Over…

Annoyingly, this post would be much better in context. I started and finished a post two days ago but never published it. I explained my last post and my negativity. I expressed my absolute love of Wildcard.

Yesterday however my relationship was over. Almost.

Before I get into why, I have realised something. I am, as a person;

Often overwhelmed

Always Overthinking

Frustratingly Over weight

Frequently Over planning

Resulting in being Over tired

I really wish I wasn’t.

Yesterday I had made tentative plans to meet my London friend for lunch. Due to some unforseen circumstances, it didn’t happen. So we chatted as normal. That’s when she told me that Wildcard had sent her a friend request, that morning, on Facebook.

Some context here. Wildcard wasn’t happy when I went to visit her in London. He wasn’t happy when he discovered – accidently – that she and I discuss a lot about our relationships. He doesn’t understand our friendship. He spoke to her briefly when I was in London and I have sent a screenshot of her profile during a conversation. He knows what she looks like.

Some more context. It was agreed between us (after some naive, innocent but silly actions where I really annoyed him) that if friends or family contacted us through social media we should discuss with each other before accepting. This is what he did when my mother made a friend request.

So, you can imagine how I felt. Why had he done this? Did he know who she was when he sent the request? Is he doing this to other women? Is he spying on me through her? Does he not trust her? Or me? Is it a coincidence that he does this on a day we were supposed to meet up (and looked unhappy about it)?

She offered to proceed how I wished – add him and test him to see what he would do. I refused. To set a honeytrap is showing distrust. I didn’t do it when I first met him and I’m not going to do it now.

In the end, due to my overwhelming emotions and anxiety, I contacted him and had it out with him.

He claims it was an accident and he didn’t intend to do it.

We argued over his whole social media profile, and not for the first time. Being 9 years younger than me, he uses social media in a completely different way than I do. It’s not a way to connect with friends and family but a means to an end – he wants to build his profile and make money from it. He has never hidden this. He has never hidden his profiles or pages. I know there are thousands of women on his sites and he has told me about them. He is a handsome man. And he isn’t the only one who has pages like that. Doesn’t mean I like it though. I hate it.

We’ve also discussed the fact that I am a hidden relationship. His culture doesn’t believe in dating. What we are doing is against the laws, culture and religion of his country. I know this. I know this is why I am absent from his social media – just another name amongst thousands.

But being told by someone else that his pages look like ‘a dating site’ and that I am noticeably absent was heart wrenching. So I brought it up- even though I knew why – and listened to his reasons again. I told him I was nothing. No one knew about me – we are not ‘serious’ as in not engaged so I am nothing.

I could go on and on, just as the conversation went on and on. There were two further conversations about the situation. The upshot is, he maintains he accidently sent her the friend request, that he has never hidden his plans for his social media accounts or the number of women on them. He repeatedly told me he loved me and wants to be with me. He is certain about me. I’m his only one. But he admitted, again, that he is uncertain about his future and is reluctant to have to start again at zero.

Unwillingly at first, I discussed this with my close family. They believe his reaction to my planned trip and the timing of the friend request are no accident. They feel it is likely that he was checking her out either because he doesn’t trust her (which he doesn’t) or to find a vantage point to check I was doing what I said I was. My sister even thought in checking out her page he may have accidently sent the request. My daughter agreed having done this herself. This sounds like him, to be honest. Controlling, yes. Paranoid and wary, absolutely. But then, so am I.

During the day there were two moments where I thought we were over. I didn’t think I could ever trust him again. I don’t know if I believe his story even now. My London friend certainly doesn’t. She thinks he is a player and a liar. I haven’t heard from her all day.

The other was when we were both angry. Neither of us wanted it though.

But I’m not over it. Not by a long shot. There is a heaviness in my soul now that hasn’t shifted all day. I’m tired and miserable. By the end of day yesterday, I’d had all the confirmations of his feelings I have longed for. My London friend would say that he knows how to talk me round.

He may have contacted her because he was interested in her.

He may have contacted her by accident as he prowled her account.

He may have contacted her to check up on me, in the hope she wouldn’t recognise him, as she posted pictures of our day together (something I don’t do.)

He may have contacted her to add further numbers to his social media.

At this moment it’s hard to know the truth.

