Those of you who deign to read this blog regularly will know that I am a terrible combination of both idealistic, Jane Austen-style dreamer and complicated, risk-avoiding control freak – neither of which could destine a person towards any kind of romantic harmony.
Considering marriage, even co-habitation, represent possibly life’s greatest risks of all – it is no surprise that I am about to enter my fourth decade on this planet with absolutely no desire towards either.
However, following a year of disastrous dates and comical interactions with the average Colombian male (remember this one?) I somehow found my boyfriend, a smart yet relaxed, driven yet right-thinking individual with whom I’ve spent a very happy year. He has grinned and rolled his eyes at my need to control and plan everything; I have indulged his obsessions with both Real Madrid and the English monarchy and learned to speak Spanish with around half the letters.
But, of course, we sometimes choose people who are like ourselves (much less risky) and while every day, I fall a little more in love with my life in Bogotá, he cannot wait for the chance to ‘escape’ Colombia and lose himself among the millions of Latinos chasing their dreams further afield (if he doesn’t end up in New York, it will no doubt be Paris)
In short, I’m a reformed wanderer dating a would-be one, a relationship that was doomed before it had even begun.
And so, having recently moved house, I decided it was time to deal with this situation too; effectively doing the right thing by both parties and having the dreaded ‘talk’.
My boyfriend, true to form, rolled his eyes and appeared to listen to about half what I said. He then began to fuss about the problems I am having with the services in my new house. Later, he asked where we were going for dinner and has since organised both a night at the pub with his friends (which firmly included me) and pressed me as to when we would be seeing the new exhibition at the National Museum.
Somehow I seem to be dating my boyfriend more now, than when we were officially together.
I wrestled with this ridiculous situation for a week, before finally admitting it to some of my more reliable friends. “Oh that’s normal here,” one laughed. “Haven’t you heard the phrase: A boyfriend is for now. An ex-boyfriend is for life?”
It’s apparently true. An Englishman would have participated in the inevitable joint sadness, followed by the awkward division of pets and property and concerns about how to break the news to friends. My Colombian boyfriend yawns, appears more concerned about my lack of electricity and enthusiastically plans a night of strong beer and deeply inelegant darts.
Another friend was harsh. “You can’t get rid of them,” he said abruptly. “I have ex-girlfriends who still haven’t got the message.” And one Colombian friend gave a good explanation: “Of course I’m still in regular contact with all my exes,” she grinned wickedly. “It makes my boyfriend really jealous. But that’s normal right?”
While I would never want to “be rid” of my boyfriend – he is so instantly lovable even homeless people are warmed by the approach of his mega-watt smile – I hope my impending trip to England might provide us with some healthy distance.
But then again, maybe not. This is a Colombian relationship. It’s complicated.