What a difference a year makes...

As Nickie and I were wandering hand in hand through the hustle and bustle of the Manchester Christmas markets, I was suddenly visited by a ghost of girlfriend past... It was almost exactly a year ago, after a too spicy Indian meal at East z East on Blackfriars, that my recent ex-girlfriend decided that I was worth keeping around on the understanding that we wouldn't call each other girlfriend or partner, we wouldn't have sex, in fact, we wouldn't even hold hands until she was ready. We'd just had a screaming argument outside the bank on King Street and I'd stormed off in tears. Looking back, I can't quite believe I fell for it. She was just out of a six year relationship and was merely looking for an anchor. Within two weeks it was over again, for good this time, because I just couldn't keep up the pretence of friendship, particularly as she kept kissing me. I wept like Bella after Edward left. I'd given her a beautiful and expensive hand made notebook for Christmas. She gave me the flu, and I was laid up in bed until New Year. As we rang in 2011, I felt beyond hopeless. Driving my friend home after the party, I had to pass my ex-girlfriend's street and once I'd dropped my friend off, I cried all the way back to Bolton. I couldn't picture myself happy or in love. Within three months, I'd met Nickie and eight months on, I'm readying myself for my first ever Christmas with a girlfriend! My life has never been so full of joy and I never thought I'd get to this place. Every morning, I get to wake up in the bed I share with the most beautiful girl in the world. I walk through the flat we live in together, safe in the knowledge that she will return to our home. It is the best part of my day, knowing that she still loves me. So, despite everything, the bad back, the depression, the finances... 2011 has most definitely been better than 2010. I'd say it was the most wonderful year of my life, but you know what they say... The best is yet to come!

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