On being in love, and not. On companionship, and not

In my commuting moments (which are really ‘daily hours’ rather than ‘moments’) I spend a lot of time listening to music, and thinking.

In the last couple of months I have done a lot of thinking about relationships.

In general.

And the kind of relationships that we have.

And why we have relationships.

A friend recently told me about a relationship she began with a guy she met via an internet dating website.

The guy was good-looking, physically fit, lucid, had some cash in hand, and, it later turned out, was a bit of a nutter.

Another friend (and yes, most of my friends are female. That’s the way it is, and maybe we should talk about that one day?) recently told me about a first-meeting with a guy, which turned in to a full-blown fuck-fest in the space of 5 hours. And then she dumped him.

Both single women; both looking for ‘something’ in their own way, on their own terms. Or looking for someone who matches their independent criteria.

But what is that ‘something’ they are looking for? And what role is the ‘someone’ to play in the life of each of my friends, if they find him?

When I was in my teens I read a lot of Dick Francis; in one of his novels – I can’t remember which, and that detail isn’t germane – the narrator describes the 40-something protagonist as living alone, but having a ‘girlfriend’ who he doesn’t live with, but occasionally they do live together. For company. And love. And sex.

I remember thinking how odd that would be, that ‘together and yet not’ kind of lifestyle; how peculiar it seemed, to my teenage (and heavily idealistic) eyes.



Surely, I remember reasoning with myself, if you loved someone you would want to be with them all the time?


Live with them?


Wouldn’t you?


And yet if you burrow below the surface of our ‘married with kids’ society, you will find a strata where people are happy to be single.

You will also find a level where people are not, strictly speaking, single, but they aren’t ‘together 24/7’ either.

I know we’re all different; we have individual values and we make decisions based on our own likes, dislikes, needs and wants.

But that’s the point.


No matter how much you might like your male or female companion, what you need or want might not be what they need or want.


Other than companionship.

There is an interesting collection of thoughts and memories in today’s Guardian. It is far too easy to dismiss – or minimise – the thoughts of some of the contributors because they are now in advanced years.

But these people were once younger than you are now.

And that’s a thought in itself, eh?

If you’re interested, you can find the Guardian article here. One or two contributions are particularly poignant.

I’m not sure where I sit on the love/relationship/marriage thing, but it is refreshing to see so many honest views.

As I said some time ago, whatever relationship I end up with, I do know that I don’t want marriage.

And I don’t want to live – full time – with my partner.

I’m sorry, but there it is.

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