Real life

I gave the blasted Paltrow method a go and allowed a bit of conscious uncoupling to creep in

But I’ve come to my senses. I don’t want to stay friends with a former boyfriend who’s got himself a younger woman

28 March 2015

9:00 AM

28 March 2015

9:00 AM

The builder boyfriend has a new girlfriend. I suppose he was bound to move on eventually. I just never thought he would move on this quickly. From the day I told him, in the traditional female way, that it really wasn’t working and never would work because of things that were entirely his fault, to the moment I heard he had a new squeeze, I would say it was three weeks tops.

She’s nearly ten years younger than me. And, by the sound of it, a deal better off. Good for him. If I could have traded him in for a younger, richer model I might have. But we’ll never know, because I don’t have that option.

I’m a woman in her 40s and as such I did what all women in their 40s do: I told him that all this on-off nonsense wasn’t working and walked into the dark unknown of singledom. I took stock, cried a bit, talked to my girlfriends, cried a bit more, watched Bridesmaids twice, tried to work out where it went wrong, what I really wanted, who I really was, where I wanted to go…

While he went down the pub and chatted up a friend of a friend and hey presto, he was all sorted! I was feeling sanguine about it, though, until he suggested we stay friends. What sort of madness is that? I don’t want to stay friends with a former boyfriend who’s got himself a younger woman.

I should have stuck to my instincts but I fell for all that sub-Gwyneth Paltrow/Chris Martin-esque hooey about always being special to each other and remaining in each other’s lives. I’m ashamed to say I allowed a bit of conscious uncoupling to creep in. This was foolish. It was better in the old days, when, in the bitter aftermath of romantic disappointment, one simply threw a few medium to heavy objects at an ex-boyfriend’s head and ordered him never to darken one’s door again.


But I gave the blasted Paltrow method a go. We have a lot of friends in common and it seemed churlish not to stay on amicable terms. ‘You’re like family to me,’ he said. So when I bumped into him post-split and he asked me round to his house for a cuppa I went. We sat by the fire chatting until his phone beeped.

‘Oh dear, that’s um …the new girlfriend,’ he said, reading a text. ‘She’s coming round in half an hour. We’re going out for dinner.’

‘But I thought you said you went out with her last night?’ I was gulping down mounting feelings of panic. ‘Yeah, well, you know what these things are like. I’m really sorry. I need to get changed.’ And he rushed upstairs.

‘Don’t worry about me!’ I called after him. ‘I’ve got to get back to…a hot date with a pre-pack lasagne-for-one from the Sainsbury’s garage and four back-to-back episodes of Law and Order Special Victims Unit.

‘No wonder you love this show,’ I always tell myself as I flick on to Universal channel. ‘You’re a special victim if ever there was one.’ I do wonder if I could negotiate a deal with Sky in which I only pay for channel 113 on the basis that it’s all I ever watch.

In any case, I slunk off to my sad little TV lasagne. But a few days after that encounter, there was another even more shocking development, brought to me by a mutual friend who had run into the ex-BB. He had been in a hurry. He was on his way to Waitrose to do some shopping because he was cooking for the girlfriend that night. This was too much.

‘Cooking?’ I screeched at my friend, aware that I sounded like Lady Bracknell. ‘Cooking! And shopping? In Waitrose? He never shopped for me in Waitrose! He used to go to Budgens! I mean, he went to M&S once, for ready meals, when I’d been in hospital with a burst cyst. But he never cooked dinner for me, with ingredients!’

Or maybe he did. I cast my mind back and then I remembered. It was a few years ago, when he set up a table in the garden one summer evening. There had been a starter, a main course and a pudding. Possibly, he had bought the ingredients from Waitrose. I couldn’t rule it out. But that was in the first flush of our courtship, and he never did it again.

So here he was, I realised, trying to impress the new girlfriend with the full three-courser. Suddenly, I felt sorry for her. She has it all to come. The hope, the promise, the disappointment. Or maybe he won’t disappoint her. Maybe he’ll give her everything she wants. In a way, I hope he does..

