The Day in the life of Tony Cliffe

The blog that's full of discussion, advice, travel and ramblings!

Tag: relationship advice

Cheating in relationship, is it in the Jeans?

It’s been quite a while since I last wrote a blog that was solely dedicated to relationships or my usual non-existent love life. The last proper one was probably in 2015 An honest look at why I’m single or one of my favourite blogs of all time the one about the perfect girl which can be read here What would the perfect girl be if she existed?.  They’re often some of my favourite ones because there is so much scope for in-depth discussion or plenty of avenues for humour and stories.

I’ve actually been meaning to do one of these for quite a while, and that’s due to different things that have happened over the past 6 months with friends, which often prompted me to get down and write about it. The main thing is, as much as I love my girl mates, they have made some truly bad decisions lately :P. Or at least from my part what I see as bad decisions. Decisions that I completely disagree with but as friends you fully support, albeit reluctantly at times. That topic is cheating in a relationship. I was going to dedicate an entire blog to the subject as I see it as far more common from my girl mates and never from my guy mates, so it got me thinking why that is. While I morally disagree with their actions, I fully understand their reasoning for doing so. Sadly their reasons are justifiable something I never thought I’d agree with and sadly, each one of them has the exact same reasons. Which, while not perfect from the girls, it means guys are not doing what they should be doing in relationships. Which is a worrying trend and precedent for relationships in general.  Which is something I’ll outline in more depth in this blog.


A few years ago in a Valentine’s Day blog, I compared two different types of love with food (naturally love and food are the same thing with me!) Asda smart price vs M&S food. I’ve now updated such analogy with Primark Jeans and Levi’s. All will become clear, I assure you. However, I didn’t go ahead with writing a full blog on it because I wanted something a little lighter and happier slant on love than what that would be. As my parents have just celebrated 30 years since being married and my best guy friend is getting married this weekend, I thought it was a good time to mix the light and the dark side of relationships. Starting in the dark and working towards the light…then throwing my somewhere in between love life in there too! (Edit: But while planning this blog I realised that I may not have time to write about the wedding and the anniversary. Maybe next time!)

Disagree with the action, agree with the justification

So to the dark side first. Everything I’m about to say has been said to them so now I’m just getting my thoughts out there to a wider audience. One time it happens doesn’t need to be talked about but four times needs addressing ha-ha! So let me put my stall out and my stance on cheating before I go into anything in more depth. I fully and wholeheartedly disagree with it. I’ve been the unfortunate victim of cheating in a relationship and let me tell you it sucks. It’s one thing for someone to tell you that they don’t love you anymore, but at least they had the respect for you, to tell you. So while they may break your heart for a time, at least you’re not in a relationship in denial. When someone cheats on you, it’s basically someone saying you’re not even worth that respect. Sure, you could be the most horrible boyfriend in the world, but they still deserve a “this isn’t working” rather than cheating. If you’re unhappy in a relationship, then leave before you do something with another person. We’re humans and evolution has programmed us to procreate, so it’s natural to be attracted to other people at times in a relationship. You’re allowed to window shop, but it’s important that you don’t enter the said shop.


Taken? Then look but don’t touch.

I get it though, it can be daunting breaking someone’s heart but ultimately if you’re not happy, then you’re only cheating both of you out of a love life that you deserve. If you’re the one doing the breaking up then sure it’s going to hurt, you’re going to be the bad guy for a time, but ultimately it’s the right decision for you and both of you. If you’re the one who has been broken up with, sure it’s going to absolutely kill you but once the heart has healed you see it as a blessing in disguise. I hold 100% respect to an ex who told me they didn’t love me anymore. That took an immense amount of courage to do that, so I respected her for that. Let’s face it too, people fall out of love. It happens. People get with each other and then circumstances change, they change, and that’s all part of growing up and moving forward. These things happen, it’s not a bad reflection on either of you. Sometimes relationships just fail, and that’s okay. Take away the lessons from it and move forward. It is a bad reflection on you; however, if you then cheat in that relationship while lying to each other that you love each other when you don’t. They deserve better and quite frankly you’re better than that.


