The Switch by Beth O’Leary

“In the end, it’s not a stolen kiss between new neighbours. It’s a slow, lingering one between very old friends, who, as it happens, have only just realised that’s what they’ve been all along.”

Unrequited love or sometimes known as one sided love is an interesting notion for me. Can one sided love actually exist? And I ask this quite flippantly as I know what it is like to be in those one sided love affairs. The ones when you wonder if he has thought of you, you wonder if he is ok or if when you stare out at the stars is he seeing the same stars. The one sided affairs where various scenarios are played out in your mind wondering if they will ever happen. Some unrequited love is where the individual can play a regular part in your life whereas other unrequited love can be where the person dips in and out of your life. That doesn’t mean those feelings are not as strong. Then unfortunately there is the unrequited love where you can be in a relationship with someone and only one person is putting in the work. In my opinion this is kind of one sided love can be the worst because 9 times out of 10 the person putting in the work doesn’t actually realise it is one sided. And for the record I have been in that kind of love as well. And let me tell you it is shit when that ship suddenly starts to hit home. At least with the chap who doesn’t know how I feel how can I blame him?!

The Switch focuses on the 2 Cotton ladies; Eileen (grandma) and Leena (granddaughter). Both of these ladies have faced some difficult times. Eileen’s husband has run off with the local cha cha dance instructor leaving her to restart her life at 79 (no bad thing in my opinion) and Leena has been told by work to take a two month sabbatical following a breakdown at work mainly due to the fact she has not taken the opportunity to grieve properly for the sister she lost to cancer. So what can 2 women in their positions do? Eileen is looking for love (which she is not going to find in a sleepy Yorkshire village) and Leena needs break from it all (which she is not going to get sharing a flat with two other people in London.) Therefore the logical thing to do would be to swap would it not? Two months of Leena living in Yorkshire living her grandma’s life (well parts of it) and two months for Eileen in London. I mean what is the worst that can happen?

For Eileen this is the opportunity to forget about her waste of space ex husband and have some fun and maybe even find love whereas for Leena this her chance to take some time for herself recoup, spend some “quality” time with Ethan (the boyfriend) and even make up with her mum.

“What I am looking for Eileen, is a bit of fun.’ ‘A bit of fun?’…’Could you be a little more specific?’…’Specifically’ he says, ‘I would like us to enjoy good coffee, and good food and good wine, and then I would like us to go to bed together.’ At 79 that sounds like a pretty good deal to me. Two months gives these ladies the opportunity to re-evaluate their lives and what they really want from it and not to mention separate the wheat from the chaff.

Looking back at what I have written I can see you are probably thinking what has unrequited loved got to do with either of these women and you are right on the surface it does not look like it at all but I will let you read the book to explain.

What I will say is life is to short to settle. If he doesn’t make you happy then let him go. If he doesn’t treat you like a queen then ask yourself why. If you are not at the top of his agenda then ask him why? And thinking about the one sided love he can only act on it if he knows. So if he doesn’t know then be brave and tell him (or at least get your grandma to interfere because after 70 there is no boundaries and these “old” people have no shame).

‘I have spent a great deal of the last few years keeping my mouth shut about one thing or another,’ I tell them. ‘But I’ve come to realise lately that sometimes it’s better just to stick your oar in, as it were. So you shan’t make me feel embarrassed for trying to matchmake the two of you. As Bee put it – I have no shame.’

As for my unrequited love if you ever read this then maybe one day you will know!

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