It’s all about the ring

Being single is one thing, people get the usual pressure from the society (over 30).  Nothing new, it is time to hurry up and find someone. When you are single you get used to it (see old posts below). When you are in a relationship for a long time however, you need to be prepared for another type of pressure…

The unavoidable question; “And when are you two going to get married? “Classic! I was lucky enough to “enjoy” this fascinating question for a year at least. Recently I have been talking to another friend who brought these memories back and made me realise how many of us have been through this or going through right now…

Being in a relationship for 5 years without “the” ring can make you feel doubtful. Even if you are not that type, people around you would remind you that subject every day, so eventually you start to raise these questions: “Does he still love me?”, “Does he plan with us?”, “Is he just lazy and wasting my time?”….. Worst dates in the diary: Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day, 30th birthday, trip to Paris, Rome, Venice or Thailand (not a full list, I know). And this is the time when those nasty expectations can ruin everything because they only make people feeling disappointed. And disappointment can lead to bad decisions. Surprise pregnancy (the child will fix everything), getting on dating sites, having an affair, or just simply being happy because it is still better than being alone etc. 

I think it’s actually not about the ring. Happy couples do get married after 5-20 years and the ring is never a problem. It made me wonder why. The ring is only a symbol, the most important thing is communication and how the other person makes you feel. If he talks about the future, kids and expresses his love on a daily basis this fear doesn’t exist. Likewise if he never mentions the future, kids or the fact that you will get old together, you start to have this awful fear and you are probably right, something is not ok. And everything can fall apart pretty soon after.

It feels like a lifetime ago when I used to face this pressure every day. Due to the fact that this friend has just told me her story, my feelings from the past became crystal clear for a couple of minutes (those comments, the sadness). How people were checking my finger all the time, how he didn’t say anything when they asked us. Of course he didn’t, because he knew that what we had just wasn’t enough. I don’t blame him by the way, I know why he didn’t feel it and he was right.

I will never forget that moment when I got my birthday present, a trip to Venice (which is beautiful by the way and highly recommend it). I knew it would be our last trip. Being there where everybody holds hands and there is so much love in the air and many engagements on a daily basis. Except us of course. It was visible that we were not one of the many happy couples. We didn’t have it anymore. That special something was gone. Normally I take many pictures, that time I only took a few… This is how Venice could become a sad memory for a year or so.

Now I don’t mind to remember it at all. I only remember the good things of course. Time fixes everything. Two months later we weren’t together… According to my friends they all warned him not to take me to Venice if there is no ring.  But he loved me (just not enough) and wanted to make me happy. Guys really don’t think like girls. He really didn’t think it would be a problem. They looked at my hands after the trip, not his. Colleagues, family, friends and even my hairdresser.

I can really feel other people’s pain and doubts when they tell me about their fear and I don’t have an answer. I can’t give any advice and I wouldn’t. All I can say is that I know how you feel and I made one promise – I’d never ever ask couples about when and if they are planning to get married. And I’d never ask married couples when they want kids. And never ask them when the second one is coming. You just never know what they are going through. How long they have been trying or what other problems they have. Stick to the weather. English people talk about the weather all the time for a good reason. It’s safe….

(Author: An, not edited)

Next: Being out of practise 

its all about the ring

its all about the ring

Feeling happy and lost at the same time

In 8 whole years, without a doubt this is the second time I have felt absolutely crap, shit and lost…etc. This is the time when I wish I could teleport, when I hate myself for not being with the people I love and grew up with. All I want is to be able to be with them when things matter most….

I received the following text at 4.35 am: “it is happening…”

I couldn’t go back to sleep of course, it was too much excitement for me to handle. It was no surprise that on the following day, I wasn’t really productive. Normally I work my ass off so on this occasion I didn’t feel guilty at all. My eyes kept coming back to my phone every minute – all day – only to read “No new message”. Another hour passed and still I heard nothing. It is so easy to get addicted and dependent on the little buzz on that plastic square object. I know it wasn’t me who was going through the hardest time and it wasn’t me who had all the pressure, but it was me who was extremely nervous and excited and who prayed every second. I prayed “please God tell me that they are ok! Please let it be quick and easy.” It wasn’t quick, or it certainly didn’t feel like it anyway. The next message came at 16.45 pm: he arrived at 16.13, both mum and boy are doing well.

