Day 14 and 15 –

I’m in the airport. I’ve had a morning of tears, anxiety induced stomach ache and near panic attacks. I’ve frightened the life out of Wildcard and his family.

But first, a recount of yesterday.

After laughing over breakfast, because he saw how well his mother looks after me in comparison to him, we had a lazy morning.

In the afternoon though, with a picnic packed, we travelled to a local reservoir beauty spot. Finding a parasol shading table, Wildcard negotiated with the owner and went off to get fresh fish with his mum.

I sat with his dad and admired the views, the sun beating down and the wind blowing a warm breeze beneath the canopy. The reservoir stretched out, surrounding my mountains so dry and arid they looked like sand dunes. I could picture myself living there in the lakeside villa – horses and chickens, olive trees and herbs, my handsome husband and little children running around in the sun.

Wildcard returned and handed over the fish to the man who prepared and cooked it over fire. His mum had brought bread, salad, noodle salad and chicken. The fish came on a platter, covered in onions and tomatoes and spices. As before, Wildcard delicately de-boned my fish for me in a gallant gesture.

After eating, Wildcard decided to swim. He was nervous about me joining him but felt this was safer than the beach last week. His Dad however panicked as I stepped into the water and his mum ended up wading in with me until I reached Wildcard. Please be assured that despite being treated like a princess, I am sturdy and capable of swimming. The level of care they gave me the whole trip was astounding. They are a wonderful family.

We laughed and splashed and enjoyed the bath like water. I loved every second and wished only that I could have wrapped myself around him like the fountain scene in Cocktail.

We dried off in the sun then made our way over to his city. A mix of ancient and new, I absolutely loved it, although the driving and traffic scares the life out of me. His parents bought me a gift from the market, despite my protestations not to, and then we went to the local scenic spot to take in the panorama of the city. I was happy, so happy.

We had a very late tea, showers then retired to bed. Without a doubt we had the best love-making we had ever had. It is amazing how two people learn about each other’s bodies over even such a short time. I didn’t want him to leave but of course he had to. And even the epic sex couldn’t turn off my brain.

I wrote him four letters over the course of the night and morning. I wasn’t satisfied with any of them and they actually got more succinct each time. I thanked him for the holiday, told him that I loved him and his family. And then I told him that I felt that we wanted different things. I was sorry that I wasn’t what he wanted but I would always love him and wished a happy life for him.

Dramatic – possibly. Honest – definitely.

I didn’t give him any of them. This morning he came to my room as always and we had amazing love-making round 2. I swear he was trying to make my heart explode with love.

We had breakfast with his parents, and whilst I listened to the rhythmic sounds of their talking, my brain battled on in its determination to self sabotage or self preserve – I don’t know which.

The line comes from the fact that there has still been no conversation. I tried to instigate one a couple of times, and whilst he always reassured me of his love and want to be with me, there was nothing concrete. No plan, no conditions to be met. I don’t expect plain-sailing but I am a control freak who has absolutely no control at the moment.

I started to weep, a lump in my throat and my breakfast churning in my stomach. I excused myself as subtly as I could and dried my eyes, breathing in deeply in an attempt to gain control.

When I returned I fought to maintain that control. But I was questioned and as soon as his mum asked, concerned they had done something wrong, I burst into tears and hugged her. She told me again and again, in broken English and her own language, how I was always welcome and that she loved me being there which made me cry more.

Soon it was time to leave. My stomach ached with anxiety and grief. I felt sick and exhausted fighting the tears.

Putting on my shoes, Wildcard sat next to me and asked what was wrong. He said that I was acting like it was the last time and had he done something wrong? He told me again that I can come whenever I want.

The journey to the airport was torture. My stomach had spiraled into anxiety induced knots. I tried so hard to be calm but I just couldn’t. My brain surged with thoughts and emotions. I hated that they were so worried and kept trying to reassure them, telling them it was just nerves, which was true.

Just outside the city and airport, we took a detour to a local urban forest. It smelled of jasmine and the short walk gave me some repose from my feelings. I could feel his concern, never mind see it, and he kept telling me that if I was ill I should cancel my flight and rebook. I couldn’t tell him that would make no difference. I suspect I would feel that way no matter when I left.

I took some anxiety meds and something for my stomach and we drove the last ten minutes to the airport.

