bookmark_borderHappily Ever After


Are you sitting comfortably?

Dear children..

Once upon a time in a very strange land called Singledom, there lived an ever so slightly green (and occasionally windy) ogre called Grog. He wasn’t rich, famous or even particularly clever but he was kind, decent, had a good heart, and really, that’s all that mattered to him.

Before making the long trek to the land called Singledom he lived in a very popular land called Marriagedom where he had many great adventures, escapades, near misses and the occasional pratfall because, if truth be told, he really was quite an adventurous ogre! By some mysterious magic which he didn’t fully understand, he had somehow managed to grow two baby ogres (it was a mystery wrapped in an enigma), they turned out to be greener and much smellier than him! (Yes, I know, hard to believe!)

However, now he lived in Singledom and golly gosh, wasn’t it a spooky place, full of other ogres, old dragons and some really quite scary monsters, occasionally even he had quite a fright! He’d lived there for well more than ten years and yet even after all that time, he still hadn’t figured out the very odd ways there.. (Yes, he really was quite dim, an intellect rivalled only by garden tools)

For starters, he checked out some of the inmates – oops sorry, I mean inhabitants – passport photos and he was surprised at how different the photos were from the actual inhabitant. “I’ve put some weight on since that photo was taken” seemed to be a common refrain or “did I not mention my co-joined twin?”. In all fairness, it seems the male inhabitants of that land were very partial to the same behaviour too, one of his ogre friends went to meet her 6ft ‘athletic build’ ogre date, it turns out he was 4ft and circular! Cor blimey mate! I guess he worked in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory!

And then there were the natives who didn’t actually live there, they were illegal immigrants! How naughty! Big chief ogre Trump nearly choked on his cornflakes! They earnestly told him they had full residential status but when he checked they actually lived in his old neighbourhood country Marriagedom and had sneaked into Singledom just to play with the toys! Hiss! Boo! Durty Rotten Scoundrels!

The other thing the green-ish one found a bit difficult was the language barrier. He spoke English (well, OK, maybe with quite a strong Irish brogue but still recognisably English!) but over there it was a very curious version. For example, he didn’t understand LOL, AFAIK, CU, FWIW or SFLR, he wondered – was it Welsh?

Plus the really odd names like BigButts and Glitterfarts, he would never name his little ogres that, no matter how smelly they got! He found grammar rules seemed very loose, a few of the natives didn’t seem to know the difference between there, they’re and their or your and you’re or to, too and two, and hadn’t a clue what a serial comma was (hint – you just passed one, now wash your hands).

And then there was the idea of an actual date. In the swamp where he was hatched, dating meant meeting up and spending time with the same lovely lady ogre, at least until they both decided they were flogging a dead horse (or a dead donkey!) (oh poor donkey!) but in Singledom they used an expression he had never come across before. Apparently one would date lots of ogres all at the same time and then eventually settle on one by saying “Shall we date exclusively?”

Well, he thought, that was very… ummm.. modern..

Singledom was awash with strange customs, some inhabitants appeared happy to write endless messages but when it came to actually meeting up they seemed extremely reluctant. This threw the green one somewhat, in his hatchling days this was known as ‘having a penpal’!

And some inhabitants seemed to have extremely poor social skills, they seemed incapable of saying anything more than “Hi”, “Hello” or “HiYa?”. The big green one suspected they just repeated the same message to everyone in Singledom parrot fashion no matter what but that would just be really annoying. Silly ogre, surely they wouldn’t do that, would they??

Then one day the green-ish one was contacted by a dusky maiden in a land far away called Nigeria. She told him that God had spoken to her in a dream and informed her that she and the green one were going to get married, have lots of little ogres and relocate to a magical castle in a land far far far far far away called Scotland. All he needed to do was send her 400 gold coins to buy a magic carpet and she’d be there in a jiffy.

He thought this sounded wonderful and readily agreed but did ask her as to why God just didn’t make the 400 gold coins appear on her pillow? Very confusingly, this angered her greatly, she swore at him and she cursed him, she cursed his little ogres and she cursed his pet hamster.

Snowy hasn’t been the same since!

Another time he was contacted by a Princess from the land called Arabia telling him that he was her dream ogre! Wow! She was very very much younger than him but a lovely shade of green and suitably round absolutely everywhere. He couldn’t understand why she hadn’t been betrothed to some gallant knight before him but he was really pleased and enormously complimented, this was more like it, she seemed completely genuine!

Then she told him a great secret, she had secreted away a huge treasure chest full of gold and silver coins! Wow! He couldn’t believe his luck! She wanted him to look after it for her and she would share it with him, she just needed his bank account details and she guaranteed he would get a large tax free share of it!!

Oh my goodness gracious me! What luck!

He wrote back immediately asking what a bank account was, (he’d never had one of those) but then tragedy must have struck because she immediately disappeared right after that. How peculiar..

