Day 7 – love

“I want to know what love is. I want you to show me.”

Foreigner

Last night I told Wildcard that I was scared about how much I love him. I’m not sure he, or even I, understands.

I’m 41 years old. I’ve been in love before. I’ve loved before. Or so I thought.

This, this is different. I’m feeling things I’ve never felt before.

I truly understand the meaning of ‘heart ache’ now. It is an actual physical feeling, an aching in your solar plexus. I feel it when I miss him.

I know what ‘making love’ means now. It is not just the physical act of love: sex. It is a need to get as physically, emotionally and spiritually close as possible to the person you love. It is a need to be locked together, as physically intimate as two humans can be. I’ve never had that feeling before. Ever. Sure I’ve wanted sex. Sure, I’ve wanted to feel like a man loves me through how he has sex with me, but that is not the same as what I’ve just described.

It is the intense feeling of happiness, joy, elation…every time he calls me or he walks through the door.

It is the knowledge that you only feel content when a part of your body is touching theirs.

So, to use his words: “So, where’s the problem?”

I thought that by seeing him again, it would ease some of the feelings I have. That, ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ so by physically being with him I would calm down. I haven’t. It is the opposite. Now, instead of looking down into the kaleidoscope, I’m actually in it.

It is the absolute fear, being terrified, that I feel this alone. That I will lose this man, this feeling. That I am wrong in thinking he loves me too.

I have thought myself in love before. I have thought that those men felt the same. Neither was true. I learnt the hard way that they didn’t love me. I’ve learnt the easy way that I didn’t truly love them.

It is the understanding that my grief in losing those who I thought I loved and was in love with, will never compare to what I will feel if I lose him- now I truly know what love is, I will truly know what pain is.

It is the doubt that I am not good enough. That I could lose this because I am not what he needs or wants. The idea that because he is younger, he has not had my journey. As I write, I’m not even sure I believe that myself, but it is a fear I have nonetheless.

My fear is not a new thing. I’ve felt it throughout our relationship. In part, I think it is because of the distance. But I also think we both knew early on that this was something different. Special.

I still don’t know what the future holds – we haven’t discussed that yet. But what is for sure is that I know I will never be truly happy now unless I am with him.

Pexels

The sharing, the look, the love.

The share… A mixture of feelings. Intrepidation as I walk through the garden because I try to see it with fresh eyes, their eyes. I want them to love it which is bizarre in itself as they may never get to see it in person. A sobering thought.

After, I hastily show them as it was: pictures of long ago, of a time when my father would be seen daily with his hoe or his wheelbarrow. His mother smiles and compliments and I am happy.

What are they thinking? Why does it matter so much? Why did he want me to show them?

The call ends, for now.

The look… Later, we are laughing again. He pauses in his mimicry and mischievousness to look at me, eyes crinkled in a smile. I know that look, love that look, as I know it mirrors mine. He disappears for a moment and then when he returns I watch him. I’m always watching him.

He’s preparing some food and whilst he does, a look of such intensity passes his face. In the hours and hours of my study of his face this look is new. At first it excites: it shows off his deep dark eyes well, his full lips pursed invitingly. But, within moments, my attraction is forgotten. I sense that this face is not as it should be.

I ask if he is OK, and he says yes but I know better.

We walk to his room and he lies down, his head resting on his hand, on his pillow. There is sadness on his face.

And so the dance begins… The to and fro, the questions and answers, the hiding and seeking. Eventually he tells me.

As he was talking with me, he had remembered something he had watched on the news earlier that day. It had come to him and replayed in his mind and had made him sad. He asked if I wanted to see and I agreed because I wanted to understand this transformation in him.

I watch. The boy, small and slight, frightened and alone, is led out of the house. The picture is fuzzy but you can see the little mask on his face. The paramedics are gentle, caring, as he is lifted into the ambulance. Another follows with his bags. Despite this care, there is the knowledge that this little boy is now alone, at 4 years, carrying a virus that he may not survive.

My heart aches for the boy. As a mother…as a human being, you cannot help be touched by that video and all its implications.

But my heart aches for my man too. For his grief. For the way the memory of that video could transform him, so quickly. My heart fills with love for this affectionate and compassionate man and I wish, more than anything, that I could be with him so that my love could pour into him and soothe his pain.

Another day, another ending.

The share… He is lying on his bed again and we are talking. His mother enters and sits with him. He begins to translate. I watch his face as he turns to her, listens, concentrating, and I can hear the lilt and tumble of those words and sounds that I can not understand but love so much. He turns to me then and translates and I write down his instructions.