The whole family walked me to the doors of the airport but only Wildcard walked me through at first. He found us a place to sit, surreptitiously held my hand and asked me to talk.

He kept saying that I was making him nervous, that I was making him feel like I didn’t want to come back. His parents then walked in and took a seat a distance from us. He told me he loved me, those gorgeous dark brown eyes looking into mine, and that he had told me how serious he was about me the very first day I had arrived, over a year ago. He told me to stay if I wanted to stay, come back whenever I wanted.

At this point, I was well past my 2.5 hour entry point to the airport. I told him I would have to go. “So you want to leave me now?” I told him I never wanted to leave him and that was the problem. He said he needed to find a way to ‘kill those donkeys’ in my head, his term for my stupid thoughts.

I’m now sat on the plane. I am calmer than I was. I’m angry at myself for getting in such a state but knowing me, even if he had committed to me in blood I would still have wished not to leave.

Are you wondering if I am missing my children?

I am, but perhaps not as I have in the past. Let me explain.

My children have lived between houses for over three years now. At first, when they started to stay over at their dad’s, I hated it. But over time, my mind has accepted this new way of life. I know my children love me. I know they are safe. And I know I will see them soon.

I’ve called them every day that I was away. I’ve missed kissing my youngest’s cheeks, missed my elder son’s cheeky face when he is wrapping me round his little finger and my daughter’s passionate tirades about one thing or another. But I know they will be there when I return.

I can’t help feel that there is no certainty with Wildcard. Expectation is the fuel of broken dreams. I’ve convinced myself that if he was serious we would have had a conversation. That if he loved me as I loved him, he would be certain and secure.

And so, I fly on the first part of my journey home, heart heavy and soul sore, hoping that this is simply a lost battle with anxiety rather than the beginning of the end.

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Day 12/13 – in the night

For me, thinking of any kind leads only to more thinking. I sometimes wish I could just switch my brain off.

Yesterday, after questioning me, I opened up to Wildcard and asked about what’s next. I explained that I had flights I needed to move and asked how I should proceed. He looked genuinely surprised that I needed to ask. He repeated that I can come when I want etc etc. I said no, does he want me to come? He replied, “I want you to come.” Despite some gentle probing/suggesting, there was little more said.

Yes, he was unwell, but he spent most of the afternoon on the sofa. I sat with him a while but started to feel in the way. I asked him, and he said I was crazy and that I didn’t need to go anywhere.

Hours passed though. I suggested we watched a film together ‘or something’ and he half agreed. But when I came back from the kitchen he had started to watch his TV series.

I once read something that said there is a part of your brain that wants you to be happy. So when you get a thought in your head, this part of your brain actively searched for evidence, manipulates evidence, to make that thought true.

And so it was with me. He doesn’t want to watch anything with me. He’s bored. I’m invading his space. He didn’t want me to come. He’s not even touching me now. Should I try to go home earlier?

And so on.

Eventually, I went into the bedroom and got my laptop out. That way, I was giving him the space he may have wanted or, if he chose, he could come to find me and we could watch something. It beat just sitting there.

After a few moments his mother called as she had made fresh orange juice. We sat together, but once finished he lay back down to watch his series. I stayed there for five or ten minutes then went back into the bedroom.

Not long after I heard his mum speaking to Wildcard and he shouted me. I came out and his mum disappeared. It appears she had questioned him on why we were not sitting together. He asked if I was angry at him and I said no, but I just wanted to do something with him. He reminded me he was ill and asked,what? What did I want to do? He didn’t feel like watching a film.

His mum returned with tea and cake and there was a heated conversation between them. I drank tea but there was an atmosphere. We talked a little and then it was time for bed.

He kissed me tenderly, repeatedly, and asked if I was angry or sad. I said no, and so he said goodnight.

But I was. I was now convinced that whilst he has feelings for me, they’re not of the depth or intensity of mine. He probably didn’t want to say anything whilst I was there but that it would probably come when I went home.

I was being childish and sulky but I felt genuinely sorry for myself. I reflected that I didn’t think I was a challenging girlfriend (you may beg to differ) as what I wanted was simple. I don’t need expensive gifts or fancy restaurants. All I want is to feel loved, every day. I want to feel, that in his eyes at least, I am beautiful and wanted. That I am his. That’s all.