One day another inmate contacted him from Singledom, she seemed just as genuine as all the other but he feared she had a broken pencil because her message was full of errors;

Hello, Nice meeting you,how are you? Hope your are alright. my name is sally! i have interest in you that makes me leave a massage for you and also I wants you as a friend also want you to right me. i like green skin. tell me were you leave and also send me your pictures; Is my plesure to meet you here in this site. Yours sincerly Miss sally!

Well, at least Miss Sally seemed completely legit.

One day he was contacted by another inmate, she seemed VERY friendly! Her name was Pussy Galore. She was having a party at her swamp with lots of other ogres and wondered if Grog would like to join them. She mentioned she had lots of swings installed and they would be having a swingers party! What fun. He couldn’t wait.

Then he thought he might try visiting the market town called Waitrose. He’d heard it was a very big market with lots of very high class tasty morsels. There was food too! He went there one afternoon with his wooden shopping cart hoping to fill it up with some beauties but all to no avail. He placed himself by the freezer cabinet and struck his best pose; chest out, bottom in but not one single damsel came along to help him. Oh Bother! He couldn’t stay there too long, it was very chilly on his willy!

Then he heard about Cinderella meeting her Prince Charming at the ball, so off he went to the local Tavern called Stringfellows. He put on his best suit and hit the dance floor, who could resist? He was sure he could impress the local maidens with his Monster Mash, his Gangnam Style Funky Chicken, his Mashed Potato and then his Hokey Cokey (cos that’s what it’s all about!). Sadly the maidens in Stringfellows were immune to his charms (and his Harlem Hustle) and he was asked to leave after being too enthusiastic with The Bump. Oh his poor Achy Breaky Heart.

Poor Grog, he was getting a bit bored with all the shenanigans of Singledom and wondered if a life as a trappist monk awaited him, or a life tending his swamp with his over-talkative donkey, he wasn’t sure which fate was worse.. He had travelled the length and breadth of Singledom, from the icy north beyond the Great Wall of Hadrian (protecting the island from the fearsome white walkers) to the very southern lands of ancient Cornish (who made the most delicious ice cream!) but all to no avail..

BUT THEN.. when he had pretty much given up..something happened. Completely randomly, after many many false starts he finally met a fair maiden called Mog, another long suffering inhabitant of Singledom. She had just as many tales to share with him, all of them sounding strangely familiar..

She had smarts, was strong, was feisty, could hold a tune and could out-stink even him! They spent a lot of time chatting, laughing, arm wrestling, mud bathing and cutting the cheese. It seemed too good to be true!

And then one evening Grog treated Mog with kindness, love, respect, tenderness, burned weevils and a lovely bunch of weeds when something absolutely magical happened, she rolled onto her back and was transformed into a purring pussycat!

Holy Smoke! This was cat-astrophic!

He was completely and utterly allergic to moggies!

He swore never ever to do that again!

(This explained why she was very mewsical!)

But Grog had fallen for her deeply, so he purrsuaded her to come with him to consult with the witch of Boots The Alchemist. She told them she couldn’t break the spell; treat Mog lovely and she would be transformed into a purring moggy….however, the witch could adjust the spell for a small fee, so instead of transforming into a cat – she would be transformed into a DOG! And not one of those silly yappie poodle dogs but a proper ogre sized dog, one that came up to his knees!

This was the best of both worlds; feisty, fighty, funny, flirty, frisky, farty and furry all rolled up into one, she was the ideal companion! His friends said she was literally a bit of a dog and a bit ruff-ruff but Grog didn’t give a hoot, he thought she was a real hot dog! He loved her very very much and soon afterwards they moved to the land called Happily Ever After

The End

bookmark_borderThe Perfect Husband?


Here’s a little but wise story from Nasruddin about this dance I’m doing;

Once there were two friends who would meet every New Year’s Eve and discuss their future plans.
The first one asked the second, “What are you going to do this year?”
“I’m going to find myself the perfect wife,” the first friend replied,
“Someone beautiful, cultured and kind.”
A year passed. The two friends met.
“Tell me, how did you get on?” asked the second friend.
“Not too well. I found a woman who was beautiful but had never read a book or played an instrument and we had nothing in common. Next year I’ll search further afield.”
Another year passed.
“How did you get on with finding your wife this year?”
“I searched even further and found a woman who was beautiful and well-read and I loved her for that but she was selfish – only ever thinking of herself.
Next year I’ll search even further afield.”
A third year passed.
“And how did you get on this year?” asked the second friend. “Did you find the perfect wife?”
“I did,” replied his friend. “I found someone beautiful, cultured and kind but there was a small problem. She was looking for the perfect husband.”

That made me smile and there’s a lot of truth in it, Rumi, another Persian thinker once said “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” and I’ve come to discover over the past few years that we nearly always are our own worse enemies, and knowing that, acknowledging that fact is half the battle.

bookmark_borderModel Parent?


A few of my colleagues here at work are expecting babies in the next few months, so being the man (father) of experience I have been passing on my fatherly wisdom. When I took my first born to the crèche he wouldn’t stay there, he clung to my leg like a limpet mine and I’d have to shake him off and run like hell before the crying started. There was this game the staff and I played – distract First Born and whilst he’s distracted slip away…  Of course it’s nice (I think!) to be suddenly wanted + + + but I had to go to work and at the time children and Intensive Care Units did not mix.

