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Emily Houghton on the idea that inspired her second book, Last Time We Met

Emily Houghton on the idea that inspired her second book, Last Time We Met

Picture the scene. Two single friends, most likely surrounded by an ocean of couples taking the concept of PDA to new extremes, look at each other and decide, yeah, OK, why not? If we are both single by the time we are ‘insert age here’ then we’ll get married. They both shake hands and feel rather proud that, no matter what happens, they will at least be saved from a future alone. Sound familiar? Well, you’re not the only one! And in fact, it was this idea that inspired my second book, Last Time We Met.

As a single 31-year-old woman, who is one of three still without a partner in her friendship group, does the prospect of such an arrangement appeal? In the past, I would have probably said yes, because let’s be honest, what’s worse than spending the rest of your life by yourself? Being the permanent odd one out at weddings, baby showers and dinner parties. The friend that is always desperate for, but never granted the plus one invite. Who their other couple friends try to set up at every possible opportunity, but often with limited success. Do I really want that? Do I really want to have to justify why I am in fact not in a relationship, pretending that it doesn’t feel like a failure on my part that I haven’t bagged myself a loving husband and popped out two children before my body clock times out? What could possibly be worse than that?

I’ll tell you. Being in a relationship with someone out of fear rather than love. For convenience rather than desire. Because you’re afraid what other people think if you’re not. I have spent too much of my life doing things because I thought it was the ‘right’ thing to do. The ‘proper’ way to be. Putting my worth and happiness into the hands of everybody else instead of trusting that I am enough, just as I am. Because, here’s the thing. As much as I would love to share my life with a special someone, to build a home and create a family I don’t want to do it for anything than full-bodied, heart expanding, life-changing love. And as much as I adore my friends, I don’t want to marry them.

And if I end up by myself? Well, I better make sure that I am the best version of me I can be. Someone that I would want to spend my time with. Surround myself with experiences and people who light me up and bring joy to my world. And most importantly, as cliché as it sounds, love myself. Because in the words of my icon Ru Paul, if you can’t love yourself? How the hell are you going to love anybody else? Amen.

Last Time We Met is published by Penguin on 4 August 2022

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