My friend's ex can be my soulmate, right? Right

As women mature and get ready for marriage they do away with standards they had set themselves when they were younger. They now search for Mr Right with a different criteria, the writer says.  /123RF
As women mature and get ready for marriage they do away with standards they had set themselves when they were younger. They now search for Mr Right with a different criteria, the writer says. /123RF

Life has a way of humbling you, particularly as you get older.

For as long as I can remember, my friends and I have always had standards and a list of needs in terms of who we are going to date. My list has almost always been physical looks. In fact recently, a friend accused me of mistaking dating for a fashion show.

The list though, has grown to include other things as I grew myself, with respect being top of the list.

Another friend won't even consider you if you don't have a full case of kiss-madolo, and you must have a bit of mkhabanyana - fashion parades come in different forms beloved.

Others wouldn't date you if your bank balance is looking frail, one sneeze or cough from your wallet and they are gone; something I admire a lot because if you like nice things you really shouldn't have to compromise. But I am too much of a romantic to ever see this one through.

These criteria were fun to enforce in our late 20s because of the ignorance and arrogance of youth; getting old seemed a thing that old people used as a threat to make us get our lives into shape.

And then you hit the 30s, and with every visit back home, you see a "child" from the neighbourhood who isn't quite a child anymore. You go to a funeral and realise that with peeling and cooking duties, you are no longer just "helping out", they have become your responsibility.

The mothers who used to do it without even a nag now each have a nagging pain somewhere.

Suddenly you are an adult, and the mothers who used to peel and work drievoet pots are nagging you about when they are going to see a grandchild. "You need to stop being so loud, you are chasing boys away," they say.

You chuckle because you don't want boys anyway, but you smile sheepishly and giggle the nagging away.

But whether you want kids or not, we all still harbour some dreams of finding the one, except now you are older and have realised the one must also be the right one.

It's around this time that I have seen the bargaining start to happen. Criterion after criterion starts falling away until your entire check-list from your youth days falls away completely. I have seen people live their happiest lives after abandoning the check-list, but even so, when I cried over a break-up a few months ago the one thing that kept me crying after I had started was realising I may eventually have to settle for a man I don't find sexually appealing.

I have spoken to a few of my friends and they do agree that they have all but done away with the check-list. And this is fine, we have accepted that the check-list has fallen, we must make do with what we have and with what's left in the pool.

I do feel though that there is one more thing we need to do away with. This "golden unwritten rule" that if we are friends I can't date your ex.

Times are hard.

This rule is holding us back as people of advanced years who are just trying to be happy and have "legitimate" coitus. If this world and its society is going to keep insisting that we are a monogamous species, then we are going to have to learn to allow for peaceful recycling, especially if you are married and living your best life, you can't be allowed to enforce this rule.

For all you know, it was just God's way that we met, and don't be that friend that stands in God's way.

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