When we meet somebody new for the first time after a break up, everything feels wonderful. That flutter of the heart at getting a text or a phonecall, the thought of seeing them, hearing their name, the physical closeness, the kissing, the cuddling, the sex, the having a +1 for events – all of those things feel wonderful for very good reason. Yet there are some (admittedly minor) downsides of which you become hyperaware, things you might have taken for granted as a single.
You Have to Share a Bed
For many reasons, this is quite clearly a good thing. Sharing a bed means a warm body next to you, it means sex, it means not waking up alone, it means somebody to snuggle, it means breakfast in bed. I found that sharing a bed again after nearly three years sleeping in a bed alone was as weird as it was wonderful. Next to you is a gorgeous woman who you hope will still be there in a year. But also next to you is this person who fidgets, snores, talks in her sleep and takes up half the bed (and rolls over to take up more than her fair half). She will also fart on occasion. You will occasionally miss sleeping alone and sharing a bed will take a lot of adjustment.
Remember that day you decided to jump on the train and go to London? You woke up that morning, and decided to go? How long did it take you to get ready, about 40 minutes, an hour at most? When you’re in a new relationship, all the stuff you used to do alone is no longer just about you. You deliberate over going out for the day, you can’t just make the decision for you both and there will be extra time to get ready, the time she needs to shower, wash her hair, put her make up on and select an outfit. On your own, you’d have been in London already around the time she finally decides what to wear.
No “Me, Me, Me”
When you were single, you didn’t have to give a shit about anybody else. You could do whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted. In a relationship, you have another person to think of, another person vying for your attention, another person to split your time with. You can’t really sit up playing FIFA or Call of Duty until 3am any more and if you did it with anything approaching regularity, you’d probably find yourself quickly single again. You lose your autonomy and that is a very big thing when you have become so used to having it. Autonomy is one of the many upsides of being single, especially in those immediate weeks and months out of a relationship, and maybe even the major reason why some people choose to remain single long-term.
You have to get used to these again, being taken out shopping so she can spend hours buying new clothes. It’s a well-known fact that men and women shop differently. I’m a typical man as far as that is concerned. I know what I want, I know the shop I want to get it from, I go and get it – end of. But boyfriend duties include the occasional dreaded shopping trip. Definitely the worst thing about being in a relationship is being dragged or nagged into a shopping trip that was only 2 hours long but felt more like 2 days.
Cooking For Two (Or More, because, Entertaining)
Curry tonight, curry tomorrow, fish and chips the day after that, then curry, curry then pizza and finally, curry. This is another of those mixed blessings. I actually enjoy cooking and have been known to prepare food from scratch – roast dinners and yes, curries. I’ve even made my own Christmas Pudding before now including 8-hr steaming session. Impressed? So is Mirror Image! While cooking for each other is one of the loveliest things about a new relationship, long-term means going without some of your favourite food if your partner doesn’t like it or they are not particularly adventurous. It also means you have a level-headed person to remind you that a diet that consists of pizza, curry and beer isn’t the healthiest lifestyle choice.
Overall, when we’re happy in our relationships these things are little more than minor inconveniences but we must be honest with ourselves. Sometimes these things take a lot of adjustment.