The amount of relief I felt is not something I can easily explain. The flood of emotions hit me so hard it knocked me over. Tears were running down on my face and I couldn’t stop. Two beautiful pictures appeared on my screen and I was simultaneously the happiest and the most upset person. I couldn’t be more delighted for my one and only best friend who has had the most amazing experience. She is a heroine and who has become a mum (an amazing and beautiful mum). And I couldn’t be with her, I couldn’t visit her, in fact I was thousands of miles away.  Suddenly I felt empty, I felt that nothing matters anymore. Who cares about work and money, carrier and path. This is what matters, this is where I should be. It was a wrong decision I know now. It was silly, so silly and I can’t stop blaming myself. I should just pack and go. Would I regret it? Maybe. Would I miss what I have built up again and achieved? More than likely. But right now nothing matters to me. Right now I can’t be where I want to be and where I am supposed to be. Right now I feel so lonely like never before. I can’t show my love or express myself, I just can’t explain how much it hurts. And at the same time I am so happy that it also hurts.

There is only one thing I hope you know my dearest friend: I love you!!! More than you could imagine.

Next: Good or nothing

(Author: An, checked by my lovely friend Rebecca)



What is POF?

One year after the break-up and I finally decided to put myself on the market again. Hottest place to be on the market was (apparently) Plenty of Fish. All happiness apparently happens there. Can I be the same? Can I find the one right here and now? Let’s see…

I “loved” my friend’s stories about all of these dates. How one guy went off mid-date to try a pair of trousers on and she never saw him again. How she went to dinner with a guy she really liked and noticed the “white” line on his finger where he didn’t get a tan…. My other friend went to dinner and the guy’s payment card just didn’t work. Went to the machine and he had 5 cards in his wallet but his card just didn’t work….after he explained how he spent 500 pounds in Westfield…Women could write an endless book about these a**h@l#s. It should’t put you off of course!

Anyway, at least it’s good fun right? Took me two hours at least to fill in all the forms and viola I was on the market. (With this move I have just given away my data for free and made them an even bigger data collection site). 1000s of profiles to flip through. Which is not so great when you are that type who always likes to finish things (a book or a film, etc.) I can’t stand to leave something half done/half arsed! The first night I could hardly stop searching. Can be very addictive. Always hoped that a good looking man would come up or someone who has got a good profile. (Wishful thinking, I know)

It is a great confidence booster if you see past the creepy messages and read the compliments… Albeit I am not sure how well intentioned some of these men were with their compliments.

But it didn’t feel right, me liking guys, maybe I am very old fashioned but I like when a guy makes the first move.Very soon I noticed that more idiots and losers were on the site than good ones and it was very time consuming to filter them. (So tiring!!!!)

I have too many young colleagues and boys around me to know and hear the other side. How they think about this and it always puts me off. Three nights in a row I started to see the same people, always on line. That’s when it hit me. You’re all here all the time. You don’t have a life. Going further into my thoughts I realized, I didn’t have a life. Why am I playing with my phone and scanning through 100’s of absolutely non-potential guys instead of going out and exploring? After 3-5 days I met with one guy. My first time. Guess what. He wasn’t using his own picture. What a big surprise. He really wanted to go back to mine and tried to tell me how good it would be. Never mind that he was not very handsome and very annoying too. I quickly escaped and as I was walking home I did the most reasonable thing: deleted my profile. It wasn’t the right time. It felt like a massive relief. Could breathe again. Wasn’t locked up in this fake virtual world with a crazy addiction. There must be another way… Or maybe not…Time will tell…

(Author: An, edited by my lovely friend Sarah)

Next: London is full of broken hearts

Due to the fact that today is Santa day, see below combined Santa with POF 😉
– Happy Santa Day All!!!

POF and Santa

It’s time to say goodbye

When you work in an office and every day is the same you really wish you had the opportunity to travel for a living and stay in nice hotels. But when you do that constantly you get sick of it really soon, as I found out. No one is ever happy, human nature! Just like girls with straight hair wanting curls and vice versa.
I can’t complain I had some sort of job, was independent but I didn’t have a life. I had to travel from London to Leeds at least every second week, sometimes every week (see previous posts). I was spending my week days in hotels. Loneliness reached a very different level, as I had so much time on the roads with my job (and many other things) to
reflect. M1 and A1 became my best friends, know them so well.
In the end I would work later than I had to and fill all silence with noise because it was better than being in the hotel room alone. I knew it was only temporary, I had my plans however filling up that massive emptiness in a different city was a challenge. At the first I used to go to the bar area to get some company, hoping I could meet interesting people. Yep, me being naive again I know. It was full of ageing men with a good salary who can’t wait for vulnerable pray like me. Argh. Come on old men, just be faithful please! My little trips to the bar stopped pretty quickly!