So I resolved, after lots of tearful mornings and guilt trips about being abandoned in crèche from First Born, that I wouldn’t make the same mistake twice. When Second Born appeared and was ready for crèche I built it up, I told him how exciting it was going to be, he’d get to play with all the toys, make a mess and have great friends, I made a big big deal of it and when the first day came for crèche he was so excited and looking forward to it. I dropped him off and he ran away to play…

Problem solved and I patted myself on the head.

Or so I thought.

About two weeks into his time at the crèche the manager pulled me aside one evening and said the following “You know, I’ve worked in this crèche for 15 years and your child is the first one, in fact the only one, that’s ever cried when his parents come to take him home…usually it’s the other way around, they cry in the morning but your child runs into this place and doesn’t want to go back home……………” she said this rather suspiciously….

Damn. It looks like I had overdone it. She looked at me like she ought to be reporting me to Social Services… I explained what I had been doing but still… I think she never stopped being suspicious of me… So the lesson here, dear friends who are soon to be parents, you can’t win.


But you can get even….

Leaving your kids off at school is always interesting, during the first few years they always cling to your legs and make you feel bad but then at around year five it suddenly becomes uncool to walk to school with your dad and suddenly they start to run ahead before you actually reach the school. At first it’s just at the school gates, a quick snatched ‘bye dad’ and off they run but then as time passes they run ahead at increasing distances from the school gate, anything to avoid being seen with dad..

And then they start secondary school. Here something remarkable happens. On day one you take your ‘relatively’ sweet and innocent child to school, all presented neat and tidy, school uniform worn correctly, shirt tucked in and top button done up, tie worn correctly, hair nice and neat …and somehow there’s is a remarkable transformation over the first day. You met them at the school gates and you don’t recognise them, they look a mess, like they been in a car crash but the big big transformation is in the voice – suddenly that sweet innocent childish tone has gone and now it’s all deep manly grunting.

In the previous June they were kings of the castle in junior school, everyone was smaller than them and childish but suddenly in secondary school they are surrounded by some really big bruisers and they desperately want to fit in. So out goes talk of collecting Dr Who cards and in comes talk about rap music on Youtube and the most unsavourly computer games. From now on you know the shirt will always hang out of the trousers and the tie will never ever be done up properly, you know that ‘street creed’ is now hugely important and talking about Telly Tubbies or even Action Man is verboten because they are in a rush to be men.

Of course, being somewhat mischievous of nature, I look upon this as an opportunity to reek revenge on all those years of clinging to my leg like a limpet mine and all those guilt trips from First Born. Now when I drop the boys off at school or pick them up I make a point of calling them ‘darling’ in a very loud voice, especially when they are with their friends. It’s great, it’s even more fun if you try hugging them in front of their friends and telling them how lovely it is to see them..  This ‘probably’ is quite evil of me but I’ve been doing it for a few years now and when it’s pouring out of the heavens I make an effort to drive there and pick them up, their joy at seeing me is tempered by the knowledge that I will indeed called them darling very loudly and they will cringe..

However, their school mates have started to cotton on to my little game and they all realise that really I’m just doing it to embarrass them, they look upon my boys with some sympathy and tell them “your dads a lunatic, isn’t he?”

So now I’m starting to think what else can I do to play with them at school, they are nearly always the last ones out through the school gates – too busy chin-wagging with their mates and leaving me standing there…  So I was in Sainsburys the other day getting some shopping and I saw some really nice ‘daddy’ slippers, you know, those checked ones… and it suddenly occurred to me – what if I was standing outside the school gates in my slippers… I wonder just how quickly they would appear..I reckon they would be first ones out in the entire school…I’m VERY tempted…

You see, why get mad, when you can get even… 🙂

bookmark_borderGaining Perspective

When I was about eleven, Mary Whitehead, our art teacher, asked the class to draw a typical street scene. We had two hours to complete our works of art and then she would tell us what she thought. I dutifully drew the High Street, the shops, people out shopping and a few cars, typical Saturday afternoon scene. I have to admit that the cars were very square-ish…boxy.. and the people…even the dogs…square-ish but I was reasonably pleased with my effort and thought Mary wouldn’t have much to quibble about over it.

So she sat down beside me, hummed and ha-ed a bit and then said, “look, it’s a very good attempt but can you see what’s wrong with the cars?” I said they were very boxy and even the wheels weren’t very round… and she said “no, that’s not the problem I have with this, it’s the size of the cars in relation to the background that’s a bit off, your cars are too small for the foreground, the people in the background are much bigger, your perspective is all wrong, the cars need to be much bigger or the background much smaller, you need to get some perspective..”