My heart was ripped out yesterday. It’s easy to believe the worst when you are anxious. It’s even easier to believe the best when you’re in love with someone.

I don’t know if I will get over this. My London friend thinks he has wormed his way back and I will forgive and forget. Maybe she is right. Maybe my family are right. Either easy, what I know for certain is I won’t forget about it. This isn’t over.

Day 11 – hospitality

I am genuinely going to be about a million stone when I get home. Wildcard’s country is famous for its hospitality and I completely understand why.

At home, usually because I am on one diet or another, I don’t eat a great deal. Or try not to. So brunch is fruit and yoghurt and almonds. I have a normal dinner. Occasionally, if I am hungry, I will have a snack in the evening. Sometimes I don’t eat anything until dinner. Or maybe just have a banana or a cereal bar.

Here, the main meals are breakfast and lunch. Wildcard’s mum makes me eggs every morning and has baked me gluten free bread which she has just learned how to toast. There is butter, amazing olive oil, homemade jam and she has also been buying gluten free soft cheese. She makes me coffee and warm milk and there is tea. Recently, she has been making me freshly squeezed orange juice too. If I eat a little, they get worried. If I eat what is on my plate, they add more. 😋🤪

She has also made me potato cakes for breakfast – alongside the toast and eggs – and this morning, less than an hour after breakfast, gave me delicious homemade caramel and almond icecream. I took a little slice – she insisted I have more.

Her efforts in providing for me are astounding. Because Wildcard has told her I like salad, every meal I have my own little dish – cucumbers and tomatoes, chopped finely with seasoning and white vinegar. The main meal is always homemade and delicious – fresh vegetables and meat or fish. Accompanying this is rice or potatoes and bread. To finish, freshly cut watermelon or oranges or cherries. Always fresh, always delicious and always local.

Apart from occasionally taking plates into the kitchen, Wildcard’s parents won’t let me do anything. I feel completely lazy. I’ve offered to help, to wash dishes but they won’t let me. Whilst sitting on the couch with Wildcard is dreamy, I feel guilty as I hear his mum working in the kitchen.

They’re just lovely, lovely people. And to think, that just based on their nationality, their religion, their skin colour, some people hate them. I really don’t understand this world at all sometimes.

Day 5 – family

When Wildcard came home yesterday, I told him about going to the pharmacist. He was convinced that my medication wouldn’t be in his country until I showed him on my phone. Even then, it took the tablets actually arriving and him seeing they were the same, to relax.

It was an interesting day even with this as soon after Wildcard had left for work that morning, some cousins of his father arrived.

I never know quite what to do in this situation. I’m a guest – quite clearly they’re not there to see me- and as I don’t speak their language I feel in the way. So, I always opt to stay in Wildcard’s room unless I am called.

Before long, Wildcard’s mum called me for breakfast and I offered to stay in his room. Of course she insisted that I ate with the family. And, of course, they didn’t speak a word of English. So that made both of us who couldn’t communicate.

After breakfast I went back to his room whilst they talked. I have no idea if this is the right thing to do or not. Before long though, quicker than I hoped, Wildcard was home for his breakfast. I sat with him whilst he ate and his cousin was in the kitchen with his mother. We then lay on his bed and cuddled whilst he dozed. And that, is happiness right there.

I really didn’t want to have dinner with hisnfamiky, preferring to eat with him when he came home but he told me to eat. As usual, dinner was amazing and his parents tried frequently in involve me in the conversation. They’re so lovely. One of the cousins had left by this point so there was just a lady left. When they cleared away – telling me to relax in the process – I went to get my music and notepad to sketch a little.

With my earphone on, I tucked myself away into a corner so that they wouldn’t feel obliged to try to talk with me. His mother wouldn’t have it though and soon called me over to their table.

To be fair, we had a nice chat and I was again impressed with how much English she actually understands. As you can imagine though, I was only lifted when he walked back in the house at the end of work.

I’m magnetised by him. I just want to be close and touching him, skin touching. Again, as I said in my last post, I’m convinced he is the same, as he will stretch out to make contact. I can pass many minutes quite happily with his feet on my lap, stroking his legs and daydreaming away.

