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Have you ever noticed how the vast majority of Hollywood romances are only about the courtship period? The “climax” is usually marriage, and the story is how they get from meeting to marrying. That’s the end of the story, the happily ever after.
Only, for most people, that’s only the tiny little bit at the beginning. For my husband and I, it took us 3 years to move in together, 5 years to get engaged, and 7 to get married- and that’s quite slow compared to lots of couples we know! I was only 18 when we met and he was 21, so we were in no rush. But Hollywood tells me that that’s the end- happily ever after. I was only 25! Surely that can’t be the end of the story!
Since we got married, our lives have changed so much. When we got married, we were both doing well in our jobs, and we had disposable income, nice cars, lovely holidays, we had both just lost lots of weight, so we were fit and healthy with fancy new wardrobes. We loved to do things spontaneously, and we loved to spend quiet time together, lazing in bed. We ate out lots, we saw our friends lots, and we were very carefree indeed.
A year later, I got pregnant, and all that changed- the loss of my income so I could be on maternity leave meant no disposable income, and the addition of the Cub meant no time to actually do anything anyway. We toyed with the idea of going on holiday, but the idea of doing a beach holiday with a suitcase of baby paraphernalia in tow, dealing with the logistics of naps and feeding in a strange place was just utterly off putting. I got rid of my fancy car to save money and now we share one- mostly, I walk everywhere. And we both put on a ton of babyweight and our fancy wardrobes started to mock and jeer at us from the corner of the bedroom. (We are now fixing that issue, slowly but surely!)
Then there’s the exhaustion- the sheer, utter exhaustion. Not just the sleepless nights, but the real loss of time for ourselves, in which to recharge. We now need to prearrange babysitting for a date night out (date night! I would have laughed at that idea not long ago!) and haven’t even managed a meal out together for two months.
This has been my day for most of the last week:
Awake for most of the night with a teething Cub. Then I get up, get Cub ready, kiss Cub and husband goodbye as they leave for work and nursery, get myself ready, walk to work, do a full day at the office, walk to pick Cub up, walk home, bath Cub, dress Cub, feed Cub, put Cub to bed, say hi to husband, run out the door to the gym, spin, come home, eat whatever I can find, say goodnight to husband, collapse in a heap.
We are like ships passing in the night, and honestly, we talk more over email at work than we probably do at home. So, I ask, how on earth do you make time for romance? How is it possible to fit in actual relationship stuff into real life with a small child? Because I do not want to wake up in 20 years and find that I have an empty childless nest, with a strange bloke in it who I barely know.
Tomorrow, we are going out for a meal together, just the two of us, and I am very very excited. I am excited to be going out with a man who is handsome, funny and caring. I am proud to be going out with a man who is a fantastic father. And I am very, very lucky to be spending an evening with my best friend in the whole world.
Also, I really bloody love tapas.
Maybe there is hope for us yet! Maybe romance isn’t dead. Maybe it’s just having a little break. I certainly hope so.