God, you were so right, weren’t you Mary? It takes more than a few years to gain perspective and once you have it then you view the world and all those around you differently, you tend not to sweat the petty stuff (or is it not pet the sweaty stuff?) . Spending twelve years of your life working as an ICU nurse certainly gives you perspective and I’m 51 now and I can look back over the last five decades at what I’ve learnt and some things come to mind;

  • Our children help us grow just as much as we help them grow. I’ve spend a lot of time teaching my two boys lessons and trying to give them perspective early but it hasn’t been a one way street, as much as I’ve tried teaching them life lessons I’ve also learnt just as much, if not more, from them, we learn just as much from our kids as we teach them.
  • And the older I get, the wiser I get. Duh! I gain more wisdom but crucially it seems that as I get older and wiser that I know nearly everything – about less and less. And I have a sneaking suspicion that by the time I shed this mortal coil I shall know absolutely everything there is to know – about absolutely nothing.
  • You don’t realise it but we live our lives as examples to others, examples of how to be, how to live, how to love. Some souls are quite content to treat others shitty, that’s the example they are setting, but it’s not an example you have to follow. And just to make you a little paranoid, everyone is watching you, they are watching you for cues, give them good examples.
  • It doesn’t have to be this way. Happiness is a choice. Life may have dealt you a pretty dire hand of cards and you may see no future but the remainder of your life – the life your previous years have programmed you for – doesn’t have to happen, nothing’s wrote in stone. You are allowed to break your programming, you are allowed to go beyond your programming, no matter how badly some souls have treated you in the past you can forgive them, you can break the cycle and become something or someone much much more.
  • There are very few things in life that don’t change, given enough time nearly all things come to an end, one of the only few constants is change, if you want to grow then embrace change, it’s not a challenge, it’s an opportunity. The key word there is ‘if’, not everyone wants to grow.
  • Regrets, we all have them but the purpose of life is to have as few as possible, no-one’s perfect, I certainly am not, I have lots of regrets, but I’m willing to bet I have slighter fewer than you.
  • “The most common ego identifications have to do with possessions, the work you do, social status and recognition, knowledge and education, physical appearance, special abilities, relationships, person and family history, belief systems, and often also political, nationalistic, racial, religious, and other collective identifications. None of these is you.” –Eckhart Tolle.
    Very true Mr Tolle, though it’s still a good idea to pay our bills, feed our children and pay taxes so social security can pay benefit to unemployed blissed out 29yr old Germans sitting in Russel Square, ..but true Mr Tolle…very very earned your money with that one sentence.

bookmark_borderThe Caretaker

Someone once said that we don’t own possessions, possessions own us. To some degree I can agree with that, we arrive in the world empty handed and seem to spend the rest of our lives gaining possession but looking back over the years I’ve come to realise that I don’t actually own very muh at all, I travel light. I’m constantly de-cluttering my life, in fact I like to think I’m more of a caretaker than an owner, I have this habit of giving my stuff away.

1. Many years ago I was traipsing around second hand bookshops and I found a first edition Winnie The Pooh, it cost seventy quid and somewhere deep inside me I knew I had to buy it. So it sat in the loft for years wrapped in black plastic to protect it and then one day I met someone who was an illustrator. Her passion was to illustrate children’s books and it was her birthday soon so I thought why not, this is why the Universe wanted me to buy this book, to pass it on to it’s rightful owner. She was thrilled to bits by it but I, the caretaker, was thrilled even more to give it to her, it’s rightful owner.

2. A friend was having a 100th birthday party, he was coming 55 and his wife was turning 45 so that equals 100 and they decided to have a 100th birthday party. I hate buying bog standard presents so I searched and searched for something appropriate. He was really into bee keeping and lo and behold, one day I was wandering the streets when I came across yet another second hand bookshop. I went in and had a wee nosey around and what did I find but a book on bee keeping, from 98 years ago. Almost perfect. I held on to it for the month and then gave it to them at their ‘100th’ birthday party. They were both gobsmacked and told me it was the best present they had got that day. I told them I was just the conduit, the caretaker, holding onto it until it found its way to its proper home – with them.

3. And then there was Honey, the Sheltie dog that the Universe wanted me to rescue from a crap unloved unwanted situation and moved to a loving home elsewhere

But you see, this caretaking business, it’s not just possessions and animals that I look after for a short while and then pass on, it works even in relationships too, sometimes I feel like I’m just holding onto someone for a while, keeping them safe, until they find the person they are meant to be with.. and when I see them happy and content then I’m pleased, thrilled actually. But then I’m weird, aren’t I?

And between thou and I – I wonder, how many folk have passed me on too, I suspect there are a few woman out there who are breathing a sigh of relief and thinking dodged a bullet there!  🙂

bookmark_borderPatience, a virtue?

In 2009 about five million people watched the ‘My Finale’ episode of Scrubs when John Dorian left Scared Heart Teaching Hospital. It was a hour long special and the last few minutes of the episode was taken up playing the above song. You can view the actual scene here.

