Tumultuous.

That’s the best word I have.

It’s that time again. I sat in the airport.

I’ve cried. I taken so many deep breathes I’m surprised I can’t fly myself home.

I think I’ve felt every emotion this trip:

Excitement, anticipation, longing, anger, frustration, boredom, contentment, happiness, anxiety and deep, deep love.

It’s been a strange trip for lots of reasons, but I guess all those feelings already say that .

Last night, I didn’t want him to leave me. He knew it, I knew it. We had a very small disagreement. He couldn’t understand why I was upset about leaving. He reeled off all that he’d done to make me happy. He said that this wasn’t the final time, so what was the problem. All I can say, is thank goodness I’ve started to read “Men are from Mars”. This situation could have been a chapter. I couldn’t understand why he couldn’t just see that I was upset because of how much I loved him, and why wasn’t he upset? But then the words from the book hit me and I just told him he had done nothing wrong. I just wanted him to know how I felt.

This morning he came to me, as always. He was tired and hadn’t slept much. He curled into me, wrapping his arms around me and our legs entwined. We made love then cuddled for a hour, watching things on his phone.

Throughout the day, he has repeatedly blown kisses and winked at me – much more than usual. He kissed me passionately repeatedly – again, more than usual.

After we ate dinner, I went to my room to finish packing….well, ok, I went to collect myself as I couldn’t breathe.

He followed and we lay again on the bed. He caressed my skin as we lay there in silence. He kissed me gently. We said nothing.

So maybe he doesn’t cry. Maybe he doesn’t overtly tell me that he will miss me. But I saw it and felt it in every extra kiss, look, touch.

I’m about to board the plane. I’ve not cried for half an hour. That’s progress I guess

Control

It is 7.22am and I am on my first train on my little solo trip to London. Last night, I wasn’t sure I would make it.

Considering I have had three hours sleep, I have to applaud myself for being on this train at all.

My trip was planned as a soul searching journey. I still am not sure what to do about my life. The end of August is creeping ever nearer and from September 1st, I am officially unemployed.

Whilst travelling alone, my initial plan was to meet a friend there. We would have lunch today and then go out for dinner tomorrow night. Saturday daytime I had promised myself a leisurely stroll around as many museums as I wish – no pressure from anyone else, I could stand and stare or avoid as I would choose. I had booked a hotel need Hyde Park and planned to stroll around there too.

I was excited. I love travelling: culture, history and new experiences. It invigorates my mind and my soul and it is what I need right now. At home, I can’t think. My mind is crammed with thoughts and ideas and worries and concerns. I can’t sift through it all to make actual decisions.

I watched a great TED talk with Tony Robbins this week. He talked about decisions and actions. I realised, much like what I have learned with Mel Robbins, that decisions are power. When we make a decision and see it through, we then control our life. Everything we do or not do, comes from a decision.

So, I’ve made the decision not to go to London for the weekend as planned but just for the day.

Why?

I’ve mentioned my planned and then booked London trip to Wildcard a few times over the past week. Our conversation about this has been limited – I know that when he listens but is silent he is thinking and processing. I knew he wasn’t keen on me going there for some reason.

Last night we had our usual evening call. Despite his bout of covid, he is recovering well and was in high spirits. Until, that is, I told him that I was getting the train early. He had forgot (not unusal) that I was going today. That wasn’t the problem. It was when I told him I was returning on Sunday that was the problem.

Before you judge, as I am sure you will, there are a few things to remember. His culture is so different to mine and probably yours. I have accepted that as I have accepted all of him in loving him. Next, for the majority of our relationship we have been blighted by Covid. He barely knew pre-covid me. The one who went on holidays with friends, day trips walking and sightseeing regularly, out for coffee each week. He knows the woman who has been at home for 18 months, my only travel being to him.

The ironic thing of course is that my new found confidence in travelling alone has come from him and my trips to see him. Going down to London doesn’t seem that big a deal after navigating layovers in Spain. When I don’t speak Spanish. And got lost.