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  • Builder boyfriend

    No I won’t disappoint her,she fucked off,just after reading this article,thanks melissa xw

    • Callipygian

      Oh sod off.

      • Builder boyfriend

        I did you mug,that’s how I ended up bedding a bit of fresh,anyway best let you get back to masturbating over Ed Miliband hahahahahahaha bye x

        • Callipygian

          I bet the thing you planted wilted. Especially with your drool and slime oozing all over it.

        • “A bit of fresh”

          What a gentleman!

          • Builder boyfriend

            Yeah sorry it was rude of me to call her a bit of fresh,she is the most fantastic Girl that I ever met,and now she’s gone from my life. I regret typing it so so much,I hope she forgives me. She was everything kite never was,what a nob I am! regards the very happy to be ex builder boyfriend x

  • You were right to dump him. Annoying, though, that men can always serenely think of younger women they might have (and do have), while women as the years go by can only think of men that are older or — if they are very lucky — of their own age. What cruel trick of Nature is this? Why should men have the easy pickings? Why should women, of equal if not greater moral value, be like a car of diminishing value while still fully in their prime?

    • Gnaeus-Julius Agricola

      “still fully in their prime?”, in her/your dreams

      A woman`s shagability rating peaks early at around 18 then gradually drops off to become negative some time after forty, when she becomes invisible. This is normal, because if shagging is an instinctive desire in males to produce children, an older woman won`t do.

      I would not say a younger man will not shag an older woman,
      but will never take her seriously. Boys just like to have fun!

      It really is a cruel trick of nature.

      • Callipygian

        Thank you for a) restating part of my point and b) missing spectacularly the other half of it. ‘Prime’ means much more than shagability, mate: I was referring to the whole person. I suppose you also see yourself as a whole person, not just a shag object. By the way, men do lose their shagability appeal, too. Especially when they take it for granted. Oh, and I think most men would disagree that 18 is the height of appeal — especially those that (there’s that strange concept of ‘prime’ again) are interested in the whole person.

        • Feminister

          And don’t live in caravans with a high speed internet connection in their mum’s back garden.

      • mrsjosephinehydehartley

        Nature doesn’t do cruel tricks. Such inadequate, distracting and intensely boring narratives as this one which you present here, as if you are some kind of expert or host, are well past their sell by date. Why pretend to be a boy that likes to have fun? What on earth does that mean in this day and age?

        • Feminister

          He’s a boy who lives with his mum. Eddie in other words.

          • Callipygian

            Ha! Our old friend, Eddie %^[]

        • Callipygian

          Perhaps he’s fishing for a reaction. Either that or he has no idea how to engage a woman outside of his bodily need. Which is pathetic, and will doom him.

      • Feminister

        When will your shaggability rating peak? At 0

  • acrosticmcgee

    Is this a joke? How does this mumsnet rubbish get into The Spectator?

    • Feminister

      Same way Taki’s holidays, Steerpike’s nights out and Liddle’s cat/rabbit/mice/thought do. Though nowhere near as frequently.

      • Callipygian

        With you on tacky Taki. I’m fond of Rod, though.

  • Chamber Pot

    This is probably the most pathetic scrap of chick lit I have had to read in a serious paper. Who gives a monkeys about this self indulgent and unamusing blue stocking and her bit of rough ? Cougar or MILF he should have kicked her into touch much earlier instead he probably had to endure yawnsome meanderings on the meaning of life and relationships. She could have indulged herself with a young hard body and counted herself lucky rather than whining at the poor creature.

    • Feminister

      Serious paper? This is a lads’ mag for dic lit you berk.

      • Chamber Pot

        Well, quite…… I’ve just read that Loaded magazine folded last week and that its readership, now at a loss, have flooded these pages making snarky comments as a substitute for gawping at D Cups and fiddling with themselves ?

        • Feminister

          Every other week there’s an article about breasts. In between articles about prostitutes, casual flings, drinks soirees, cars, sport, war, being victimised by extremists. Blokerama.