Dancing was the highlight. When Amy had a free night and we went for dinner was always the best. I am ever so grateful! I also went for a swim whenever I could and talked to random people in the sauna. I really think I tried everything to keep myself busy. It did help no doubt but happiness was far-far away…
Finally my last day at this job arrived. As usual, being on my own in the pool (around 9pm it is expected), I enjoyed my last swimming there. Water has a special effect, it really switches my mind off. To breathe and feel weightless. Magic! I had so many thoughts in my head, selection of emotions, it had to come out somehow. Therefore when I went back to the room I wrote one of my final “diary rhymes”. (Since then I have created a busier, happier life so have no time for rhymes anymore.) I knew everything would change after this particular day on the roads. I had only one interview on my last day at my job. I had absolutely nothing else lined up….

Three hundred and thirty, and it’s really not dirty
I am alone in the room, I cannot be wordy
It’s been for a year, it’s always only me
My final night is here and I am getting released

God put me here, to be on my own
Not to hear a sound, so I find the inner glow
I learnt to shut up and listen to myself
Not to get distracted, be happy in my head

To hear my own soul, (cos) it was lost in a hole
Found its way back, finally it grows
I was really alone, this room was my home
Living in a hotel, it wasn’t my goal

The tea in the draw, the pics on the wall
I swear I won’t miss it, I am ready to go
The number has changed but the rest stayed the same
I needed to get out and start a new game

Ten thousand miles, what I drove with my car
I sang the same songs like a million times
It was in York but not in the New
Shire is the end and the people are cool

I am ever so grateful, I can’t say a word
Everything I learnt here I really deserved
Things will be fine, I am standing at the door
Of course I am scared but this was my choice

Next: Ready for the next chapter

(Author: An, edited by my lovely friend Sarah)


only some of them

only some of them

God save us all from married men!

My friend is always laughing at me because I often get into situations I really don’t want to be in. One of them was quite shocking. I was naive I guess but when I bumped into a (sort of/ distant in the company somewhere…) colleague in the lift at work and it turned out that our hotels were close to each other (where we were both on a work trip) he suggested that we should have dinner together. I couldn’t see why not, he was in a hotel, I was in a hotel, and it is boring to eat on your own. Only those who have ever lived from suitcases and lived in hotels for weeks / months can understand this completely. Not being alone one night is an exception. I didn’t know him but surely you can trust a colleague?

Except that he wasn’t really a colleague as it turned out-he was just a visitor from another company (only found out later). Still, I didn’t think it would be such a big deal. We went to the restaurant and had a good chat about everything. No, he wasn’t my type at all, not even good-looking and no ring. What could go wrong, right? I always talk to everybody, love learning from others.
My hobby is to find out what cars people drive as I used to do profiling, it’s my “fun” thing (albeit it’s not everyone’s idea of fun I realise). Anyway, I guessed pretty quickly that this guy drives a BMW. Then he said he was driving a 5 series. Hmmm. Only people with kids are driving that. It is a fact. But he didn’t have a ring as I said and he hadn’t mentioned kids, even though we had been talking for an hour or so by now. I was almost sure though that he had kids, profiling for a living is a powerful thing. Also he said he had a shed in the garden and he is doing his workouts in there. Why would you have a house and do your workout in the SHED if you didn’t have someone bothering you indoors? Which is fine but why wold you not mention it? After dinner he insisted to go for a drink. This is when I started to feel that if I wanted to have a little more fun, he wouldn’t have rejected it (I do click sooner later…). Luckily for his poor wife I wouldn’t do such a thing, even if he had been my type. I felt so sorry for that woman. I am sure every couple have difficult times but this is not a solution. Also I do believe in karma, if you do such a thing it would come back to you.
So how did I find out that he had kids? He actually pulled out his iPad as he wanted to show me a video and his screen saver showed him with two children… He tried to close the screen it but it was far too late. Like every girl, I did the usual stuff: “
Ah, you have kids? They are super cute! Show me the picture. Why did you not say?” Busted! Awkward!

So knowing he had children (and probably a wife) I thought he wouldn’t push it and again I was wrong.  Straight away he started to tell me the “heartbreaking” story about how he wasn’t happy with his wife, and how she really wouldn’t mind if he had a little “fun”…. 

Wrong. In seconds I had made my excuses and left. Learnt my lesson, no worries…

PS: My friend told me a story about another guy. She really fancied him and they had been chatting for ages (online dating of course) and finally they met, she was so excited. Very soon she realised that he had a thin white line on his finger… He did his best to remove his ring but he forgot that he just had been on holiday… my friend was out pretty soon too. Time wasters….
What is even worse when you fall for someone so badly and you realise so much later that he is actually married… I do hope I will never ever get to that situation!

