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A One Year Stand

On completing a year of being single in July, I realized that I am no longer that dreamy-eyed na├»ve dumpling I was in my early 20s. I believed in love far more as a teenager than I do now. I realized that when my friends’ teenage dreams consisted of having multiple steamy necking (do they even use that word anymore?) sessions with the ‘jocks’ of their time and seducing the said jocks by licking ice cream off a cone in a seductive way, mine was to fall in love, marry my first boyfriend, have 2.5 kids, own a family-esque Volvo SUV and a Labrador. As to not marrying my first my first boyfriend, I am thankful for small mercies; as to having two kids, I am thankful for bigger mercies bestowed upon me; as for falling in love, I’d rather catch pneumonia.

In all honesty, I have loved three men of whom I only fell in love with one of them. For those readers who are counting their fingers and frowning, I did not necessarily have relationships with the three men mentioned above. This year, I also ceremoniously mark as the tenth year since I began officially being in relationships. 2004, you have no idea how much I miss you. Again, for those readers who are bewildered and confused, there may have been bits of my life I may have omitted in my conversations with you.

After ten years of having rightfully saying ‘I love you’, I think I am more skeptical about using the eight letter phrase now than ten years ago. I also understand now that people have different interpretations of this as well. For me it translates in to forever and always, for another it might mean ‘we have a few hours, wanna hook up?’

A close friend told me about a relationship of convenience she is in and in all honesty, I could see why she felt that this could work for her. What started off as an experiment with an ‘unorthodox’ type, grew to be a far more realistic relationship than she had experienced. Now, I try not to label these things, but in the manner in which spades are called spades, it was a one night stand. In all cases with one night stands, the name of the game is ‘No love, no relationships and no emotions’.

Both consented to this and laid the ground rules that when and if the time came, they would go their separate ways. The door was always open to strangers (specially, the good looking ones) who were invited to stay, this ‘relationship’ was clearly to pass time; but there were those conversations, there were times he would intimate his concerns and fears. There were even times he blew a fuse because he felt her clothes were too revealing; there was that wave of nausea when he mentioned another girl to her. He would tell her that he missed how she smelled. She would feel miserable when half of the day passed without a call or the signature Viber message tone. She would be the first person he called as soon as he woke up in the morning. She admitted that she’s never enjoyed kissing anyone as much as him. She respected his passion, and was his biggest fan; he felt protective over this woman who was so determined and headstrong.

He told her that he loved her at the end of every telephone conversation; her heart broke every time she had to say goodbye to him. She found it easy to cry in front of him; he found that she, the supposed ‘mature’ one was insecure and needed to be held. When they were together, she pretended that he was all hers; he would tell her to find someone proper because he could not offer her anything she wanted, but made her a promise that they would always be in each other’s thoughts.

No emotions. No love. No relationships.

It was the first time she had been with someone and not imagined marriage and a future together; she was tempted though. It was the first time she knew there was an expiration date in advance. It almost felt like knowing she’d have a deep gash and having the bandage in hand before the accident. The folder in her phone that contained over one hundred of his pictures was evidence enough of impending disaster.

She knew of the other women and so there was jealousy; she did care about his dreams, hopes and aspirations, therefore there was emotion. There were tears and fights and therefore there was love; she spoke to him only and it was only a matter of time he was the centre of her universe so there was a relationship of sorts.

No emotions. No love. No relationships.

I asked her, what happens when it is time for her to get married? What happens when he gets bored? How would you know when to draw the line? Her answer stupefied me. ‘I don’t know’, she replied. ‘I’d rather have this than have nothing at all’.
‘How long do you plan to have him in your life?’ I pursued the subject. ‘Again, I don’t know. A month or two, or maybe a year’, she said. How can you be in a relationship without a plan or at least an indication as to where it is headed? Maybe the sane decision is to live each day at a time. So there it was – a One Year Stand. A relationship that was not a relationship, where there was love when there wasn’t supposed to be, with emotions that were on fire when it was supposed to be dormant.

I can only imagine that there are many women who fall asleep night after night, envisioning being held by a significant other. Or if they are like me, out of having nothing better to do, they blind themselves by reading through their Facebook feed in the dark out of sheer boredom. (There are times I lose my grip and the phone falls flat on my face) They are out every single night of the week trying to fill that void of not having anyone to spend time with or drowning themselves with work, simply because solitude is a bitch.

Is this grief worth it? Is she right and have I been wrong all along? Is this the cautious way to get out a relationship without too much a heart break? Should I reprogramme myself in accordance to her mantra? I have always wanted some guarantee so that men don’t leave me; with my most recent relationship, knowing that he wanted to start a family was a security that he wanted me. If I were in my friend’s situation I wouldn’t know what to ‘bind’ him to. Now for those people who know me very well, this is not the BDSM talking.

Have individuals discounted love and relationships so much that this is all we gain? Where is the value of love today? What does a girl have to do to get a decent relationship in 2014? I am a little tired of telling myself that someday I will find what I am looking for. Should I change and ask myself if I prepared to stand alone or settle for a one year stand?

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