    • Callipygian

      Ah, Mr Pot: where are the young hard bodies, I ask you? I have always had a very nice BMI myself, with a good percentage of canoe-portaging muscle, but whenever I look at males today I see miles and miles of flab, skinniness, paunch, unshaven faces, crappy shoes, appalling dress style, and ugliness. And they’re hoping for sex????!!

      • Chamber Pot

        Well you sound fit, and with those impressive stats a trip to Kololi beach with a swarm of Bingo wing-ed Milk Bottles from Scunthorpe intent on engaging the services of a rastatute, hard as mahogany, for cobweb removal and a good seeing to seems unnecessary ? So join a gym and stop writing fatuous posts.The ungrateful woman I have complained about at least had her Adonis and chosen him ‘ the builder ‘ deliberately as her intellectual inferior and pet so that she could look down her nose at him ?

        • Callipygian

          Correction: fabulous posts.

  • Liberty

    Thanks. Now I understand why my ex [she is 10 years younger and my gf is 20 yrs younger than me] finds it ‘difficult’ to be friends with me [we have 3 grown up children].

    • What’s it like having grown-up children? Was it worth it? How do you feel about them? How does your love now compare for the love when they were infants? I’m not a mother (dog-mummy only), so just wondering.

      • Liberty

        Absolutely. I feel as loving now as ever. They make all the sacrifice worthwhile. They all have partners who are more important to them but they are an expansion of attachments not a diminishment of ours. There is no sense of having to choose. As infants, the love was very much protection, nurturing and hands-on care oriented [I was the stay-at-home parent but now I work and am self-sufficient] 24/7 whilst now it is friendship, mentoring, shared identity and for my youngest still financial support and meeting up every few weeks. They have their jobs, friends, etc that do not involve parents.

        • Thanks for your response. I see things a bit distorted because my mother was a problem character in some ways, tended to be dismissive of motherhood as a feature of her life (while still insisting on Mother’s Day cards!), and is not someone I talk to now.

  • Diggery Whiggery

    What on earth his happening to women in this country?

    Never has the world seen such a motley collection of navel-gazing, happiness demanding, pleasure seeking, beauty dreaming, weight gaining, self-obsessing, nature denying, satisfaction refusing, miserable, neurotic whiners.

    Is it any wonder that more and more men shun relationships and turn to prostitution? Is it any wonder that many others look for their partner abroad, in Eastern Europe or Asia? Not only are they generally more attractive outside but also more attractive inside.

    Seriously ladies, considering the truly pitiful state in which you now find yourselves, what is the point of you?

    • Gnaeus-Julius Agricola

      British women are a liability, much better ones can be found elsewhere.

      • Oliver_Haddo

        I know it’s a bit trite to rate people by nationality, but Russian/slavic women are extraordinary. I think its possible an angel gene got into the mix over there because when it comes to goddess syndrome… Eastern European women possess a power and beauty that at the upper level touches on pure magic, Russian women of this type really ARE fem to the core, but are also tigers… fierce, passionate, indomitable… in some cases alpha strong without losing their essential fem appeal. It is something you can’t teach, it evolved through centuries… which is why these self-questioning, method seeking, trend-of-the-month insecure neurotics that pass for “women” in the West are for the most part rather boring and unappealing.

        • Feminister

          Unhappily for you you’re lumbered with British man genes: potato faced, barrel bodied, chauvinist, humunculuses with halitosis personalities.

          • Callipygian

            Oh dear. Titter.

      • David Prentice

        O, NEVER talk again to me Of northern climes and British ladies…

        Even Byron despised them.

        • Feminister

          You ain’t Byron

          • David Prentice

            Give a woman a looking-glass and burnt almonds, and she will be content.

            No almonds today?

          • Feminister

            Give a man a misogynist quote, he will be very pleased with himself.

          • Callipygian

            Unless he’s the men I like, and their lives would be nothing without women. And I don’t mean that they wouldn’t even be here. I don’t like my mother, and my favourite people beyond childhood have always been men, and they like me, too.

          • How about this? Give a woman a man’s life and she will be happy.

            Makes sense to me.

            Unfortunately, a woman is given the life she has — and then men bitch about it when she says it hurts. Guess who the @rseholes really are?