Whilst my brain could find some evidence of that, at that moment it wasn’t enough. So I cried. And I felt sorry for myself. And I accepted that once again, I felt more for someone than they did for me. I felt my cloud nine dreams come crashing down around me and my heart ached. Maybe my friend was right – I’d put him on a pedestal. My attraction to him was making me feel like I was punching above my weight and that was making me feel insecure. She told me he was lucky to have me and that I should be patient and have faith. I was feeling none of this.

During this time he had messaged asking if I was OK, and I had said yes. There was no point going over everything again.

Not having washed my make up off and crying had led to stinging eyes and, sniffling a little, I went to the bathroom to wash my face. He heard me and shouted and I said I was OK, just washing my face. He continued to call me. I dried my eyes and feeling I’d hidden my tears the best I could, went to him.

He knew, as well as I did that I had been upset. But I didn’t see the point in trying to talk anymore. I had come, we’d had fun, but I wasn’t who he wanted in his future. That was what I had decided.

You know, I hate writing about this. I hate describing my flaws in all their depressing glory. My childishness. My weakness. But I have to, to learn and to purge.

We had the usual to-ing and fro-ing. Him trying to get me to speak, me refusing. He lay on the put-up bed on the floor and I stood at the foot of it, my arms crossed protectively around my body. I must have looked pathetic.

Eventually, too tired to fight any longer, I sat on the sofa. He stood and sat next to me. Now, the following day, I realise how close he sat to me but at the time I was oblivious, so wrapped up in my own woe.

Gently, gently, he questioned me.

I told him that I was sad because I had accepted the truth. That he didn’t feel the same as I did. I told him I knew he loved me and cared for me but that it wasn’t same.

He asked how I felt then. I told him I was completely in love with him and I accepted that his love was not the same as mine.

He asked how did I know that? Who had told me that? I said he had. I had asked him how he felt and he couldn’t tell me. I wanted to know about our future, if he wanted to be with me, if he was happy with me. If he was glad I had come. If we were serious. And he couldn’t or wouldn’t tell me. In my eyes, that only meant something bad.

He told me I was crazy – “you are here now, with my family”. How did I know he didn’t love me the same? I told him I tried to be a good girlfriend but I couldn’t make him love me more. He replied that I was a good girlfriend and I knew he loved me.

In an anxious state, I can’t look at the person I’m upset with. I was staring ahead, or at my hands that were wringing. He kept pulling my hands apart and placing them down away from each other. If I started to claw at my pyjamas, he would put a hand on top to stop me. He told me to look at him, that I must look at him when we are talking. But when I looked at him, I just felt overwhelming love. I wanted to drown in him, and kiss him, and float away on my dreams of our life together.

His eyes were kind, smiling almost. He held me, and whispered in my ear that he loved me and he wanted to be with me.

He genuinely couldn’t understand why I felt this way. I tried to explain. I told him that I didn’t trust my own judgement of how he felt and that I needed to be told. I told him that I knew his ex-girlfriends had loved him and that he had been happy with them for a while but I was scared he wouldn’t want a future with me like he didn’t with them. I said I wanted to be different.

He told me I was different – I was here now, they weren’t. I was here with him and his family- they weren’t. He said how he had driven three hours to take me to the beach, just to make me happy. He told me again and again, “you know I love you”.

Eventually, we parted. He took me to my room and kissed me again and again. And laughed and called me crazy. He made me promise I wasn’t going to cry again. I promised, and I didn’t.

This morning he came to me and we made love. And that is how it feels now – our bodies now familiar, the adrenalin of time apart ebbing away – now is just love and pleasure.

I have two and a half days left. I’m determined to be bright and cheerful and to try to not worry. This morning I hate myself for my errant thoughts, my fears and my doubts and my crying. I can’t do anything else now. I have told him and showed him how I feel. I can do no more. So I must enjoy my last days with him and pray that what is meant to be, will be and hope that actually what is happening is this…

I hope that in typical male/female fashion, he loves me but can’t tell me. And that I love him and I can’t stop telling him and that is the only problem between us.

Feeling the pressure

Last night, as I was saying goodnight to Wildcard, my 6 year old came running in laughing, shouting that I wanted to marry wildcard and wildcard wanted to marry me. I laughed it off, tickled him, whilst Wildcard asked, ‘What did he say?’ With a smile on his face.

