Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • Translator: Hoa Pham Reviewer: Robert Tucker

  • So let me tell you a love story.

  • Once upon a time, not so long ago,

  • in a land I Googled to be 5,172 miles away,

  • I met a guy, and he was perfect.

  • So I'll tell you the meeting story.

  • I'd just taped this really cool TV show about experimenting with your sexuality,

  • and I met him at the after-party

  • through one of our famous friends who was a DJ.

  • He was tall, dark, handsome,

  • kind of a rock star,

  • and a little bit emotionally unavailable.

  • Very soon, we were spending all of our time together.

  • We threw these really cool parties for all of our cool friends,

  • we went backstage at every festival,

  • and, when my hands were cold,

  • he would take them under his arms to warm them up.

  • He was my best friend,

  • and I thought we would be together forever.

  • And so strong was that belief

  • that when the warning signs came, I just ignored them.

  • Until the day that I couldn't ignore them anymore.

  • I'd become quite unwell,

  • I wasn't so pretty anymore,

  • and I definitely couldn't go out to any of the parties.

  • In fact, I was, for the first time in my life, actually vulnerable

  • because I was miscarrying our baby.

  • And at that point, when I was at my weakest,

  • he left.

  • It's not a joke.

  • Ah ha, um -

  • Coming downstairs - and you you know what,

  • but I would have followed him out of the door to the ends of Earth.

  • But I couldn't get out of my bed.

  • When I did get up, I found that our house had been stripped bare.

  • The paintings were gone from the walls,

  • and the rooms that we used to dance in together were empty.

  • I walked around those rooms like an animal, howling.

  • Picking myself up off the literal floor that day,

  • I had to recognize

  • that after all of this excitement and this joy and this fantasy,

  • at the end of all that love,

  • I had nothing.

  • And you know what,

  • that wasn't even the first time something like that had happened to me.

  • I was a magnet for chaos.

  • I liked chaos,

  • because when I was in chaos,

  • I didn't have to confront anything about who I was.

  • Truthfully, I hadn't known who I was for years.

  • Because on the floor that day,

  • I did have someone, I had myself.

  • But for a long time,

  • that had come to feel like, it, well, meant nothing,

  • and it was invaluable.

  • So I know it seems a bit self-indulgent

  • to come out here today

  • and talk to you guys about, like, effectively a break-up story,

  • but it was one of a chain of many incidences

  • that made me think, "Maybe there's other people like me,

  • maybe there's other people that aren't approaching love in the right way."

  • Because I think we've all had experiences, right?

  • They look like love, they feel like love,

  • but when you open them up, there's nothing loving about them.

  • But we continued to chase love,

  • because I think love is sold to us

  • as almost like the ultimate solution to ourselves:

  • the things that makes our past okay,

  • that gives us the direction for the future,

  • and imbues our everyday reality with meaning.

  • I think love can be beautiful,

  • I think it can be exciting;

  • but I think sometimes it can also be an act of escapism.

  • And I've had a long time to think about this,

  • as the introduction said,

  • I am the artist formerly known as the UK's leading dating expert.

  • And before that I was a ghost writer in the pickup industry,

  • and I vlog about the reality of love on my YouTube.

  • And now I have a completely different approach,

  • a very minimalist strategy when it comes to dating.

  • And that's really because I'm concerned

  • that in our quest for love

  • sometimes it can be the ultimate distraction

  • to fixing ourselves

  • and doing the real work that will actually make us happy.

  • Because, don't get me wrong,

  • I think that the desire for attachment, for intimacy, for security, for love,

  • those goals are natural, they're human, and they're good.

  • But I think sometimes the way we go about them is a bit weird,

  • whether that's crazy, ridiculous, on-off, destructive relationships,

  • or needing to go out on a date every single night of the week

  • with a different person.

  • You know, like the hip form of dating,

  • where you have someone on the back burner,

  • someone on the front burner,

  • someone under the grill,

  • and then someone else over there in the freezer

  • (Laughter)

  • just in case, God forbid, you spend a night by yourself.

  • In this, it feels really like loneliness is the driver,

  • or escapism is the driver,

  • not love.

  • So, I'm kind of starting to preach the opposite belief now,

  • that, of course, the answer lies not in another person,

  • but within yourself.

  • Because I think, sometimes, the melodrama of love

  • takes us further away, rather than closer,

  • to who we actually are.

  • So I find that my dating advice

  • is gradually shrinking down to be essentially:

  • go meditate, get some therapy,

  • read a book.

  • Ha, ha. (Laughter)

  • It's not what you would call

  • a sexy strategy for the millennial generation.

  • A generation that is used to 4G download speeds,

  • skyping a friend abroad,

  • and Netflix and chill with someone you just met from Tinder.

  • (Laughter)

  • Um -

  • So I think when we're used to expecting everything we want right here, right now,

  • when we can't just vend an automatic level of human connection,

  • we not only feel like we're getting it wrong,

  • but like we're not getting what we're entitled to.

  • And then you just take one look at Instagram:

  • everybody else has it sorted out.

