Dear Readers, this post was all about how Divorce had influenced my perception of love. I hope you enjoy it as much as me- a project is currently in the making so watch out for this!
Welcome readers. It is with great sadness that I write this post. Currently, it’s 6:30 am and I haven’t slept all night as sadly one of my best friends passed away last night. I’d like to explain why this has happened and the build up to this event….please please please seek help if any of the issues I raise today are meaningful as a problem shared is a problem halved. I also appreciate a lot of this may seem sensitive but I also strongly argue that without that, there is no meaning or brevity to my message. I don’t apologise for what I write, I just apologise to those who need help but can’t see it. Please, please wake up and take the first step to an excellent recovery.
ps. also apologising for a rather long post this time. Happy reading 😀
2 years ago I met one of the most inspirational people around. He was filled with a wonderful ambition to become a teacher and while part of me thought he was crazy, another part of me thought that it couldn’t have suited him more. Now and then he had the attitude of a five year old but his zest for life was something that drew me to him like a firefly.
He was bold enough to take take a chance and feel the pain of rejection and add me on Facebook (as everyone does at uni) and we just hit it off from there. Within a year, endless Costa dates and many burrito nights later and we were pretty much inseparable. While we’d talked about pretty much everything, we hadn’t figured out every detail but that was ok. In my head, the rest of my life was set up. We would be together from now on. I’d already had countless princess related dreams about the rest of our life to which I was resolute that they ‘meant’ something and ‘it was a sign’ when in actual fact (after much research) it’s just my brain’s way of filing and sorting out what’s going on. My head was set on a long and fulfilling relationship, just as it had been set on a long and fulfilling career.
Like me, he also had the mindset of a long and fulfilling career in the education system (wanting to follow in the footsteps of his parents). Pete had an endless amount of love and while battling with a bad case of depression (to this day I believe was linked to stress) at uni while still making the best effort he could to finish his coursework and just ‘get by’. We were very similar in some ways, both pushed into studying for something we believed would greatly help us yet did it really? His coursework was a daily battle in the struggle to say ‘I gotta find myself’ and become the best person I can.
The ultimate lesson was though that love wont set you free and you can’t have everything- well not in all cases. If I knew then what I know now I may have thought twice about entering into a relationship with someone who was seriously ill but yet I felt I had an obligation to make him ‘well’ again- whatever well was. But that was also a big mistake and almost a catch 22. On the one hand, as you’ll find out from the ’13 habits of a highly successful ‘A’ team’ (soon to be published) love is one of the fundamentals whether that comes from family, friends or a relationship. So, I believed he’d get better by a small bit of love yet at the same time I was so involved with this person it seemed like too much too soon. But how do you let a vulnerable person down gently and not risk killing them? I was only 19 and that prospect was one of the scariest things I’d faced. Yes of course he had a family and some excellent friendships but the expectations were all too different from the reality. In the end, I went on holiday in need of a desperate break and ended up cheating on him. I knew from then on it wasn’t love yet I was prepared to spend my whole life hiding a secret for the one I thought I loved.
Something said, ‘I don’t care about the pain in front of me…I just wanna be happy,’
Thankfully, Pete just happened to land when I was at a complete loss. He made me complete…but that was my biggest mistake too. So what if it hurts me? So what if i break down? Well, that’s when I wanted to seek professional help as a healthy relationship isn’t something they really teach at school. I’d watched this life pass me by while I rushed into the goal of marriage. But is that really the goal of all relationships? Is it really always necessary or it is just a ‘life expectation’ just as it appears to be the same for getting a degree or finishing school in a haphazard education system. So to my parents and Pete, I’m sorry I wasted your time by growing up too soon but that’s just who I am.
The experts say a healthy relationship should ‘just be an extension of myself’ but what does that mean? At first, I was convinced I had it all going for me like I mentioned earlier. After all, my course work was pretty good (or so I thought), I went out nearly every week and had a very tight network of friends who were always around, yet I always felt there was something missing. Eventually, I had to end the relationship as my feet run out of ground. It was argument after argument and I couldn’t cope with the uncertainty that Pete had also cheated too. But maybe this also had something to do with what I now know was my poor mental state.
