We are in Generation Y. This means we’re different to the majority of our parents and our grandparents when it comes to the dating game. Firstly it wasn’t a game to them, the male stereotypically courted the lady they liked, if she reciprocated they would usually end up getting married and having babies usually before they turned 25. More so in our grandparents era, they stayed together till death did them part, that is if they aren’t still alive, still well, and probably still together.
On average these days, by the time we blow out our 25th candle we have been through (what we deem) two long term relationships and countless flings. Our generation rarely finds ‘the one’ at school age before going on to plan their funerals together.
I do have friends however who are in this minority, well at least they are on the road to it. Childhood or teenage sweethearts who turned into husband & wife, and parents- with no break in between.. so it does still happen.
But what about going back to your first love? Our first relationships are poignant because we have nothing to compare them to, we think this is our life with this one teenage dream forever; but then we grow up, drift apart, get into other relationships and move on as a natural progression, or in other words; life happens. A decade later, you have grown, physically and mentally. You have experience under your belt (literally), you’ve built up a career, tried new cuisine, travelled, been out with crazies, had one night stands, woken up in awkward situations, been in more long term relationships and read every man hating instagram account out there. So, armed with all this knowledge & experience and an opportunity presents itself to your ex, should you go back there, ever?
I got into my first real relationship aged 16 and we broke up exactly three years later during my second year at uni and his umpteenth deployment with the Navy. We broke up amicably and stayed in touch sporadically ever since. We both got into other relationships but we always kept in touch just as friends and never in person.
Years passed, eight to be precise, before we met up face to face. Both of us single, me now living in Dubai; a very different life to that of circa 2008 at uni in Portsmouth living the skint student life. Him still in the Navy having worked his way up the ranks. Both considerably better off in many senses than when we last sat eating breakfast across from eachother.
It was totally natural, we were friends catching up on life but we were still the same people, or we are still the same people, I should say. We grew up through the most crucial teen years together, experienced many firsts together and it was the first time our families accepted that their child wasn’t their little baby anymore. Our circumstances have changed, yes, but we are essentially no different to who we were when we met.
So how the eff have we managed to go from grabbing breakfast to the point where we’re going on holiday together? (firstly we all know I’m a fan of an international date).. I live in Dubai, he has a month off work, we are friends and Dubai is a holiday destination..Literal Ex on the Beach shiz is going down. Okay, we are taking a week to travel around Sri Lanka too and are going to be staying at the most incredible places: elephant orphanages, beach houses, a safari hotel, so that’s my holiday bit.
After booking this trip I started to think about all the advice I have read and have given, how you should never go back, always look forward, never back. Remember your first love and how you talked about all the future plans, with no doubt whatsoever that it won’t happen? the probability is that those plans turn into fantasies which are now cute little memories of things that never were meant to be. Well this is actually happening a decade on which I would never have advised, but we are grown ups and we will always be in touch no matter what.
Although nothing long term can or will happen because we live on different continents, I think what I’m trying to get across is that going on holiday together feels totally normal because no one knows you like your first love knows you, so I won’t care as much when I inevitably fall off an elephant or get bitten by a rabid dog because he will fully expect that of me.
Update: We went on holiday, remain as firm friends. There’s a reason we shouldn’t go back, and I learnt it while travelling. There’s no point in forcing something that isn’t meant to be. We were always meant to be just friends, and that’s fine with both of us.