Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Where did all the love go?

I’ve been wondering lately – in the words of one of my favourite bands - where did all the love go?

Recently I kind of lost faith in relationships and marriage. You are constantly bombarded in the press with stories of celebrity couples breaking up, footballers cheating on their wives and stats on how many marriages now end in divorce.

When it hits close to home it really starts to sink in though and this is what’s happened over the last couple of years. I’ve witnessed close friends divorce after less than two years of marriage because both of them cheated on one another (one to a much greater extent than the other). Obviously not everyone can stay together, but this pair appeared to be the happiest, most loved-up couple you can imagine – on the surface – always snuggled up and romantic, he wrote and sang a song on their wedding day, been together since college, I won’t go on.

Maybe of less importance, some may argue, I’ve also seen close friends of mine in a relationship break up, again due to infidelity. They’ve since both moved on and seem to be with more suitable partners, which is a good thing. However, people cheating on each other now seems to be an extremely acceptable fact of life, which I for one, find extremely sad.

What I don’t understand is why do people stay with someone if they’re not really happy. I don’t mean in circumstances when you’re stuck with Mr Nasty and can’t seem to let go (I think we’ve all seemed to have one of those!) What I’m referring to is people who stay with their other half when they are looking elsewhere and often going elsewhere too… Why stay with that person if you want to be free and single? A one off is bad enough, but at least it can be classed as a mistake, but regularly cheating on someone, why do it?

We all know someone who’s a bit of a lad and likes to flirt and try it on with people, it just seems to be their character, but when they settle down to get married to someone they claim to love surely all this stops? You should love each other for the true person they are and for all their faults when you get with someone, but to me that shouldn’t include cheating. Yet I’ve heard of people being approached for ‘a bit of fun’ with such a person on their stag do and even someone having their bum pinched at the wedding reception by the groom!

In a similar way, people who use their stag or hen do as an excuse to sleep with or ‘get off with’ someone, just does not cut it with me. Don’t get me wrong when I have my hen do – whenever that may be – I plan to have lots of fun and use it as a reason to have a real good time with my girl friends. Perhaps I might even indulge in a cheesy stripper and party dares, but I will not be getting involved with any males who happen to be there. Your hen or stag is not really your last chance to let your hair down nowadays, it’s not like you become locked up indoors when you get married. To me it’s a chance to celebrate your great news and love for your partner with your closest friends.

It almost seems increasingly that people get married for the big day – the dress, the presents, the party – rather than what should be key to the event…that old fashioned concept of love.

Now don’t worry (I sense you’ll be feeling at this point the post is becoming rather negative and whiney), my belief in love and relationships recently has been restored. This is all thanks to a very close friend of mine, we haven’t known each other for that long in the grand scheme of things, but we tell each other near enough everything. This friend brought me to tears and made me feel so touched a few months back by asking me to be her Maid of Honour – just me, no other bridesmaids, just little old me walking down the aisle with her and helping her plan her big day.

On first glance I appreciate this looks rather biased on my part, but the reason I am feeling more hopeful is because of the way this lady is handling it all. The couple are getting married for one reason and one reason only – they love each other. This ceremony isn’t going to include great old aunty Maud who you haven’t seen for years, or that distant cousin who only pops up at weddings and funerals. Oh no this wedding is actually about the two most important people – the bride and groom. They are having everything on their special day to represent their personalities and their beliefs. Not only is this a refreshing approach, but one I think other people could learn from. It’s not a case of going old fashioned and following tradition either, all plans are being made around their relationship and its history and some are far from conventional.

I can’t describe how pleased I was for said friend when she told me she’d got engaged, I know she wanted it for some time and was unsure when the big day would arrive. Her man loves her very very much and shows his affection in his own way, but he is very private and not prone to grand gestures. So when he proposed in a romantic setting within a city associated with love it came as a double surprise and to me shows just how much she means to him.

Perhaps there is hope out there then and there are still people in relationships because they love that person and are happy being with them and only them. I have been with my boyfriend for six years this August and am more than happy with him and couldn’t ask for a more caring and supportive guy to be with.

So to all my single friends out there, keep positive – there is true love out there and you will find your Prince/Princess Charming one day, I have. To all those people not happy in relationships and wanting to see if they can have their cake and eat it, please think it through - the grass is not always greener. And if you’ve reached that stage where your boyfriend/husband/wife/girlfriend is not enough for you then please don’t break their heart, do the right thing and end it. Life’s too short to be with someone you’re not satisfied with and love is too precious a gift to waste.

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