did I mention how good looking he was? The girls at my work loved my soap opera life and looked forward to the next instalment!
The first meeting when he got back was undoubtedly passionate and felt long over due. The guy sure had missed me and for a while, the world he promised me didn’t seem too far away. As time went on…. I saw him less and less. Text contact was still there, but he was elusive, tied up with work, cancelled or didn’t show up then come up with an excuse. We never ever argued in person, instead taking to arguing over Whatsapp! Then we’d see each other, and he smiled and I forgave him. He earned the nickname alley cat. He was 100% committed to me, and I still believe that, but it became apparent that he had a lot of issues he needed to deal with before committing to the kind of relationship I wanted. He wanted me to wait till he got his life sorted. I was ready for a relationship NOW. I had to let him go. I didn’t want to. For ages he seemed to think I was still waiting but for me it was over. By July, as much as I still deeply cared about him, I couldn’t deal with his drama on top of my own and I needed a partner to be there for me. He wasn’t. On rare occasions it seemed he had a intuition that I was going through something and I’d get a text at the right moment. But physically, he was no longer there to hug when I needed a hug. Over the last few months he’s realised that I will always be there for him if he finds himself in a situation I can help with but that’s all. He’s moved to Leicester now, I stored his work stuff at mine until he found a place but now he’s gone, contact, understandably and necessarily, is down to the occasional “hi, how are you?” and that’s it. I don’t want this one back. I won’t now want any more from him. That’s one explosive relationship that needs to but put down to experience.
By now I’ve realised I’m a woman who can take a few Knocks but get back up and straight back to it. Seems nothing puts me off. Back online I went. This time trying a different site. Oh my, the guys on here were a different breed, and I don’t mean in a good way. And .. despite putting my location, I was getting messages from guys miles away… I don’t drive… for me, that wouldn’t work! There was one, only one, who was good looking on the one picture they’d posted, and his profile seemed similar to mine, not much info but looked genuine and honest. I viewed the profile but by the time I found him, it was late at night and I logged off. By now the traveling to work situ had kicked in, so I didn’t go back online for a couple of weeks. Genuinely no time to arrange to meet anyone. When I did go back on one Saturday evening in August, the guy I’d viewed had messaged cheekily saying “so you view my profile without saying hi? :-)” , ha ha, I liked it! I messaged back explaining the situation and apologising. We chatted very briefly before a suggestion was made about meeting up. I was free that night, so I said so. Took him by surprise. Took me by surprise. The other two I’d met was after several weeks of chatting. I’d only just said hello to this one. He was unsure and thought I wouldn’t turn up. Seemed he’d chatted to ladies before who, at the mere suggestion of actually meeting, just did one and stopped talking to him! I knew I was going to go, I’d been at work, I was on my own on a Saturday night and I wanted a drink!! We arranged a meeting place, he gave me his number but I didn’t give mine and I started getting ready for the date. I wasn’t even nervous, I was a pro at this now, and despite their issues, the previous two guys I’d met online had been who they said they were, and both genuine guys who strangely are still in my life. Although not, and never again, romantically. I was ready to settle down. The guy I was about to meet, I knew very little about. Hadn’t yet built up a connection with him. Hence no nerves. Yet, walking to our meeting point I did get nervous for that very reason. I didn’t know much about him. Didn’t know we had anything at all in common to talk about. I’m not shy but if conversation isn’t two way I struggle to think of stuff to say to start a conversation. Also, walking into town it was windy and rainy… I looked good…. Not! He’d told me he’d be in a silver MG and I’d told him he could go park up as I categorically wasn’t getting in a car, however fancy, with a stranger. So when he pulled up to the kerb in the car at our meeting place, I said again, I’m not getting in. He said “well, where`s the nearest pub, we’ll drive there and then if you’re still uncomfortable, you can go”. He had a glint in his eye that didn’t go unnoticed, it was a nice glint. And the smile he gave me….. Right there I fell for that smile. Yes. I was stupid. I got in the goddamn silver MG, laughing at myself in my head, but something inside me told me to trust my gut. My gut instinct was this guy was more surprised that I’d turned up, and had stayed in his car in case he was stood up and had to swing back round and go straight home. Now, he did just wanna go for that drink. As I’ve previously stated, this blog is about my year as a whole, not a dating blog. This most recent online dating encounter was the one I had the least expectations about. Although completely out of my comfort zone having not had the weeks worth of chatting, we got on. We laughed. We shared several sneaky kisses in the pub. He drove me home and 100% genuinely came in for a coffee.
17 weeks later, I’m sat here writing this blog. We’re still together. Since that first meeting we’ve seen each other at least once, if not twice, a week. We’ve grown. I am very very fond of him. His eyes are endless pools of green framed with eyelashes to die for. His laugh is infectious, his smile still gets me every time. This one’s nickname is simply “gorgeous”. The guy works shifts yet still makes time for me. This relationship has out lasted the one back in January. Every morning we wish each other a lovely day via text and every night bid sweet dreams. Then when we see each other we fill hours with good conversation, laughter, maybe a movie, quality time together. This is what I’ve been working towards. Took a few tries to get there. The journey led me here. And right now, I wouldn’t change a thing.
The point of this blog? No one knows what someone else is going through, beyond what that person is willing to share, and people, even those who are closest to you and know you the most, are quick to judge situations based on what they believe in their own heads to be true. Truth is, although I didn’t directly put myself in the situation I found myself in at the beginning of the year, I am dealing with it, and genuinely just wanting to get on with the life that is still there for me. And I’m going to be ok.