…aka, one thing I’ve learned for every year I’ve been alive, or the amount of hours it might take you to read this post. I do love to bang on in my old age…
1. Love at first sight is a myth. Love in the first twenty minutes, on the other hand, I can vouch for. Ask any of the Uber drivers who have had the dubious pleasure of picking me up from Soho in the wee hours. I am an over-sharer. It’s why my Uber rating is so shit.
2. Everything you need to know about someone can be found on their playlist, bookshelf and who they follow on social media. Side-note: if they don’t even have a bookshelf, you’re on your own, kid. The great John Waters once said if you end up back at someone’s and they don’t own any books, do not, under any circumstances, sleep with them. The Da Vinci Code doesn’t count.
3. Girls, the chances of you being single forever are very, very slim. Chill the f out. Enjoy the temporary bliss that is not having to de-clog the drain every time your man shaves his contrived hipster beard.
4. Getting under someone to get over someone else should be used sparingly. It is not a magic bullet. G&T-fuelled karaoke, however, works wonders. But don’t make everyone suffer through Gloria Gaynor. Come on dude, you’re better than that.
5. Both your head and your heart will lie to you. The most important barometer of any relationship is your gut. Not as romantic-sounding, I realise, but it is the unsung hero of your emotional intelligence. Less sentimental than the heart, and not as overwrought as the head, it only speaks the truth. It’s your job to listen. Top line: if you’re not sure, get out. Yes is yes, no is no. Uncertain is also no. Sorry.
6. Being single can actually be better than the alternative – yes, even past the apocalyptical age of 30 and, yes – shockingly – even as a woman. That’s not my ovaries you can hear screaming. That’s the sound of the last person who asked me when I was getting married. No, I won’t be freezing my eggs any time soon. Yes, my mother is fine with it. Thanks for asking.
7. Which brings me onto… settling. There’s nothing that will slowly kill your soul in quite the same way. Don’t be in a relationship just because it’s there. Wait. Read some books. Travel. Make a sandwich.
8. Comparison is the thief of joy. No two people are the same, so why should two relationships be? Take the lessons learned from your past and utilise the shit out of them… but don’t compare. Nobody wins.
9. Never underestimate the importance of spontaneity and good underwear. And flirting. And not always with each other, either.
11. Parents have a lot to answer for. As do first relationships. But a blueprint isn’t necessarily set in stone.
12. Don’t try to change someone. Be excessively passive aggressive until they change themselves. JOKING, obvs. With the exception of Sandy in Grease and basically every makeover-style rom-com ever… and mayyyyybe Victoria Beckham’s thorough and professional manscaping of David, when has this ever ended well? Chances are if you liked them enough in the first place, them changing won’t alter how you feel deep down. Even if they do look magnificent in a sarong.
13. There’s more than one person out there for each of us. I’d even go as far as to say that there are a handful. You won’t catch them all, though. This isn’t Pokemon Go. One of the hardest things you’ll ever have to come to terms with is that, just because you meet one, doesn’t mean they’ll be who you end up with. Those near-misses might haunt you, but you can’t let them ruin you. Don’t waste the gift of regret by not using it to make better decisions in your future.
14. Marriage and kids aren’t for everyone. And that’s ok. But shared values are critical. Sticking around hoping to change someone’s mind is exhausting. And that goes for a lot of things. Don’t be that girl – or guy.
15. There are some things that are – and bloody well should be – non-negotiable. Kindness. Loyalty. Knowing which songs not to talk over. The ability to make a cracking cup of tea without having to be asked. Otherwise? P45 time.
17. Having said that, no one likes a keeno. Just be normal please.
18. If someone isn’t over their ex, swerve.
19. If a relationship is all over social media, it’s bollocks. Don’t feel jealous. They haven’t had sex in six weeks.
21. Having said that… maintain your independence. They are not your ‘other half’. You are not a half, you romantic idiot. Never forget it. You can love someone from the depths of your soul but they should never be the centre of your entire universe. That’s what children are for.
23. Fall in love with yourself first. It was only a matter of time before I starting quoting RuPaul, so here goes: “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gon’ love somebody else? Can I get a A-MEN?” And this goes both ways, kids. Dating people that fundamentally dislike themselves is a minefield. Avoid, or get out before they start making you think that you’re the problem.
25. The weirder you can be with each other, the better.
26. Brené Brown’s TED talk on vulnerability is probably more effective than most couples’ therapy.
27. Chemistry is nothing without timing.
28. Cheating doesn’t have to mean the end. Ooh, controversial! Nine times out of ten, though, if there is cheating, you’re with the wrong person. But…
29. …sometimes things need to be burned to the ground before you can start again.
30. Criticism should be sporadic at best, and only ever come from a place of love. As they say, a critic is a man who knows the way, but can’t drive the car. If someone does it too much, sack them off. You are FINE. Your taste might need work, though.
31. It is a rare, rare thing that your ex will find someone better than you. Unless you’re a dick. But I highly doubt there are any dicks reading this to the very end.
32. Final, extremely sappy, thought… Love is the last great adventure. If it doesn’t make you feel that way, you’re doing it wrong. And don’t let anyone tell you different.