Distance – 17th April, 2020 (daily prompt)

Oh WordPress! You couldn’t have chosen a more apt word for me today.

Today, my decree absolute – my divorce – came through. I am legally no longer married.

It is a very surreal feeling. I thought I would feel something but at the moment I feel very little. I don’t hate my ex, we actually get on well. I’m not sorry our marriage ended (I was about to write the opposite until I realised it wasn’t true). I am sorry that it failed and caused hurt. But I am glad that now, the distance between is is finalised. The end of a chapter.

What it has done, is added validity to my new relationship. In my culture, dating whilst separated means nothing. Not so in his. It’s another step towards being with him.

So, on that note, my post today will be about my experiences of a long distance relationship. (I met him online just under six months ago)

  • First of all, no matter what anyone else tells you, you can absolutely fall in love with someone over the Internet and without actually meeting them physically. I certainly did.
  • Don’t underestimate the importance of videochat though. For me, this is how I truly got to/am getting to know him. I would be very wary of anyone who refuses to videochat with you. Videochat means that you get to know them – their facial expressions and gestures, their habits and homelives.
  • Regular communication and routine is vital and a sign that your relationship is progressing. My boyfriend messages me every morning and we always videochat in the evening. As time has moved on, this has evolved – school holidays and corona-quarantine has led to more videochats throughout the day.
  • If there is any reason that your regular routine is going to be interrupted it is essential to let your other half know, ideally beforehand but if not, as soon as you can. Abrupt changes to routine can cause anxiety, jealousy and unnecessary concern.
  • On that note, anxiety and jealousy are heightened in an LDR, particularly in the beginning. This is not just from my own angst ridden experiences but common knowledge. You can worry about the tone of a text, a missed call, a change in routine, an unexpected interruption, a mood change… And if you cannot get hold of your loved one, your mind will work overtime until they get in touch.
  • Without a doubt, trust and communication are the most important things in a relationship, even more so in an LDR. I also think they are initially harder to achieve in an LDR because all you have are words and frequent calls to base this on. But without trust and good communication, a LDR is not going to work. I’m working hard on this each and every day.
  • Part of the trust issue will undoubtedly come from the opinions of some friends and family. You will have to accept that some of the people you love and respect will not be able to accept your relationship. They will not like or understand it. They will be negative. You will also learn, very quickly, about the prejudices and bias of people you have trusted. This will be even more pertinent if, like me, your other half is from another country or culture. Whilst being cautious is important, and most of the people around you will just be looking out for you, you are the only one that truly knows him/her and your relationship.
  • That being said, exercise caution at first particularly if you meet online. There are enough fraudsters out there to break anyone’s heart and that’s the least they could do. Do your research, trust your instincts and keep an open mind. Having a trusted someone at home that you can talk things through is vital – they may see things that you may not and this could be a positive thing for your relationship too (my sisters have successfully pointed out my over worrying many times).
  • If they are from another culture, do your research. You need to understand it in order to understand them: their ideas, beliefs and therefore their reactions and expectations. Researching his culture was some of the best advice I ever received and it was right here from a fellow blogger. It gave me understanding and something to talk to him about.
  • Similarly, don’t underestimate the language barriers. My boyfriend has good and rapidly improving English but some – both hilarious and serious – situations have been caused by language misunderstandings.
  • Some people may disagree with me on this one, but I would suggest meeting up as soon as you are comfortable to and able. You are never really going to know if your relationship has a future until you’ve spent time together. For me, I knew within an hour – when my nerves and shyness allowed me to really see him. But over the course of the week, all the little things he did – things he wasn’t even aware of – are what I fell even deeper in love with.
  • Don’t underestimate the mundane and every day – little details about your day, photos of what you have done and where you have been make them feel a part of your life. My favourite time with my boyfriend is when he props me up on the dining table and I watch and listen as he and his family have tea and talk. I can’t understand and can’t join in but I am there and part of his everyday life.

Finally, you will have to accept that this relationship will be difficult at times. You have the challenges that every new relationship brings AND those that come from distance. You are going to miss them like crazy, each and every day. You are going to crave the physical contact – even just holding hands – more than you have for anyone else. But it’s when you realise that you’d rather have that feeling than holding hands with anyone else that you know that this relationship has a future.

There are lots of blogs, Web pages, YouTube videos and Facebook groups full of advice out there. Don’t be afraid to use them. You are not alone.

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Open – 2/4/2020 (daily prompt)

I started this blog with fear and hope. I’d been in an unhappy marriage for some time. We had separated but had got back together because he still loved me, because he was/is a good man and because I believed he deserved one last chance.

