“So what happened with you two, or am I allowed to ask?”
It wasn’t the first time I’d been asked and it wasn’t the first time I had to shrug my shoulders and have a quick think about it.
And even with all those opportunities, I was yet to come up with a satisfying answer.
“I dunno,” I told Sinead honestly. “It just wasn’t right anymore.”
We chatted about other long-term couples that had broken up in recent times.
It was the same formula: couple got together during college, stayed together for years, many lived together, everyone thought they’d be together forever and then BAM they were no more.
“I think it’s just the way it is now,” I mused over a chocolate malt. “I mean, years ago people did their Personal Growth thing during the last years of secondary school and in the couple of years afterwards so they had it together by the age of 20. But now, we don’t start until after college and those few years are supposed to be the time you sort yourself out, find out who you are and become comfortable with that. I did my growing as part of a relationship. Most people that do that grow into One Half of a Relationship and not into a person.”
“I know it sounds very American and cringe-worthily clichéd, but I feel like I need to ‘find myself’,” I said. “I’m not sure who I am or what I can handle or even what I want right now. I’m completely different from the Me in my final year in college.”
Sinead nodded her agreement. “You just need to live life a bit and have some fun!”
After a chat about general Life Stuff, I said: “Isn’t it crazy to think back to that summer in the shop five years ago when we had The Plan?”
“Oh God yeah,” said Sinead.
“The guy I liked was away for the summer and you had just met yours and we made a pact to win their hearts. And we did,” I added somewhat triumphantly. “And since then my whole life plan has changed so many times, I’ve had a few other boyfriends and a ridiculously long relationship with a boy I lived with, and now I’ve no idea what I want to do with my life. You also broke up with your guy and you’ve been around the world and you’re moving to Australia next week.”
It was head-spinning to think about all that had changed and how it seemed that all the work I’d put into life over the last few years had been erased and I was starting again.
Out on my own.
“On the plus side,” I said as an after thought, “my conversation topics are far more exciting as a single person than they were as the Long Time Relationship Girl. It’s nice to know there’s a silver lining.”