So yeah, I’m fully against cheating in a relationship and at no point in any of the conversations I’ve had with these people do I agree with what they have done. Yet, I can 100% understand their reasoning’s and their attempts at justifying their position of why they have cheated. That’s where I’ve had the moral dilemma of disagreeing with the action but understanding the reasoning behind said action.


Out of the four close girl mates that have done the cheating, each time I sat and listened to their story of events and their reasoning, it was as if the conversation was recorded and repeated. Just change the names and that would be it. The circumstances and reasons were exactly the same. These four girls are vastly different in personality, jobs, morals, and outlooks on life. Their only common factor is they’re friends with me. So, if they all have the same reasons for cheating, then that’s clearly an issue that needs to be addressed.

So what were their reasons I hear you ask? It was a variation on a lack of affection and support from their boyfriends. Now I’m not talking about someone missing an event or not backing them up in an argument. I’m talking about no flowers, no hugs, and no simple things like taking an interest in their family or how their partner’s day has been and just a general lack of being a good boyfriend. That’s the issue. Too many times have I seen guys who treat their girlfriends as if they were there guy mates, devoid of emotion or at least insensitive to such things. Sure, it’s good to be in a relationship which isn’t smothered by romance, and it’s healthy to have a laugh and goof around like best mates, and it’s vital you have your own pursuits outside of the relationship. Yet when no affection or support is offered, she will look elsewhere. That’s essentially what happened. Being in a relationship devoid of that and as soon as someone comes along who offers that person that love, support and affection, it’s not hard to see why it happened.


That frustrates me, a lot. It seems guys have forgotten the fundamentals of relationships and being a good boyfriend. Affection and intimacy is a big part of a relationship. Now I’m not saying you have to buy gifts and flowers every week for them, but once in awhile, so they know they’re appreciated, or even if you just tell them, that goes a long way. I’m not going to outline the fundamentals of good relationship etiquette, go google the millions of blogs and magazine articles which already outline the obvious. Yet, some things aren’t as obvious that I feel if guys did more, maybe their girlfriends would be less inclined to look elsewhere for affection.

  1. Take an active interest in their lives:

    Yeah, some of her hobbies may be about as exciting as watching paint dry and maybe she works in a field that you have absolutely no clue about. Does it hurt to ask about it or try to take an interest in it? For example my ex, I knew nothing about horses, nor do I really care about showjumping or take any interest in horses outside of betting on them on the Grand National weekend. I knew it was important to her and a big part of her life, so I tried to take an interest in it and let her explain things and occasionally go along to her events. Would I choose to sit on a cold field watching people jump horses, to which I’m always allergic to? No. Did I do it anyway because I wanted to support her? Absolutely. Likewise, she would humour me by asking about cycling or aviation. It’s about sharing in those new experiences. It’s important, especially if they work in a tough job or sector that even if you have no clue about it, just ask her anyway. 99% of what she says may go over your head, but she’ll appreciate you asking. After all, you’re there to support them.


  2. Support them:

You won’t always agree with somethings they said or do, and that’s fine because we’re not all the same and debate and argument in relationships is a healthy thing. However, they need to know that no matter what, you have their back. Like for example with those girl mates, I fully disagree with their actions, I told them that and the reasons why but ultimately I still said: “I stand by your decisions and I’m here to support you”. That’s just what a good friend and what a good boyfriend should do. You’re meant to be a team! You need to have each other’s back. I’d hate to be in a relationship and not feel like I had the backing of my girlfriend.

  1. Be emotional:

I’m not talking about serenading her with an 80’s power Ballard while sitting on a sit-on lawnmower outside her window (totally on the list to do one day :D) or writing a love poem to her. I am talking however about show her you care. Tell her you love her once in a while. I’m an emotional robot for a lot of things in life, and that’s why many people come to me for advice, especially in terms of relationships because I can easily switch off my emotions to give objective and logical advice. In a relationship, you just can’t be that person. I can control my emotions because I’m a deeply emotional vibrant person. I’m sure close friends and past girlfriends have witnessed how deep my love and affection goes. Even if you’re an emotional robot, you need to show some sort of feelings towards them; otherwise, you’re just friends or just two people who occupy the same space. Compliments are always a big boost too. Even the girls who say they hate them, they’re lying. Everyone loves a good boost in confidence. Yet, compliments from most guys on their girl’s appearance are quite shallow and usually only used in the bedroom. Women are so much more than just appearance. Maybe next time compliment her on her personality, how driven or caring she is, or how intelligent she is. Show her you love her for more than just her looks because we’re all so much more than that.