I was open to trying again. Or so I thought. I’d lost faith in love: True love, Soul mates, Connection. I thought it had existed – even that I may have found it – but was proved wrong. I lost faith in it and so I decided to close my heart to that possibility and use my head. I simply believed that if two people wanted it enough, they would work it through and the relationship would survive.

But my heart was closed off. Or my soul. I’m not sure which, but a part of me was closed to it. I knew with the first kiss. I knew. But I hoped, I was open to working on it. It would get better in time.

It didn’t of course. It got worse and worse.

So one day, I started this blog. I believed that my life would change. I was free from the shackles and shame of a failed marriage, free from the pain and unhappiness.

If you read my early posts though, I suspect that you will see that I actually wasn’t open to changing anything. I wasn’t ready. I surrounded myself with my existing life, happy that there was now a husband sized gap but content for the gap to remain empty. Sure, I talked about change but it didn’t happen. If effect, I was giving myself time to truly heal and mourn although I didn’t know that then.

It has taken me along time and a lot of other life changes to truly open my mind, my heart and my soul.

I see now, how narrow my view point was. How small my little world had become. How limited it was.

There’s nothing wrong with that, if you are happy. But I wasn’t.

Slowly, over time, like a red rose unfurling, I have steadily reawakened. No awoken. I’ve climbed out of my rut, started to free myself from my past and my mistakes. I have done things I never thought were possible.

And finally, when I was accepting of my past and my narrow little world but open to so much more, much more found me.

And it’s only the beginning.

I’m OK.

I am, honestly. But I will warn you, this post is a long one.

He did enough with the unexpected phonecall last night to actually talk about our ‘problem‘ and then his texts and calls today put my mind at relative ease as things are back to normal.

I’ve done as any good English teacher would do and I’ve spent some of my day reading about ‘anxiety in relationships’.

There are some good articles out there and they did put my mind at rest somewhat. They talked about the need to process what might be causing the anxiety as well as reasurring you that some anxiety is normal. Note the word ‘some’ though.

Anyone who has read my blog for a little while will know that I suffer from anxiety anyway. And we are all on edge at the moment. Plus I’m in a new relationship. And it’s long distance. Which is new to me. And I’m absolutely in love with him. Yep, a pretty toxic mix of anxiety-causing factors there. So first of all, I’m going to give myself a break.

Now. Processing time. Again, readers of my blog will know that I do this: I think (probably too much) and I process. Often I find the answers I need. Sometimes I manage to follow them for a little while. It’s the constancy that’s the issue.

One article talks about the negative impact of previous relationships:

So, I can put a ‘hell yes’ next to every one of those. Not bad for a woman who has had four and a half relationships. Is it any wonder I’m a mess? First boyfriend probably cheated on me. He certainly did number two and three before I finally got shut of him. Lost Soul (my half of a relationship which says it all) did two and three. My husband? Well, he doesn’t quite fit into any but he lied repeatedly and I felt that he didn’t love me as much as he should have done. Although, you can say the same about my feelings for him. You can read about my previous failed relationships in earlier posts.

So all of that is equating to a lot of hurt and distrust. And whilst I loved most of them, I have not felt as I feel now for Wild Card, except perhaps for Lost Soul in the beginning.

Self esteem: Well, I haven’t got much. Probably because of the above and the fact that I have been very overweight for most of my adult life. I’ve been told I’m pretty but I don’t trust people because I feel they say that as a softener for the fact I am big. Sure, I’ve lost three and a half stone but I probably need to lose the same again to be classed as the right weight.

Questioning: Yep, I question everything. A lot. I overthink, a lot. Everything thing he says or does, doesn’t say or doesn’t do, gets heavily processed in my brain. We all know that anxiety impairs your ability to think properly. Overthinking can lead you down the wrong path. I’ve got to keep with the facts and stop ruminating with ‘what ifs’.

Another article talks about taking your fears and considering how your thoughts have created the anxiety but then how they can quell it. Here goes:

How my thoughts support my fears: You can never truly know how someone feels – you only know as much as they care to show and share with you. Even then they can lie. He may hurt me. He may lie. He may cheat. But he also might not and worrying about it isn’t going to make it any less likely. If it’s going to happen, it will happen. That’s his choice. I’m pretty sure he wishes I was thinner, although I know he likes my bottom. And my eyes and lips. And hair. And smile come to think about it. (oops this should be in the other section). He does make me jealous, sometimes on purpose. He teases and jokes. It’s part of who he is. But also, there is a place for my jealousy. He is a very attractive, younger, single man. I’m not the easy option and probably not the best, if I am being honest. And he is honest with me, perhaps too much. He’s told me things about past girlfriends to be honest with me but then fails to see how this then affects me. He’s done it today – mystery caller has turned out to be his ex.

