You can wait a while to meet someone who's an excellent pun-smith, can write you a birthday rap and doesn’t wear crap aftershave (these are my criteria, of course, insert your own).
“It has a penis and strong jaw, but laughed when I called the red pepper and the yellow pepper ‘compadres’? What is this mythical man beast?” you might say, before locking yourselves in the bedroom for a couple of months, lest he escapes back to the alien nation he came from.
A good partner is a best friend and more. Finding one you enjoy spending time with as much as the lady friends (and that’s a pretty high standard) can be a revelation.
BUT, although I understand new-love disappearing acts, I definitely don’t condone them. A new partner might seem to have all you need and more, but there are things you can only get from spending time with good strong womenfolk.
This year, I left my boyfriend at home and went on a tremendous girls' holiday to Greece. It was an eye-opener. We found ourselves hilarious, we danced, we ate a lot of cheese and one of us jumped topless off a rock. But more than anything, I learned a lot about my friends and myself.
My last four holidays have been with my boyfriend. We all know relationships take compromise, especially when you're stuck in a town filled with hostile servicefolk, apocolyptic, swarming jellyfish and dead bars (Croatia). While friendships are no exception – three women with different ideas of the best Gyros in town can make choosing a lunch venue tricky – when we travelled together, I found myself asking more what I wanted to do each day, then negotiating with the girls, rather than what ‘we’ want to do, as couples tend to do. Being a little bit selfish is healthy. I ended the week feeling more connected with what makes me happy.
Although my mates and I are close, your friends won’t always tell you they have a problem. It took living in each other’s pockets for a week to really understand what my friends go through day-to-day, what their insecurities are and whether they need help to overcome them. Seeing someone a couple of times a month for dinner is not enough for anyone to truly open up. But having someone there every day for a week relaxes you into being more honest with yourself and your friends.
I know now that we have different priorities, both day-to-day (I need food then coffee, Bethan needs coffee then food) and in the long term. Some of us want to focus on developing our careers, whereas others see relationships as the next mountain to climb. Our tumultuous late twenties were absolutely the right time to get to know each other even better and learn how we can make each other’s lives easier.
So I’d advise anyone with a boyfriend not to save up all your annual leave for couple's time. Beside everything else, this holiday was fun, and when super-tanned, Gosling-bodied Turquoise Shorts wandered down the beach each day, it was awesome to be able to comment on it.