(Author: An, edited by my lovely friend Sarah)

Next: He is just not that into youmarried man


NEW YEAR – Appreciate all that is great

I might be the New Year’s Eve Grinch equivalent but I hate New Year’s Eve. A lot. It is an overpriced “must” and for me most of the time it is a disaster. I have learnt not to have any expectation (which is good regarding other things btw as well) so I don’t get disappointed but still. Best ones have been when I have stayed at home with friends or family. Quiet, nothing special – amazing.

Being single in London the first time at NY Eve put pressure on me. Obviously everybody wants to know where you will be at New Year’s Eve and I always said I was going to be with friends somewhere in London (had nothing planned of course). Luckily for me, and at the last minute, this really happened. Law of attraction! I was invited to London to spend time with a group of Spanish friends. We had a house party planned and tickets to a club. Of course when we got to the bar and even though it was before 10, there was a massive queue. And even though we had our tickets they wanted us to pay an extra £50-100 (can’t remember) to get in- this is London baby! Of course no one wanted to pay that amount right after Christmas so we started to walk around London. Finding a good place so late in the day is impossible. I had remembered though that there was a good pub at Liverpool Street, which was close by, and I hoped it would be open. And it was! Lucky us! Great people, affordable drink, fireworks on TV, good music, what else do you need? I also learnt a new tradition on that night. Spanish people eat grapes at midnight! Such a cool tradition! My night did work out well after all.

New Year’s Eve always brings with it hope. I never try to make any resolutions, no point, I probably wouldn’t keep to them and I get disappointed when I don’t. Instead I use it to value all of the good things in my life. To appreciate everything good that has happened in the previous year and I appreciate all that I have (not thinking about anything I don’t have).

(Author: An, edited by my lovely friend Sarah)

Next: The first “To do list”

My New Year

My New Year

It’s Christmas and I am single, so?

I am 100% sure if media and society wouldn’t put too much pressure on single people around Christmas so many single people would be less depressed/ much happier.

I anticipated that my first Christmas as a single girl, after 5 years, alone in London was going to be a “torture”. In the last 5 years I had been part of, and with, a lovely family who had children running around, great food and all round fantastic celebrations. I was lucky enough to experience how amazing Christmas can be. Christmas when everybody is together and everything is perfect. I will never forget those years.

This time however, by the time I had started to think about (/face) Christmas I didn’t have a chance to buy a ticket to go home. I was going home on the 27th for a couple of days but until then I was facing a lonely Christmas on my own, in my new hole.

It wasn’t the first one. I will always remember my first lonely Christmas. I had finished my degree, left my home and I was working in a restaurant. Being the newbie meant that I had to work the Christmas shifts. No chance to fly home. I worked on the 24th of December, walked “home” to an empty house, stayed there for 2 days and did nothing. I cried and survived. Sorted! I had been away from my family for only 4 months (the first 4 months!). It broke me completely. My housemate/ friend went home of course. She wanted to buy me a tree but I forbid her to do that. I didn’t want to know that it was Christmas… A bit harsh I know, but you can only understand this if you have experienced something similar.

So 7 years later I was facing the next one and even though I didn’t feel as scared because I knew what to expect, I was definitely not excited either. In the lead-up I tried not to think of the full set of decorations I had in the previous years in our house- the silver rain deer, my big fluffy pink stocking, the Christmas card holder string etc. I tried not to think of the fact that I had no one to buy a present for and I wouldn’t be getting a present either. When you can’t share the experience with anyone Christmas just doesn’t feel the same. When you can’t go ice-skating with anyone or to the market to drink mulled wine and try the silly rides. And all the other social activities mainly designed for couples which London is full of…it all feels so lonely around Christmas.

It was 1 week before Christmas and I had nothing planned but within a day that all changed… leading me to realise that miracles do happen! My best friend bought me a spa day as a present, I am truly blessed. It was just the beginning. I met with a Spanish friend who went home for Christmas but her cousin was staying behind. Even though her cousin spoke hardly any English she explained that she would be sending Christmas with her uncle, in London and asked me to join them for lunch on Christmas day (I made the cheesecake)! I was blown away by the random act of kindness. This would mean no loneliness and I could experience a Spanish Christmas! On the same day my best friend (aka my American angel) called me. She called me because she was around and knew I would be alone so she invited me for dinner on the 25th. A Spanish lunch and an American dinner?! My hopes and excitement for Christmas had dramatically improved! Later that same day I decided to knock on my neighbours door to say hi (I had only been living there for one and half months by then and wanted to get to know my neighbours). A Hungarian guy and a Polish girl welcomed me in and we had a lovely chat. It was a bit later into my evening with them (and to my utter surprise and delight) that they invited me to their house Christmas Eve for a Hungarian and Polish combined Christmas dinner!

