Can you be both a cynic and a romantic?
Because I think I am. For instance, I like the idea of Valentine's day. A day devoted to love and special people in your life = Romantic, right? However, I deeply object to the commercial aspect of Valentine's day where every card shop, restaurant and florist whacks up their prices to cash in on this one particular day and peddles the idea that if you DON'T buy your significant other a bunch of extortionately priced flowers that are going to die within a week, then you are a BAD BAD person = Cynic. But, you have to admit, it's hard to be otherwise when adverts appear on the radio promoting special Valentine's deals for CAR DEALERSHIPS! I mean, really.
MM and I have worked round this particular obstacle by postponing Valentine's day for a month. Yup, we're going to go out, have a lovely meal and exchange gifts on March 14th. And save a bunch of cash in the process. I say, win win.
However, my issues with Valentine's day are merely the tip of the iceberg. My personal dichotomy between romance and cynicism runs much deeper. (Yup, I said dichotomy. A tutor once said it in a lecture and I thought he sounded like a pretentious knobhead. So it's ok if you now think the same about me. I just wanted to sound smart.) See, I am in love and happy. And, if I'm honest, that's all I've ever kinda wanted from my life. I've been in long term relationships pretty much constantly since 16 and I'm now fairly certain that I'm settled. Yes, I am working extremely hard to set up a successful career for myself and I certainly have a sense of satisfaction as to how well I am getting on so far and I enjoy it. But I don't dream of being Managing Director or anything. I am in direct contrast to my sister in this regard, by the way. She is set to take over the world and simply doesn't have time for relationships. They hold you back, man.
So I class myself as a romantic. However, I'm the type of romantic that turns round to MM and says things like, "I can't wait for the day when we get to buy a house and start a proper life together forever" and then in the next breath follows it up with, "I'll look into what kind of paperwork we should put in place so that if things do fall apart, we're both protected." Seriously, what kind of romantic says that?? Some would say it's wise. Others, that I'm bitter. (Yes, I'm a child of divorce. No, I don't think that's the entire reasoning behind all this, although I'm sure it plays its part).
It has its down sides, this 'oh so sensible' side of me. It means that when one of my best friends told me she was engaged and buying a house with a guy she'd been with for six months, I didn't do what I was supposed to, which was give her a massive hug and say how excited I was for her (and possibly squeal a bit). At least, I didn't do that until after I'd looked at her with panic and concern and said, "Well that's awfully quick. Do you know what you're doing? Put EVERYTHING in writing." Which, apparently, isn't the socially acceptable reaction, according to another mutual friend of ours. Ooops. Fortunately my friend didn't hold it against me. And I didn't hold it against her that she ignored me entirely. :)
Unfortunately, that tends to be my 'go to' reaction when I hear about a couple moving incredibly quickly. And its not necessarily the way I would like to approach these things. I would love to hear about a couple that has moved extremely fast and not think, "that doesn't sound wise". I would also love not to be right quite as often as I am.
The irony of all this? I moved very very quickly with MM. At least by my standards. We've only been together a year and a half and he had moved in with me at my mum's within 3-4 months. But I was more sure that he was the right person for me within 6 months, than I was in the entire 4 and a half years I spent with the ex. And I have yet to doubt that decision.
However, I don't think I will ever be able to stop the little voice inside my head that says, 'what if?'. Some might feel that this indicates that I have not met the right person yet. I don't agree. I can see MM and I being happy for the rest of our lives together. He ticks all the boxes. And I am definitely aware of how it feels to be with the WRONG person, so I am as certain as I can be. I just think that you can never know what life is going to throw at you. I can't predict the future, and I am also not arrogant enough to think that I am right when every other couple who breaks up 15 years down the line just got it wrong. So I will always plan for the worst case scenario. Maybe that's just what I need to do so that I can go back and enjoy my rose-tinted romance in the secure knowledge that we are both protected should things go wrong. Does that makes me sensible or just plain weird? I leave the debate open for you to consider because, frankly, I don't really know the answer. :)