Lucy Cavendish: The relationships I really want and need

By Lucy Cavendish

What relationship works for me…

Is it a bosom buddy for your salsa class, or an after-hours alliance that is over before the sun rises? Here are some of the different relationships you can enjoy without any guilt whatsoever.


As we get older, we all want different things – mainly we want fulfilling lives, moments of happiness, good relationships with our friends and families and a sense of fun and adventure. Recent research shows that the over-45s are the happiest age group right here and now. We have a sense of what happiness means and we don’t take it for granted. We have been through periods of unhappiness which is why we now appreciate what being happy means.

But the question is, what type of relationship makes YOU happy? I shall reveal a personal secret; I have been single now for over two years but, in that time, I have had a few trysts, not many, but a couple. They started over dinner and ended up…after-hours alliances that were great while they lasted but over by the next morning.

“I now have a bit of freedom and I want to use it doing what I want to do”

Years ago, I would have been incapable of doing that. I didn’t have dalliances, I just had full-blown relationships. But now I feel very different about everything. I have my children and my work and that all takes up a lot of time. My children have a father so I am not looking for a father-replacement for them. Yet I now have a bit of freedom and I want to use it doing what I want to do. Sometimes I might want a bit of romance, sometimes I want dinner and a shoulder to lean on, sometimes I want to have a poker evening, go to the cinema, or sometimes I need something more physical. As long as I am clear about what I want and make everything plain, then no one minds. My poker partner knows he is just that. It makes life enjoyable and guilt-free for me.

There are many forms of relationship we can enjoy now – whether it is salsa dancing with a friend or slipping away for the weekend with a part time lover. It’s what makes our generation different – we are not looking necessarily for life-long partners and fathers-to-be of our children. We can have fun and park the guilt because we are grown-ups now, playing with life but not play acting. We know what it’s about now.


1) Go out and do something different with someone – eg salsa class, play squash etc

2) The cinema is always a good idea, you can cuddle up if you want to

3) Ask someone to accompany you to an event eg a literary launch etc

4) Do a date on the water – a picnic by the river, kayaking, a spot of canoe-ing, rowing down the river etc

5) Have a dalliance, but make sure you are clear that’s what it is, nothing more, nothing less…

About Lucy Cavendish

Lucy Cavendish is a successful journalist and mother of four living in Oxfordshire. She writes for the Times, the Guardian, and the Daily Mail. Article courtesy of The Lady.