Nonetheless, he wasn’t happy. He couldn’t understand why I would go and stay there alone. He was suspicious and jealous and confused. Why wasn’t I going with my family? Why wasn’t I going with a friend? I tried to explain needing alone time and also that none of my family have the same love of museums and galleries as me, but he just couldn’t get it.

He talked about the seriousness of our relationship – would I travel alone if we were married? I answered no.

My number one choice, every single time would be to travel to or with him. Without question. I can’t wait to see him again and to take my family with me. If we were married, I would have no need to travel alone. I would hope we would be travelling together. For him, my solo trip was almost an act of defiance against our relationship – a kind of declaration of my still-singledom.

In my culture, without a ring on my finger, I kind of still am. In his, I am not. We are serious therefore we may as well as be married. I probably knew that deep down. In a way, it is comforting to have it confirmed.

By the end of the call though, as he had calmed down, he repeatedly told me to go on my trip. He claimed he had been joking – he wasn’t- and that he knew I loved him so it was not a problem. He said that there would be a discussion if I didn’t go.

Within ten minutes of our call ending – me still in shock and not sure what to do for the best – he had messaged apologising. He told me to forget all he had said and enjoy my trip. I reiterated that I never had any intention of hurting him and I could cancel. Considering our relationship recently, the fact that London isn’t going anywhere, I would have done this. He repeatedly told me to go: there wasn’t a problem.

Hence, my dilemma. I had a decision to make.

Yes, it is my life. Yes it is my choice. But it my choice to be with him and my decision to spend my life with him. Was this trip more important than him? Definitely not. Clearly, next time there needs to be a much more detailed conversation before I book anything.

And so, I choose this compromise and middle ground. I go for the day. He had been relatively happy with that in comparison. I am still going so not completely bowing down but am nodding to his feelings. I’m showing him that I care and he is important.

So that is my decision. Emphasis on MY.

I wish this trip hadn’t coincided with a cake order, but so-be-it. I had made the choice to take on the order, knowing I was travelling. I finished what I could for 2am, slept until 5am and got up to finish.

You know what this shows? I can do amazing things when I choose.

Jealousy and regret

It is a rainy day here in the UK. We’ve enjoyed weeks of sunshine and it appears to be over. I think I just heard thunder too.

I don’t feel great today. I’ve been letting things slide. I feel…yuk: tired, woozy head, little energy, little motivation. My head is racing with a million thoughts and possibilities. I’m not sleeping properly. I know I need to sort my diet, exercise, career, finances, house, love life…. I feel out of control. Not in a way that I am going to go and do something stupid. Just that there is no clear path, structure, plan. And I hate that.

We could, and probably should, talk about how I regularly make a plan and I never stick to it. I go back to this base point then try again.

This tells me two things:

  • At least I keep trying
  • I’ve not made the right plan yet

I feel like I am on the edge of finding the secret formula to a happy life but I need to find it in the swirling mess of possibilities in my head.

Last night I felt very low. Beaten.

My London friend has successfully traveled to her boyfriend’s (and Wildcard’s) country. I’m really happy and excited for her, and was glad I’ve been able to help, particularly when the airline staff tried to prevent her from boarding from sheer ignorance and arrogance.

Oh the symbolism!

Yesterday she messaged me to say she’d had an amazing first night with him and that he had proposed. I was so happy for her as I know that is what she wanted. But my goodness, it was like a punch in the stomach.

She’d had the experience I had hoped for and dreamed of. They discussed everything, and will get a ring in the next few months (he wants to save up for a special ring) and they plan to wed next year.

I wasn’t expecting a proposal on my visit but I wanted a conversation. I got neither.

I can’t describe in enough depth that heart heavy-soul sinking-accompanied by physical pangs of pain, that I felt. Jealousy is never a good emotion to have. This was more. It was complete and utter self loathing. I wasn’t as pretty as her. He doesn’t love me enough. I’m not good enough. Blah blah blah.

