When I was 19 years old, I got dumped by my childhood sweetheart. On the train to uni the next day was reading the Metro newspaper (for those who haven’t heard of it, it’s a free British newspaper for commuters). That morning, I kid you not, the opening line under Virgo’s Metro star sign read, “A major relationship in your life has just sunk like the Titanic.” I don’t know why, but after all these years, I’ve never forgotten that opening line.
Almost ten years on, and – yet again, I got dumped. I hadn’t even really told anyone about the ‘whatever it was’ thing in the first place, because in a very superstitious and naive way, I was scared to jinx it. I really thought I was onto a good thing. I really liked the guy, and there is nothing more terrifying than admitting to someone that you feel happy and secure, for it all to unravel on you. To top off my vulnerable state, I had wet hair, and no make up on, when he came over to break the news. Hardly looking my best and feeling even more vulnerable for it… So isn’t it better to keep these things private, no? The less people know about your life, your inner turmoils and problems, the better. (FYI, this is the exact reason why you should never post anything relationship related on your social media feeds).
I told a couple of my friends that I was feeling pretty sad, and of course, they rallied round. It got me thinking, about all the things that people say to you in a bid to make you feel better when you’ve been dumped.
- “He doesn’t deserve you.”
- “It’s his loss.”
- “What’s for you won’t go by you.”
- “You’re a great catch!”
And then, even worse are the things people who are in relationships say to you, when they want to pass on some words of wisdom.
- “You’ll find love when you least expect it.”
- “You’ll find love when you’re happy in yourself.”
- “You can’t be too picky.”
- “You’re going for the wrong type”
- “Men are too intimated to approach you.”
- “Stop looking for it.”
- “You’ll meet someone, eventually.”
Can I just tell you right now, that absolutely none of these make me feel any better about my situation, so please let’s not be all patronising. I’d rather you just give me a pat on the back and tell me that, “life is shit sometimes” and buy me a gin (or an Aperol Spritz – my new favourite drink) instead.
It’s just that he wasn’t wasn’t wearing a sign above his head saying “WRONG TYPE” in Helvetica Bold – how was I to know? Is there some sort of secret algorithm that detects the right type? Male? Check! Oh wait, he seems quite sane, so he is definitely the wrong type! Or I’m too picky? Oh wait, I didn’t realise I was inundated by offers of Zac Effron and Ryan Gosling lookalikes. That’ll be because I am too intimidating. It must be my pink sheep pyjamas coupled with my high flying career and striking supermodel looks that are putting guys off. (Can you sense the sarcasm?) One friend actually suggested to me that I am going for men that are, “too good looking” and to try a guy who is less attractive, as these ones tend to be more “grateful”. All I heard there was that I am clearly aiming for guys too out of my league, and I have obviously seriously over estimated which number bracket I fall into in the looks department. And finally, stop looking for it? Well, logically, when people detect a void in their life, they go out and actively find a way to fulfil it. You want to move to a new home? Well, you best start trawling the housing market. Work is soul destroying? Maybe it’s a good time to look on job-sites and update that CV of yours. You want to start a family? You better stop using birth control and start trying. But yet, God forbid you should want to meet a nice guy to spend some time with. GOD NO! Don’t dare let guys know that you’re looking for something more substantial. ARE you DELUDED? They’ll flock for the hills. You’ll terrify them! And don’t get me started on finding love when I am not looking for it! I have never expected for a minute to find love while I am brushing my teeth, or during a shopping spree in Zara.
I am so beyond exhausted with dating. I can’t even tell now if it’s just a terrible side effect of being an expat in Dubai, or if this is how dating is now, worldwide over. Or maybe it’s ME? Am I the problem? It doesn’t seem to matter if I am straight up honest about my intentions; wear my heart on my sleeve; follow the dating rules according to Why Men Love Bitches; wether I play games; or wether I am just my absolute self, the result is always the same. People are forever telling me, that I must be doing something wrong. And when it comes to calling off “us” whatever that may be, almost always there’s a, “You’re so kind, funny, nice, smart, pretty blah blah blah… but…” speech, directly followed by an excuse of why it’s not going to work. If the guy genuinely thought these things about me, then he wouldn’t be dumping me, right?
And this, readers, is not solely a girl only problem. I have many expat guy friends who are in the same position. “It’s impossible to find love in this country, so I have given up.” “There’s no normal people in this city, everyone has come here either to make money, or escape problems. Everyone is fucked in the head.” “This city is full of assholes, pretending that they are actually nice people.” “There’s so many stinking rich guys, how can I compete!?”
I give up.*
Bridget Jones Carrie Bradshaw (better style, cooler friends, lives in NY) eat your heart out.
And P.S, to all my friends who said these things, I know you’re only trying to be kind and cheer me up, and I love you for that. Thank you.
*well, until further notice.