This song has haunted me ever since then, I’ve heard it a few times, just snatches of it but missing the whole song, the radio never mentioned whom it was by and I wasn’t quick enough with SoundHound. It turns out it was a cover of ‘The Book of Love’, originally by Magnetic Fields but this version by Peter Gabriel. It’s strange how, if you have enough patience, everything comes to you eventually. I feel strangely sad and yet happy when I listen to it, it’s somehow very poignant, like it’s triggering something deep down inside me and I finally figured out what it is this evening.

Over the past few years I’ve been following various blogs, nearly all of them are about dating and misadventures but there’s been about ten blogs I’ve regularly dipped into and smiled and recognised the same mistakes, the same fuck-ups, the same embarrassing failures.

But here’s the thing. Over the years, one by one, each of these blogs have slowly disappeared. Last year one of my favourites disappeared but before she went off the air she told all her readers that at long last she had found someone special, someone she wanted to start a life with and she needed space to work on that relationship without everyone else knowing the daily ups and downs of her day, so she thanked the readers for all their support and a few weeks later it was lights out.

Part of me was sad, (some of the postings were hilarious!) but a larger part of me was happy, happy that eventually after all the mis-steps, all the weirdos, all the dishonesty, all the trying, all the let downs, all the longing and missed chances, that she was happy and in love.

And so that only left one blog remaining, Middle Aged Dating, I’ve enjoy reading Charmaine’s blog, a lot of it resonated with me but it seems there is news on that front too, she’s just got married and I’m enormously pleased for a couple of reasons. Firstly I’m pleased because she’s had a rough time and it’s nice to know she’s finally met a (Italian) man and found true love but secondly and more personal, it means it must be getting near my turn. I’ve watched all the dating blogs slowly disappear and now the last straggler is finally gone, so it gives me hope, hope that if one is patient enough, kind enough, open enough, true to oneself, generous of the heart and willing to keep at it, then eventually you will find the one soul you are meant to be with. My mother Doris agrees with me, everything comes to the man (or woman) with patience.

(but secretly, between thou and I, I can’t wait!)

bookmark_borderWhat is love?

Errmmm on second thought…please don’t!

Love is more easily experienced than defined. As a theological virtue, by which we love God above all things and our neighbours as ourselves for his sake, it seems remote until we encounter it enfleshed, so to say, in the life of another – in acts of kindness, generosity and self-sacrifice. Love’s the one thing that can never hurt anyone, although it may cost dearly. The paradox of love is that it is supremely free yet attaches us with bonds stronger than death. It cannot be bought or sold; there is nothing it cannot face; love is life’s greatest blessing.

Catherine Wybourne is a Benedictine nun

Sometimes I feel I have to invent a language to talk to you in, though my heart is very full of definite things to say. You stir some very deep part of my soul. Be patient with me and don’t be angry with my peculiarities. I love you very much.

Iris Murdoch

To be loved is to feel the sun on both sides of your face.

Live simply, love deeply.

London Leprechaun.


bookmark_borderSimple Pleasures

The List

Good bread
Buying yourself flowers
Someone else buying you flowers
Clean sheets
Looking for shells
Doing something you’ve been putting off
Fixing something
A valentine surprise
Clean windows at last
Warm towels
Being met at the airport
Coins in a wishing well
Foot rubs after a long day
Tasks you did with your parents
Letting someone into traffic
Hotel toiletries
Your favourite mug
Wearing shorts & sandals
Hand written letters
Giving good advice
A crisp apple
Eating outside
A wedding invite
Eating peas out of the pod
Escaping a parking ticket
Finding forgotten money
Good quality curtains
Baking something nice
Finding the perfect present
Hot water bottles
Four poster beds
Watching for shooting stars
Wrapping Xmas presents
Ripe fruit
Lighting candles
Making a fire
Roasted vegetables
Sharpening pencils
Linen napkins
Good quality dark chocolate
Giving blood
Decorating a Christmas tree
Air conditioning during hot summers
Heated car seats during winter
The snooze button
Giving to charity shops
Buying from charity shops
Getting that job
Walking in snow
Sunday mornings
Watching your kids sleep
Birds using your bird feeder
Walking barefoot on the edge of the sea
Home deliveries

bookmark_border31 Ways To Know You’re In The Right Relationship

To help you answer that question, you lucky thing, here’s a completely unscientific list of 31 ways to know you’re in the right relationship:

You don’t…
1.    Fear it.
If you’re afraid of commitment, best to work that out before you put yourself in a situation where it’s hoped you’ll eventually commit.

2.    Hide anything more significant than a surprise party from each other.

That includes exes, cheating, debt, STDs, chronic illness, felonies, whether you want a marriage and/or children, genetic abnormalities (if you both want kids), a strong desire to live somewhere else, professional failures and successes, doubts about your sexual orientation, a strong preference for un-vanilla sex.
The truth will come out, and if you’re with someone you feel the need to conceal any of this from, he or she probably isn’t right.

3.    Snoop.
If no one’s hiding anything, why are you looking? Going through your significant other’s email, phone, Facebook account, or journal strongly indicates that you don’t trust the person you’re with. You’re also violating his or her trust in you.

