A Bit of Romance

Article published on Oct. 27, 2007
Article published on Oct. 27, 2007
When they met again, her heart had turned to stone. I sometimes wonder if we over-romanticise relationships. Perhaps Romeo and Juliet got it right. End it whilst you are still wrapped up in the other person, still in the throes of passion, when you genuinely believe that it is the two of you against the world.
If they hadn’t ended it then, they would have more than likely have faded into history: another statistic, an irrelevant anecdote and an awkward moment when they bumped into one another with new partners.

Deciding not to sacrifice themselves and build a future together, they had the decisive and inevitable talk.

Romeo: I think I love you

Juliet: I think I love you too. Romeo, I was thinking...

Romeo: Aha...

Juliet: Well, I was thinking that living in separate courts is a logistic nightmare.

Romeo: And so difficult these days for young professionals in Verona to get on the housing ladder."

Juliet: I know, the prices have been shooting up since the Renaissance.

Juliet: (Seizing her chance) Well, why don't we pool our resources?

And from that innocuous exchange, they move in together and things soon begin to change. They still have fun, but instead of long weekend mornings in bed, spontaneous adventures and mini-breaks they start to spend an inordinate amount of time arguing about whose parents they will spend Christmas at (ooh, the irony). Romeo will get annoyed that he cannot go to the tavern for a few flagons with his mates without getting several messengers (my Shakespearian take on texting) interrupting him and asking to go to the supermarket on his way home. As time goes on they will both stop putting the effort into the relationship and their end will not only be tragic but benignly protracted. What’s more all the happy times they shared together will be conveniently forgotten amid a myriad of bitterness and conjecture.

This week I have been pondering a difficult question, that every man has probably considered at one time or another and a conundrum that has fleshed out many an issue of Cosmopolitan.

Is it possible to be friends with an Ex?

The straw poll that I have done of friends has returned conclusive findings. No way. But I am not so sure. I know people who I have had the most fleeting, random acquaintance with and we have gone on to become friends. Others, where our relationship has bordered on fondness, have disappeared into the ether. I bumped into an example of this a few weeks back (in a lift at Uni to add to the awkwardness) and she fixed me with the sort of venomous stare that one usually reserves for child killers.

What was it that I did wrong, I hear you ask. Did I promise to call and then didn’t? No. Did I run off with her flatmate? No. My only failing was having the honesty to tell her that I didn’t want a relationship. At the time I was enjoying the novelty of being single and the thought of reaching my mid-20s cash rich, selfish and morally ambiguous held a certain allure. I would have quite happily maintained a platonic friendship, but any such thought was deemed an anathema.

Perhaps being able to stay friends, like much in life, comes down to a question of intelligence and maturity.

So if you are out drinking tonight and notice two people looking frostily at each other across the club, remember that they could have been the next Romeo and Juliet if only the monotony of reality hadn’t got in the way.