          • David Prentice

            It’s a hard knock life, amanda https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vWnOiLIdwgo

          • I’m enjoying mine the best I can and then I’m checking out of this jungle. Without leaving progeny to worry about. Especially girls.

        • Byron’s a dead man in dirty shirts with ruffles. Why should I care? I don’t.

      • Feminister

        Never mind that they all hate British men, eh.

      • Callipygian

        I hope you find ’em! Sayonara!

    • Guest

      I would have given you an “up” but something about your way of putting things prevented me… so 1/2 an up.

    • Feminister

      Yes it is awfully tedious when we stop talking about men boring on about their endless spats, international violent meltdowns, superstitious gatherings, medal awards ceremonies, statue unveilings, commemorations, celebrity pizza making, ball kicking and driving in circles isn’t it.

      • Diggery Whiggery

        “their endless spats, international violent meltdowns”

        LMAO. Anyone who’s seen the human dynamic that is created when you put half a dozen women in the same office for a few weeks, knows that the theory that women are more peaceful and less violent is mere fantasy.

        • Feminister

          Female working environments are quite pleasant. I currently work with men, one guy took me into an office yesterday and ran me through the negative personality traits of all the other team members, another stopped me by the photocopier and insulted that one. In previous offices men have left nary drawings on peoples desks, run sexret email ballots about their colleagues, had stand up sweary ties with one another, Once one choked a workmate, and another punched one at a Christmas party. My experience of school was similar. Everywhere you look men act anti socially. They fill our jails, cost billions a year to police, deface our environment, bing carnage to the roads, keep women afraid of using public spaces and are perpetually locked in warfare somewhere. They are a menace and I don’t see why women should have to put up with it.

          • Diggery Whiggery

            Where did I say that men don’t have the capacity to be nasty?

            My point is that the theory that women are somehow nicer and sweeter and so the world would be a better place if they were in charge, does not bear scrutiny. Women can be equally, nasty, bitchy, scheming and violent. They are neither better nor worse they are just human.

          • Feminister

            Well you said women were just as violent as men which is utterly delusional. It flies in the face of every single piece of evidence on human behaviour, prison statistics, the history of violence, the evening news, crime watch and top gear.

          • Diggery Whiggery

            Er no,

            I said:

            “the theory that women are INHERENTLY more peaceful and less violent is mere fantasy”

            and

            “Women CAN BE equally, nasty, bitchy, scheming and violent.”

            Nuance isn’t your thing I see.

            As for the rest of your post, it comes down to;

            a) an anthropological echo of women’s previous role in society. As that role changes over time to become more equal to that of a man, women will become more like men. They will become harder, more competitive, driven, uncompromising, aggressive etc etc. The stereotypical traits of men have nothing to do with genes and everything to do with what is necessary to survive and succeed in their habitual environment. As women share that environment more and more, they will need those same traits. Women who succeed in moving up the ladder in corporate business are more often than not those who display ‘male’ characteristics rather than female ones and inversely men who do not succeed often display ‘female’ characteristics.

            b) the blind eye that is often turned to female violence i.e. a drunk woman violently hitting a man without provocation is rarely arrested. Women still benefit hugely from the weaker, fairer sex meme that they ironically hate so much.

          • Feminister

            Can be if they are an anomaly, sure.

            90% of murders are committed by men. World over the statistically significant factor in violence is s*x. And one of the most effective treatments reducing recidivism of violent criminals is reducing their testosterone. Pretty inherent. It’s that hormone, not oestrogen or progesterone that is the emotionally unstable one.

    • I think men should make themselves better, to be more worthy of women’s love. Why do you think women read Jane Austen? Why do you think good men read Anthony Trollope? –Because they agree with me.

      And think twice before you slag off half the human race, whose daily, weekly, monthly burden is far greater than yours. I have watched men and women closely all my life, in the context of Western freedom, for which I give thanks. And I can say that without question, the men have an easier happier more indulgent time, and the women are more burdened because nature does that to them. Nature is unfair. It does not follow that men should make it worse by being unkind.