But I guess this all comes down from both sides as a lack of effort and back to that old analogy of Asda smart price food vs M&S. So let me update you with how I view relationships at the moment at least in this context.

Primark Jeans v Levi’s Analogy

Primark Jeans are basically what ‘relationships’ have become lately. A quick, comfy convenience that doesn’t require much effort or thought, lasts a few weeks to a few months, and once it’s broken, it is easy to replace. Like, Primark Jeans are very common, relatively cheap and do their job but within a few weeks to a month they shrink or come apart at the sides. There is no point working to repair them because you can just pick up another pair and you were never invested in them anyway from the start. Contrast that to a £100 pair of Levi jeans. You invest a substantial amount of money into them and usually as you’re spending that much you’ll spend your time finding the right pair before committing to the purchase. Not only do they last far longer, if they were to become damaged, you’ll work to get them repaired. Does that make sense? I’m definitely a Levi jeans kind of’ guy. I’d rather invest more and have it for longer than go through 10 pairs of Primark jeans. I just wish more people would be Levi kinda’ of people.


I guess to conclude this part of the blog, while your reasons for your actions may be justifiable and if you feel yourself going there, end it with your boyfriend or girlfriend first before you go there. It’s not healthy for either of you, and if you continue to have your cake and eat it too, karma will come back to make you choke on it. Do the right thing. Likewise, guys, step up. If a girl loves you make an effort to support and love them back. This isn’t a one-way street, you’re a team and teams require teamwork and effort from both.

So I was going to now go into the light and talk about my Mum and Dad’s 30th wedding anniversary and my best guy friend’s wedding coming up at the weekend, but I realise that this blog has gone on much longer than I thought it would! I guess I had a lot to say, so I’ll save that for another blog. I will, however, now move into a more positive light and move towards talking about my still pretty much non-existent love life but why I hold great hope for the future. A bit lighter to end!

So ironically not a great deal has changed since those last blogs, and I’m still waiting for my ginger, cycling pilot baker girlfriend to appear. But alas it isn’t all that bad! I think I’m the happiest I have been since 2011/12, and I’m just enjoying life and travels and friendships. It’s only been maybe the past few months where I’ve actually considered and entertained the thought of being in a relationship again. Everything is now set up for one, and I know emotionally and physically, I can give time and effort into investing myself back into a relationship again. Of course, that’s easier said than done. You all know how I have that tick box system in my head and how despite having way too much self-confidence there is still the crippling fear of being hurt again and not living up to expectations in a relationship. I guess that’s normal, but I am ready to give up my selfish ways and compromise and share my life with someone in a way that is more than I do with friends. Maybe I have the courage to take that leap of faith again, but it has to be with the right person. The beauty of being single and loving yourself for who you are is that you know exactly what you want and what you need. I have felt really positive lately about the future outlook to my love life, which has been dormant for far too long! I feel like good things are on the way, and I’m excited about that adventure again as if the PhD and starting my own business wasn’t enough of an adventure already!


Someone for the first time since my ex which is what four maybe even five years ago now has passed the Tony test, not that they know that of course! I do like to keep things to myself and my cards close to my chest. That over-complicated tick box exercise, which is my defence mechanism. That’s a big thing for them and for me because it literally never hardly happens! Whether or not that will ever develop into anything in the future is not up to me to write, I’m sure the directors of the universe have plans to either develop it or not but I really don’t care. What will be will be and I’m not even giving it any thought!


However, in the meantime, I really am enjoying the PhD life and the friendships that come with that. It’s one thing to be single for a long time and while that’s great for exploring yourself and being 100% happy with who you are, it actually makes you really appreciate the journey you’re on and where you’ve been. You also really appreciate those in your life as friends, both old and new. Every day lately has been an absolute laugh, and that’s mostly down to old but also new friends, especially those from the PhD gang. Memes, gifs, puns and jokes galore along with the beauty of getting to know them in more depth! I’m loving it and I’m really grateful for where I am in my life right now.