This morning I was unable to deflect and Wildcard asked my son directly. I was surprised a little by Wildcard’s reaction- he smiled at my son and asked, ‘and do you want me to marry your mother?’. My son’s answer was yes because ‘I like you’ and Wildcard replied, ‘good.’

I promise, I did not in any way instigate that.

Later this evening I was enjoying some painting and my 16 year old daughter joined me. She soon gave up on anything serious and started with purposefully childlike stickmen portraits. Wildcard called and I laughingly showed him her ‘talents.’ Upon seeing her pictures he asked her not to forget about him and she happily added him to our family portrait, saying he was one of the family now.

I joked with him that he was now accepted: my son wanted us married and my daughter considered him family.

Later again he called, quite thoughtful. Out of the blue he said he wanted to ask me something – why did I divorce my husband.

This is not the first time he has asked me this question. Previous times have not gone too well – language and cultural barriers as well as there being no easy reason to state. He said he wasn’t ready for the converstaion tonight and there were other things we needed to talk about. He said that if we are going to be in a ‘serious relationship’, ie, with a view to marriage in the future, then there are a lot of things we need to discuss first to make sure we want the same things. He said there has never been the right time – I expect he was waiting for me to visit him to have this conversation face to face – and that there are cultural differences to discuss.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not a proposal. But it is an acknowledgement that a year of talking for hours every day is leading somewhere. His culture demands that marriage is discussed properly and that if it is not right, the relationship ends. He made me aware of this when I first spent time with him in February. He’s not said it out loud as yet, but I kind of feel that we are reaching the point where we commit to commitment or we don’t. I’m scared.

So, the divorce talk is scheduled for tomorrow. I have no idea what I am going to say. He knows this. He knows I am worried. He knows that I haven’t explained properly and he hasn’t fully understood. He’s told me not to be nervous, he just wants to understand. He wants to know that the same won’t happen to us. He can’t understand why my husband agreed to a divorce and how I could have had three children with him if I was so unhappy.

How do I explain?

That I’m old fashioned. I believe that marriages take hard work and commitment. That I didn’t want to give up. That I didn’t believe that you could find ‘the one’ – that I had to take my head out of the romance novels and just find a nice man. So when I did, I tried to make it work.

But it didn’t. And at only six months into the relationship, and just as I was about to end it, I discovered I was pregnant.

What follows is a pattern. A life event, often instigated by me (the pregnancy wasn’t!) In an attempt to fix or work on our relationship. A short period of success followed by everything going wrong again… buying a house, getting engaged, holidays.. another baby etc etc. I wanted it to work for my children. It didn’t.

Most people would have probably realised it wasn’t going to work within the first 18 months. I just kept trying.

My ex is not a bad man, but he was never right for me. There was no partnership, no true intimacy, passion or inspiration.

How do I explain that?

Wish me luck.

Enlightened – again

Wild Card and I have been talking/together for nearly eight months now.  As long distance relationships go, I don’t know if this is a long time or not. However, there’s still a lot to learn about each other.

We both seem to like our routines and when something changes, we seem to naturally fall into a new one. Recently, the lockdown has been lifted in his city. He’s started going out walking again and his new thing is to call me as he walks. I like it.

I like it because his voice is so goddam sexy and not being distracted by his face, I hear his voice better – the accent, the tone etc.

But, I also like it, because I’ve realised that he is a little more open with me verbally without the video. Recently, he has said a few things over the phone that have indicated how serious he is about me – talking about our future together, plans for holidays etc.

Last night, was a little more sombre of a phonecall. He’d had a bad day all round, but it was topped off by a call from an ex-girlfriend. (Again, this is the second one. Believe me, I know how wonderful he is but even so…)

I was proud of how calm I was. I was pleased he wanted to talk about it. I was happy that he opened up about his past with her. I listened, I consoled.

Perhaps more importantly, I learned.

He was with her for nearly two years. They didn’t have sex because he was respectful of her age and culture. She never met his parents though she attempted to weasel her way to meeting his mum (he was not happy about that).

He ended the relationship because she was overly dramatic, jealous and demanding. He knew she loved him, but she made him anxious and wary. She wanted to be on the phone all the time. She questioned his every move and manipulated situations so that she could imprint herself into his life – his mother, contacting a work colleague or Facebook friends. She constantly talked about marriage with him although he had told her it would not come to that.