4.    Hide the relationship from other people in your life.
If you’re unwilling to introduce the person you’re dating at appropriate junctures to the most important people in your life, that’s usually a bright, flapping red flag.
In general, if you have a good thing going, you can’t wait for him or her to meet your friends, siblings, parents, the guy at the deli, and you wouldn’t have any qualms about presenting this person to professional acquaintances, people you knew in college, family friends, even your ex.

5.    Think you’re superior.
If you feel that your significant other is your inferior in any way you know matters to you in a mate — morally, intellectually, socially, financially or professionally — you’re never going to respect him or her as much as you hope to be respected.
The best relationships make you feel that you’ve convinced a person more exceptional than you to love you.

6.    Resent the other person’s success.
Professional jealousy can be as poisonous to a relationship as constantly thinking he or she is flirting with your best friend. It also suggests that you’re spending a lot of time comparing yourself to a person you supposedly adore, rather than sitting back and marveling at how amazing he or she is. In a good relationship, you quit (or refuse to ever engage in) the one-upmanship.

7.    Let any substance or behavior come before the relationship.
Any addict or over-user of a substance or behavior is cheating on you with his or her drug of choice. You deserve more.

8.    Stew.
When something the other person does annoys you or turns you off, you don’t push it to the back of your mind and hope it will go away, because it won’t. You bring it up in the moment or sometime in the next 24 hours.

9.    Damage property, animals, children or each other during an argument.
You think this goes without saying until you read something like this New York Times “Modern Love” and realize that human beings can rationalize staying with someone who leaves holes in their walls.
On the other hand, if you damage a vase or two in the heat of a different kind of passion, totally fine.

10.    Challenge each other on personal issues in front of other people.
You know which conversations you shouldn’t be having at brunch with friends.

11.    Depend on each other for things no one can or should supply.
If you’re looking to your significant other to resolve your emotional issues, make you more responsible/successful/adult, support you financially, improve your social standing, expand your group of friends, provide you with the family you never had, or make your parents finally accept you, it’s possible you shouldn’t be in a relationship at all, or at least not yet.

12.    Begrudge each other time with your respective friends.
You can’t be everything to your significant other, and why would you want to be? Sounds exhausting. Friends enrich your life, will accompany you to do things that your significant other may not enjoy, and keep you from getting tired of the person you’re seeing.
Besides, if the relationship doesn’t work out, those friends going to be the ones coming over to your house, dragging you out of bed and helping you rejoin humanity. Be good to them.

13.    Lose Yourself
This is easier said than done, especially when the relationship is going really well. As tempting as it is to never leave the house (maybe never leave the bed), you keep doing the work, exercise, volunteering, socializing, networking, and daughtering you were doing before. Remember, these things made you the person Your Person fell in love with. They’re part of you. Don’t give them up for anyone. You can’t afford it.

14.     Have a secret plan B.
If you’re where you need to be, the following thoughts don’t cross your mind: “Maybe he’ll dump me,” or “If my ex moves back from Mongolia, everything could change.”

15.    Have much drama.
You know the cliche: The person worth your tears won’t make you cry. Usually.

You do…
16.    Put it all on the line.
If you’re not risking having your heart broken, you’re not doing it right.

17.    Respect the people he or she is closest to.
You don’t have to love them, but you should think they are honest and moral and have integrity. Want to know you’re with a good person? Look to the people he or she thinks are good people.

18.    Inspire each other to be better.
A good relationship is galvanizing, not in the oh-my-god-I-met-this-amazing-person-I’d-better-hurry-up-and-fix-myself sense (thought there’s probably a little of that when you first start seeing anyone amazing) but in the way that knowing someone else believes in you makes you believe in yourself that much more. You want to prove yourself worthy of his or her confidence.

19.    Humble yourselves.
You know you can’t hide your flaws for long, so you don’t try. You recognize that this person is going to have to take you as you are, as foolish or charitable (or both) as that may seem to make him or her. You know you’re both going to mess up endless times and have to apologize and be forgiven and forgive. You’ll wonder if one of the bigger mistakes is the one that will end it, and you’ll have to prove to one another that the relationship transcends that. You recognize that you signed up for all of this.

20.    Talk about sex.
Most couples don’t instinctively know all of the ways to please each other. You have to talk about — or at least show — what you want. If you don’t know what you want, you need to figure that out, STAT (step 1? Get thee to Babeland). And after you have talked about it, you do it. Better.

21.    Talk about the rest.
The same things you’re not supposed to talk about on a blind date — religion, money, politics, kids — are things you should discuss with someone you’re serious about. What? You just remembered that thing you need to do? Get back here. No one said this was going to be painless. They said it was going to be hard and awesome.

22.    Fight.
If you agree on everything, someone’s not telling the truth. See #2 and #8.

23.    Have times when you don’t talk.
Not because you’re angry with each other but because you can be quiet together. When you find yourself with silences you don’t need to fill, when you find you can just walk along or lie about or work side by side and feel together without needing to verbally affirm that, you’ve got a good thing going.

