From someone who got a late start on love, here’s what I’ve learnt to strive for and what I’ve learnt never to settle on. This is for every smart woman who needed a tumultuous relationship to really know her worth.
Never settle for late night messages. Never settle for ecstatic highs and devastating lows. With nothing in between. Never settle for lots of attention thinking it means you’re respected and valued. Never settle on someone who needs reminding how good you are.
Like that time I was brought down on my knees, with tears along my jawline and through my hairline. I quoted the ancient Greeks on love. My shirt changed colour. It fell on deaf ears.
Never settle on being the reserve. Never settle for nondescript labels. You have a title. Never settle for infatuation. It’s hormonal, dear. Never settle for cheap thrills.
I sold myself like a bargain buy, thinking this was as good as it gets. All for instant gratification that didn’t last and made me examine every hair on my body, every cell in my brain.
Never settle on the blurb. Read it all. Never settle for someone who isn’t your intellectual equal. Never settle on mediocrity because it’s less effort. Never settle until you are ready. Not when he is ready.
He stormed out when I wouldn’t perform. He said he didn’t like the rejection. Would I have been made to feel bad if I rejected a cup of tea? Exactly. No means no.
Never settle for anyone who makes you feel like you owe them the world. Never settle for thinking you’re the reason he treats you badly.
Never settle on thinking you can change him. Never settle for vicious words even if they are few and far between.
I was called a careless bitch for not staying out late, for wanting to be with others or wanting to spend time on my own. I would never tolerate this from a friend – why from him?
Never settle for social media. It’s perception, not reality.
Never settle for information that you didn’t need to know. Never settle on being careless. Just care less. Never settle on things you just want to hear.
The truth set me free. But first, it really pissed me off. His declamatory love-sick statements were not followed by action but I clung onto them like precious stones. I then dropped them like a bag of shit.
Never settle on anger. You’ll burn out. Never settle on revenge. It’s an empty ego-boost. Never settle on not laughing at least twice a day. Never settle and fixate on a bad day. It’s a bad day, not a bad life.
I locked myself out of my flat because I wasn’t thinking straight; he took up residence in every room of my head. After paying a ridiculous price for the hurt and pain, I decided there and then this was not a life for me. I still have the receipt.
Never settle on anything but your best self. Never settle on anyone who deactivates your inner strength. Never settle solely on his love for you. Learn to self-love first. Never settle on thinking you need a boyfriend when you’re at a low ebb.
When I finally gave him up, my girlfriends, Ben’s Cookies, Lena Dunham, podcasts, my voice, the world, random acts of kindness on the streets restored my faith in all that’s good in the world.
Never settle when there are red flags. Never settle on going back when what’s done is done. Never settle on fridge magnet psychology. Write your own affirmations. Never settle on thinking you aren’t bloody fantastic.
One day I woke up and realised he was the second thing on my mind. Not the first. The switch flicked, that punch of pain was gone. I moved on. So. Never settle.