      • Diggery Whiggery

        “Nature is unfair”

        What an extraordinary statement. Nature is nature, fairness has got nothing to do with it.

        Define fairness.

        IMHO most of the burden that today’s women apparently suffer is self inflicted and caused by their unwillingness to choose and their wish to have everything.

        • Feminister

          Bad women! Choosing to have children and a roof over their heads. Pity they didn’t have the fore sight to socially engineer a male caste to do all their domestic work and child rearing for free or pocket money.

          • Diggery Whiggery

            No the social engineering is what we’re doing at the moment.

          • Feminister

            No. It’s what white men did before.

          • Diggery Whiggery

            Only white men? Are you serious?

          • Feminister

            No, amongst others, clearly.

            But White men didn’t just colonise other nations, and socially engineer them into subservience, deprive them of their own culture, religion and language, autonomy, the franchise, confidence, expression, and exploit them physically, they did the same to other sexes.

        • I stand by my statements, all of which are abundantly clear and need no further enlargement.

          • Diggery Whiggery

            Well as long as you convince yourself that’s the main thing

          • Why deny the obvious? Nature favours men in very many crucial respects. You’d rather be a woman? I’ll trade places with you!

  • Feminister

    A man who picks you up by a horse box and said he wanted to take things as they come turned out to be a tart?

  • Davidh

    Yes, luv – it’s all about you.

    Oh, and throwing objects at your partner’s head is domestic violence. You wouldn’t put up with us joking about it so why do you? What if I suggested the best way to split up with an over-weight girlfriend was to slap her a few times and order her out of the house?

    • Feminister

      Difference is that the most dangerous time for a woman is when she leaves a man, not vice versa.

      • Davidh

        All the more reason not to suggest throwing things at people’s heads, then. There should be zero tolerance for domestic violence, it’s not something that should even be made light of, and it’s one issue where feminists could contribute most constructively right now. The more domestic violence is talked about openly and honestly, the more women will have the self-confidence to walk away from potentially abusive situations at an early stage and the more men will grow up with better manners.

  • The more I read comments by men on threads like this, the more I think that men are toxic and women are well off without them. Honestly, they are the very definition of infantile, self-serving egomaniacs. Yuck.

    Philip Larkin, who was no saint, said one time that sex was like asking someone else to blow your nose for you (well, his nose was his c—-). What he really meant was that it’s asking a woman to sacrifice for you by being your real toy instead of the toy in hand and in your head. What he really meant, to get down to the nub, was that men use women in sex (for Nature, the devil or b*tch, planned it that way). Men use women for pleasure so that a design beyond both of them can unfold. Who loses out in this too-clever schema? Women. They are used by both men and Nature, and they suffer more than either as a result. It is quite perverse and negates to my mind all possibility of genuine justice, never mind a just god. Women fight for their peace and dignity; men in the nature of things merely assume it, and do injustice to women as a matter of course.

    • Davidh

      If there’s a definition of egomaniac, I’d say it’s the writer of the above article.

      “Women fight for their peace and dignity” – well that’s part of the self-obsession problem, surely. Instead of fighting so hard, why not just go for stuff that you think will bring you peace and dignity? It’s up to you to work that out…

      BTW – this article must be an April fool wind-up, surely?

      • Idiot.

        • Davidh

          That’s constructive. Why don’t you just throw a heavy object at my head?

          • Your head IS a heavy object. What good would it do?

          • Davidh

            Bring you peace and dignity.

    • Feminister

      sitting in a car park checking my mail, a guy well into his 30s in a suit has just parked next to be with his crap teenage music on full blast like everyone wants to hear it.

    • Chamber Pot

      Jesus, what happened to equality you self-indulgent cry baby ? You are, as a Western woman, privileged beyond measure and as I mentioned……..oh well never mind this, as Davidh has pointed out, is April Fool’s Day……a shame as I was hoping to pick a fight with Emma Goldman today, someone with real balls, instead of Mrs. Milquetoast.

      • Callipygian

        Let’s see: reading comprehension not your strong suit, nor is critical thinking. Have a nice day anyway.

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