How my thoughts go against my fears: I have no evidence that he has cheated or will cheat. He has strong feelings about monogomy so I have to hope that it goes for him too. He’s always been very honest about the nature of our relationship as he is very aware of our cultural differences. I have to trust that is because he is serious. And his feelings? He tells me he loves me regularly and if the amount of attention and time are anything to go by, it’s clear that he feels something. If he wasn’t attracted to me, he wouldn’t be with me. That man is delicious and I have no doubts that there are some very beautiful women who like him. But he is with me: he is pursuing me. That has to count for something. (and he likes my bottom, eyes, lips, smile and hair. ) I know then he’s making me jealous to tease. It’s obvious. I know he is joking. I’ve just got to stop my mind from twisting what I know is a joke into something it isn’t.

And I know when he is being sincere. I know by the way he talks and how he looks. He told me about his ex calling today so that I would stop thinking it was another girl. (!) I know that. When he questioned my being quiet (goddam him, I really tried to act normal) I simply asked what he had said to her. They had ‘chit chat’ apparently. He told me to not think about it as it was nothing. As our conversation ended he brought it up again, telling me not to be sad as it was nothing. He always soothes me at the end of a call if I have shown any anxiety or stress about anything (none him-related stuff too) and it’s one of the ways he shows he cares. He would not have told me about her calling or tried to make me feel better if it was anything to worry about.

Ultimately, my anxiety is making this relationship unhappy. My anxiety. I’ve got to trust him, otherwise, what is the point? If I trust him and he breaks that trust then he wasn’t worth it anyway. If I don’t trust him then it will be me who could destroy this. It has to stop.

Understanding.

Following yesterday afternoon’s very interesting phonecall, I was in an enlightened place for a few hours. Probably stupidly, it had left me feeling closer to him and more secure. I don’t know why. It was a first for me, therefore special, but that doesn’t mean he felt the same way.

Anyway, I was enlightened. When he called me again later on, I had gone out for a walk. I wasn’t feeling enlightened any more but this was just due to corona-anxiety plus a weird ‘I want to be on my own to stew but I don’t want to be alone’ mentality. More on that little gem another time.

We had a good conversation about a few things, including the (many) differences in our countries and how this has affected us and our extended families. I enjoy conversations like this because I feel it really helps to get to know each other more. Next minute, he went quiet though and was staring into space. Then, he was asking about my divorce again.

This has happened before. He wants to know why my ex and I have separated. He can’t understand what the issues were. I questioned him and he said two things – one, I apparently change my story each time he asks and he doesn’t understand. Two, he’s worried that I am going be fed up with him in a few years and will ‘fall out of love with’ him too. (He’s really working on the honesty thing)

I tried to set him straight… I don’t change my story, it’s just that there were a lot of issues. Plus, because he keeps asking me, I feel like he’s not understood so have to explain in more depth. How could I not love my husband but be with him 13 years and have three children? I try to explain… I loved him as a person – he is a good man. I thought if I worked hard on the marriage I could make it work. There were a lot of problems from the beginning – most women would not have stuck it out as long as I did. He wasn’t right for me. And I never knew that I could feel the love I had only dreamed about, until recently. Until I met HIM (Wild Card) . I thought love was something you had to work hard for.

He was a little more settled by the end. He said it was my past so he was OK with everything – we still had time to get to know each other and work things out. I, again, told him the strength of my feelings and that what we had was very, very different to my relationship with my ex.

**********

This morning I’ve had another ‘phonecall’ (I’m never going to tire of that) and I sent him a poem that I had written for him which I had attached to one of our favourite pictures of us. He asked me to send it him again but with my name on it.❤️ This evening we have talked for hours again.

He knows me, so well. It scares me sometimes. He knew I was ‘off’ and despite how I tried to explain why, was able to articulate what was wrong with me much better than I could. He then spent half an hour making me laugh, and wouldn’t leave til he knew I was OK. This is why I love him. This is why I need him in my life. He understands me, loves me, cares for me.

And, as an absolute bonus… He is goddam hot.

Jealousy, part one.

I’m told, because I’ve searched for it on Google, that jealousy is healthy in a relationship. It shows we care, apparently.

What isn’t healthy, is when we act on it and let our emotions overcome us and so we react in an ill-considered way.

Jealousy often comes from fear and low self esteem – the thought that the one we love will find someone better than us. They will forget us and move on.