Before I wrote this blog, I went through some of my old ones trying to find my last dedicated relationship blog and came across one of those blogs I wrote just after that breakup. It amazes me to see how far I’ve come since then and that it truly was a blessing in disguise. The things I’ve achieved and who I’ve become since then actually makes me proud to see who I am today. So, I guess to round this blog off on a positive note. If you are that girl, who is thinking about breaking it off with their boyfriend because they are either not affectionate, caring or you’ve just run out of love for them. Set them free. It’s their choice to be another Primark Jean for another woman, but maybe you might set them free to become a Levi. They may just thank you. Don’t try to wear two jeans at once because no one wins then. With that in mind, maybe you’ll realise that while shopping in Primark has its perks, you might dip into your pocket and invest in a pair of single Levi jeans. We do exist 😀

Until next time,






Mistakes, Lessons learned and a new blog!

Well it’s been a while since I’ve wrote this kind of blog, probably back to my “Don’t be the ship heading for the rocks” one years ago. However while it’s fresh in my mind I thought I better write it. But before I go any further, I want to welcome you to my new blog site! It seems my old host has been having a lot of trouble lately and has been down for over a week, I suspect its game over for them sadly! So bare with me until I get my head around this new site!

This week has been interesting to say the least and from it there have been a lot of things that have got me thinking. I’m always one that seeks out constant improvement in everything I do and after realising some of my own mistakes and watching a fair few being made by others this week, I think it’s only right that I discuss them in the hope that you may avoid them in the future!

So this week, I facilitated an argument between two best friends and a friend that lasted pretty much for about 7 hours. To say I felt like the UN Security Council is an understatement and I certainly wasn’t over the Bam Ki-Moon until it was sorted. Turns out everyone in that argument, including me, made some mistakes and personally I realised a mistake on my part for a tiff between me and my wife.

Now everyone makes mistakes and it’s impossible to make them all yourself, so it’s always good to learn from others.
1. Communication

So I thought I’d start with the first one and one that I harp on about all the time when people come to me for relationship advice or friendship advice. I always say communication is the key because it is.

If I had a pound for every time someone argued because they got the wrong end of the stick of something, jumped to conclusions in a heartbeat and got angry at someone because they didn’t know the full facts… well I’d be rich…but then I’m also guilty of that myself so I’d probably have to give it all back.

So all the arguments or tiffs this week could have been dampened in the first place, if everyone communicated. Case in point, this week’s trio argument. People jumping to conclusions to quickly and then failing to talk to said person about it. Instead they discuss it with their friends  without bothering to talk to the person(s) to get to the bottom of it (again I have been guilty of that in the past too and was guilty of the conclusion thing this week).  If everyone from the start was open and communicated about their feelings, their problems ,then the whole 7 hour argument would have just been a minor heated discussion. When everyone realised they all had the wrong end of a horribly timed coincidence, I’m pretty sure everyone felt a bit foolish of how it was all dealt with. However if we all communicated at the start then we wouldn’t have let it get so big!

Communication is also massive in relationships, both in love and in friendships. I like to think I’m close to 98% open at all times to all my close friends and when I have a girlfriend I like to think I’m usually up to that standard with them to. I’m sure you’ve guessed from my blogs I am a kind of heart on the sleeve guy and I usually put everything out there, until exceptions which I shall come onto.

However what I’m trying to say is, I think a few more people should be like me and be open, especially if you’re in a relationship or in a close friendship. If you’re in a relationship or have a tiff currently with a best friend, I guarantee you’ve ranted and expressed all your feelings to another person but haven’t confronted the actual person over it? Many hours I’ve sat on a phone or at a computer screen listening to friends go on about their boyfriend/girlfriend not doing this or doing something that makes them angry, but they never say to that person what it is. How do you expect to solve an issue if all parties don’t know what is wrong? Plus when everyone talks things through, it will make your relationship stronger because you can both work on your flaws.