So, what have I learned?

Well, I suppose how serious he is/was about me. He has talked about a future with me. He introduced me to his parents relatively early on and I have of course stayed with them when I visited in February – I talk to them fairly regularly now. Wild Card and I have had an intimate, sexual relationship. (I’m trying not to think about the respect thing here, but it was mutually wanted so.. Yeah.)

He has told me he is happy with me, that he loves everything about me. Most of the time, we laugh and we enjoy each other’s company.

But – isn’t there always one – I can see some things that I do or have done that could upset the apple cart.

I’ve got to get a handle on my insecurity and occasional jealousy. He’s been patient so far, but it’s quite clear from what I heard tonight that his patience is not endless. I don’t blame him for that.

He didn’t tell me these things other than to off-load about a girl who keeps contacting him and who he doesn’t want to be with – he made that very clear. I’m glad he felt he could discuss this with me. However, I could see some… Similarities in our behaviour. That has concerned me.

Without a doubt, the past few months have been very, very tricky for everyone. Corona has played a big part in the start of our relationship: our moods and anxieties, our social lives and the ability to see each other.

Then there are the other facets of life and a long distance relationship that have also had an impact.

We’ve survived this far. Most of the time, things are great. Occasionally they are not. Sometimes we are both at fault, often my insecurity and fear acerbate the situation. Whilst he always forgives me and tells me not to worry, there is always a shift in his behaviour for a little while after. I don’t know if I am the same or not.

He’s going through some difficult times too at the moment which are not helping.

Last night reminded me, once again, yet again, again and again… I need to relax. I need to remind him of the woman he loves. I need to have faith and trust.

So, I am digging myself out, clawing myself out of the dark in the hope that he will still be in the light when I emerge.

Superstition and change.

I’ve never considered myself to be particularly superstitious but I’ve realised these past few days that is exactly what I am.

And the reason, you ask?

I’m superstitious because I haven’t written my blog for one reason only: things were going well with Wild Card and I was scared to jynx it.

So what happened?

Well, in my last post I acknowledged that things were not good. I considered why that might be and although I had thought of some reasons, I didn’t actually know. I decided to take a step back from the clingy but to keep a loving, reassuring presence. Well, that was what I was aiming for.

I won’t deny that I was hurt. I’d hoped that my attempt at honesty-without-fear would come good but it hadn’t with ‘that’s your problem, not mine.’

I’m reality, I would like to think that me telling him that I wanted him to ‘try harder with our communication’ and that ‘I just wanted to be with him’ had some impact – the next day he suggested I download a game we could play together. We have never done that before and it has really helped. We’ve played it on and off over the past few days. It gives us something to talk and laugh about, allows us to show some playfulness and competitiveness and we are spending quality time together.

The other thing that happened was that a couple of days ago it all just got to me. I was sad, melancholy. Not angry, or jealous or pretending to be anything other than I felt – happy to see him but so sad that things were not right. And I don’t think I could have hidden that from him if I tried, so I didn’t.

After one particularly acerbic conversation, I actually ended the call. He was surprised and asked me why. I made up some excuse but I could tell it bothered him. By the next time we spoke he had already started to mellow.

That day he asked me multiple times what was wrong. Eventually, keeping my honesty-policy in mind and thinking that I could hardly make this much worse I told him: I was sad because I missed his love. I missed his face when he looked pleased to see me. I missed his ‘I love you’s’ and his kisses and our laughter.

From then on, things have been pretty good.

So, for now, I’m keeping up with my plan. Stick to my routine, remind him I’m here and love him, but give him space and end calls – nicely–if he appears out of sorts. I’ve learnt that I don’t have the ability to pull him out of that mood, so why try?

Ramadan ends this weekend. I have just over a week left until I am back in work full time. Things are about to change again and I hope that this time it is for the better.

Hairline

Day two of sulking went better than I thought it would.

After posting my blog yesterday morning, I had real think about everything I had said and had written. I decided that if I was right then he needed more love, not less. He needed honesty.

So I sent my morning text, as usual, but I also told him that I had been thinking about him all morning which was true. But not something I would necessarily tell him, normally.