It’s important to process your jealousy. What’s causing it? And I just don’t mean, what has your S.O said or done to create it but what were your thought processes in allowing it to breed and multiply. Just like a nasty virus.

I am well aware that my jealousy stems from my own insecurities. It comes from previously dodgy relationships. It comes from societal stigma about my weight and the belief that no one will love me if I am big.

Processesing that jealousy before acting upon it is important. Like the knowledge that whilst I’ve had four/five failed relationships, I’ve pretty much ended each one of them. Sure, I was treated like crap at various points through most of them, but it was me who pulled the final plug each time. They’ve all come back too. Or tried to. Not bad for a fat girl, eh?

I’ve managed to meet some very, very attractive men. Surprisingly so. OK, yes, it hasn’t lasted, but it happened in the first place! I’m not as ugly-average as I think I am.

No, meeting people hasn’t been an issue as such. They’re not queuing out the door or anything, but neither am I as wholly detestable as my mirror image suggests. I just have not managed to meet the right person.

What’s the right person? It used to be a scarily long list of attributes. Now, it’s more abstract than that. It’s evolved.

I will admit, I have a type. After some teasing by my sisters about this, I put it to the test. I found images of all the celebrities that I was attracted to. And well, yes, they were pretty similar. Even if they didn’t have the dark, hopefully curly hair and the athletically tall body I liked, there would always be some facial similarities. So, yes, I have a type. Don’t we all?

But, putting aethestics aside, my ‘wish list’ has developed over the years. And probably simplified whilst becoming more abstract and complex:

1) Attraction and sexually compatibile – someone who loves to give and receive physical contact. Holding my hand or stroking my hair will do just fine day-to-day, thank you. But I want to kiss until my mouth is burning the rest of the time.

2) Someone with the intelligence to stimulate my mind and inspire me. I don’t need him to have a raft of qualifications either.

3) We’ve got to laugh. A lot.

4) Trust, trust, trust.

5) Someone who loves me for who I am, insecurities, imperfections all.

6) This is a hard one to explain. Because at first I thought it existed. Then I decided that it was a fiigment of my literature soaked mind and it did not exist. Then I found out that it does it exist, because I have felt it: The sense that someone completes you. I know this directly contradicts my earlier points. But it’s like… Your soul is now complete yet your mind and body will improve and be stimulated because they are around.

I’ve talked before about my theory that the perfect person for you , and there is more than one, has to meet three sets of criteria. When we date and it fails, it usually because of an incompatiblity in at least one of the areas that cannot be overcome or accepted. Each failed relationship helps us refine and define each area: physical compatibility, mind/personality compatibility and soul compatibility.

The problem I have, is that I have met someone who meets all three. Really meets them. But I’m insecure and jealous, so is he. Oh, and he lives in another country. And, to add insult to injury, an World pandemic keeps us even further apart whilst filling us with fear and panic. Great.

So how do I attempt to deal with this? Today’s effort are in my next post.

Found… A few steps behind

After yesterday morning’s early post and my absolute bafflement of what to do, I did what I felt I must. I was true to myself and my knowledge of him. I sent him a simple message.

I love you.

He said last week that I don’t say it enough, only when he asks me. If he was angry, he’d know how I feel without being incendiary. If he was hurt, it would soothe. If he was fed up with me, it wouldn’t matter what I said.

I sent it and went to work. This week his morning texts have been really early – 8.30am – but that time came and went with nothing. I can’t tell you I wasn’t anxious but I was hopeful too. I knew I couldn’t write more than that, so I just had to hope it had the desired effect.

Finally, at 9.30am I got a ‘morning’. That’s it. Far removed from the ‘good morning beautiful’ of earlier in the week. But it was something.

How to reply? Again, be myself: ‘Good morning baby’. No kisses as he hadn’t sent any. There was no response to that, but there often isn’t until we both finish work.

However, when I got back to my office at the end of the day (4.30ish), he had sent me a thumbs up sign about 45 minutes before. That was unusual as he still would have been in work and he never responds to our good mornings unless he is asking how I am- I guessed it was an olive branch… So, I replied with a simple, ‘hope you are OK.’

He called immediately.

It was difficult as I was in work but I was very pleased that I had worn my hair half down and looked well, considering. It was awkward, to say the least, but he asked if I was OK a number of times. The signal went pretty quickly and so I went to my car and called him back.

I told him I had missed him. When I told him it had made me sad, he asked why. I said because he didn’t want to talk to me and he always talks to me. His reply? “You always accept my call.” So there you have it, it was that I didn’t answer. He refused to talk about the day before any further and said he had ‘forgotten’ it now. Well, I certainly haven’t.