Now I know, personalities and personal circumstances play a big part in this and I understand it’s not always black and white. Although I wear my heart on my sleeve most of the time, I hold an incredible amount of information back to myself. I help countless people and offer advice but I rarely seek it. I only open up if I really can’t deal with things on my own and that’s only when something truly bad has happened, usually I deal with everything else on my own. It’s not that I don’t value people’s advice or a lack of trust because it isn’t. The ‘bubble’ of close people around me I trust 100% and value their advice a lot to but, I know what people can handle and what they can’t. I have broad shoulders; I carry around a lot of my own baggage and a hell of a lot of other peoples because I can. I have the mental capacity and the personality that accommodates it. For others you’d probably find it difficult to deal with everyone else’s problems while dealing with your own, but I’m used to it over the years :P. Plus I feel guilty if I off load on someone who is dealing with their own problems (but like I said don’t hesitate to keep coming for advice, I do offer it free of charge… well maybe a coffee 😉 ).

So bringing this back to this week, my beautiful wife lately has been going through a hell of a lot of crap from life. Once again I am in complete awe at how she keeps it all together, even if the seams are held together with selotape. You’re one brave girl ace moose! However, this lack of communication and well my personality trait caused a small tiff a few weeks ago which was only resolved the other day. I love helping people, more than ever when it comes to the people I love. I cannot bare to see the ones I care about upset, so I’ll try my best to help anyway I can and maybe it’s an ego thing, every guy wants to be the noble knight in shining armour. I see problems through to the end so I will keep going at it until that person is happy again. However, sometimes just like a true Taurus, I tackle it in a bullish way. I get annoyed at how some people hold back feelings and thoughts, especially with someone who shares a 100% mutual trust. Because I’m an open person I forget very easily why some people don’t open up and then when they don’t ,I get even more frustrated at myself because I’m sitting on my hands, watching someone I love being upset and I feel like I can’t do anything because the walls are up. When you want to knock down the walls and open up the door to see a smile, it can be quite frustrating. But this constant head on approach can be quite smothering and it’s most certainly one of my flaws.

However…if, like I should have done all those weeks ago been a little less selfish and a little less bullish, I don’t think we would have had our tiff (not an argument, because in 8 years we’ve never argued!). Sometimes it’s good to take a step back and think of why someone has done something in the way they have or recognise earlier that they need some space to sort things out and that when they’re ready they’ll come to you. I was guilty of that recently and she was guilty of taking things out on me when she didn’t mean to and not opening up about what was going on inside her head. So apologies all-round were given : ) . But see another communication lesson learned here, if she said this is what’s up but I need some space to work it out in my head first, then I wouldn’t have tried to be a knight on a charging bull, even if she knows my intentions are always for good 😛


2. Don’t dry your dirty laundry in public

This one is a mistake I learned from years ago, yet some people still make it and this isn’t an attack on said person because I’ve spoken to them about it and we both knew how when you’re angry you don’t exactly think straight! This mistake is when we put our angry thoughts to a Facebook status without either, A. Having the full facts and B. usually not even facing the person you’re angry at in person.

Like I said I was massively guilty of this in 6th form. After all I set up this blog in year 12 to vent my anger at numerous people in my form and the truly idiotic clickyness and damn right injustice thrown my way from people in that place. Even today I hold a strong distaste too many of them, I doubt they’ve ever changed, in fact I know that! Insert smug face here.

Getting your angry message out in the open can work for you sometimes and others it can slap you in the face. When I started those blogs in year 12 I was backed into a corner and I was under attack day after day in a vicious environment of rumours, back stabbing and not being able to trust anyone but myself. When you try and stand up for yourself in an environment like that it’s very hard to do it and survive. I knew if I got my message out there, got people on my side, I knew the tables would turn in my favour. People love to read gossip and hardship. With each new blog, the number of readers grew, the hatred from those people increased (which fuelled more blogs) but the support and comments after every blog for me grew and grew. People began to see what I was facing, supported me and ultimately won. I big part of me still thinks I was elected as head boy on the back of those blogs, there was no bigger advertisement of “I fight for what is right and stand up for what I believe in” than those blogs. But before you go looking, I’m pretty sure those old blogs are long since gone into cybernet landfill. That’s because although they were hilariously sarcastic and damn right truthful, let’s face it it’s not very clever hiding behind a keyboard but when you’re in a corner you do what you can.