24.    Have object permanence.
Child psychologist Jean Piaget theorized that when babies get to be 8 or 9 months old, they begin to develop “object permanence,” the idea that an object doesn’t vanish when they can no longer see it.
In a good adult relationship, you know that you can go out into the world and do your thing, and the bond you’ve formed with the person you care about will be there when you get back.
This is also known as trust.

25.    Take care of your body.
You know that you won’t enjoy sharing it with someone else if you don’t like, respect, and nurture it. Your partner feels the same way.

26.    Divide and conquer.
You’re not identical, thank god, which probably means you have certain strengths and he or she has others. Someone is more organized, someone is more outgoing, someone is a born listener. Someone is better with money, someone is more creative. Someone is more adventurous in bed.
If you each play to your strengths, you in all likelihood remember a gift (possibly an inspired one), your home(s) look(s) great, the bills get paid on time, sex is endlessly fun, and you leave everyone at the party thoroughly charmed.

27.    Remember to look at each other across the room.
There’s nothing more reassuring (or sexier) than glancing up from the interminable conversation with your eighth cousin or the head of operations or the report you can’t seem to finish and locking eyes with Your Person and remembering that by some quantity of luck neither of you may deserve, you found each other.

28.    Observe.
You notice when the other person is about to lose it, needs to leave even if you’ve been there only 20 minutes, is talking to someone he or she can’t stand, did something he or she feels guilty about, is silently berating himself or herself, is ruminating over the thing his or her boss said, is about to spend an insane amount of money, and best of all, about to crack up in a situation where he or she shouldn’t. You pay attention because you care, and because that’s the good stuff.

29.    Make time.
You realize that if this is it, one of you is going to be around some distant day in the future to lose the other. In that moment, you will not regret not checking your email in this one.

30.    Occasionally get over yourself and your cynicism and fear of cliche and do something deeply, unapologetically romantic.
You send the flowers, have the book signed by the author, request the song, write the note, have the damned thing (tastefully) engraved. You call the other person and tell him or her that a specific thing he or she did this morning that made you fall that much more in love. When you’re not expecting it, he or she dares to say, even though we all know there are no guarantees ever, “When we’re X age, want to Y?”

31.     Just know.
Reader, marry that.

OK OK number 32
You are both certain that you have convinced someone amazing to love you.

bookmark_border50 ways to leave your lover.


You Just slip out the back, Jack
Make a new plan, Stan
You don’t need to be coy, Roy
Just get yourself free
Hop on the bus, Gus
You don’t need to discuss much
Just drop off the key, Lee
And get yourself free.
(Paul Simon)

We broke up because you thought I was perfect and I had a pain in my stomach from never farting in front of you.

We broke up because you’re incapable of being a mature, supportive partner – not in a malicious way, just in the same way that my cat can’t do the crossword.

We broke up because you didn’t love me as much as you loved yourself

We broke up, because you paraded around aisles of a rural Tesco, with pointless stilettos you couldn’t walk in, fat rippling skinny jeans and sunglasses ( indoors), that could have given Bono’s ones a run for his money in a circumference competition- shouting out “Oh baybee, baybee where art thou” as I crawled into a shelf of some Kettle crisps ( for camouflage), dying with embarrassment!

The time that you, on our second date, laid down a stringent law for the bathroom door to be left open, whilst having a bath in close proximity of the kitchen, hall and front door. Or was it when you presented me with a gift first time out of the aforementioned bath. The gift was of the most hideous paisley crimpelene kimono, that not only wafted of the charity shop where it evolved, but was still tainted with the smell of insignia and of the old gentleman ……..that probably died in it!

You were wearing my lipstick. We figured it out from there.

We got along so well, we still do. But I just couldn’t be with a boy who insisted upon me being the big spoon.

You told me not to kiss you in public.

No matter how hard I tried, no matter how much I did, it was never good enough for you. I can’t believe I stood it for 40 years.

You had a man purse.

One morning you woke up and said, very seriously, “I feel really weird.” I was so relieved.
“Me, too!” I said. “This really isn’t working, is it?”
There was a very long silence. “I meant about that ham I had yesterday night.”
If it helps, I’m really sorry.

We broke up because no one was paying me to be your therapist.

We broke up because you weren’t ready for a committed relationship, only to find out you were ready for one a month later with someone else.

We broke up because you just saw us as “friends with benefits”, and I just didn’t see the benefits.

You didn’t consider reading together as spending time together.

You would have done anything for me and I was scared by that.

We broke up because I just didn’t feel the same way that I did at the beginning of summer. But it also didn’t help that my friend found your gay porn.

I needed something you didn’t want to give me – respect.

We broke up because when I asked for a new handbag I didn’t expect it to have the same colour patterns as our missing tabby cat.

We broke up because I like Nina Simone and you like Lady GaGa.