We had a brief catch up about the Coronavirus situation in our countries and he discussed how his first week in lock down was being enforced. It can’t be easy over there as they have imposed super strict measures. He has at least another two weeks of this.

Eventually, talk moved on to his work and seeing his usual spark returning, I kept him on this subject. He enjoyed talking me through and I was grateful that, being an English teacher, I was able to question him sufficiently to keep him talking and relax him to normalcy.

It was soon time to pick up my son however, so the call ended. How did I feel? Relieved that he had called and we had talked. Wary that this wasn’t over yet – we needed to talk and he clearly didn’t want to. And, honestly, a bit annoyed at what I thought had caused it and frustrated that he wouldn’t discuss it.

I got home shortly after and messaged to say we were at home. I didn’t know what to do after that and this is part of what needs discussing – his behaviour has left me wondering how to be. That’s a real concern. In the end, I decided again that I could only be myself and act as normal. So, I called him.

He surprised me by answering. His mood had declined somewhat but I kept him online as I served the dinner. I then went upstairs.

Trying to talk to him was difficult. He was sullen and quiet. He was insistent that we didn’t talk about the day before and whilst I was frustrated, there’s no point talking to someone if they’re not in the mood to. I asked him if I should go or did he want to talk? But he just threw the question back at me. I said I did want to talk to him so we carried on.

Following some more awkward silence punctuated by me trying to find a conversation starter – as I have said, it’s him who keeps the conversation going usually – I told him again I was going. He asked why. I said because he wasn’t happy with me and it was making me unhappy because I didn’t know what to say.

He then made an effort and we chatted for a bit longer. In the end, I actually got a kiss and he said he was going for dinner.

Feeling more comfortable, I had my own dinner and spoke with my sisters. An hour later and he called again, and this time everything was back to normal – his joking, his mood… Everything. We laughed together, he smiled and winked and you would have thought there had not been a problem.

We spoke for around 40 minutes and then he said he was going to sleep.

How do I feel? Honestly? A bit annoyed. It’s unusual for him to not talk about what’s bothered him. Any occasions where he’s not been happy and we usually talk about it the next day. He’s never refused before. My sister thinks he knows he was in the wrong. My, albeit limited, experience of that is he apologises. Not this time, as yet anyway.

Whilst I was relieved things had gone back to normal, he’s activated a step back for me that I never considered would happen with him. Maybe it’s a character fault of mine, maybe it’s self-preservation. Maybe I’m just protecting myself from experience of past relationships. But when something like this happens, my feelings dull, just a little. A little piece of my esteem for him chips away. With my previous relationships, particularly my husband, each betrayal and each lie chipped away to eventually nothing. I could feel it in my mind each time it happened. I didn’t expect this to happen with Wild Card, not yet.

The occasions where he has been unhappy with me have been similar. A couple of times when I have been going out at night – he gets jealous and insecure and this is culturally incompatible. As I get equally jealous when it’s the other way round, I can currently accept this behaviour. It doesn’t stop me going out either.

The rest have been to do with me not answering the phone. I think there have been three occasions now where this has led to this reaction. There have been more occasions when I have not answered or missed it but he hasn’t bothered, only to ask why and move on. I have no idea what makes those three incidents different from the rest where he has not been bothered.

There’s certainly an element of insecurity there. And we all know how irrationally insecure I can get, so, I need to temper my reaction to this a little. He’s human too, and he’s dealt with my fears and doubt with patience and love – every time. We are in unique times too – I know him well enough to know he’s worrying about it and he’s been in lock down for a week. That’s enough to unsettle anyone. Plus, admittedly, I’d been hard work earlier in the week.

It does need talking about though, eventually. It’s highly likely, at some point, that I will miss another call. I’m not going to live in fear of that, just in case he has a bad reaction again. And whilst I can’t pretend that I won’t be fearful in that instance, I also know now that he’s activated something within me that means I won’t just roll over either.

Ultimately, he’s not perfect. Neither am I. We have both reacted to situations with anxiety and insecurity and as this is my first LDR, I’m not sure how much of this is normal and how much is a part of our personalities and the strength of our feelings. I love him and I know he loves me. I just have to hope that, when we have spent more time together and these unusual times are over, it will be enough for us both to take steps forward and not back.

Milestones

I’m cosy in bed. I don’t want to get up. Here I feel safe from all the madness in the world around me.

