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  • When we're in a relationship,

  • one of the haunting thoughts that can make us especially snappy and bitter is the idea that

  • if only we were single, we would be a lot happier.

  • We can be so conscious of the troubles of our own lives,

  • that we're naturally drawn to look back and remember the nicer aspects of solitude.

  • We remember being able to get up whenever we wanted;

  • we recall not having to fret about where we threw things.

  • We remember how inoffensive our own bad habits were when we were the only ones to witness them.

  • We recall not having to justify our meal choices, however eccentric;

  • we could go out somewhere and never tell anyone;

  • we could, when we felt like it, work through till 2 a.m. without being accused of being obsessive or cold.

  • Though we were sometimes sad, we could at least always hope for a better future.

  • It was all so fulfilling in comparison with the life we lead now.

  • But memory is a hugely unreliable and therefore, reckless instrument,

  • which isn't a small point,

  • for our powers of recall have a huge impact on how we assess our lives in the present.

  • We are editors of genius,

  • who know just enough about how to romanticise our single days

  • in order to poison our conjugal ones.

  • Some of our ingratitude might be eroded if long before we met anyone,

  • a talented filmmaker were charged with making a close observational documentary about our lives as single people,

  • they’d capture our face at 5.30pm on a winter Sunday afternoon as the sun was setting,

  • and we know well be alone till we reach the office on Monday morning.

  • They'd observe us looking across the room at someone at a party, longing for their kindly face, but lacking any courage to go up and address them.

  • They'd capture us spending a lot of time at our parents' house,

  • growing increasingly tetchy in their company.

  • They’d show us struggling to know what to do when the fridge stopped working

  • or we felt a terrible pain in the middle of the night.

  • We would ideally be required to view this documentary at regular intervals, especially after bruising fights with our partners.

  • It would provide crucial evidence, which our own memories are so good at strategically omitting of how less than ideal the single state can be.

  • We would realise that though we are sad now,

  • we were also very sad then.

  • We would accept, with good grace and a touch of dark humour, that life simply gives us few opportunities to be content.

When we're in a relationship,

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