In the evening we went for a walk which I enjoyed apart from the constant staring of passers by. We decided that I was probably the only tourist in the whole town. Ah well.

We had supper when we got in, and I could see how tired Wildcard was. It probably explains the mild disagreement we had later on that evening although, I’m convinced psychologically there is a reason for it too- last time I was here we had a minor misunderstanding after a few days. Maybe it is the adrenalin and heightened emotions of the first few days easing. Along with exhaustion from travel and poor sleep. It was something and nothing but enough to unsettle us before bed.

As is becoming our new routine, he returned to where he was sleeping and we started messaging, him asking what me what was wrong etc. It was minor, but with everything, it had blown out of proportion a little. It ended with kisses and love though. It is to be expected that after 19 months of being together, we will disagree sometimes. All part of being a family.

The chair and The Midnight Library

I’ve recently read a fabulous book called ‘The Midnight Library’. It is a thought provoking fiction book about life decisions and the millions of different lives we could have had, all based upon the decisions we and others make. I highly recommend it. I’ve passed it on to my sister who isn’t a reader but who is binge reading it as we speak.

I am someone who believes very much in the recycle, upcycle, reuse movement. I love browsing in charity shops for bargains and on Gumtree or Buy, Sell, Swap for treasures. I have found some absolute gems from time to time. I don’t see the point in buying new if there is a perfectly good secondhand one available.

My recent trawl for a desk for my son led me to finding solid wood table and chairs for £25. Apart from the amazing price, I was also amazed by the pictures and the description. I had previously owned the chairs before, and indeed had one left – the rest worn out and burnt on the fire at some point. So what? I hear you say. Well, in the description, it was stated that they were from my boyfriend’s country- or styled in that fashion.

I have said this before, but I believe that my life has led up to meeting him. Yes, yes…I know this is highly romanticised but it amazes me how much I had clearly loved his culture and country without actually knowing it.

Take his cuisine. I have been cooking a version of his cuisine at least since my daughter was a baby and probably before. 17 years, give or take. I love the flavours associated with his culture, without realising it in some cases. Ok, yes… I cook other cultures too – Greek, Chinese, Thai, Indian. Thing is, I hadn’t filled my house with objects from these cultures. I had for his culture.

There is a jewelry box I bought five years ago. Jewelry in a filigree style which I love, bought ten years ago. Colours that I love, very much of his culture.

There are certain pieces of music, particularly from films, which I love which is definitely of his culture. They call to me and I sink heart and soul into them.

I was amazed when I first started speaking to him, because I realised how many items I had in my possession with a link to his country. I was astounded when I saw his beautiful country – its landscapes and architecture and culture – how much it encapsulated all that I love.

When I think back over the years of my adulthood and the way that I have tried – and wanted – to live my life, there are remarkable similarities to his culture that I had no idea about until I visited him a year ago. My values are unique in my family to a certain extent: they are his. I knew next to nothing about his country – I even had to look up where it was as I wasn’t sure.

Without a doubt, he is everything that I find attractive in a man: he is my type. But it is more than that.

About four years ago, I had a vision dream. I’ve only had three in my life. They are dreams of absolute brilliance and clarity, unlike a normal dream. And when you wake you feel an energy, an awakening, a knowing that is profound.

In my dream someone (who I now know looks very much like him) walked through my door – tripping over as he did so. In real life my heart flipped and I woke from my dream with wonder. I didn’t recognise this man, had no idea why this sudden thought had come into my head, and knew that there was something more to it than a normal dream. When you dream about a someone, in general, whilst they may not look like that person, you tend to know who it is. This person was a stranger. The dream came to me from nowhere and appeared in my mind with some force, clarity and brilliance. (The only other dreams I have had like this were after the death of my Grandfather. I will tell you about it sometime.)

I don’t know if it is fate or destiny. I don’t know if it is coincidence. I just know that it appears that my life, my decisions have led to him. I belong with him.

Helpless

Despite everything that has happened in the last 15 months, I can safely say this day has been the hardest in our relationship.

Not the time when he wouldn’t answer my calls as he was angry. Not the one and only time I ‘lied’ and got caught out. Not even when the myriad of exes have filed in, looking to rekindle their relationship with him.

Today has been the worse. Is the worse, still.

