When I was at primary school I started to notice that girls were much prettier than boys. I even had a few crushes, but I didn’t make it to the Wendy House for my first kiss until intermediate. Crushes prepared me for the more serious stuff later in life.
My college years began and I started having girlfriends – never at the same time! – but the relationships didn’t last long. Breaking up was never easy for me; nothing is simple when feelings are involved. Tom Cruise summed it up perfectly in Cocktail: ‘Everything ends badly otherwise it wouldn’t end’.
My crushes became more intense. If I was feeling confident I could talk to the girls I liked – make them laugh. If I was insecure, then my mouth dried up and my tongue felt like it had been anaesthetised, tripping over my words.
My first true love entered my life two years out of high school. When we parted ways, I grew disillusioned about almost everything. Love is meant to last forever, right?
After nursing a broken heart (bring out the violins please) for a few years, I met my next girlfriend. She made it possible for me to move on. But time and circumstance prevented this relationship from enduring. Perhaps I was still carrying scars.
My partner today – she’s proof that lightning can strike twice. She’s smart and beautiful and I love her. When we first met, she thought I was a ning-nong. It took me a long time to convince her I was a likeable ning-nong.
I’m no expert on relationships. Being yourself seems logical, otherwise you’ll be found out soon enough. But I’ve learned a few things along the way.
If a relationship ends and you still want to be in it, then don’t pester your ex. Hold your head up high, be prepared to accept ‘no’, and be patient. If it’s meant to be, it’ll happen.
While I believe in fairytales, I also think if Cinderella broke up with Prince Charming, she’d eventually find another match. That’s not to say childhood sweethearts can’t grow old and die together, hands held in The Notebook perfection. But you can mend a broken heart, and you can love again. I did.
Acting Agony Aunt
Jonathan K Benton
Postscript: what does this blog have to do with writing? At the heart of almost every novel there’s a love story. It doesn’t have to involve love in the romantic sense of the word either. Writing, itself, is a labour of love.