I’ve always loved Olly Murs and seeing him in concert made me really tune in and listen to his lyrics. I’ve never not raised my hand when Olly does his shoutout to all the single ladies in the room. When I, amongst the other 15,999, heard the ‘Troublemaker’ singer introduce and serenade the arena with ‘Flaws’, it really got me thinking about what it means to date someone and what relationship goals are.
Relationship is much more than meals out with a firework kiss and number switch at the end. Of course, this is how it all starts. But there is so much more beyond those tingly moments. If you’re really serious about this gal or guy, take Lily Aldrin’s advice from the American TV series of ‘How I Met Your Mother’ when she tells Robin Scherbatsky that the real imperfections is “the good stuff”.
Love is in the air
Those first few dates, days, weeks or even months of dating someone is the ‘puppy love’ stage. No matter what anyone tells you, your heart cannot fault that person. But let’s face it, you don’t really want to. You couldn’t even if you tried. The start of dating someone is about feeling like “anything could happen”. It’s that butterfly feeling you can’t quite explain in the very pit of your stomach that tingles through your skin and beams through your pearly whites. You just know it’s there because you’ve only been on a few dates and you’re living in ‘La La Land’. It’s your very own real-life episode where you suddenly become Emma Stone who’s found her Ryan Gosling.
The next stage is when reality hits you. It’s those days where you start noticing tiny little things about your boyfriend or girlfriend that you never quite saw before. The rose-coloured glasses are off. But don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean it’s black or white. Life can be, and is still, full of colour. I used to think this is the worst part of any relationship. You’ve got your own faults that you’ve just about come to terms with and accepted, pre-jumping-into-a-relationship. Why on earth would you want to deal with a whole plate full of someone else’s too?
Noticing the flaws
No one is perfect. Everyone has imperfections. But sometimes those flaws make the relationship all the more worth it. Whether they’re a loud eater, bad driver, tea slurper or all three, that’s what makes them human and loveable. Stealing the quilt doesn’t mean you should bin them. It means you should gently yank it back off them but love them anyway.
Let’s not forget relationship goals. Even partner’s flaws can be good. Yes, I said it. Flaws are not just for moaning about. Good things can come from them. They say in your life-time, you will meet someone who will change your life. I, Katie McDonald, am a prime example. In December 2015 I joined Tinder, half an act of sheer desperation and half a social experiment of dating apps and expectations. Three months ago, I matched with someone over 70 miles away. That man is now my boyfriend. But more to the point, he is an avid gamer.
Listeners are often the best people. When you give something, you get something back. I’m not talking about money or materiality. Show an interest in your partner. Get involved in all of who they are, actively. I don’t ask a question to tick a box. I mean if they’re struggling with a piece of work or an assignment, kindly offer a fresh pair of eyes. When you’re having writer’s block, it’s amazing the difference a cuppa can make. If it’s lovingly made for you, just the way you like it, you suddenly somehow find the words. Knowing that someone is watching you and believing in you is magic. It’s the spark you need in your own life, for yourself. It takes a weight off your shoulders because it’s not just you versus the computer any more. You have your sidekick.
Taking interest in their activities
It’s all well and good advising you to be another set of eyes for your other half, but sometimes filling an empty seat isn’t enough. It’s plain as day to see when a person is ‘interested’ rather than seeing that real, raw display of interest. This brings me to Tuesday evening, when I took a break from my stressful university work to see my boyfriend playing Siege, an action computer game. The simple question of “What are you playing?” led to him offering to teach me how to play. Let me add that hesitate I did not, but willingly pulled up a chair and controller number two. He’s shown me the ropes of his favourite games and after four days, we have made progress. Gaming group chat created including his fellow gamer slash housemate, which makes for a great friendship, or #squadgoals even. We have even pushed the boat out by investing £15 worth of an Amazon order. But it’s not just £15 worth of an Amazon order. It’s a way of saying “I’m interested in you and everything that you are”.
When I said that the acceptance of someone’s flaws can be the best part of relationship, I lied. The best part is when you discover interests you didn’t know you had. I can’t emphasize how much I agree with the phrase “don’t knock it till you try it”. Honestly, I never really ‘got’ the gaming thing. In fact, I had pretty much convinced myself it’s not for me. Then I had one ‘Rocket League’ lesson from my boyfriend and it’s safe to say that I’m now out of the closet.
“Good afternoon. My name is Katie McDonald and I’m a recently discovered gamer.”