This carries on for a little while. Occasionally I ask questions, sometimes he mimes to clarify. I’m filled with pride for him as he explains in a language he claims he is not good at but I know better. Hours of us talking every day have helped him and I am proud of that too. Equally though, I can see the concentration on his face and the occasional frustration too.

“You know I get nervous when I have to talk like that and I am trying to listen to my mother and then find the words to tell you. It’s exhausting.” He sees my smile, my laugh and says “but you like it though, don’t you? You like seeing me like that?” He laughs himself but the chance to reply or explain is taken from me as the call has to end abruptly.

The look… Later. Another call. Laughter, laughter, laughter. My sides ache, tears run down my face… And yet, I still see that moment. The moment when he is laughing too, uncontrollably, so much so that he pauses his performance and we just laugh together.

And although he is laughing too, I know this is all for me. I see it in the way he watches me, his smiles at my laughter. He continues until I can barely breathe.

But then he tires and so do I. The joking slows. His head rests on his hand, on his pillow. And at that moment I am overwhelmed. He looks at me with such intensity and love. My heart fills with love and it aches to be near him, my body to touch him, my love to pour into him. I’ve never wanted him so much in all our time together… Our bodies and souls to connect physically as they have just done mentally in our shared laughter.

“What’s this face? I’ve not seen this face before. Tell me what’s on your mind..” and the dance begins, the to and the fro, the questions and answers. I don’t tell him but the explanation is not needed anyway. Within seconds he tells me: knowing me and reading me with ease, as he always does.

As the day before, the call ends with love.

“I love you, so much baby” His voice is soft and a little gruff and the sound and sight of his kisses threaten to overwhelm me.

He watches and waits for mine and I send them, my heart and soul willing for the magic to transport the gesture over time and place so he may feel just a little of what I feel for him.

Morning reflections.

I’ve been up since 4.30am with two vomiting children. Now they’re settled and there is no point in me trying to go back to sleep, it’s given me time to think.

I’m conscious that my last few posts have mainly centred on Wild Card. Don’t think that is because I like him more than Second. My life is never that simple.

I’ve questioned myself about that. I still believe that I like them both but in different ways.

With Wild Card I feel excited and passionate when we talk. He makes me laugh. I’m intrigued by him. But I don’t altogether trust him either which makes me anxious. I can’t believe that he doesn’t have a number of women and I am still surprised that he likes me, although I do believe him when he says he does. You can’t fake some facial expressions. I get the impression that if we were to meet and we liked each other, I would fall hard.

Second is different, culturally as well as feelings wise. He was the front runner for a long time but circumstances – his working at sea for six weeks – has meant that we have only communicated by WhatsApp for the past few weeks. His contact is consistent and regular.

He also makes me laugh – we make each other laugh. We have similar backgrounds and interests. His messages have become more and more affectionate as the weeks have gone on. He is kind and complimentary. And I am attracted to him physically, just slightly less than Wild Card. That’s not a bad thing.

He makes me smile, inside and out. I feel more steady and secure with him, even though there are still no certainties – although he tells me he is certain we will meet.

If the messages, phone calls and video chats are anything to go by, I think we are going to get along well.

But his circumstances are even more difficult than Wild Card’s. Not only does he have a different Nationality to me, which is the reason we have not met yet and won’t do until January (he is spending Christmas at home with his parents), he lives in Scotland and has just bought a house there to be close to his children.

How would a relationship possibly work with him? We live four hours away from each other, when he’s actually in the country and not at sea or visiting his homeland.

So, if anything, I know I’m also wary of falling for him too. The reason I allowed the chats with Wild Card to initiate was to ground my growing interest in Second. Modern dating, remember?

At a friend’s advice, I’ve logged back in to Hinge in attempt to find some more connections to draw myself back into my original ‘flirt and date’ game plan. It’s not working. Despite some interest, I’ve found that I’m half-heartedly messaging back which is unfair to all involved.

The advice I have received on here has been sound and I am grateful for it. I need to keep pulling myself back, enjoy what I have in this moment. I haven’t met either man yet!!! I need to calm down. I’ve had the no-connection dates which had previously held so much promise. There is every chance that a date with either of them would turn into nothing and I am breaking the cardinal rule of no-textationships.

Grounded, grounded, grounded. Live in the moment. Learn and grow. Be open to all possibilities, good and bad.

Wish me luck.

Second the best

Definitely the best. So far anyway.

He’s five years younger than me, cute and funny. Conversation has been daily for weeks now and there have been multiple phonecalls and one video chat.

We matched on Bumble. Originally when we matched, it appeared that he was from a town about half an hour from me. It then turned out that he is actually from Scotland. A five hour drive.