I got a smile in response and so I called him, not knowing if he was continuing the call ban from yesterday. He was still in bed, sleepy eyed, but we chatted and went through our routine. He was still quiet but I expected that.

As usual, the call ended as he got to work and I was happy with the nearly return to normal. So far so good. Patience and kindness is the way forward.

Not fifteen minutes later, he surprised me by calling. There had been an issue at work and he was on his way home. I was pleased he had called me and shared the problem. When he got home however, he was a little snippy and the call ended a little abruptly. But, considering the previous few days and the morning he had just had, I swallowed down my irrational fears and comforted myself with the fact that the morning had gone better than expected.

Early afternoon, I was doing some reading when I had an unexpected epiphany moment. Everything slotted into place: my anxiety, my behaviour. Things that I couldn’t understand. It’s like the muddle of emotions and thoughts and fears clarified so I could see the way forward. I love it when that happens.

I’ve realised that I am not being true to myself in this relationship, not all the time anyway. I try to hide some of my vulnerability: I hide my thoughts and feelings sometimes, or at least try to. I lie. And those things are not who I am. I’m honest to the point of being blunt. I don’t lie. And with those close to me, I openly share my feelings.

So, it figures, that if I’m not being true to myself, this is causing anxiety. It’s adding to my fear of losing him because I’m not showing my true self and I’m hiding things which then make him anxious. My anxiety and fear then builds to the point that I do something stupid which then causes further insecurity for him.

For him to love me, I have to be myself, vulnerable and honest and all. If I’m not myself then he’s not loving me, he’s loving something false. If I’m more honest I will be calmer. And if I’m calmer there will be less anxiety and less screw ups and definitely less drama. Annoyingly, these are things he has said to me already.

Around 3pm, I took the plunge and called him. I felt nervous but I had to say this stuff, get it off my chest. I changed my mind the moment he answered and was about to end the call but he asked me to tell him what was on my mind, so I went for it.

I could see that he appreciated my honesty and openness. He denied there was a problem still and he said he had no problem with me. He wanted clarification on the times where I had hidden some feelings and thoughts. In the end he said he was happy with my decision simply because I was happy with it. And he certainly seemed happier.

Later on I got a phonecall and he initiated both videochats too – everything was back to normal. The last call involved him once again making me laugh and my children got in on the joke, drawn to the sound of my persistent laughter.

This morning he called again and seems much more like himself. So, maybe the crack is hairline and nothing that a bit of reglazing will sort.

Patience and understanding

My mood is very much like the weather at the moment. Beautiful blue sky meet dark clouds.

I’m terms of the amount of contact yesterday, Wild Card called me as normal (apart from the late call in the morning). Our videochats lasted as long as normal. He however, is still not.

I think to myself: he would not call and stay on the phone unless he wanted to see me and be with me. He has no need to prolong this relationship if unhappy. There is no shortage of women interested in him. I try to stay positive and jovial even. Whatever his problem is, I don’t want to add to it anymore. He said I’ve done nothing wrong and it isn’t me, so I have to believe him.

Last night’s last call was a little more typical. He actually cracked some jokes and made me laugh for a while. I actually felt quite emotional… Like he was coming back to me.

But the affection is still missing from his calls. I don’t know if he’s just not feeling it, or he’s trying to prove a point. (And irrational brain wonders if he has met someone else or he’s trying to pull away but we are ignoring irrational brain at the moment.)

In the end, who knows? Only him. There’s nothing I can do but trust he will tell me if I have annoyed him, which he usually does, and try to be supportive and positive.

Last night I tried to research Ramadan and its effects a little more and there is evidence that it affects mood and behaviour. He’s definitely not his cheery self but as he is still making contact, I have to believe that is what it is.

Today he has called as normal – on the way to work and on the way home and as he shopped. Parts of our conversation almost felt like normal. I also spoke to his mother again – he would not have me in the car with her, or speaking to her, if he was pulling away from our relationship.

So, patience, understanding and logical thinking is the order of the day.

Choosing and learning

I’ve really been enjoying writing the discover prompts. They’re challenging my creativity, making me think.

Bring honest, I could relate every single one of them to Wild Card. But I wanted to divert my mind from the fact that I wasn’t with him when I should have been, by doing something creative.

It has been a weird week.

