Hello strangers!

Remember me? C’est moi. Your formerly young, free, single, foot-loose, fancy-free, unattached, unaffiliated, uncommitted, independent, autonomous, available friend Girl About Town.

I say ‘formerly’ because, I’ve only gone and done it: got into an actual relationship with a human man! And a pretty amazing one at that. I apologise profusely for having ignored my GAT duties over the past few months and sorry that you’ve missed out on all the juicy details of the boy-meets-girl, the constant texting, the first-dating, the subsequent dates, the DTR*-ing, the meeting the friends and the parents and the long, exciting, romantic road towards becoming… well, settled.

Because, ladies and gentlemen, that’s what I’ve become. Settled. Comfortable. Predictable. Cosy. Boring?

As you’ll know from my previous escapades with Skype Boy, Pleasant Guy and Atheist Boy and my foray into Tinder, I spent a lot of my time dating, courting, friend-dating (Christian-speak) and misconstruing situations. But after many years of bemoaning Valentine’s Day as the work of the devil, I know exactly who I’ll be spending tomorrow night with. And it’s kinda weird.

Because a lot of my headspace over the years had been filled with working towards getting myself attached. Because as a CGAT (Church Girl About Town), I had spent the past few decades in churches where there was a pervasive message that anything other than being at least in a relationship, or better still, married, was second rate, or some kind of limbo you were punished with until the Almighty deemed you worthy of the love of another.

Having been single for most of my life, the quest to become un-single filled much of the space in between work and friends and church. I was a girl on a mission. So I had somewhat of an identity crisis when the moment came to make it official – to let the world know that my beau and I were a proper couple: the Facebook Relationship Status Switch Announcement. This was something I thought would never, ever happen. Something I had always dreamed of in between the bad dates and the faux-platonic coffees that had filled the best part of a decade.

So when I switched from ‘single’ to ‘in a relationship’, Facebook basically broke. I was flooded with likes and messages from people; some of whom I hadn’t spoken to for years. It received by far the most Facebook likes I had ever received on anything I had ever posted. And I thought: huh. Because having reached that hallowed turf of relationship-dom, it seemed that despite all my other achievements, this was all that mattered. I was now deemed successful.

There were many people who knew us and were genuinely happy for us and so shared that happiness in the way that we all do on social media. But of the people who didn’t really know me at all, none asked whether I was happy or whether he was a good guy. For them, the achievement of being in a relationship itself was something to be celebrated. It’s as if I was now complete.

Don’t get me wrong, I am completely and utterly smitten and so thankful for having this man in my life. But I was complete before. I was not ‘on the shelf’ or preparing myself for ‘The One’ to come and rescue me from said shelf. It’s a shame I didn’t know all this at the time…

Now the questions have switched from ‘are you seeing anyone?’ to ‘when are you two getting married?’ And if/when that does happen, the questions I’m sure will turn to ‘when are you going to have kids?’ Life seems to be an incessant chain of people prying into your life and asking ‘what’s next?’ I have stopped myself from asking any such questions of anyone else. Because it’s really none of my business!

One thing that I’ve found myself craving though is dating chat – the adrenaline of the will-he-text-back or will-he-ask-me-out, the seeking advice from friends about what you should say/do. So as I hang up my GAT boots, I’d love to hand over the reins to another girl who’s up for sharing the insights into the dating game, relationship mishaps and life as a single CGAT with the threads family.

Could it be you?

*DTR – Define The Relationship. Durrr.

Join us on Wednesday in London as we look at love, romance (or the lack of) and singleness in the Church

Written by Girl About Town

She's a girl about town, doing her thing, trying to find her way. She has a tendency to gravitate to socially awkward situations and those conversations you just don't want to be a part of. She's great at her job and has loads of friends - she'd just like to meet a special kind of guy to lark about in the park with, have adventures with and who knows, maybe more...

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