I feel utterly HELPLESS. I have sent texts periodically throughout the day but I have ruminated about every single one of them. How often should I message? Should I leave him to it to give him and his family space? I want him to have the strength to get through the day but feel he can let go with me. How do I word that? How can I show support from thousands of miles away when all I want is to be there with him?

Seeing his pain is torture. Feeling so far away and helpless is torture. Waiting for him to contact me, just so I know he is OK- as ok as you can be – is nearly killing me.

He has always been sensitivity supportive over my grief. His words have comforted. But at the same time, I knew they came from someone who has not experienced the extent of that grief. I wouldn’t wish that grief on anyone.

Yesterday, I saw in his face that he knew it was coming. She was sick, yes, the first round of tests showed that, but her decline had come swiftly before the scans and treatment could be organised.

When he showed me her frail body, she was sat up, and for a moment I had hope that he was just panicking. She would get through this. But I could see it in his eyes.

Later in the evening I messaged to check he was ok and he replied he was. I reminded him that he could call me whenever.

At 3.45am I awoke. I reached for my phone to check the time and could see he has messaged me 2 hours earlier. I took a risk and messaged back. Within minutes he was telling me she was dying.

This morning, grief straining his face, he showed me her sleeping peacefully whilst they waited for the end to come. He looked so lonely. He said how helpless he felt and I just wanted to hug him. I told him I understood.

His calls since have been fleeting. Minutes. He called when she had died and again when she had been buried. He has read each of my texts, eventually, but has rarely responded. I don’t know how to help, don’t know what support I can give. I don’t know if my words are comforting or annoying.

It has been four hours since our last call and two since he read my last message. I know he is not ok, how can he be, but I just need to see him, speak with him. Be there, even though I am not.

I know little about his customs and traditions but I do know that there will be prayers and family at the wake. I know from a previous time that it will go on late. As time passes on, it gets harder and harder to gauge what to do. The man I love more than anything is feeling a pain beyond compare and I am not there. I can’t help.

D day

Divorce discussion day. Decision day. Dreaded day. Call it what you want but I was sure that he was going to be a step closer to making a decision about a future with me following this discussion.

I’m scared.

Recently he was contacted by yet another ex girlfriend: this one is the one before me. I knew little about her until this point, only that she existed. Maybe because the other two have been in contact more, I know.more about them. He assured me they were just friends, that all his relationships have ended with conversation and not fighting. He is happy to be friends with these girls, but that is all. I’m not sure how much they realise that.

After some questioning, he told me that she had loved him – loved him a lot. When I asked about his feelings, he paused. He said that he had felt something for her when he was with her – visiting her in her city (about 3 hours from his) – but when they were apart he forgot about her and felt little. I asked why they had separated and he said there were problems that were hard to explain but that they had talked and agreed it was for the best to end the relationship.

So, maybe you can see why my nerves have been heightened.

I don’t know whether he considered marriage with her or not. I know he didn’t with the other two and he made that clear to them. With me, he is clearly thinking about it and deciding whether it is a possibility in the future. He asked when we met whether I would consider it as a possibility in the future, because that is what his culture dictates. He didn’t just want a casual relationship with me. If I had said no, I wouldn’t be with him now but it doesn’t mean that we will definitely get married either.

His culture does not have arranged marriages as such, or as we in this part of the world imagine. But they do consider the suitability of matches closely. He has been offered girls as prospects for marriage. “I have a daughter, would you like to meet her?” That type of thing.

Maybe that seems strange to us. But not too far in the past, that’s the way English couples would consider marriage – the suitability and benefits of two families aligning. My beloved Jane Austen and Charles Dickens novels say it all.

He is of a modern generation where he wants to marry for love but at the same time, I am aware that his culture dictates that he considers the suitability of a marriage more closely than we do.

Do we even consider that? From my experience, we fall in love and that naturally progresses to marriage. It’s what we all want, isn’t it? Do we ever sit and really discuss and consider our future? Our expectations and what we want? I’m not sure how many of us do. I’m not sure how many of us ask these questions of ourselves. Not when we are young, anyway. Its definitely something you do as you get older and after a failed marriage.

So when those feelings of falling in love fade, which they naturally do, we are left with the hard work part of making a marriage work. But if, fundamentally, those people are not a good match, then no amount of hard work is going to be successful. That’s what I believe. That’s what I have learned.