In the spirit of enjoying the moment as it is, I’ve carried on talking to him. It helped that he also says that distance is not an issue for him, and from what I have learned about him I know that it is true. Not only is he happy to travel, he works on a six week on-six week off rota at sea.

This was appealing to me. With such a full life already, I felt I would be able to enjoy this person’s company when he was available, and manage to keep up with the forever-balancing needed in my own life when he wasnt.

Of course, it doesn’t work like that and I was being terribly naive.

What it has meant, is we probably would have had our first date by now but haven’t because he is in the middle of the sea. It means that the growing interest I have in him is coming from daily messages and the previous telephone chats we had. Dangerous territory.

The video chat helped in some ways. It happened the night before he was flying out to go back to work and was unexpected. I blushed the whole way through our very innocent conversation. Talking via video chat is very intense – unlike face to face conversation where naturally your eyes dart around when talking, on video chat you are pretty much staring in to a screen and therefore his face.

And what a very nice face it is too. On his profile there were a few photos I really liked and a few that were OK. Over video he looked amazing, very attractive. It goes to show that the spirit and animation in someone’s face is ultimately what we are attracted to.

So, where from here?

Due to his other commitments, I am unable to meet him until January and that feels like a long way off. I want to meet him and he wants to meet me.

My rather naive and perhaps nonchalant view of dating him is of course being challenged. I like this man.

I’m trying to stay grounded and in the moment. Despite the connection we feel, there is a chance we won’t meet and there is a chance that when we do, we won’t like each other. It happens.

But what I have learned from number two is that whatever my head my be saying, a part of me does want a meaningful connection to someone.

At the moment, I am managing to subdue some of my interest through my contact with other matches.

I’m trying to ignore the fact that I’m feeling guilty about these other matches.

The first

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

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

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

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

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

A whole new world

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

What a difference a change in attitude can have.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thoughts at 5am

Before you ask, no I haven’t text him yet. But I will. Later.

Despite being so tired last night that I felt sick – it had been a long week – my mind raced as I went to sleep. Mainly about what I was going to say to him and how. Over and over it played in my mind, hardly ever with a good outcome. I can picture every rebuttal, every block. I’ve heard some of them before.

Eventually I fell asleep but it seemed like forever. Then my son woke me at 4am with a temperature. Calpol administered and he went back to bed. For me, the future conversation replay started in my head again. At 5.05am I gave up and I’ve come downstairs and made a pot of coffee.

Last night as I was reading before bed, my friend from Ireland text me. I let her in on the recent updates with Lost Soul including Mumslovelife’s advice, which unsurprisingly she completely agreed with:

Better to know and move on whatever direction that might be than be in permanent limbo land!!!! And getting more hurt by having your emotions tested each time you meet. 😔

You are far too gorgeous, kind, caring and funny to be somebody’s “maybe” or “temporary fancy”. Know what I mean?!”

So I now have steely resolve masking the fear. I will text him today and invite him round tonight. And if he can’t or won’t see me tonight, then the next time I see him and he starts with the flirting, hinting and suggesting, then I will say my piece. Either way, this conversation is going to happen and happen soon.

Update over for now. Catch up with you all later.

Why happiness is mine to accept

To understand this post, you may want to read the previous one first! https://startingfromthemiddleblog.wordpress.com/2018/02/11/why-am-i-depressed/

I have a good job, a nice home and three beautiful and healthy children.

My dad has survived lung cancer and his prostate cancer is in remission. He is still with us.

My relationship with my mum has improved. She is happy and I know she will always be there if I need her.

Never say never. The job I have now is suitable for my situation on the whole. I get time off with my children. My job is enjoyable and challenging and I am good at it. There will be time for change in the future when the moment is right.

My children know they are loved. They know they can depend on me. They may not have as much as some but they have more than others. They are polite and well mannered and have a healthy interest in reading and history and technology, of course.

Happiness is not just for those in a relationship. I can be happy without a man. But at the same time, love could be on the horizon til the day I die.

At least I know that the connection exists. Somewhere, out there is another connection – so strong that nothing will keep us apart.

I tried my best to keep my marriage alive. What I have now are lots of happy memories, three beautiful children and a much better relationship with their dad.

As I write, I am an able bodied woman with no major health concerns other than the need to lose weight. It could be worse.

Life can be good if we open our eyes to it.

Who am I kidding?

It was all still there.

The feelings, the attraction and the connection.

The only difference now is that those feelings are locked away in a gilded cage so that they can’t hurt me.

I see through his bullshit.

Me: Why am I still drawn to him? I know his bullshit now. But I can’t help it.

Sister: I don’t know but you do have a connection. You could see it tonight.

Life is so unfair.