  • And we sort of live in the culture that surrounds us,

  • telling us that we should have fallen in love or be falling in love,

  • or at least have had great sex, right?

  • Like yesterday!?

  • You know, let's face it,

  • who actually enters into the arena of love

  • looking to, maybe, become a better person,

  • to be kinder, to have more integrity,

  • to get more grounded?

  • No one does that.

  • It's because our eyes are off ourselves,

  • we're looking for that next adventure,

  • that greener grass,

  • that new person,

  • so we don't have to deal with any of that stuff.

  • And I understand how easily it happens, right?

  • You just kind of meet someone sexy,

  • I don't know where,

  • maybe it was at a party, on the train, or the Tube, as we would say in London.

  • Or maybe you just met them, you both joined Tinder that day,

  • how magical!

  • (Laughter)

  • And before too long, you realize that you have some stuff in common,

  • like wow, you both like almond butter, Star Wars,

  • you can name all four Teenage Mutant Ninja Hero Turtles.

  • And then, like, suddenly, you're retelling how you met,

  • like, this serendipitous coincidence of cosmic proportions -

  • it's like move over Romeo and Juliet.

  • Not that that ended every well,

  • let's all remember that.

  • So, when you're thinking about you're not exactly being Romeo and Juliet,

  • and we're actually living in the real world,

  • I think the thing is, the main sell, when you kind of fall for someone,

  • is it 's like: Yippee, I'm not alone anymore.

  • Hooray! Nailed it! Uh ha.

  • Coz you get to - guess what you do?

  • You get to go home every night,

  • and you get to put your head on the pillow,

  • and you don't have to think about, you know, your needs,

  • your wants, your past,

  • and, actually, kind of all the stuff

  • that's really, probably, stopping you from becoming happy,

  • because you're not fixing it.

  • Instead, you get to be entrapped by somebody else,

  • you're intrigued by them,

  • your mind has someone new to spiral into and focus on.

  • But I think sometimes when you're focusing on that perfect romance,

  • you're not actually doing the real work

  • to fix the stuff that's stopping you from becoming happy.

  • And because of that,

  • I think that most of us, when it comes to love and dating,

  • kind of need an epic timeout and reset.

  • For myself, I did six months cold turkey.

  • No dating, no internet dating,

  • and I went to all of two parties.

  • Literally, you could have written up my love life

  • on the back of a postage stamp,

  • it was that exciting.

  • And all this from the girl who used to -

  • honestly, I used to pride myself on having a ridiculous love life.

  • The stories - if I was here two years ago guys,

  • I'd have told you some amazing stories.

  • But you know what?

  • After all of that, and after everything that happened,

  • I thought I would quite like to know who I am again.

  • Because, and I think I'm not alone here,

  • if you're experiencing a Groundhog Day when it comes to your dating life,

  • I think that the thing is

  • you think that it's because you're meeting loads of players,

  • or nice guys finish last, or you just haven't met the one yet,

  • or that dating is a numbers game,

  • but I think actually

  • these truisms that surround dating aren't in fact true at all.

  • In fact, I think they lead us away from what the real issue is.

  • Because the problem, and I know this doesn't make for comfy listening,

  • the problem, it's with you, it's with me,

  • it's with our ridiculous ideas around romance,

  • it's with our needs that we haven't realized yet,

  • it's with our past that we don't want to talk about,

  • it's with our desires,

  • it's with our inability to get through one day

  • with[out] picking up our smartphones,

  • and it's with what we value.

  • So I decided after all of that - I was like, you know what,

  • I'm done with Groundhog Day in love,

  • I actually want to discover a bit more about myself.

  • Because the truth is, I wasn't even born Hayley Quinn.

  • Right!? Right!?

  • I chose that name, I thought it sounded cool.

  • I was actually born Hayley Whittle.

  • And when I was born - I grew up in a poor family,

  • my parents were disabled,

  • I was really teased at school a lot for being the weird girl,

  • I used to work as a dishwasher,

  • and because of that, there was so much pain and shame in my past

  • I just didn't want to touch it.

  • And the way I ran away from it

  • is I ran away from it with love and with fantasy.

  • But I decided after all that running, I wasn't really getting anywhere,

  • I was just re-creating the same mistakes time and time again.

  • So I thought I'd better stop.

  • I was like I want to actually feel something.

  • And I can tell you, when I stopped, I did feel.

  • I think I cried every single day for the first month

  • on the phone to my Mum,

  • which was awkward

  • because I hadn't really spoken to her for about a decade at that stage.

  • And then I'd come home,

  • and I'd come home to this empty, dirty house,

  • with no guy and no baby and no possessions left in it.

  • And then some days I'd wake up

  • and the pain would be so bad that it felt like my heart was burning.

  • And to resist the temptation at that stage to not reach out

  • and take that little plaster of dating or love or some attention

  • to fix how I was feeling

  • was really hard.

  • But gradually, you know what?

  • A great thing happened, is that I came back into the room,

  • I became aware again, my mind started to work,

  • I reconnected with my family,

  • the friends that were left were the good ones,

  • and I stopped being so obsessed with going out every night of the week

  • or whether someone had read my messages on WhatsApp.