The rows between Colin and Val only got worse and more and more frequent. They tried relationship counselling but the pattern continued. Colin started to spend more and more time at work and at the pub with friends.
At times he would dread going home because the text messages he received during the day made it clear that Val was unhappy about something. He knew that he was returning home to the inevitable row which often now descended into name calling with her calling him “spineless” and “useless”.
Eventually the relationship came to an end when Colin found out that Val was cheating on him. He actually felt more relieved this time than heartbroken.
Pete’s relationship with Rebecca was a long and a happy one but she was never able to really “tame” him and Pete was not really the marrying type.
Eventually Pete told her that he needed more space and they needed to take a break from each other for a little while. The little while predictably became a long time and the long time became a permanent break at least officially.
They stayed in touch and shared many of the same friends. Sex with the ex was always an available temptation and it is one that they did indulge but they never officially got back together.
Now in his thirties and back on the dating market, Colin was badly out of practice and things had changed.
Unlike when he was in his twenties, he now noticed that a lot of women his own age were getting desperate to “settle down” which, in a way, he found was a good thing. Women his own age would not give him the time of day when he was in his twenties.
His last relationship had hit his self-esteem quite hard though. Years of being told that you are useless are bound to do that of course and it did effect the dates that he went on. He was never very confident so a lot of dates were quite formal and stifled conversations but at least the women asked him about his job which they never did when he was in his twenties.
Now in his thirties and back on the dating market, Pete was badly out of practice and things had changed.
He found he was not so interested in women his own age or older. A lot of them were on the market due to failed marriages and came with kids and emotional baggage in tow. Either that or, once they passed their “single and fun” twenties and their looks started to fade, they were looking to hook a husband.
After being in a long relationship he was more in the mood to play the field and enjoy his freedom once more. He was always a natural flirt even when he was with Rebecca so it did not take long to get back into the pace of things and he was pleasantly surprised to find that women in their late teens and early to mid-twenties quite enjoyed the idea of being with an “older” guy and respected his maturity.
After 5 months of fairly fruitless dating, Colin eventually settled down with Susie. She was a little older than him and already had a kid from a previous relationship but she seemed fairly level-headed if a little plain.
Bearing in mind the unwelcome drama of his previous relationship, perhaps plain and boring would make a nice change. Anyway, she seemed sweet and down-to-earth if a little “old fashioned” when it came to dating.
She wanted to be wined and dined and taken to nice restaurants and shows but he did not mind treating her. He told himself that she was just looking for a gentleman; someone who would hold open doors for her and treat her the way that she deserved to be treated.
Pete found he enjoyed his new-found freedom so much he did not feel like putting restrictions on himself and felt in no rush to settle into another long monogamous relationship.
At first, the women that he was involved with would want to have the “relationship talk” and he was always totally honest. He told them from the beginning that he was interested exclusively in an unfenced relationship with them; a relationship not based on the concept of sexual ownership.
Although he knew that this was not the path that society prescribes and it not what people are told to ask for or to expect, he knew enough about women and human sexuality by now to see that monogamy is over-rated.