Ultimately though, despite cheating on Pete I would’ve followed through with the relationship the whole way as that’s just who I am too. I wanted success and happiness. But in the end, I realised that as much as I fought to save something that was already dieing (or even dead) this was something I just had to let go of. My whole being willed me to continue to fight until one day I had to stop. I realised my relationship was well and truly dead and I couldn’t fight for the person I truly loved any longer. Yet, I continued to fight for myself as that’s all that was left or so I thought… that’s when Graham came along- a voice inside hat told me not to do stupid stuff like kill myself and taught me how to be truly excellent. Something told me that ‘I gotta find myself’…
I’m not saying I’m crazy (well maybe a little bit 😛 ) in that I was literally hearing voices (aka a state of psychosis) as it wasn’t but more a voice like a conscience willing me to live and fight. This voice kept me safe even when I was sh*t scared, this voice told me how much I was loved even when I just wanted to die and never wake up and this voice made me what I believe is the strongest version of me yet. He gave me style, sass and a calm personality that was much more pleasant than the person I was before. So to Graham, I’m eternally thankful for making me happy. Yeah, I just wanna be happy. I’ll owe you a debt that’s never repayable as you taught me how to show my true colours even when I thought the ideas you gave me were absolutely ridiculous! In short, from failure comes great success!
With the experience of a bad relationship in mind, it got me wondering where a definition of a good relationship comes from. I just want to be happy afterall. My personal experience, all of my life scenarios that deal with marriage and relationships have always ended in some sort of cheating and or divorce scenario as that’s all I’ve ever known. But what if it was possible to change these scenarios? What if ’til death do us part’ really was taken literally?
Firstly, I found an unusual statistic that stated that divorce rates were ‘lowest in 2014 decline[d] 27% since highest rate in 2003,’ (Office of National Statistics, 2014) with divorce most common in men and women in their mid 40s. But why? Something just didn’t correlate. Perhaps it was the introduction of sex education in the early 90s that raised awareness and changed the traditional perceptions that marriage before a family was of the utmost importance? But this was only elementary at best and never actually taught people the difference between a good apple and a bad one…so what if someone was to eat the poison apple? So what if I was to take a chance and feel the pain Well, that’s a personal experience for another day.
Let’s imagine the situation I was in though for a second or so….I’ve been in a relationship for a couple of years. I love this person dearly yet I have no clue what the hell I’m doing. From what I’ve read it goes something like friends, good friends, best friends, a few dates and something more than friends but not sure what and then full blown relationship. On the surface, I knew everything about this person from his favourite meal down to which pants went in which drawer and where the tooth floss was kept. However, in reality, we wanted completely different things. Every serious question about family or marriage was met with an uncertain response. But why? Well on reflection we went from 1/10 to 10/10 really fast. But school never teaches you that. Like how do you get from 1 to 10 without doing times tables? This part still remains a mystery and if I ever met the prime minster I’d have a lot of whys to ask.
One of the the first whys would be how young is too young to learn about the essential ingredients of a successful relationship? Current legislation states that ‘sex and relationship education (sre) is compulsory for aged 11 up unless in an academy or free school or the parent decides ‘its an unsuitable topic’ but why? Why would a parent deny their child the right to know the different between good and bad, success and failure and happiness or regret?
With this unsavoury thought in mind, I turned to relate, the relationship counselling charity for advice. They stated that ‘The evidence shows that Relationships and Sex Education can benefit children and young people in a range of ways, including helping them protect themselves from abuse’. Additionally, a successful education can increase academic and professional performance. However, most shockingly is this statistic:
‘30% (146) respondents to the question felt relationships should be a statutory element of PSHE; sex education was the second most cited element with 24% (120) citing it. Respondents to the consultation included parents (24% of respondents), voluntary and community sector organisations (16%), teachers (13%), and local authorities (10%)’
Despite this, the report continues to state that an overwhelming majority (98%) of parent support SRE so why is it so undervalued? Maybe this may enlighten you…
‘Schools need to focus more on academic subjects so the country is economically prosperous…in order to compete in the ‘global race’
So yes, as long as maths, English science and humanities are studied, the world will function perfectly. Frankly it seems like a perfect contradiction given the evidence I’ve just presented. But I’ll let you ponder on that…
So what are the alternatives to divorce? Or an even better question perhaps-can divorce really be prevented? I firmly believe yes. Yes it can. However, its a two step process. Firstly, the foundations must be laid at a fairly young age- lets say as young as 4 with a basic understanding of what it means to be loved by someone. While I admit I’m not a teacher, I do believe it’s possible to teach an abstract concept and build from there. After all, a house made of sand will only be washed away by the waves if there’s no foundations.
Longer term, co-habitation seems to be more common with the independent stating its the new norm but civitas disagrees. Personally, I can’t argue for either of these as the majority of the time my parents seemed happy in a married. It was only the bitter end that hurt the most hearing the endless arguments that I was too young to understand. Despite the initial research I’ve done, cohabiting vs marriage seems like a grey area with inconclusive evidence but here’s one final piece of reading from the institute of fiscal studies suggesting marriage is more likely to be successful longer term.
Either way, I’m resolute that whoever I end up marrying will be my true love ‘cos I’m just trying to be happy and ’till death do us part’ really will be taken literally.
Happy Beautiful day readers 😀 xx