This week has just been awful. From my ups and downs with Wild Card, ridiculously hectic work at week, increased coronavirus anxiety wherever I turn, an over anxious son not coping with his new ADHD medication to a huge argument with my 15 year old over how much revision she is doing. Oh, and I came on my period yesterday.

I could not wait for yesterday to end. I came home early and was grateful for the peace of my home. I messaged Wild Card. He had responded to my early morning text (saying I was thinking about him) – he had been on the way to drop off his brother and sister in law at the airport. A big day. The night before he had surprised me by being on the phone with me as much as ever, despite it being his brother’s last night at home.

He responded to my message and said he was well and asked if I was home. At that point, my mum arrived.

I’ve not seen my mum for a month. She’d been up for the day and had spent time with my sisters but I’m never 100% sure whether she will make it to me because of how late it gets. But she arrived and I was happy.

Unfortunately, my sisters arrived with my niece and nephew. You know I love them, of course I do, but I wasn’t in the mood for the noise and house-full and I was a little frustrated that they had been with mum all day and then had come to share my limited time with her.

Then, my ex turned up with my youngest to pick up something so you can imagine what happened next – my son wanted to stay and play. The house was getting fuller and noisier, and all I wanted was to sip coffee in front of the fire and chat with my mum.

Just as my ex was leaving – without our son I might add – Wild Card called me. At that point though, my sister had decided to engage in conversation with my ex about something work related. I was forced to take the call upstairs.

I don’t know how much my ex knows. My kids know, so no doubt my youngest has said something. My ex also walked in when I was on the phone once to Wild Card. He’s not stupid. But I’ve not discussed it with him because, quite frankly, it’s been none of his business. Now that my kids know, well, I guess that changes things somewhat. As does the milestone we have just met…

The call with Wild Card was short. He knew my mum was there and I think he called because he probably wanted to meet her. Me being upstairs, not with my mum, confused him a little. I was super conscious of my sister’s on going conversation with my ex downstairs and I was a little distracted. He asked if I was busy and I said I was a little, so he said he would speak to me later. I knew he was a little put out.

I went downstairs and listened to my sister’s conversation with my ex which, not only prevented me from talking with my mum, but prevented me from introducing her to Wild Card. The kids were screaming and shouting and all I wanted to do was shout and scream with them. I just stayed silent instead.

Eventually he left. My sister commented on my being quiet (I was screaming inside) and I told her about my terrible week, being on my period etc. She asked about Wild Card and I admitted that he had just called and explained the difficulty of the past 20 minutes.

Whilst nervous, my mum said she was happy to talk to him and so I called him back.

He was as surprised as my mum was, but I walked over and sat next to my mum, holding the phone so he could see both of us.

In the mental condition I was in, I don’t think I fully appreciated what a big step this was. Added to that, was that I was trying to translate between a heavily accented (and utterly delicious) foreign man with developing English and a partially deaf 63 year old, nervous mother. Interesting times.

It went really well, considering. He told my mum that she had a really nice daughter, (My sister joked that he meant her). He then went and put his mum on the phone too! Very limited English speaking mother meet deaf mother… But we got through it. My mum thanked his mum for looking after me and she said I was always welcome.

Mum and Wild Card chatted a little longer whilst my sisters got ready to leave and offered to drop off my youngest on the way. They did well considering, and by the time I got back to them they were joking with each other – my mum has a great sense of humour, particularly when nervous. At one point she even ‘sang’ to him whilst I stifled a laugh, and he commented that she had caused an earthquake with her voice. Much hilarity all round. 😊

When the call ended, I had half an hour with mum before she left. I told her about my bad week, and we also discussed my other sister’s s new reluctance to engage with Wild Card. Mum admitted that they had discussed it – my sister cannot understand why I have to be with him, why couldn’t I have found someone closer? How can I possibly have feelings for him? Whilst my mum and I acknowledge that she may not understand, I am frustrated that this has resulted in her not wanting to converse with him and even pulling faces when I talk about him. This is going to need a conversation at some point. My mum told me to ignore her.

Wild Card and I chatted for the remainder of the evening. He opened up about his brother’s marriages and I was surprised to hear that he doesn’t get on with one of his sister in laws (not the one from the day before). He told me some interesting stories about her and I felt that we were hitting another milestone as he was telling me some quite personal things – out of respect, he had always limited his talking about them.

He then joked that he was the oldest and ‘single’ and that he ws free to do what he wanted unlike his married brothers (one in particular, so his story told). I reminded him that he was not single and this then led to a conversation about us.

He asked again about my feelings for him and questioned how I knew how strong my feelings were. We talked about our first kiss, him reminding me of parts I had forgotten. He asked me if I missed lying on his chest whilst he played with my hair, did I miss his hugs and kisses… My heart ached for him as he asked me.

