Third

I’m missing out the second man, because he is the one I have more to say about. Much more.

Number three and i matched and I was excited: my age, attractive, single, no kids…

He is funny. He is lively and cheeky and we have a lot of fun.

In the first weekend, he was willing to drive the 40 minutes to meet me. This would have been my first date and whilst it was appealing, I just wasn’t ready. I felt like I hadn’t spoken to him enough.

For nearly two weeks, messages have been pretty much daily and although there have been other times when he had suggested to come down, often at late notice, I’ve realised that he is as nervous as I am because it never happens.

Slowly, the messaging is getting further apart. It’s kind of sad because I quite liked him and think meeting him would be a lot of fun.

What have I learned from him?

I’m not the only one who gets nervous.

Being on a dating app doesn’t mean that someone is ready to physically date – which is amazing to me.

Like the First, this man has been a real confidence boost. His communications have been friendly, caring and flirty. Sure, a little part of me is disappointed we have not met and probably won’t but his texts have helped me balance my emotions and excitement for others.

While he is still messaging me, I will message back. But I’m not holding out for any more than that, and that’s OK.

The first

The first man that I matched with helped me. He was older than me, seemingly divorced and was an engineer and an artist in his own time.

He was funny and flirty but, perhaps more importantly for me, he built up my self esteem. I wasn’t 100% sure about him as his availability is poor – which he acknowledged – but this is probably why I agreed to send him a full body picture to him. All my profile shots are shoulders up. He told me I was beautiful.

Sure, he could have been lying. But it was enough to give me some hope. We arranged a date which I was still unsure about, and when work meant that he wanted to rearrange the time at the last minute, I took the opportunity to let him know I would prefer to rearrange the whole thing.

What was strange is that the communication seemed to wane once we had spoken on the phone – a lovely conversation which showed we had common interests.

Either way, the match now appears to have dissolved on both our parts. He gave me confidence and I mentally thank him for that.

Lessons from a scammer

In my last post, I explained how I feel people come into your life for a reason.

This man came in to my life very recently.

Luckily for me, I realised he was a scammer within a few hours.

I’m hoping this will help others.

  1. Hate to say it, but, if it feels too good to be true, it probably is. Michael claimed to be an American soldier working in the UK and he was looking for love and out of the many, many, women after him… He chose me.
  2. Look at the details. As soon as I started to feel something was off, I did a little research. I found a half empty profile on Facebook, no pictures, but with around five women as friends. I searched for an army barracks in the place he claimed he was – there was one, but not American.
  3. Don’t be surprised if what he says grabs your attention. The first night he told me that he had lots of interest on Hinge but that I had ‘sparked his interest.’ We moved onto WhatsApp, and he proceeded to send me a long sequence of questions. The questions were relatively well worded and so were his responses to his own questions. One of the first signs that something was wrong was that these long responses often arrived suddenly, seemingly without the time to write them. It was clear that they were being pasted in to the chat, and whilst I first thought it may be because he was speaking to multiple people, other clues suggested otherwise.
  4. Watch out for spelling and grammar! Easy for an English teacher I know, but there was an obvious inconsistency in his writing. Shorter responses contained grammatical mistakes that differed from the longer text. They read much like someone whose first language was not English.
  5. His answers were too perfect, until they weren’t. Yeah, pretty much everything he said at first was what any woman would want to hear. But I don’t believe anyone who quickly decides I am ‘their woman’.
  6. Avoidance of certain questions. Whilst his own responses were too perfect, he quickly started to avoid certain requests. Suspicious of his origins, I asked for a voice message. My suspicions were confirmed when a very, very bad American accent came back. When I asked for a photo, he declined stating it was ‘forbidden on the base’. Similarly when I requested that we speak on the phone in the future. He did send me a picture eventually, the one below, which did corrolate with his profile.
  7. The request, part one. I will admit, I played along at this point. I was 99% sure he was a scammer and I was intrigued at how this would go. Of course, I called him out on his accent etc. Very quickly, he suggested that we could meet. He then backtracked and told me I must be patient – after asking that I would be his girlfriend. (what the???)
  8. The request, part two. As soon as he (thought he) had secured me, he then asked for money. It wasn’t a lot, was written badly, and he had all of a sudden started calling me babe.

At that point, I told him that he had been reported, may have worded my feelings in an un-ladylike way and said he needed to work on his English writing and American accent. I then deleted him.

I do get it. For a few hours, he had me captivated. He made me feel special, agreed with what I said and told me what I wanted to hear.

Hope this helps someone out there.

It has reminded me to be cautious, not get swept away in the empty words of strangers.