In today’s society, I don’t need a man. I have a good job, a home, a car. I could be single and society doesn’t expect me to remarry although they may ask the questions. So, in that case, marriages ending are more acceptable.

In his culture, I guess it is different. There is a strong emphasis on family, extended family and marriage. The family work together even when a child is married. There is mutual support. Divorce happens, but there are more rules and laws around it than here. It is not surprising then that he wanted to know more, understand more.

We had the conversation yesterday. It was difficult.

The summary is…he couldn’t understand if I was saying that my ex was not the right person for me, why did I stay with him so long and have three children? I explained that I was young, he was a good man and I didn’t want it to fail. I wanted to work on it. That there were periods of good times but they never lasted. But ultimately, it was never going to work because he wasn’t right for me. I admitted that it was mistake to stay for so long. I should have left much sooner. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

I felt like he was disappointed with me because I didn’t leave after my first child when I knew things weren’t right but then because I stayed he was disappointed with me for leaving at all. I couldn’t win. I stayed for the right reasons and I left for the right reasons. I should never have got back with him, I know that. But I got my son from it so I will never regret it.

I told him I didn’t want him to think bad of me and he said he didn’t. I tried to reference my decisions into his own – he hadn’t married the other girls because they were not right for him. I tried to stay in my marriage for my children but he wasn’t right for me so it didn’t work. He couldn’t understand why I stayed, why I had three children and why i wasn’t happy if I said he was a good man.

I told him that I never felt for my ex like I feel for him. That I know what I want and need now. Life is too short to be unhappy and the longer we were together and tried, the more unhappy we were. I talked of the atmosphere and the arguing. I told him that he was a much better match for me, he understood and inspired me.

Sadly, I have no idea if he truly feels the same way. I guess he does, but I don’t know. Am I enough? With his experiences and expectations and cultural differences, he seems to be making a decision to whether I can be that person he is looking for. With his age and experience and culture, can he (and I) be sure that I am the one? He didn’t openly confirm either way which left me feeling anxious.

If I am not, then I will just be another ex girlfriend who loves and lost him.

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.

Pink flag

Yes pink, not quite red yet.

I’ve had another good few days of video chats with Wild Card. Everything appears to have returned to form and we had a good, heartfelt chat the other day.

And then there was today.

He called me late morning and we spoke and laughed for about half an hour before he went off to have lunch.

A couple of hours later he called again and I propped him up on my dresser as I got ready to go out. I’d told him previously about my busy day today – an afternoon with family for an early Christmas get together to put up decorations; then a Christmas themed evening at my friend’s house. He’d joked that there would be no time for him.

He watched me get ready and joked that I could be spending the afternoon with him. I promised him I’d call before I left for my friend’s.

I got home around six and had half an hour to sort myself out and then give him a call before leaving at 6.30pm. I eventually called around 6.15 but there as no answer.

I sent him a text saying I’d tried to call but was about to leave. At 6.25 he called back.

I shouldn’t have answered really – I should have been getting into the car. But of course I did, because I wanted to see him before I left.

He was a little quiet and asked about my afternoon. I told him, then said I was about to go out which he then questioned. Why was I going out again, so late? Being super conscious of his culture and half knowing the answer, I asked him whether it was unusual for women to go out so late in his country.

The answer was pretty much yes. Whilst they may go out for a coffee or shopping, evening outings were reserved for couples – romantic meals out. To be fair to him, in all the time that I’ve spoken to him, I’ve only know him to go out in the evening when his family were visiting last week. He doesn’t go out in the evenings other than that.

I told him that, as I did not have a man in my life, I would spend my evenings with my friends. That didn’t go down well, in hindsight.

He asked me not to go and to stay with him. I thought he was joking at first – it’s not the first time I’ve been out in the evening whilst talking to him, and whilst he’s always questioned who I’m with, he’s never reacted negatively and I’ve always seen that as playful banter rather than anything else.

Apparently not.

I soon realised he was not joking. He asked me to rearrange – to see them next weekend, or in the day. He wasn’t happy I was driving so far, so late. He kept saying he wanted me to be with him.

