The day I bought my dog Brian was in no way planned. It was six months into my first relationship since my husband had bailed and buggered off to Oz. Was it a rebound? Who knows. But this new man in my life had moved in right away, since he had no place to live… I know, I know. DOOM.
Anyway, I was at the point where I felt it was time to expand our family. Maybe because I’d given my Little Shop of Horrors soundtrack a rebirth and got a bit slap-happy on Somewhere That’s Green, or maybe because I knew, deep down, that this guy was not for keeps. He’d yet to give a crap since I caved in and became his provider and housewife all-in-one.
Despite the Mr T voice in my head warning me this new relationship was BAD NEWS, FOOL, I thought having a dog would make us the picture-perfect family. I know, right? Kill me now. I was in a place where I’d rather be in a loveless relationship than be on my own.
I’d never been lucky in relationships. Not because of arsehole boyfriends, but because I always found myself feeling unworthy of people and overcompensating to keep them. And on top of all the workload with my books, I felt ashamed and humiliated to have married someone in front of family and friends, only to lose him a year later.
Maybe getting a dog at this point in my life wasn’t the best idea, but I was never one to listen to logic. Oh, sure, I can preach it ‘til the buffalo poops. But put it to the test? Not a chance.
I tested fate and answered a three-week-old advert for French bulldog puppies. And by 3pm, I was at a lady’s house in Stansted to view the last one of the litter. As I passed through old laundry and scattered dog shits, the most incredible little Frenchie came running towards me. He had a patch over one eye and sounded like a pig. From that very moment, I knew I couldn’t go home without him. And 20 minutes later, we were on our way back to London. I’d always feared being a parent to anything, through fear that I might hurt it or fuck it up in some way. But, that night, I held him in my arms as if he was a baby of my very own.
The relationship I was in didn’t last, of course. But above all else, I learned it’s better to be alone than with someone who could never love you back. And this too was the answer I’d been searching for with my marriage. A legal document can’t keep two people together if they don’t love each other anymore. And neither can a dog, no matter how cute.
I was very sad my marriage ended. But if my husband hadn’t left as he did, we would’ve gone on hurting each other for a lot longer. The same goes for the man that left after that. There was a lot of grieving to be done, pounds to gain and lose, and a hell of a lot of reruns of beyond-depressing movies. But I needed it. I needed the time alone to get over myself, all my shitty hang-ups and to be able to break the pattern.
I’ve been on dates since. But believe me, there was a good gap before I’d even leave my pyjamas, let alone my house. There’s nothing wrong with giving yourself time to get over someone.
I’m done with being with someone through fear of being alone. Now, I actually enjoy being single. I can hang out with my friends without the need to constantly refresh Grindr. After a lot of years of self-hatred, I can treat myself a little better. I’m not perfect, believe me. But who is? We all have our little hang-ups but, that’s what makes us individual. We all deserve to be with someone who can treat us as a priority, not an option. And until that happens, I’m quite happy as I am.
And of course, I’m never completely on my own. I have Brian. Brian ThunderCat Diana Pig Walsh, to be precise. And he sends his love to you. As do I.