And if you are the real gentleman below, you are delicious but your identity has been stolen. Good luck

A whole new world

Armed with my latest love theory and the knowledge that you can find love online, I have yet again embarked online.

What a difference a change in attitude can have.

I reflected on my current position. I am quite happy at the moment. My life is full with my children, family and friends. I have hobbies. I have work. Sure there are problems, but… I’m OK.

So a boyfriend is not essential. I’m not desperately looking for someone to complete me: more, to compliment my life. Sure. I want to find a meaningful connection. Someone who is compatable on each of the three levels. Yet, I’ve realised that fulfilment can also be found, albeit temporarily, from encounters which are only compatable on one or two. I’ve always believed people come into our lives for a reason. So, why not?

I’m not a promiscuous person. I’ve been single for three years and have not had intimacy, apart from the one kiss/night with Lost Soul.

I’ve been brought up in a world different to the one today. Therefore, I’ve also decided to modernise my thoughts around dating and social media and sex too.

Ultimately, I am who I am. I have certain views on how I want to be seen in this world but I acknowledge now that some of those views have come from social conditioning about my sexuality.

A series of one night stands will never be on the cards. It’s just not me. But I am more open to meeting someone with a physical connection, unencumbered by fear of what this says about me. If we want to be intimate, no matter what the relationship outcome, then I can make that decision and not worry about what people may think of me.

It’s all very well saying this. I’m having to remind myself of it frequently, more so when I meet someone I actually like. I’m trying to be more open in my preferences and, as I am not in a relationship, feel that having a number of men to talk to is helping my anxiety when one doesn’t work out. I’m pretty certain this is what most people do online anyway. When on disappears for a while and potentially for good, I keep thinking about what they have brought to my life in the short time they have been in it. And then, I move on.

I’m happier. Dare I say that? I haven’t had a date yet, but having good conversations and flirting has helped my confidence and ego. There are some men who keep saying they want to meet ‘soon’. Soon never arrives in these cases. So I enjoy it for what it is, acknowledge we will probably never meet, and gradually move on. I’m not rude about it, but I’m not chasing someone who doesn’t want to meet.

The difficult part is the sexualisation of conversation. Anyone who has dated online will know that it isn’t long before the ‘dick pic’ gets sent whether you want it or not. Then there are the constant demands for saucy pictures. It’s the world we live in now. But, I’m not doing anything I’m not comfortable with or which may have future ramifications. If they don’t like/respect that, well, clearly we do not have a cultural connection. Even so, I’m trying to be open minded.

In my next posts, I will let you know how I am getting on.

Theories

Two of my single friends have dabbled in the dating game recently, each with differing experiences.

One went online and almost immediately met a compatable match. Whilst admitting he is ‘not the usual type’ she goes for, they have completely hit it off. Two weeks of talking and a few dates later and they feel they have known each other forever.

The other is not as positive. Lots of chatting, lots of flirtation. Men openly complimenting her and apparently turned on by her. No meet-ups because they disappear and/or ghost after a few weeks.

In my attempt to console my friend on her on-going disappointment and frustration, I’ve come to the following conclusions.

(I’m going to sound like a feminist here. This is not my intention. Stick with it.)

I genuinely believe that there are men who go online to meet the love of their life. Equally, there are those that aren’t. Either way, I think most of them are swayed by their sexual impulses, even when they don’t realise it. Once they’ve had that perceived gratification, or even hit a dead end, they then move back on to their path to love.

I believe we are three parts. Our sexual, physical self who lusts after what we find appealing aesthetically.

Then there is our ‘personality’ self, our mind, who searches for the someone who matches our expectations, created through our cultural experiences and the environmental factors of our personal development.

Finally, there is our soul. That part of us which is seemingly unaffected by environmental or physical factors. The part of us that gels with someone without the need for sexual gratification, because that relationship can be of friendship. Its when you meet someone who just gets you, and you them.

I think the problem that most of us, is that we are looking for all three in a perfect package.

I’m not saying that person doesn’t exist. They do. In fact, I’m pretty sure there’s more than one.

I also think that there are many close fits. Think about the people you have gone out with. Are they similar? How?

I think we search for that perfect fit. I think we meet people that are physically perfect but don’t match in other ways. Once we have had our sexual gratification, the emptiness we feel from the other areas being incompatible means we move on quickly. When the physical compatability isn’t there, we become friends.

I think many people settle with a close fit. How long that relationship lasts depends on how close that fit is but also how strong our cultural conditioning is to make a relationship work. I think it also depends upon the influence of the other people we may meet in the future who may appear to be more compatible….