Wild Card is struggling with the strict quarantine rules that his country has imposed. He’s been in quarantine longer than me too. He’s bored, he’s anxious and I’m helpless. Of course, this activated my barely controlled anxiety….

He assured me it wasn’t me and talked to me about how he was feeling. Whilst frustrated that I couldn’t help, I think we both felt better that he had shared. I’m not as worried now when he is quiet or when the call is short – I’m pretty poor as a distraction. Quarantine does not give you much news to discuss.

We’ve had a few bumps in the road this week. I could lay the blame on a number of things… His mood, my period, both frustrated about my cancelled trip, boredom, sexual frustration, his joking, my insecurity… Or maybe this is just where we are now, five and a half months in to our relationship.

The first major bump he dealt with by confirming his love for me. He explained his love, gave evidence after evidence of how he loves me. All he wants is for me to be smiling and laughing. He kept saying, ‘I don’t know what’s in your head’, which to me signals his frustration. He feels he is doing all he can to prove his love. And you know what, I actually agree. He did acknowledge though that some of his joking may have triggered my little outburst. We both apologised and moved on.

Unfortunately, the next day brought round two. This time, it was a language barrier -created misunderstanding. But, I think as part of the hangover from the day before, he was really frustrated. I asked him if he wanted me to go and his muffled ‘no’ meant that we stayed online until my phone died. Again, we both apologised, expressed our love and went to sleep.

The next morning, yesterday, I was pretty worked up though. Whilst I could apportion the blame to both of us over the past few days, I was well aware that my insecurities were biting us on the ass. Again.

So, when I got my good morning text I called him – not video – and we talked it out. I’ve read that the best time to have an ‘argument/discussion’ etc is when you have prepared for it… when you’re both calm and thinking straight. So, a little fearful this was going to start round three, I took the plunge.

It was a really, really good conversation. I acknowledged and apologised for my constant need for reassurance and he told me that he doesn’t mind it, if that’s what I need. I told him that my insecurity was probably my biggest flaw. He told me about his mind state at the moment and reassured me that it was nothing to do with me and apologised if it had concerned me. He told me that he has absolutely no problems with me and our relationship at all but thinks that I have, even though there aren’t any. That was a stark comment.

The biggest ‘issue’, if you can call it that, is that I cannot hide anything from him. He knows me so much better than anyone else in such a short time. No matter how I try to hide my worries, thoughts… How I may try to swerve conversations that I’m not ready for, he knows me and knows I’m doing it. This in turn makes him anxious because he worries about what I’m thinking.

So, what I’m saying- what I have realised- is that I’ve found someone that understands me, knows me like no other. That our relationship will have to be built on 100% honesty and truthfulness because we both know when it isn’t. And that is really, really, exciting.

The conversation ended with us both feeling like we had overcome the issues. We had discussed, been open, and worked out the problem, together. We had acknowledged our own faults in this situation. We had found a solution, together.

You would think, having had serious relationships and even being older than him, that I would know what I’m doing. I don’t. He is so different from anyone I have ever been with.

I’ve realised that relationships are very much a learning curve. At the beginning, you hide so much of yourself, give just a little – just enough – to keep the other person interested. But as time goes on, you relax more, show more of yourself. As a couple then, you learn about each other and navigate through the intricacies of each others personality. Some things are a match and the discovery of that brings you closer together. But some things aren’t.

For some, those discoveries, those mismatches, are enough to end the relationship. You’re not compatible. For others, you learn how to deal with, accept, manage those differences. You both shift a little… Realign yourselves, together, and that makes you stronger as a couple.

My internal shifting has been to realise that I can’t manage this relationship like I did my marriage. They’re two different people. I can’t hide anything from Wild Card and neither should I want to or have to. When we have a problem, we talk it out together which is a galaxy apart from what happened in my marriage.

Yesterday I learnt about myself and about us. And I made a decision. I’m choosing to be with him, to love him, to go on this journey with him. So, therefore, I choose to trust him. I choose to believe that he loves me as he says and wants me as he says. Because the only person doubting that is me, with very little evidence. I chose to let go of my jealousy and it helped. I’m now choosing to let go of my insecurity. I’m choosing to show him my true self because he knows who that is anyway. He knows me, loves me for me, so what the hell am I

So, yes, it has been a really weird week. But our relationship has come out of it stronger than ever.

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.

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.