He told me how much he loved me and how serious he was about me. And he seemed more like his old self, the pressures of the week finally lifted perhaps.

For the first time in a week, I went to bed relaxed. The bad week was over. He has met my mother: our mothers have met! Who knows what the future holds now?

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.

Update and reflection – part two

So, I did message in the morning to wish him a good journey, just the once. I didn’t respond when he did because it wasn’t needed.
My calmness was rewarded with messages in the afternoon, a video chat half way on his journey and another when he got home.

Yesterday, his first day back at home, he called me as I was leaving work (which is really early for him), when I got home and then he was messaging me throughout the evening as he visited family.

At one point he called, a silent video, whilst we messaged. We talked about how we had been having amazing sex that time a week before, and it was so hot and exciting to see his guarded but obvious facial expressions as we wrote to each other.

He called again when he got home. Things seemed back to normal. He asked if I missed him. He asked if I loved him. He questioned my feelings, particularly in response to the fact that I have been married.

He struggles with this. He doesn’t believe me when I say that I didn’t feel for my husband like I feel for him. That sex with my husband wasn’t like how it was with him.

I am being entirely truthful when I tell him this. And this, this is the source of my anxiety because it is true. Yes, I loved my husband. We were happy, for a short time. But the majority of our relationship was filled with unhappiness and doubt. I worked so hard to make it work, for years. I told myself: that’s what you do when your married, you work on it. There’s no such thing as a soul mate. You find a good person, accept their flaws and work on it.

The cracks in the relationship with my husband were there in the first year. If I hadn’t got pregnant within the first year, we probably would not have stayed together. But I pulled him along the path of a serious relationship, hoping that each stage would cement those cracks: live together, get engaged, buy a house, get married. They never did. The cracks became a chasm. Years of little or no sexual intimacy. Him sleeping on the couch. An 18 month separation. A third pregnancy from a one-off unprotected sexual encounter in the hope that it would repair the awful sex life we were having following getting back together.

My postnatal depression following the birth of my third child was in direct response to the fact that I knew that nothing had changed. My marriage was over and had been for some years. We stayed together for a couple of years after that, but he slept on the couch, we had no intimacy and we argued continuously.

This feels very different with Wild Card, irrespective of the long distance.

***********************

It was getting late as we talked and I told him I would let him sleep as he was in work the next day. He said no. He told me to ‘come here, next to me’ as he lay down, eyes weary.

‘You want me next to you?’ I asked.

‘Yes’. I lay on my bed too and just watched his face as his eyes closed. I could see the softness of his lips, his dark lashes resting on his face. And I was transported back there, to him. When I closed my eyes I could remember the feel of his body next to mine, the sound of his breathing, his smell, my feelings as I lay with him… loving him, and feeling loved in return.

Eventually we said goodnight, sent kisses and ‘I love you’s and the call ended.

Today has been more of the same. A morning call followed by a longer afternoon call where we played games on messenger – that was fun. He played with my youngest for ages too which earned him even more of my affection. Another call on the way home from the gym. And again this evening…

I love every second. I love the way he looked at me tonight. I even love that my sister asked why we were not talking on the phone and he replied:

“She knows me and I know her. We are talking with our eyes.”

And my goodness, were we…

This is what I have got to try to remember when I’m panicking. Days like today.

Readjustment to reality: Feast and Famine

After a romantic and fun filled week, then a weekend being apart but crammed with ‘I love you, I miss you’ and multiple video chats, the last two days have been really tough.

As I explained in my last post, Wild Card and his family made an 8 hour car journey on Monday as they were going on holiday.

I had a few messages throughout the day – he was driving after all – and he messaged when he arrived.

Later, we had a very brief video chat whilst he was out at a cafe with his family and then we had a couple of longer text conversations throughout the evening, including one late at night whilst we were both in bed.

I should be happy with that, shouldn’t I? But, I’m not. He preoccupied. He is in another place which means he is not free to talk. He’s with extended family so needs to respect that. So whilst my heart is still aching in the missing of him and my words have expressed that, his have not.

If anything he was in a weird mood Monday night and I have to keep reminding myself that an 8 hour drive as the sole driver will do that for you. I kept trying to end the conversation with an excuse of going to sleep but I just didn’t like the way I was feeling. He wouldn’t let me though and would ask me a question to keep me talking.

Yesterday I messaged in the morning to wish him a good day. Before his extended holiday, this was always his routine. I took over when he finished work. He replied, and we had a brief chat, but then I had a meeting. By the time I got back to my phone he had gone out. I told him I would speak to him later and I got a kiss in return.