So how do we meet this perfect partner?

Well that depends on our circumstances. Do we spend our time in the open, doing the things we live and value? You’re more likely to meet that perfect someone in those situations, when you are at your lost happy and attractive and where you my meet someone with compatible interests.

It depends upon other factors in your life which may be weighing down on you spiritually, affecting your ability or desire to find that person.

It depends on your physical health and your sense of self worth. You will not pursue or perhaps even notice that perfect partner if you are consumed by self loathing or illness.

It depends upon your stage of life and culturally, what you think is expected of you. This may cloud your judgement and what you think you should be looking for.

Ultimately, I believe online dating is about luck. It’s about a numbers game. We allow our desire/physical self to decide upon whether someone I worth swiping right for. On occasion, our personality or mind may dee details on a profile that may influence our decision, based upon our cultural expectations of what the orfect partner will be – we may swipe right for perceived compatability, even when the physical connection is not as strong.

However, its only when our souls connect.. When all three elements align, do we truly feel that connection. I don’t believe for most people, online dating is the place to find this. Just the lucky few… Or those that are happy to settle with a near match… find the one online.

Holiday blues

Being the first day of Half Term, and considering I am exhausted and lucky enough to have the house to myself, you’d think I would be pretty content today.

As my title suggests, I’m not.

I’ve been having a Dad day. I think about my Dad everyday in one way or another, but often they are fleeting glimpses of a memory or a recollection of his loss. I acknowledge the hurt but I tell myself to move on: I have too many people relying on me to dwell.

But today I can slow down: no school for a week. So the flood of emotion I have held at bay breaks its dam and consumes me.

I sat in my living room, oh so still, the only movement the rise and fall of my chest and the trickle of tears. I let it take over me. I pictured him in my mind… In hospital and at home. The funny things he’d say and do. And I swear, as I cried, I could almost feel him hugging me – the memory was so strong.

That was this morning. My eyes are still stinging and puffy from the tears. I feel even more tired than before. And the anxiety-ache has taken residency in my chest again.

You cannot escape grief. You can’t ignore it or out run it. Because just as the strength of your love for your loved one with never wane, neither will the grief. You just learn to build a dam around it.

In our grief we are not alone.

Learning…

As stated in my previous post (rather ironically, it now seems) although I haven’t been posting much recently, I have regularly logged in to WordPress to catch up on my favourite blogs.

The following post was scarily poignant for my current situation:

https://wp.me/s8zmR5-lego

Last Thursday, finally, we had a meeting at CAMHS for my middle child. We were first referred well over a year ago. My father’s death, a man whom my son had lived with all his life, had led my child to threaten suicide.

It wasn’t the first time he had done this though. Over the years, when in the dark depths of one of his meltdowns, he would state that he ‘may as well kill himself’ and that he wished he was dead. So what made this time different? It wasn’t said in anger or in a place of no control. It was said in emotional exhaustion, through tears – yes – but in weary heartbreak. He meant it.

This post is not to criticise CAMHS although it’s very tempting. My son did get help, but from a different organisation. During the initial assessment, I expressed concerns about my son’s general well-being and behaviour. I mentioned that primary school had recently suggested he may have ADHD. I talked about his melt-downs, his anger and distress. I explained how for years I had expressed worries about him to primary school but that it was only recently that they had started to take an interest. I explained that he had been under Occupational Therapy in Year 5 and 6 and had real issues with fine motor skills and that, along with the many personal circumstances that have clouded his childhood, I’ve blamed them for his unhappiness and lack of progress.

A year later, and CAMHS had done nothing.

Then Thursday’s appointment arrived and as well as describing the whole story again to the third practitioner, I complained about how little had been done.

My concerns:

  • My son has no control of his emotions
  • There’s no middle ground – it’s elation and hyper activity or depression and tears or anger and violence.
  • He breaks things accidentally all the time. He breaks things in temper.
  • Poor fine motor skills
  • Poor relationships with most people. He thinks he isn’t liked.
  • His memory for his favourite things is astounding (cars, Star Wars) . His organisation for everything else is poor.
  • He hates change and becomes angry and anxious.
  • He can be loving and caring towards me but had poor social skills in other ways. Little empathy.
  • He has meltdowns that can last an hour of more. He had no control, is like a boy possessed, but then will be in utter distress afterwards.
  • He has poor concentration and cannot sit still.

My son is bright. He smashed all his developmental targets as a child. He is loving. But over the years my concerns have grown. I’ve blamed these concerns on so many things. Looks like now he may have Autism or ADHD.

How did I miss this? I’m a teacher for goodness sake!

