WORDS BY Will Hoff

WORDS BY Will Hoff

We’ve all had rocky points in our relationships. But in some, we reach that point where we think, “Maybe this is how it ends.” No regrets, no tears, no rain or Coldplay. Just the realisation that maybe this one just isn’t the one that works out.

We’re all looking for, ‘The One’. Maybe not now, maybe not yet, but eventually the goal is the modern fairy-tale of the pancakes and Netflix and pyjamas at noon. But maybe your relationship isn’t the story you think. What are the signs that you’re not on the road to happily-ever-after, but to biting the poisoned apple?

1. Your mind wanders more than you do

A really cute person walks past and you think about where they’re going, and how they got there. You think about maybe bumping into them, then again the next day, until one of you has the courage to speak. Maybe you go out to a fancy restaurant, have some drinks, get to know them. And wouldn’t that holiday in Paris look nice with them at your side? So why aren’t you thinking the same about your partner? What happened to fantasising about that housewarming you’ll both be at, too busy roleplaying to oblige sleep? What happened to re-writing texts ten times to make sure that word will be right? What happened to that stupid reflex in the corner of your mouth when you said their name? When did pretending you had a stranger replace that?

2. Romance becomes exhausting

Even when you’ve heard all their stories and they’ve heard all your stories, there are always more stories to create together. But when leaving the house is a nuisance, when reaching for the phone is Herculean, when food tastes just fine and the film was just fine and everything is just fine, nothing more and nothing less, that’s when the red flags are raised, in your mind and theirs. When there’s no excitement, and dates and parties and kisses at the door become polite, become routine, become expected, that’s when you both start to know. What if it’s not always like this? What if it’s just a lull? But, worse, what if it’s not?

3. The downward staircase

The staircase is different to the spiral. The spiral is frictionless, is shapeless, you slip on it and you fall, further and further until the spiral comes to a stop, hard and fast. It’s a whirlwind of decisions made for you, circumstances lived for you, your life’s safety net dragged away from you. The staircase is different. It’s one step, then another, down and down. You both know where it leads to; the bottom. You both know how you get there. You both know you can’t go back up again. So, chin up, you walk down together, following the arrows.  A sensible, logical deconstruction; you’ve tried arguing, it doesn’t work, you compromise. You’ve tried compromising, it doesn’t work, you agree to disagree. You agree to disagree, it’s not enough. And you’re at the top of the stairs, looking down.

4. The ghost of a promise

If you’re using terms like, ‘The One’, you must be close. You must’ve done this dance long enough to know where you want to be heading. Your intentions have always been to end up like the silly old couples on $2 cards. But good intentions aren’t always enough. Not nearly enough. But you’re here. You’re saying stuff like, ‘The One’ like it’s a possibility, like it’s on the cards. So you must have a duty to try. When you started this dance together, you committed to each other, stuck through hard times. What if this is the hardest time you’ll have? The ultimate test? What if a few more weeks of compromise will help the needle find the groove? But then you think of the next One. The new One. The right One. And very quickly, the current One feels like the old One.

5. It already feels like the past

You hang out with your friends, you talk and drink and laugh and vomit and vow never to drink again and wash down those silly tired vows with more talk and drink and laughter. And they do to. And they’re happy and you’re happy and you think nothing of it. Then you’re together, and it’s like exes alone in someone else’s house celebrating someone else’s baby and someone else’s life. It’s like you’ve not seen each other in years, and you don’t know what to say. ‘How’s the family? How’s your mum? Did you see the paper today?’ Small talk. Polite talk. Awkward talk. Ex talk. But, it’s your three-year anniversary next week. The present is ancient history.

6. Happiness is a warm gun

The promise of happiness is on the horizon. You can feel the tiniest tips of its light on your heart and in your head when you think of the future. Your future. And theirs. You love them. Maybe not how you used to, or how you wanted to, but you do. And they deserve happiness. They just won’t find it with you. You deserve happiness. You just won’t find it with them. All you need is the courage to make that definitive step, draw the last line in the sand, begin again. And the excitement hits you. The excitement for seeing them again with someone new on their arm with a look in their face you’ve never seen before. And you turn to your love, your One, and you see it in them too.

The end isn’t always messy. It can be quiet, it can be safe, it can be calm. It can be the opposite of how it looks in films, with broken hearts and sweatpants. Leaving can be the best thing you’ve ever done – the best thing you’ve both ever done. So, be brave, be confident, and be happy. What have you got to lose?

Image Source via: Tumblr


WORDS BY:  Will Hoff

Will enjoys watching movies at least four times older than he is, saying hello to dogs and suits with knitted ties. He would own a typewriter if it could fit in his pocket with his PEZ dispensers and headphones, but life’s all about sacrifice. He hopes to one day retire comfortably with everything done that was needed to be done, and on the Moon.