Final Dating Column – Sunday Times’ Style

To date, my love life has been a tiresome chronicle of bad romance. But it takes only an instant for things to go right. And, oh, how glorious it is when they do.

I call him the Special One, since he had a tattoo of Jose Mourinho on his shoulder blade. He had enormous brown eyes and was an ex-public schoolboy, something the Inner Circle dating app specialises in.

For our first date we went to an engagement party. He said he was a fan of irony. When I agreed to meet him, I expected nothing. But it was an auspicious moment, the one night nothing could go wrong. I was so vicariously happy for Marzena, the bride-to-be, for she is an angel. She lives on the floor below me. Our flats were built on top of the communal boiler and we met one summer while dangling half-naked out of our respective windows, which is how we are forced to live for the month of June. After decades and decades of even worse romance than mine, aged almost 50, she met a man who was worth the wait. He proposed last year. I’ll be their bridesmaid in June.

The Special One met me at a pub beforehand. I thought it would probably end there, but I felt he liked me because he made it damned obvious by buying me an absolutely enormous drink.

I’ve been told by all my friends who have stumbled upon their soulmate that when it’s meant to be, it simply is. But I wonder if any of them have an inbuilt self-destruct mechanism like I do.

I tried to hold off sleeping with him, knowing I’d lose my mind if it was in the slightest way any good. But I’d convinced myself it wouldn’t be. So I thought why not try, it’s been a long time… And then, when he took me to bed, the sex was so breathtaking my lungs might have quit and died. For I found myself, quite inexplicably, in heaven. And I wish that was how and where I’d remained. The tale at an end. And me waving at you from the start of a happy ever after.

But the magnificent sex was the end of it all. For, of course, he was too good for me. I had to get out before he went off me, at which point I’d hurtle back from happy-ish to utterly dejected again. I made an excuse and said goodbye. Then regretted it, fiercely.

Everyone agrees that on the third date you get laid, but there’s no law as to when your shag pal becomes your boyfriend. There should be some rule that says if you just hold yourself together until date 15, you get a free and automatic upgrade to relationship status.

It only takes a second for everything to go right. And roughly half that for it all to go wrong. Trust me, I’m an absolute expert at screwing everything up.