A Poor Track Record

A friend of mine has just met a new Possible Someone. The timing isn’t great and she worries that ‘with my track record’ it’s all going to go disastrously wrong.

And I had a thought, which is this particularly profound little gem. Of my friends, aged between about 18 and about 22, I know one couple who have been together for five years, a smattering of people who have been together for over a year, and perhaps a gaggle more who have made it past a demi-anniversary as we speak. A vague guess (without doing any kind of mental headcount, so we’re going on that ‘it feels like all my friends are…’ feeling) would suggest that perhaps half to two-thirds of my friends are currently taken, which, actually, seems pretty high, but is also probably about right.

However, this ‘poor track record’ thing. I would say I have a poor track record with men. I’ve had one ‘proper’ relationship (which for argument’s sake can safely be said to have lasted roughly three months) and about five or six years of total fuckwittery before that. One of my friends, who went out with her first boyfriend when she was fourteen and lasted a few months, and is now onto her fourth at the age of eighteen, would probably also say that her track record wasn’t great, because four relationships means three break-ups which means in her terms at least three weeks of her life spent sobbing over jigsaws with the cats. Another of my friends spent two years with her first boyfriend and the subsequent two years being angry at him and wouldn’t exactly call herself lucky as far as men were concerned either. I could tell you similar stories for all of my friends – lots of short-lived relationships and heartbreak, a hideous tendency to fall for people who haven’t grown up enough to treat them with any decency yet, long-term serious relationships which broke down into protracted glimpses of hell-on-earth, weeks and months of anger and recriminations or sadness and heartbreak and drunken rebound sex, people who always fall for the unavailable or the best friend and who then spend the next year or five moping about it, whatever it is.

And I realised, that’s par for the course. We’re too young not to have a ‘bad track record’ for whatever reason. Most of us haven’t met whoever it is we’ll spend the rest of our lives with, or certainly don’t know it yet if we have. Some of us won’t even end up with that kind of relationship. The point is, at our age, having not met that person, it’s kind of inevitable that we will therefore meet other people who aren’t going to last and that’s going to be, basically, tough. We’re all unlucky in love – which surely means, really, that none of us are, not really. Or at least not most of us. It’s part of being the age we are that so far we’ve been hurt and we’ve had good times and bad and the balance, at the moment, if it can even be called that, swings towards the ‘bad’. That doesn’t mean that I know a bunch of depressive emos; because they’re not. Just that a lot of people I know would answer the question, ‘how is your love life’ with a derisive snort.

As for me, these days, I don’t feel unlucky at all. I’ve lived and I’ve got a lot out of everything I’ve experienced and there have been some great times as well as iconically awful moments where I’ve found myself crying far too loudly in the city park on the way home in the rain.

Basically, you don’t have a poor track record, you’re not unlucky, and what’s gone before cannot possibly inform what will be. You’ll be fine. Maybe, my dear, this amusing-haired coat-donating coursemate will whirl you off into the sunset; or maybe you’ll have a great few months and then one or other of you will cheat, or fall out of love, and so it goes on; or maybe it’ll come to nothing. It is how it is. Anyway, does that ‘particularly profound little gem’ make any sense…?



Filed under Happenings, Introspection, Life, Society, Thoughts, University, World

12 responses to “A Poor Track Record

  1. Sigh. I think I just did the whole bad track record thing early.

    I always get like this this far into term. Sorry, I’m not supposed to complain.

  2. Flix

    Coat-donating is a winner. Sometimes, things don’t work out. But sometimes they do. And it’s not always a failure, it can just be an experience. Live it, Love it.

  3. Jenny

    Never feel like you’re not supposed to complain. You can complain about anything you like, any time you like.

    As far as I’m concerned it’s all an experience. And the more OK you are with that, the less you get hurt, too. So I hope.

  4. clare

    J, am I the friend with cats and jigsaws? Because that’s misinformation. I’m also related to you. (You have the weeping over cats and jigsaws gene too… we just haven’t seen it yet…!)

    Fi, sort of know the feeling. Equally, still very happy. Just irritable-ish.


  5. teacherface

    The point is, at our age, having not met that person…
    My thoughts exactly – but try getting that across to some people. I almost feel as if they like to revel in being a failure insomuchas there’s a reason for why things haven’t gone right and it’s them so why should they feel happy about it because y’know, they’re rubbish and mess things up.
    I’d love to give some people a good bop on the nose :-p

  6. I entirely disagree, in fact I think some of this is nonsense. You can’t say just because you broke up your relationship is a failure. You can stay with someone until you die but it doesn’t mean your relationship has more value because of that. A relationship is worth however much you value it – one of my best relationships was only 2months long but it taught me so much and I still really care about the guy I was with. My current relationship matters because I’m in love with someone who loves me, and we’re happy, not because we’ve not fucking someone else for a year. A relationship that ends because of cheating never had much value in the first place, if you ask me. Anyone who bases their relationship value on how long they’re with someone is often a bit weak willed in my experience – my great grandparents were really unhappy together, but they never divorced. What does that prove?! Nothing. Length of time proves nothing. I’d rather be single, “alone” if you will – Which I might add is NOT the same as being lonely – than unhappily with someone for fifty years. It’s about emotional maturity, not hitting targets, otherwise there’s no point being with anyone anyway.

  7. Jenny

    G, I think you’ve completely missed the point of what I was saying: I never *did* say it was about length of relationship or whatever. If you look at what I was saying it was that in the long term however long it lasted most of my friends’ past relationships, be they six weeks or six years, haven’t actually made them happy, or did for a while and then everything went to shit and that’s why so many people our age tend to feel that they have no luck in love.

    Obviously not everyone feels like that – I used to feel like I was just unlucky but however unhappy I may have been made by guys in my past, whatever mistakes I made, I definitely learnt a lot from them (the guys and the mistakes), and there’s very little that I’ve done that I wouldn’t do all over again (aside from my pretty gratuitous whoring around phase). I mean, one of my most so-called-unlucky friends had a two year relationsihp with a guy who just sapped her of a lot of self-esteem and moral courage (I did mention this above) and I would never have said that its being a two-year relationsihp at the age of sixteen was a ‘success’ because in my view they should have broken up over a year before they eventually did.

    Oh, and in case I didn’t already make it pretty bleedin’ obvious, I do not think myself unlucky in any way; I don’t think I have a poor track record, it’s pretty average, I think, at least in most ways, and without having been who I used to be I wouldn’t be who I am now.

  8. “without having been who I used to be I wouldn’t be who I am now”

    I think this is a really nice thought.

    I don’t have a poor track record as such. Really I barely have a track record. And I’m not unlucky, I just make thingsexcruciatingly difficult for myself. It’s not even funny. Le sigh.

  9. Jenny

    TF, I completely agree with you about wanting to bop some people on the nose!!!

    Dickie, I’m sorry to hear that. Hope you make things easier for yourself in the future 🙂


  10. It’s not possible to un-meet people (not that I would in this case anyway), so it aint getting easier any time soon 8-). Thanks for the sentiments though 🙂

  11. Flix

    I read that as sexcruciatingly and I am highly intrigued about this situation.

  12. haha yeah, now you say that it does look a bit like “sexcruciatingly”

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