So, sometimes it works, other times you just feel like a grade A tosser. Case in point a few months ago I was still raw over my break up, I see my ex all cosy with some guy on Facebook, she gets frapped and the status could be seen as something more than it was , I put two and two together (Okay I’m not 100% at fault here, I’m sure many would have at least thought the same as I did). I was angry and disappointed and took to Facebook to rant about it. At the time like the person did the other day when you’re angry you just want to shout it all over Facebook, look like the down trodden poor person who should be in the right. When the anger wears off you realise you just looked like a massive bell-end and someone who jumped to the wrong conclusions, you end up looking like a crazy person and you show absolutely no respect for that person and everything you went through. So when my ex handled it like an adult, something which I failed to do, when she came and had a quiet word with me in private, explained the situation (full respect to her, I mean most wouldn’t have done that. So thank you) and allowed me to apologise at how unbelievably stupid I had been over absolutely nothing. I went home after uni that day with my tail between my legs, licking my wounds of how I was a complete and utter floppy Phallus.

Back to this week, this person ranted and raved on Facebook, accusing people, left right and centre before confronting the people involved. It’s not big, it’s not clever and when no one responds, you just look like a crazy person ranting on Facebook about something nobody knows nothing about. But like I said I’m not having a go at this person because hell I’ve done it before and no matter how good our intentions or reasons are at the start for the rant, when the dust settles we just realise that a social media warfare, no-one wins and usually, if the people are anything like my ex, will win hands down with a dignified adult like response in private and you’ll just be left feeling like a tit. Plus a person who rants about you on Facebook also runs the risk of being publicly humiliated if you come up with a brilliant counter argument. So it’s not worth it! 😛

Final notes – We give a lot of leeway to those we love but how much is too much?

So all this week, especially facilitating that three way argument and realising my patience with the tiff with Sarah I realised that those that we love, we really let them get away with more than just a normal person would have. That’s part and parcel of love tho I guess, you do compremise, well you should! You are more inclined to give an extra inch and benefit of the doubt here and there, and when you have a close relationship built upon 8 years of marriage, trust and love, you’re always going to give more rope than someone you’ve just met. It’s good to be patient and to give where you can because it helps and especially when the two sides apologise, realise both are special to each other, you thank yourself for not walking away and for sticking it out. We are anyway. It’s what best friends do: P

But with this argument thing, I won’t go into too much detail because their love life has nothing to do with you guys but It certainly tests the ideas of how much leeway and time does one person get and to what point do you realise it’s time to walk away. Sometimes the hardest but the most right of things to do is to walk away from someone you love. Saying you give up sometimes is not a weakness, it can be one of the strongest and bravest things you can ever do. My ex broke up with ages ago because she wanted to concentrate on dissertation and some other things in the future and as we did love each other, I could see the hurt in her teary eyes as she told me. Not for one second do I think it was easy for her to break up with me and I hold a big respect for that. To let go of someone you love I bet wasn’t easy at all. Was it the right decision? Well I can’t answer that, I have my opinion, I’m sure now we’ve finished uni and got our dissertation marks she’ll have hers and I’m sure you have one too 😛

For these people in this argument, especially one of them has given so much time to wait for the other person. The other person is torn over feelings to so it was never going to be a day and night decision but it’s come to the point now where if they got together it could work and could be brilliant and as I’m a hopeless romantic I hope that happens! But it’s also come to the point where one of them could say enough is enough, we’re going round in circles, it’s time to love myself and find myself again.

I don’t know what the outcome will be. In the long run whatever happens it will be beneficial to both in whatever they decide! Good luck you two!

So I hope you’ve taken on-board some of the things I’ve said tonight, I learned a few lessons and I hope you have too tonight. I hope you’ve learned that communication is a key point and that if we were all more open to each other about our problems with people we’re angry with then there would be a lot less arguments and much more stronger relationships. Tonight I hope you’ve also learned that when you go to war on a status the only winner is the one you’re insulting and finally I hope you’ve learned that sometimes giving up is brave and sticking it out can be courageous and rewarding!

Until next time folks,

Tony      C