I said no, and that I was going. Part of me still thought he was joking – he does say things just to get a reaction from me sometimes , only to break into a cheeky grin moments later.

I told him I had to go and asked what time was he going to bed as I would speak to him later. He told me he wasn’t going to bed, which was odd.

He again asked me not to go and I again said I was. He then said ‘fine’ and looked miserable. I asked him why he was sad, to which he replied.. ‘sure I will not be sad, my girlfriend is going on a romantic date with another man. I won’t be sad.’

Woahhh.

I immediately questioned the girlfriend comment. In hindsight, I don’t know why I’m surprised. In his culture, they apparently don’t multiple date but they very much have the opinion that us Brits do.

I then questioned his trust of me.

Of course I’m being a complete hypocrite. He acted exactly how I feel when he doesn’t answer or when he was out with family last week. I regularly wonder who he’s with and who he’s speaking to. I can’t just blame his culture (although it has something to do with it) as I have felt exactly the same.

It appears that he is feeling as insecure as me.

I find this so strange. To me, he is one of the most handsome men I’ve ever met. I’m memorised by him. He’s funny and sweet and intelligent. Part of my insecurity is that I can’t understand what he sees in me. I can’t believe he hasn’t got other girls on the go because I know how attractive he is. Why would he risk everything on me – an online date, or apparently, girlfriend.

But pieces are adding up to suggest he feels the same. When I told him he was ‘hot’ yesterday, he seemed genuinely surprised and said ‘no’ and that I was, not him. There was no smile of acknowledgement or pride or embarrassment, just a genuine surprise that I thought that.

Back to today…. I told him he should trust me and that I would call him later.

Yeah. I’ve asked him to trust me even though I am talking to someone else. That does not feel good, I can tell you. I try to justify myself by thinking that I haven’t physically met anyone so what does it matter: I’m telling the truth when I say I’m not meeting another man. It does matter though, doesn’t it?

I drove to my friend’s and enjoyed catching up for an hour. Of course, the conversation turned to my dating and I filled them in on Wild Card and Second.

My friend suggested I initiated video chat with Wild Card and so I tried, twice. Both times he was on the phone. (yes, I did assume he was talking with another woman, angry with me)

I eventually sent a text saying that I had tried and that my friends wanted to meet him.

Ten excruciating minutes later, he called.

The video chat was brief but he immediately started to apologise. He said hello, animatedly, to my friends and then I cut the call short saying I would message him later.

I text immediately after I’d put the phone down, to say that he should trust me and that I would text when I got home.

He replied that we could talk tomorrow as he was going to bed. (!). Being more true to form and guessing that he was now more relaxed about the situation, I said goodnight. I tried not to think that he was doing anything else.

What a mess.

I can’t criticise him for feeling exactly how I feel.

Our differing cultures do play a part in this.

I am actually lying to him. If he is completely innocent in all this, then what does that make me?

I need to further explore and consider the girlfriend comment.

I will be interested to see what happens today. We are going to have to talk about it, that’s for sure.

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.

Two paths

I’m not sure what to write this morning. I want to write, stream the jumbled thoughts raging in my head into a clear and ordered page.

My head is a mess though. I’m entirely blaming hormones: PMS is a bitch.

I started writing a version of this post a few days ago:

The two front runners, Second and Wild Card are neck and neck. And I feel awful.

I try to justify myself regularly:

– They’re probably doing it to me too

– I haven’t met them yet

– One will disappear at some point anyway, if not both.

Yet, things are intensifying with both of them.

I had an hour long video chat with Wild Card on Monday. I spent the first part of the conversation in fits of giggles as he made me laugh. But I also saw the look in his eyes as he watched me laugh and smile.

The rest of the conversation was somewhat more serious.

He asked me what I want in life.

I told him that I have a good life. I explained that I am only missing love.

He told me that he could be that person, maybe.

He also said, he doesn’t understand why I don’t believe him when he says how much he likes me. He reminded me that he reached out first. That he has introduced me to his family via video chat. He wants to meet to see where this could go.

Do I believe him? He makes a good point from time to time, but words are just air.

But then, there’s the way he looks at me sometimes. The way his face shifts when he catches me smiling. His daily messages and frequent video calls. And he did introduce me to his family, rather surprisingly.

