Laura Jane Williams: ‘My Parents’ (Im)perfect Marriage’

Grazia's weekly columnist, Laura Jane Williams, is looking for love - and she's not afraid to say it...


by Laura Jane Williams |
Published on

There was a man, not long ago – a film trailer editor, early thirties, met online – with whom I really, really, wanted it to work.

He was kind, in absolute adoration of me, and executed cunnilingus with a level of accomplished skill that leaves me half expecting to see his name on the next New Year's Honours list.

I ended it, though, not a month after we started dating. Why? My parents.

Laura Jane Williams Grazia Agenda columnist


My parents laugh together, so very much. They have a loving, witty shorthand built up over 30 years of marriage, 10 years of courtship, and five rocky years where they almost didn't make it.

That's the bit that has ruined me. The bit where for five years I watched them grapple with their relationship when either one of them would have been quite justified in walking away, and for five years I thought, "This is an awful lot of bother. Why not just leave?"

I was 21 then, and see now what a fool I was. I see how they've spent their whole lives getting to know each other – not just falling in love, but working to stay that way.

We've all been hurt in love, we're all terrified, we all feel scared and shy and reluctant when we're vulnerable.

When I talk about looking for a husband, it's not a fairy-tale happy ending I long for: it's the one worth working on. The union of two flawed, imperfect people with a sense of the ridiculous, who fearlessly compromise around each other's needs, kind of like how a tree's roots always find a way to grow, even if they have to contort around the hardest bit of earth, or push the pavement up.

That's the part I struggle with. That we all struggle with, I think. The everyday commitment of it all. The "hard" that can come before the "work". At the first sign of trouble, or general inconvenience, we bolt. Can't handle it.

Laura Jane Williams Grazia Daily relationship columnist


A girlfriend of mine has a thread of WhatsApps from her most recent flirtation describing how his past hurt has made him "wary" of relationships, as if his pain is unique. As if he's the only person in the world to have ever been heartbroken. As if we're not all learning to find the strength to stay, to push through what is uncomfortable or awkward.

They stopped seeing each other, my friend and him. They're back in the hands of the Tinder gods.

We've all been hurt in love, we're all terrified, we all feel scared and shy and reluctant when we're vulnerable. That's what it is to hope – and what is dating without hope? Without courage?



A man who can say, "I am scared. But I would like to be scared with you," is a man I want to meet. I want to be the woman who can say to him, "Yes, I am scared. But I would like to be scared with you, too."

I dumped the film trailer editor not because I lacked courage, but because despite his oral proficiencies and openness, good nature and did I mention the oral sex? I did? Well. He didn't make me laugh. That's not worth any work in my book. As long as you're having a laugh as you press on. Mum and Dad showed me that.

More from LJW:

Laura Jane Williams' Grazia Dating Column

'What's So Wrong With Wanting A Boyfriend?'

Dating Vs 'Dating'

Is Pooling The New Tinder?

Grazia Goes On The Poke-Man Hunt

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