“Your taste in men… has always been questionable Sade” said Emmy one evening. I could feel her rolling her eyes at me through the phone, I grinned and laughed a knowing laugh. It was true, my taste in the opposite sex was somewhat problematic. I’ve always had an issue with regards to falling for the wrong people. From the crush in school with the braided hair a la Lil Bow Wow era, tall and wiry, with skin the colour of that first morning espresso (who subsequently bullied me from year 8 until year 11 for daring to fancy him – He was the ‘it guy’ of our year and I was the weird art kid whose skirt was too long, watched Naruto and had a concave chest), To the artsy Greek hippie with waist length curly chocolate hair complete with single dreadlock and a uh… unique sense of style (although he did introduce me to Bonobo, very good coffee and an abundance of brilliant indie films).

When I unceremoniously split with my boyfriend during my thesis submissions, I swore on cupid that I was done done done with relationships. Heartbreak is a bitch, she wrings you, she pushes you, she almost… breaks you, but she doesn’t and after hours, days and months of crying and pining, life continues as always. You go to work, you drink one too many glasses of wine with your girlfriends, you go to the gym, you keep on going and then suddenly… Your heart doesn’t hurt so much. You don’t flinch when people say his name. You don’t feel a pang of sadness when you smell his perfume on the tube, instead, you smile and understand that he was another lesson in love
You see with the culmination of each crush, flame, boyfriend, I unknowingly flourished. I got closer and closer to what I truly wanted in a lover. Taking baby steps further and further away from “Dang he’s hot” to “I love the relationship he has with his family”. Moving from present-day attributes that will fade in time, to characteristics that are more future focused. With crush A, I learned that I shouldn’t let any man belittle me, and that actually I am pretty damn amazing and should not have feelings for someone who thinks otherwise. With crush B I understood that in the end, the most important relationship I will ever have is with myself and I harnessed the power of true self-love. With flame 2.0 I realised that what I thought I wanted in a long-term spouse and what I actually wanted were two very different things. My focus shifted off how good looking he may, what job he had if he had bought a house etc and I began to understand the importance of a guy who is generous, kind, pious, and sweet.

With my last boyfriend, I learned that it is better to have loved and lost than to not have loved at all. I look back and I can honestly say that I’m happy he dumped me (and also happy he dumped me during my submissions as it gave me more energy to pump into my work strangely enough). If he hadn’t have ended things, I probably would have dragged us through the relationship until we both resented each other (Hey I don’t like giving up ok! But sometimes you have to face the facts). I’m enjoying singlehood right now and it’s fun to feel the fluttering wings of a blossoming crush unfolding in my stomach, it’s nice to be able to actually laugh with girlfriends at the fact that I spent a solid two weeks in my room crying and binging on Chinese food post-breakup and lamenting my impending cat and dog mama status. 
So what I’m trying to say is, take the burnt out remnants of the fire that was once a passionate relationship, and with it understand that you are a different person than you used to be, you have grown, your heart is wiser and you are closer to being with the person you were destined to be with (I’m a huge believer in things happening for a reason). Keep your mind open, be prudent with your heart and always always always trust your instincts. 

With that said, Happy Valentine’s Day – Whether you’re single, unsure, in a relationship, married, separated, divorced or widowed. I hope you show yourself a little love.



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