When I once questioned him, perhaps showing more vulnerability than I planned, he was visibly frustrated. (It was kind of hot, actually.) To him, we are on a journey of getting to know one another and therefore, this is serious. It doesn’t mean the same in the UK, but I think I am beginning to understand his way of thinking though.

And then there’s Second. A very different character, much more guarded in saying how he feels. Daily chats for weeks now and a promise of a date when he returns from his work at sea.

Tonight, we spoke in more depth. And whilst he did not open up completely, or as much as me, he said a few things which were not only sweet but increased my security.

So what’s the problem? I am.

I think too much, always have. The problem is, I have now invested a lot of time and energy into these men. If video chats were physical dates then I would be on date 9 or 10 now with Wild Card – probably more. In real life, face to face, I would be thinking about exclusivity by now. We probably would have had sex.

I just have to keep reminding myself that video chats are not dates.

Wild Card asked me to look something up about his culture as he was finding it difficult to explain. I did, and as a bonus found a great blog written by an American woman who had married a man from this country.

I also found advice and warnings about marriage scams. (I’m not planning on marrying the man just yet, don’t worry. )

Confused, wary, scared… I decided that I needed to pull back my growing interest and feelings with Wild Card. Stop my thoughts from projecting too much into the future. Enjoy it for what it was – online friendship and flirting.

Easy to think, hard to execute.

Last night’s video chat was difficult. He knew something was wrong immediately and although I smiled and spoke and just tried to be normal (but internally guarded), he apparently could see right through me. He kept asking why I was sad, had he upset me…. Eventually, after trying repeatedly to tell him I was OK, just tired, I ended the chat and said I would call him back.

I pottered around the house, doing odd jobs, my head in turmoil. What the hell was I doing? How could I claw this back? How could I go back to mildly interested conversation and excitement of speaking to someone new?

When the video chat started again he immediately asked what was wrong, so I told him that I had researched his culture, like he had asked but that I had found the warnings too.

What followed was a very difficult conversation.

Remember that this is face to face. That I can see his facial expressions and gestures. I can see his feelings as well as hear them in the tone of his voice.

He was shocked, surprised. He spoke at length about there being good men and bad men in every country. He spoke in frustration as at times he could not find the words to explain.

At one point, he asked if I wanted to speak to his brother who has better English than him. I watched/heard him as he walked me to his brother’s room, the anger and frustration as he explained what we were discussing. Whilst there were odd words in English, you don’t need to know the language to know what someone is saying sometimes.

I explained to his brother who was equally shocked. From time to time, he would turn to Wild Card and talk, amazement, frustration and even amusement on his face. He talked of his own situation with his wife (Swedish) and that neither of them knew about this/discussed it. He told me that if Wild Card and I liked each other, we should take our time and see.

Wild Card told me later that his sister in law had visited over 15 times before they had married. Not quite the depiction of marriage scams that I had read. He also said that she was visiting again at the beginning of December and that I should talk to her.

He asked if I wanted to stop as I was unhappy. We could say goodbye, be friends whatever. He told me to think about it.

He was offended that I thought he was a ‘bad man.’ His emphatic explanation of who he is, was borne of frustration and hurt. That was evidently clear.

We parted with laughter. He was trying to make me make beat box noises whilst he sang over me. He told me to think about everything and we would talk today. I know that I have hurt him.

It’s weird. My mind is still in two places right now. Over text or even phone, everything that was said could still be part of an elaborate scam. Maybe I hoped that if he knew I was ‘on to him’ he would just disappear anyway. How disingenuous am I?

But you can’t fake hurt. And he was. I had disrespected him and his family I guess. There are bad men out there. But there are also good. How wrong is it that I have allowed myself to jump to conclusions, based upon race and culture? Stereotypes?

I think the way forward lies between both trains of thought.

At best, I have shown my wariness and hesitancy. Not a bad thing in either situation.

At worst, I have seriously offended a good man and his family, a man who up to now has been nothing but kindness.

One of the biggest problems I think, is that I can’t understand how a man that attractive, funny, caring, educated could be interested in me. An easy route for prejudice to creep in.

So I’m going to walk between the two paths and see where this road takes me. Take my time. Enjoy the view. Not worry about the destination.