Fact is, when you watch someone grow up and you love them unconditionally, you perhaps miss things. Or accept them.

All the same, as time has gone on, I knew something wasn’t quite right. I knew he needed help and what I was ding wasn’t enough.

It has taken years. Years. Referrals and waiting for appointments and the ridiculous rigmarole. So my son may have ADHD. He may have ASD. The label doesn’t matter. The help does.

I’m frustrated with myself that I didn’t push harder. I’m frustrated that I didn’t see the signs sooner. I’m frustrated that our health care system is not good enough. But at least we something is finally happening.

Silent but present

I know I’ve not written for a while. Truth is, I’ve nothing to say.

I’m back at work. I’m liking my new role but, as is always, my life revolves around my working hours. There’s a lot going on and most of it I can’t control. I’ve had some feelings of anxiety about everything but, well, I keep telling myself there is nothing I can do so I may as well just carry on carrying on.

Since going back to work, I’ve been seeing my sisters less. I think their other halves had finally got to the point where patience had ran out. Subsequently, the last few weeks we have had weekly-ish visits instead of the daily visits.

They all seem happier in consequence but it was difficult for me at first. For the first time since April, I’ve had to learn to occupy myself again. It can be lonely but I’m managing OK, I think.

One of things I have done, was set up some theme nights. We’ve put lots of categories in a jar and each month we will pull out a category and plan a night. This was for two reasons: one, to provide some structure so that my brothers-in-law don’t feel overwhelmed and two, I want us all to move away from the alcohol and take-away fuelled evenings which had become so common place since Dad died.

Our first night was Friday and we had selected Indian. My youngest sister made homemade onion bhajis, raita and salad. My other sister and I made two curries – a madras and a tikka masala.

The night was a success! The food was delicious, cheaper than a takeaway and we had fun cooking together. The evening was civilised and entertaining. We’ve now decided to do one bi-monthly and where possible, to add other things – a linked film, fancy dress (for book or film themes) etc.

So, for now that’s it.

Fairy lights, Facebook and theories

Pexels

On Saturday night, I went to my sister’s best friend’s to have a few drinks and a catch up. Long story, but the other party goers dropped out for one reason or another.

She’s recently redesigned her garden and made a lovely fairy-light covered seating area and so we sat out there for most of the night, wrapping a blanket around us as we got cold and sipping rhubarb gin and lemonade.

Naturally, as the drinks flowed so did the stories.

We are both in similar circumstances: working, single mothers. She’s younger than me, but we are in the same decade. Just. 😁

As you would expect then, conversation led to men. We want one but we don’t. We want the companionship and the intimacy and the fun but not the negative baggage that goes with. We shared our hang ups, stemming from low self esteem.

I updated her on Lost Soul, she told me about her current seemingly Lost Soul clone. Strangely enough, he turns out to be someone who I went to high school with.

This led me to tell the tale of the boy who I fell in love with, head over heels, for the last two years of secondary school. I was obsessed. Love struck. Off my food… A friend had given me a picture of him which I had framed and put beside my bed. It went everywhere with me: I even took it to France when I went on my foreign exchange trip.

He was never my boyfriend though. We never kissed. Oh, he knew I liked him. He was exuberant and confident whilst I was shy and embarrassed. He’d put his arm around me and say hello and I’d go pink. I didn’t care though, those moments were the stuff of hours of replay as I lay in bed or daydreaming, and were recounted in fine detail in my journal.

He was never unpleasant to me, in fact was probably quite sweet about it, but he wasn’t interested. Even when I made him homemade toffee. My flirtation skills were not the best. 😁

Even if they were, he wouldn’t have wanted me. He was tall with dark brown/black hair, blue sparkling eyes and a perfect smile of white teeth with two little dimples. He was funny and confident and charismatic and charming. I was chubby and shy and socially awkward. And definitely not popular. I was a ‘nice’ girl. No one wants to be the ‘nice’ girl in school.

Move on in time and we are both in college. Only now I have a boyfriend, five years my senior. And he is handsome and charming. Well, he was at first – but that’s a different story. And so, without the pressure of wanting more, my teen crush and I became friends.

By the time we graduated, my boyfriend had shown his true colours and had dumped me, two weeks before the graduation ball. I enjoyed myself the best I could; danced, laughed and signed leaver’s books.

During the night, teen crush came up to me and asked if I had read what he had written. I had and was confused by it. He just smiled and walked away.

When I had first read it, I’d thought he had just phrased it wrong due to the fact he’d been drinking.

