In our society, we’re told that living together and getting married and having babies means Happy Ever After. This ‘settling down’ is the end of the road after searching for someone special to spend our life with.
Well, maybe it is the sceptical Yorkshire in me – the equivalent of a farmer jaded after years battling with the northern weather and rising feed costs – but I don’t have faith in this Happy Ever After ending. I think most people experience the whole dopamine rush of falling in love in the beginning, followed by a less intense phase of bonding. Then later comes the realisation that they’re stuck together now and must get on with it and put up with each other.
You only start to see any problems in the relationship once the honeymoon is over and the rose-tinted glasses come off. There’ll always be problems in any relationship between two humans, but to avoid wanting to murder one another in the later stages, it may pay to start with rotational dating.
Rotational dating is when you don’t commit to one person until way down the line. You date different people for months until becoming exclusive, which allows you to really figure out who is right for you.
Having been on lots of dates with lots of men, I feel I’ve been there, done that. It was my birthday the other day and I turned 39. I celebrated on this pissing wet Friday with dinner at Cantonese restaurant The Queen’s Head in Amotherby. Despite the pouring June rain my chosen outfit was a floral playsuit and espadrilles; my tipple of choice a summery G&T.
At this stage, teetering on the precipice of 40, I pretty much know what I like and don’t like in a man. Enduro, I love him for his sunny nature, sense of fun, caring side, big heart and soulfulness.
I have no desire to get into rotational dating. My days of intensive dating are done. On this Yorkshire dating journey there has been excitement and sadness; fun and seriousness; surprise and disappointment. Eccentric man and normal man; entrepreneurial man and workaday man; socialite and outdoor man. Intelligent ones and the odd idiot.
One thing everybody does is put forward their best face in the beginning. After the flowers and the flirtation, things start to get more real. Enduro, I’m learning, doesn’t have a romantic bone in his body. The card he gave me on my birthday looked like it had been plucked from a stand in a service station for a casual acquaintance. He is very thoughtfully (but unpoetically) getting my car repaired as a present. Enduro, on the other hand, is coming to the understanding that I turn into a moody, irrational, depressive cow for precisely one week every month.
And this is the point: there is no fairytale happy ending. There is happiness and laughter but there is also the broken fence, the mud, the rain and the runaway cow to contend with. The journey only starts anew when you partner up with somebody.
I never wanted to be caught and settle down and I’m not about to start now. Life is an adventure, single or not. There are so many possibilities. The only stories with a happy ever after are the ones that haven’t finished.