Tales of a City Girl

Elle talent writing comp entry – #relationshipgoals

I entered a writing competition for Elle, where the brief was to write a piece around the hashtag #relationshipgoals. I lost (trust me if I’d won, you’d have heard me going on about it by now). I reckon that’s just because they’re keeping this wicked entry behind though.  So at a special event to celebrate women in writing I will be presented with a separate special prize while Caitlin Moran and Lorraine Candy cry and call me an inspiration to the future of words.  Anyway. Take a look. It’s pretty different from my current blogging style, but hey, it’s good to try something different every now and again.


How do you maintain a you while trying to foster an us? What is a compromise of behaviour and what is a compromise of your self? These questions rear their ugly heads when it comes to any long term romantic relationship goals, but I can’t tell you the formula to answer them. Hell, I’m not sure anyone can.

Relationships are an alchemy of chemistry, sharing, trusting another person with your life goals and discovering whether their goals complement your own. How malleable you choose to be is up to you. Where is your rubbing point when it comes to your relationship?

One annoying aspect of answering this is how much your goals change as you change and grow. When I was a teenager, I wrote down a list of everything I wanted from my potential future partner.  Included on the list was a precise approximation of age difference (2 years older = mature; 3 and above= creepy), and having an attractive older sibling who would also be attracted to me in order to stir up jealousy. The list was long, painfully superficial and hopelessly yearning of someone with no partner potentials to speak of. I didn’t have a clue who would be the right partner for me. My goals were two-dimensional, and too cringey to recall in full.

Now I’m older, my goals for my partner and my relationship have thankfully changed as I have. Now I’m at the ripe old age of 28, the age of my partner takes a back seat. Now, it’s more important my partner has  life experience and knows what they continue to want to get out of it. I no longer want a sibling with a roving eye, as my boyfriend and his brother will be pleased to hear.

But how, then, do you know what your goals should be? The hashtag ‘relationship goals’ on Twitter suggests something not much less superficial than teenage me, a slew of images of sexual tension, of skin, of touching. For those of my parents and grandparents generation, it could be a shared history; the strings of memory tying you to each other in such a way that the future goals matter less than having someone who shared your past goals with you. For your friends it could be a partner who nurtures, or who is prepared to push or challenge. Maybe it’s someone who accepts you don’t want a child, or you don’t just want one partner.

And for me? I guess I’m still trying to work out what my ones are. There are some I know. I know I need someone with ambition in order to feel fulfilled. I need a relationship where our humour meshes, and I need someone who is relaxed enough to complement my highly strung temperament.

In the end, we’re all trying to solve our own relationship mystery.