Happily Ever After – looking for that one in seven billion
According to Hollywood (and I’m looking at you in particular here, Disney), meeting your ‘soulmate’ is a pretty easy endeavour, to be followed by a first kiss and living happily ever after. Valentine’s Day card producers take much the same line. The reality for most of us, though, is that we’re likely to kiss quite a few frogs on the way to the handsome prince…
This was an appealing notion to me as a hormone raddled teenager, coming, as I did, from a household where my parents were still as dotty about each other as when they first met. Fortunately for my father’s blood pressure, my first attempt at teenage-style true love didn’t last long. In retrospect, I’m not sure that a shared love of dodgy heavy metal music and complete lack of anything in common boded well for a long-term future. Teenage rebellion is a wonderful thing, but it’s unlikely that I would have taken well to a life of new tattoos and illicit drinking in the park once I passed the end of the summer holidays.
With the first few experiments out of the way, once I got a little older, I began to think of the idea of there only being one soulmate for everyone as a little sad. If there’s only one person for everyone, then the chances of meeting them in a world of around seven billion seems slim. Surely, I surmised, it’s better to believe that there are a number of potential soulmates out there for each
There are also surely different kinds of true love in our lives. All of the best relationships I’ve had in my life have remained close friends – one man I dated for two years has now been a friend for over 20 – and, without wishing to sound too soppy, I think best friends can be a kind of soulmate to most of us.
With a somewhat cavalier attitude to relationships through my 20s, I also began to move away from the idea of a Mr Right… which was fortunate, because it was also unlikely I was going to find them in some of my choices. From the Australian whom my sister christened the ‘mangy wombat’ through to the man who seemed really attractive until he texted with appalling grammar (such a bitter revelation…) these were men for a season rather than life.
I never wanted to settle down anyway. Instead, I travelled, as well as living and working abroad in both Africa and New Zealand. I did pretty much everything I wanted to do between 20 and 30, along with plenty of things that I should’ve known better than to even contemplate. It’s not to say that I didn’t meet men, but the timing was always pretty dreadful – the absolute zenith, surely, being the man I’d known for a few years who finally decided we should start dating. Unfortunately, I had to tell him that I was emigrating to Africa the next week. The moral of this tale, then, is that there is no need to wait around or, indeed, rush into finding your supposed one true love…
What is the point to this Valentine’s Day story, you may be wondering. Why would I write about soulmates when I have spent so much of my life working through a list of supposedly unsuitable men? Well, the truth is that, when I was least expecting it, I did meet a man who was different from the rest, and I actually wanted to settle down with him and have a life together. It’s safe to say that this was something of a shock to the system and it’s lucky that he was patient whilst I ran around doing my best impression of a headless chicken at the idea of commitment.
For the fans of Greek mythology out there, it’s fair to say that the way we met was through a series of random and bizarre coincidences that made little sense on paper. Indeed, there was little reason that we should have met at all, but meet we did. Maybe he is my one soulmate, maybe he’s one of a number of potential soulmates, but the important thing is that he makes me happy. And how did this tale end up?
Reader, I married him.