I waited all day. I didn’t message him and he didn’t message me. He is on holiday!!!! My rational mind would tell me. How quickly he has forgotten you, my irrational mind would counter.

By 6pm I was in an anxious state. My sister told me to stop being stupid and just message him. An hour later I had a brief reply. Then nothing again. Anxiety overdrive.

Eventually, at around 9pm he messaged. He sent a picture of him sat at the table with all his family, I guess as reassurance and explanation. It was needed – the conversation was stilted and difficult. And yes, I know that was because he was sit sat with his family and was in effect disrespecting them by continuing to message me, no matter how disatisfying the conversation.

At one point, I sent the following due to a conversation I’d had with my sister where she said she wants to talk to him more:

His reaction to that made me feel a little better but I just felt dissatisfied at the end of the conversation, despite the amount of time and superficial conversation we’d had.

Four days ago I was on cloud nine. It’s not realistic that our communications would remain the same. It was my first time being with him, the first time of leaving him. It’s natural that this was going to be difficult to readjust.

And then, it’s how I feel about him. Not to mention my natural tendancy to be anxious anyway. My friend, a trained counsellor, summed it up for me. From his knowledge of me and my previous relationships, this is the first time that I have truly ‘matched’ with someone on every level. Every other relationship I have had has involved some sort of ‘settling’.

It was like a smack in the face because it was so true and I hadn’t thought of it like that before. Whilst wanting to believe that my true match was out there somewhere, I’ve been of the opinion that you find a good man, you love each other, you accept the faults and flaws and work hard to make it work. My impending divorce perhaps suggests the flaws in that plan.

I’ve met someone who makes me happy (when I’m not being an anxious freak), who challenges and inspires me, who cares for me and (usually) makes me the centre of his attention, and who I am wholly and physically attracted too. When with him, I felt the heady mix of being completely comfortable and settled as well as being excited and ‘alive’.

Is there any surprise that I am scared of losing this?

In my late night angst, I searched for some online advice and found a psychologist and relationship expert which has directed my thinking today.

Over the past few days, I’ve made it clear how I feel. He can be in no doubt of the depth of my love and how much I am missing him. But him being preoccupied is accentuating my natural tendancy to be anxious. This means that I am acting differently. I am being clingy and snippy and needy. He’s just trying to enjoy his holiday with his family. If I want him to miss me again, I need to stop creating this negative atmosphere when he messages in the only way I can.

So today I have not messaged him, as instructed by the psychologist. I’m giving him space to enjoy his holiday, not bombard him with my neediness, and therefore to miss me.

It’s so hard. It’s nearly 11am, 12MD where he is, and I haven’t heard from him.

The other advice, sound advice from what I can see, is that I need to renegage my social life: keep busy. Be happy. Be the person he fell for, not this needy, whiney, anxiety ridden nag. I need to take care of myself and be the best I can be.

And then, when he comes back to me and things go back to normal, then I can discuss how hard this week has been for me.

My dad used to say, you only know if something is truly yours if it comes back to you when you let it go.

To quell my considerable anxiety at this situation, I am trying my best to logically think of the positives of this situation if it all goes wrong.

If he doesn’t come back, if things don’t return, then he wasn’t right for me anyway. There’s no reason for this to happen unless I do something wrong. His words, remember?

My experience of travelling alone has been inspirational and life changing. I can do more than I think I can.

I’ve learnt so much about the prejudices of others but also the goodness of people: being open to that, not biased.

I’ve learnt that you cannot always accept the judgements of others, even when you trust them. Everyone has biased and flawed thinking.

Actions speak louder than words.

I’m worthy of love. Men find me attractive. I am liked. I don’t need to settle.

Whilst I’ve found love across the seas, I’m pretty sure that somewhere, probably closer to home, there will be someone else who would equally make me happy. (I didn’t like writing this one)

You’ve got to be open to love. Open to risks. Live life as it is supposed to be lived. Not just exist.

My previous relationships have caused some real hang-ups for me, more than I realised.

It’s dangerous to accept your first thoughts in a situation. Initial reactions are emotion and anxiety driven. It’s important to pause and reflect and think.

No matter how important he is to me, I have a life here. I have children, family, friends and a career. Those are some of the things he loves about me. Ignoring them over him is counterintuitive, however you think about it.

Live in this moment. I can’t always have control of the future.

I can’t make him love me or want me. But I can make him fall out of love with me by being stupid. I just need to be the best I can be. His words.

So there we have it. I’ll let you know how I get on.