We broke up because of an invitation. I invited you to my mother’s 50th birthday party. We broke up because two days before the party you freaked out about the party meaning “something”. We broke up because you picked me up late and never apologised. Mostly, though, we broke up because you fell asleep. Not at the wheel – you waited until we had arrived at my parent’s house, then left to curl up on a couch somewhere. We broke up because I had to explain to my relatives that my boyfriend was so tired from our drive that he had to take a nap immediately, rather than meeting everyone first. My family still mocks me about this. Mostly I am annoyed that you are in all my pictures from my mother’s party… at least you look well rested.

We broke up because you are crazy, psychotic, obsessive and delusional,
and no, this isn’t a coded message to say ‘I still love you’.

She had no ankles.
She wasn’t fat.
She just had no ankles.
Or sense of humour.
But it was mostly the lack of ankles
that did it for me.

We broke up because you were a deranged individual who made a scene at my cousin’s wedding because I wouldn’t stay glued to your side all evening.
We broke up because you tried to jump out of the car I was driving down the M42 on Christmas day and I wouldn’t pull over whilst you had another one of your hissy fits.
However, the final nail (of many) in the coffin was when you called me a fat bitch…I only weighed eight stone due to the stress of being with you!!
I clearly lost my marbles for three years but at least I finally came to my senses!
We broke up because when I was with you I felt worthless.


We broke up because when you said sorry, what you meant was that you were sorry I was making a fuss.
We broke up because after five years, you were still looking for someone special.
We broke up just when you realised she was me.
We broke up when you came to tell me this – without realising that six months had passed since you last bothered to come to see me and I was living with someone else.
Boy were you surprised. I finally understood schadenfreude on that day.


It wasn’t the food poisoning or embarrassment about throwing up in your living room in front of your family. It was when your dog licked your face, you stuck out your tongue.
Because she farted on my dick
Because she sleeps with one eye open
Because I always had to manoeuvre out of the bed in the morning to avoid the poisonous fog of last night’s gassified meal


1. We broke up because months after I had bought you a new £22K car, the best Christmas present you could give me was from the Book People; a book of sheet music. I don’t read music and I can’t play an instrument. We’d been together for nearly 10 years at this point.

2. We broke up because after 5 years together, you didn’t trust me to drive your car for a mile to the supermarket, whilst my car was being repaired. I had never had an accident in any vehicle.

3. We broke up because I wasn’t prepared to be your Daddy.

4. We broke up because you were an alcoholic with borderline personality disorder.

5. We broke up because you started seeing someone else.

6. We broke up because you were happy to live off me for over a year, and your non-financial contributions to the well-being of the relationship also dried up. God I’ve been unlucky in love. Cats are possibly the way forward.

It wasn’t the flatulence in restaurants; it was the simultaneous leg-raising. Quite unladylike.

We broke up because in a desperate attempt to be the man you thought I wanted, you ended up lying about everything

We broke up because you’d burst into a rage whenever you were wrong instead of accepting it and that scared me

We broke up because you thought you could mould me into a nice, complacent girl like your mother, you know, the one your father still beats up from time to time

We broke up because I never really loved you but I liked the friendship and the sex and it was a convenient way of living


We broke up because, on our first date you removed the tomatoes from your meal.
The next time we went out you ordered food, minus the vegetables.
You also lied to me.
And gave me vicious Thrush.
It was mostly the tomatoes though.


We broke up because once on a night out I was feelin great until you (a beautiful woman) saw all the young things with legs up to their armpits and accused me of lusting after them and I felt insulted by such trivia, knowing that if I tried to explain that girls younger than my daughter don’t pull me that way (beyond aesthetic appreciation) and that I’m not a one-dimensional pathetic male stereotype, and that you who bangs on about feminism ad nauseam would refuse to understand if I ever tried to tell you any of this (made that mistake already).

We broke up because at every opportunity when the issue came up in company you, a supposedly ex-Catholic, would have to declare, unprompted, that you were an atheist, as if this was a revolutionary thing to be and say.

We broke up because you had a go at me for forgetting and saying ‘mankind’ and not ‘humankind’, just one too many times…

We broke up because in bed the routine was that at the start you would say ‘No, no’, then when I realised this was a tease and went ahead, you romped all over me, coming and coming and saying it was soooo great, and then saying ‘Don’t ever do this with anyone else’. And altho the sex was wonderful for me too, I just got tired of the tedium of your script.

We broke up because I never really recovered from the sudden outbreak of rage when I was 7 minutes late on our 3rd or 4th date.

We broke up when in IKEA shopping for stuff for you, and I came along cause I wanted to keep company, you flew into a rage in front of everybody when I answered my mobile when a female work colleague who you knew rang me and I spoke for 30 seconds to tell her I was busy.

We broke up because on a Saturday afternoon I’d forgotten to book a popular restaurant and before I phoned you to arrange things I suffered a panic attack of fear and flight response and realised this was not right.

I now realise that on the online test for BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) 6 of 9 symptoms describe you. Everything falls into place. And although I still care for you, miss you and even love you, I was right to finally find the guts to extricate myself after 3 years.

No more ‘Walking on Eggshells‘ (a book I highly recommend).