Christmas does bring people together and it really made me think about the bigger forces. I was looked after. I felt loved and it was amazing. I had the nicest Polish soup, which is very good when you have a hangover apparently. I had artichokes with anchovies and mayo, a typical Spanish dish and also the nicest homemade ravioli with some special American dishes.

When I woke up on the 25th in my flat on my own I had a present waiting for me, which brought only happy tears this time. I actually had a present to open! One tiny wrapped perfect present. I have many friends and I know I am the luckiest person ever. This present was from one particular friend who I call my butterfly girl. Why butterfly? Simply, because she loves butterflies simply but also because you cannot compare her to anyone else. Her butterfly collection is amazing. She showed me Tropical wings and since we have known each other we always buy each other something to do with a butterfly. She is full of kindness, she is smiling constantly and without doubt she can always cheer you up. Now she lives in Australia (because fairy tales still exist – another post one day) but still she sends Christmas and birthday presents every year and here I was with her beautiful present. So I wasn’t without present after all….. And on the 27th I was loved and spoiled by my friends and family. And this Christmas turned out to be a very special one, one I will never forget…

(Author: An, edited by my lovely friend Sarah)

Next: When time needs to pass – read, watch, listen!

It's Christmas

It’s Christmas

The fear of living alone

Being single and living on your own can be really scary when you have no one around you. It’s only you.

You can’t get ill because no one will bring you anything in bed. You definitely can’t afford to break your arm or leg otherwise you are in serious trouble! (Not that I recommend breaking a bone if you are coupled.) Even if you have friends in the city it wouldn’t be enough. But when you are new in the town you have no one. Not long ago I was very proud of myself because I changed the fuse in my standing lamp. Yeaaah it only takes a minute but I ordered the fuse and did it myself. No one else needed. However as I was switching the light on something suddenly hit me. If I didn’t do it right and I got an electric shock, no one would find me. No one would miss me. Okay a little dramatic but still if something had happened… maybe my mum would start to worry around Sunday when I don’t call her, but not many others would notice at first! It shouldn’t be like this.

There is no way that I am the only one with this fear. I know that I can’t live in fear (cos it’s simply stupid) so I have to stop worrying and I know I will sort it out but it is still there.

Luckily I have some nice neighbours and although they wouldn’t necessarily knock for tea I think if I screamed loud enough they would come in. One of them even has a key to my flat; this is trust. Purely because I have to trust them as no one else I know lives nearby if I get locked out. The other neighbour is pretty cool as well. He lives there with Ted (his dog). He is a make-up artist and very talented. I wish he was my type as it would be a great love story. But instead we are just really good neighbours. (When I have too much food I give my neighbour and Ted some and I love going for a walk with them. Great company. Ted is super clever and the best alarm.)

This is the only time when I think a flat-share would have been better. More fun, lively and at least someone to bring you medicine and/or notice if you died from a faulty fuse!

PS: my journey has included many lessons about fear and how to keep it under control. The most important thing is: it’s all in your head, it is not real…

(Author: An, edited by my lovely friend Sarah)

Next: It’s Christmas and I am single, so?


Fear – BSIL

The BIG Meltdown – it hits you sooner or later

Suddenly my adrenaline had ran out. It was now a few months after our break-up and it hit me (with force) that everything I had dreamed of was over. I had no more energy to keep pretending all was okay (I did a good job for 3 months). My heart felt like it was breaking all over again. I was beaten. My friend explained to me that it was similar to how you feel after being involved in a car crash. Your adrenalin is high immediately after (perhaps shock) but when it drops, you break down and come to terms with what has happened. Apparently most of us lose our sh*t around this point. My friend told me this theory straight after my break-up, when I felt okay… Fine, maybe I was in denial (?!). Maybe she was giving me a warning but I just remember thinking “Why does there have to be a come-down? Why can’t I just always feel okay?

Continue reading

The new “Hole”!

The big day eventually arrived… I had found a flat or “the hole” as I would affectionately call it later, and I was moving in. Having a tiny studio all to myself, with the freedom to cook when I please and just be as I please (I could even walk naked if I wanted to…..), was rather brilliant at times. On the flip-side however, was having a tiny studio which was just for me- after sharing a lovely big house with the man I loved. It was a bit of an adjustment….. Continue reading