I’m thirty two years old. Since 2005, I’ve been dumped by a succession of men who have left me for (usually) rich foreign sorts who can offer so much more than I can.
First, there was Patrick. Well built, charming…very French. But I suspected that he had a roving eye from as far back as 2000. I caught him looking at ‘learn Spanish fast’ websites and practicing cooking paella when he thought I was out. I gave him everything and, to be fair, the last thing he ever did was leave me with a massive present, which I thought was entirely undeserved, but of course I was grateful, before he left for Italy, of all places! I should have guessed after I found my copy of ‘The Italian Job’ hidden under his PS2. Patrick had it all, everyone wanted him and yet I had him, all to myself. When he left, despite all the joy he’d bought into my life, I was distraught. He was a one-off and I thought he’d be mine for life. He was my ‘Mr Big’, as it were…
I eventually (for the most part) got over Patrick with the help of a younger, more willing, man, Francesc, a rakish Catalan who swept me off my right off of my feet. He promised me the world, and very nearly delivered it. I am ashamed to say that at the same time, I was also seeing a tall, charismatic Frenchman called Thierry. Thierry was always asking Francesc about his hometown; Barcelona. This made the relationship awkward in the end, but Thierry was one of those one-in-a-million men who delivered everything, and more. He was, in fact, the best I’d ever had. It was no real surprise that he left me for Catalunya in 2007. I couldn’t begrudge him after everything he’d done and to be honest, I thought time was catching up on him. Seeing him there, happy, enjoying the sun, sea and sangria made me, in a way, grateful for all he’d done.
I still had Francesc. He was growing up into a handsome rogue who clearly adored but missed his family. It was inevitable that he’d leave me for them, and despite my misgivings, my pleading, he finally deserted me too. Looking back on it after all of this time, he didn’t deliver anything like Patrick or Thierry had. It was in 2011 and despite the fact he said that he’d stay, that he said that he loved us, he went, following Thierry, to Catalunya and his real family.
I was devastated. I can’t lie Deirdre. Even a quick fling with a Dutch bad-boy, Robin, didn’t fulfil me. He left, for all places, for Manchester a year later. I felt sick, used, angry, in fact. He was with someone else; someone he thought was better, prettier. I felt inadequate.
There have been a couple of flings since; Mikel, a dashing, amazingly coiffured Spaniard with a curious Scouse-lilt, Thomas, a quiet, manly man from Belgium and Per, a real German beefcake, and sure, they have delivered between them more than Robin and Francesc…but they haven’t got their panache, their flair, their sex-appeal…well, maybe Mikel has…and Thierry has come back for brief sojourns…little parcels of pleasure tinged with the knowledge that he’ll be gone again, back to his mistress in New York now. Patrick also came back, but hid away up north (where we do what we want), a shadow of the man he once was. I’ve also seen Robin, and his new relationship seems to have soured. I allow myself a smile.
And then I heard…Francesc was coming back, and not just to England, to London! But all the free bets tell me he is seeing someone else, someone I despise, someone I know won’t love him like I love him. “Francesc, they don’t love you like I love you.” I know this person has form for dumping talented Spaniards…
What am I going to do when I see him in London again? How do I get through this? Please help me.
Thank you for your letter, I’m sorry, you didn’t leave a name, and I am so sorry to hear about your romantic endeavours that seem to have resulted in the objects of your affections leaving you for what you believe are better options.
I strongly suggest that you look around at what you have got, rather than what you want, or have wanted. Is there anyone that can step-up and become the new ‘Patrick, Thierry or Francesc’? You mention in your letter, which we haven’t printed (to save column space) a handsome Welshman called Aaron, a quiet, anxious looking German called Mesut and a cheeky chap called Jack. It seems to me that if you look forward, rather than back, that there are options and new, realistic objects for your affection.
By all means, look back on the past with rose-tinted glasses if you want to, but you’ve said it yourself, some of these men promised the world but didn’t deliver, whereas the more recent gentlemen have. These new candidates could bring you far more joy than reliving the past.
Do yourself a favour, for me; don’t get jealous, don’t get angry and be polite if you meet Francesc again. If he really loves you, if he really cares, he’ll not hook up with the charlatan you say he’s flirting with. But if he does, I suggest this says more about him than you. Perhaps he knows that he’s already been replaced in your affections? As you said, maybe, like Robin, this new relationship will sour and these men will perhaps miss you more than they could ever say.
There seems to have been plenty of men over the years, and by all accounts, they come and go, bringing different gifts to the table. Go with the flow.
Please write back, maybe in a year’s time, and tell me how it has worked out.