Underestimated

You know that I love words. I love it when you find the perfect words or word to sum up a situation. My title is just that.

Last night, I told the whole truth of my situation with Wild Card to my fifteen year old daughter.

My daughter is my eldest child. As such, I don’t know how typical our relationship is but it is certainly changeable. She is very close to her Dad and considers herself a ‘Daddy’s’ girl yet we are close too, to a certain extent. She certainly doesn’t tell me everything – what teenager does, I guess? – but there are moments when she will come and confide in me.

My daughter compliments me more than any other person I know. She tells me I’m beautiful and compliments me when she thinks I look nice. She tells me how proud she is of me, for all I have achieved.

Conversely, however, this also creates a source of conflict between us. She absolutely refuses my help. I’m an English teacher, she will be taking GCSE literature and language in two months, but she refuses any help from me at all. She won’t let me help her plan her revision. She didn’t not want my input in discussing colleges and college courses. She wants to prove to me, and I guess herself, that she can do this without me. That’s a bitter pill to swallow. How can she be proud of me, but not want my help? It’s something I have had to accept and be confident that she will ask if she needs me.

Lying to her this past month has been really difficult for me. She of course knew about Wild Card, partly because of the extent of our communication and also because I had confided in her that I was ‘online dating.’ To be fair to her, she had encouraged me to ‘put myself out there’, but I also know she feels conflicted because of her loyalty to her father. But I did not tell her that I was going to visit Wild Card.

This was for two reasons. I see no point in telling my children about my situation with Wild Card until I am convinced it is serious. For them to get attached to him, which I think they would, and then for him to disappear at some point… Well, that would double the hurt for all of us. (Although, I recognise that them talking to him now is probably creating that situation anyway.). Secondly, I didn’t want to put her in the position of lying to her father. It’s none of his business, but she should not have to lie to him on my behalf.

When I returned from my trip, I was on a high. I wanted to tell her everything but still wasn’t sure it was the right time. About a week ago, I did tell her that Wild Card and I really liked each other and that we had met recently. She laughed at me. ‘That’s pretty obvious mum.’ She asked when I had met him but I didn’t tell her.

This week, she has confided something big in her life. I was driving her to her Dad’s alone – her brothers were already there. She said she needed to tell me something, then blurted out that she was bisexual. Yes it was a surprise – I had no idea – but I was touched that she was able to tell me. She hasn’t told her dad yet.

Her honesty has plagued me all week, and last night I decided to confess all. Only problem was, she had worked it all out already. She said she was suspicious when I booked my trip. She said there were clues about his nationality, of which I hadn’t shared, and she had guessed that he may have lived where I was visiting.

I completely underestimated her. She went through all the clues she had used to work out what I had done and I was astounded by her intelligence and thought process. She said that by telling her I had met him, I had confirmed her suspicions.

I also underestimated her feelings about the situation. We lay on my bed and I showed her all the photographs from my trip. I told her about him and his family, and how they had cared for me. I also told her some of my fears – that I have no idea how this will all work out.

She told me that he sounds like a good man and that it is obvious that he cares about me and likes me. She said that she would love to meet him and his family (I was really surprised about that). She was genuinely happy for me and actually reassured me a little. She did talk about the future and asked what will happen if we got married (!) and whilst I told her that was so far in the future that it wasn’t worth thinking about, she was enough aware of his culture to know that it is a possibility. We are serious about becoming serious. She told me that if I decided to live with him, she fully supported me but she would not come with me. I told her that, even if that was a consideration, we are talking years and years from now.

I feel like a weight has been lifted. She has the facts and I have her support.

For me, there are three things that need to happen for me to be 100% confident that he is serious about me – even though, by considering his culture, me visiting him and knowing his parents is pretty serious. The first is that I book for my second visit. Whilst we have talked about my coming again and he has told me I am welcome, he has had to confirm a few things with his family before I book. Last night he confirmed one thing, but didn’t actually tell me to book my flights and I won’t until he does. The next is that he tells his whole, extended family about me. (I fully accept this is a big step and one for the future, but that will be confirmation). Finally that he changes his social media to acknowledge his relationship with me.

Today I will tell Wild Card that my daughter knows everything. Before my trip, he had asked me what my children know. When I told him they didn’t know I was visiting him, he had said that was probably for the best. Since then, he has repeatedly suggested that I bring them to visit him. When we had our ‘serious’ talk earlier this week, he said that I needed to tell my family. I replied that my sisters and mother knew already, but maybe he was talking about my children.

Maybe I have underestimated his need for security too. The fact that I haven’t told my children yet does not prove my commitment to him and us. Every time we speak he asks if I have missed him, how much, do I love him, how much. At first I thought that this was just conversation, a routine of ours. Perhaps he needs this confirmation as much as I do.

Part of me is scared that he will panic when he finds out my daughter knows all. To me, it is a big step. But it was a step that had to be taken and I am glad I have done it. I underestimated how important it was for my daughter to know, and how much it was playing on my mind that she didn’t.

In my next post I will let you know how he reacts.

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