“To my first love..” Was I the first person to love him? How did he know that as I had never confessed my feelings although he was well aware of my attraction to him. It couldn’t mean…? No, I’d decided there and then. He’d never shown any interest in me other than friendship. Clearly it was a case of drunken poor expression.

But – and I hope you can see this – his coming back to me to question it made me think. For a moment, anyway. My low esteem dismissed it but parked it in my memory for safe keeping. (I spent the night drunk and crying over my absent ex.)

In the summer as I drove into the supermarket with my mum, I spotted teen crush walking and asked my mum to pull over. We chatted animatedly until I broke the news that I was back with my boyfriend. His face dropped, his tone changed and the conversation ended quickly.

Again for a fleeting moment a thought crossed my mind, fuelled by memory… But I brushed it off. In likelyhood, he was aware of how badly my boyfriend had treated me and was disappointed that I’d fallen for it again. Yes, that was it. But as everything was different now, it was no matter. My boyfriend and I were happy.

Years passed.

I married, had children, and once bumped into teen crush although now we were in our twenties. He had a trolley and a toddler. I had two children and a husband back home.

His greeting wasn’t as enthusiastic or as warm as mine and I was surprised but, hey, people change. We exchanged brief updates on our lives. He told me that had just come back from Australia but was planning to return. And that was that.

Skip to Saturday.

After telling my tale, my friend suggested I connect on Facebook with him, see what he’s up to.

No one knows I’m back on Facebook though. I actually hate it as a social medium in some ways, many that I’ve described on here. But recently, I’ve been ‘imaginative ‘ with my name – -middle name and maiden name–and haven’t added anyone I actually know. Instead I’ve joined groups of things I’m interested in. I’m happy with that for now.

However, she had piqued my curiousity. So I looked him up.

Imagine… Thunder bolts. Heart ache. Butterflies. And regret and jealousy and tears. Utterly ridiculous, but let me explain why.

I found him quickly enough. He actually still loves in the neighbouring town. He’s recently married, has two young children (don’t know what happened/who the other one was) and is GORGEOUS. As in PERFECT. As in, everything I think I want, from the quirky wedding outfit he wore, to the happy family photos he was part of.

Let me make this clear, I was incredulous about my own reaction to this. I looked him up to be nosy, thinking he was in Australia with his wife and child/ren. It was gutteral, involuntary and overwhelming.

You seex part of my problem is I have ‘a type’. A certain look that I always go for: he is it. Exactly.

Once I’d calmed, wiped the tears, remonstrated myself for my ridiculous reaction… I tried to work out WHY I had reacted in such a way.

Here’s my theory.

I think, because of the strength and longevity of my teen crush, my love for him… A part of that has carried with me through adulthood. I think that every clush on a clone has been a way of fulfilling that painful teen journey of unrequited love.

Of course, even if he was single now, it highly likely that he would not be interested. His personal trainer-black haired-blue eyed-tattooed-godbod would not be interested in me. He wasn’t 23 years ago.

Lost Soul is of the same aesthetic ilk as teen crush. Is that why I was obsessed when he treated me so badly? Why I kept pursuing the unobtainable?

It sounds ridiculous, right? But all I can say is it has taken me a week to write this post.

I need some therapy.

Thoughts, anyone?

Deja vu indeed

I still think I have done the right thing on balance although I feel bad at the same time.

I told her I couldn’t go. I said that mynsister was working, which was true, and that she wouldn’t be able to be there as much as I needed her too.

She did what I expected but what I hoped she wouldnt: she cancelled for the day and said it was too late to do anything. I wasn’t surprised, or even upset this time. She did pretty much the same thing last year. I was disappointed though, more than I let on to anyone.

So, on this beautiful bank holiday evening, I am now sat at home alone. I’ve been to the shop to buy myself dinner for one but couldn’t decide what to have. I’ve come home with a bag of salad, houmous, a packet of coconut rice and some tortilla chips. Your guess is as good as mine.

I also came home with two bottles of chilled white wine. I’m sat in my living room, sipping a glass, looking at the destruction left by my recently departed children and trying to decide what to do.

I could:

  • Watch a film of my choice, drink wine and then eat the bizzare concoction I’ve bought for tea before stumbling to bed alone. Tempting.
  • Get some music on, tidy my house and do the above. Not tempting at all but what I should do.
  • Do some drawing/painting/writing.
  • Plan my life as I do every school year start, in the knowledge that it is impossible to stick to.
  • Drink wine, feel sorry for myself, download a dating app which I then talk myself out of tomorrow and delete.
  • Plan next year’s holidays.
  • Try to work out how I am in my overdraft again.

Decisions, decisions… 😁