I know we are different people in different circumstances but it feels a little like I am in an alternative universe where I get the counter story to hers. I’ve explained our similarities- both divorced mothers of three, both work in education, been with our LDR approximately 2 years, LDR in the same country and similar ages. She has the promise for forever. What did I get?

Regular readers, you know this information dragged me down. I was exhausted – I had been at the zoo all day with my family and am feeling yuk at the moment. But this had hit me hard.

I went for a lie down and just willed myself to sleep, process and recover. But he called.

You know I couldn’t hide it. You know he demanded I told him. You know there is no point trying to lie about it. He always knows.

I told him repeatedly that I didn’t want to talk about it. He asked for a headline. I said ‘jealousy.’ I think regret is probably more accurate – so is the power of hindsight.

Of course, once he had that headline he wouldn’t settle until he had the full story. I explained. He asked “what is the problem?”

“He told her how much he loved her and missed her and then proposed.”

“Ahhh.” The moment of understanding dawned on him. “Well if you want a boyfriend who tells you he loves you and misses you, go find one. That isn’t me.”

Wow.

Notice his comment didn’t even mention the proposal?

He then proceeded to ask me a lot of questions – their age, length of their relationship, when they would marry etc. I don’t think the similarities were lost on him. But we then continued our conversation as normal and this morning’s call was normal too.

I’m calm now also. I want him to want me and love me. Forcing him to my way of thinking is not the way. Changing him to fulfil my needs is pointless. If he wants me, he will tell me. I don’t want to lose him so I will continue, as is, for now.

The focus is back on me, where it should have been for some time. The end of my current school career is days away and I no longer have the pull of needing a visit to Wildcard.

Time to sort myself out.

Happy?

I forced myself into action yesterday. In cartoonesque fashion, I pictured a numbing bubble coming from my solar plexus and consuming me, anaesthetising my pain and fears.

Of course there were ripples of hurt which threatened to pop said bubble. But I didn’t allow myself to dwell.

Instead, I sat with my legend planner – the new one I bought when I first realised I had issues at work – and planned how I was going to work on my house in the next 8 weeks.

For, I realised, with or without him my life will go on. That’s a fact.

I had my union meeting yesterday too and things are moving along. My settlement should be completed in the next few weeks. I will paid until Christmas but officially leave their employment at the end of August. This means that I can start a new job in September. I just need to find one.

So, I reasoned, that gave me eight weeks to spend time with my family and get my house sorted. There is tidying, cleaning and decorating to be done. As seems to be the annual tradition, the kids want to swap rooms. There’s plenty to do.

My numbing-bubble visualisation got me through the day. I thoroughly cleaned the lounge and made dinner. I didn’t allow myself to go back to bed. As I said, I can’t pretend that my hurt didn’t threaten to overwhelm me. I just didn’t let it.

Wildcard called me as much as usual yesterday. He was a little more chatty. The slow thaw continues. I even got a kiss goodnight. I actually plucked up the courage to tell him what my ex had said. I could see him thinking and processing that, and I know that he will need time to do so.

Later, I spoke to my London friend about her upcoming trip to see her boyfriend and we discussed Wildcard’s continued sulkiness. She advised that I be normal now and don’t bring it up again. She was surprised he was still moody- over nothing – but said it showed his jealousy. I took her advice on board.

So this morning, I chose to be happy. I put my makeup on before he called. I sent a lovely good morning message. And when he called before work, I was bright and cheerful.

“Why are you happy this day?”

“Because I love you.”

He pulled his usual face in attempt to tease me. His parents got in the car because they wanted taking somewhere, and Wildcard kept me on the phone the whole journey. Once they had left he asked me again:

“Why are you happy?”

I told him that I had spent the week crying and not sleeping and feeling sick. I couldn’t do it anymore. I was choosing to be happy.

He said little but again I could see this running through his mind.

As he parked up at work, I said my customary goodbye whilst he said his sulky one. But as I showered him with phone kisses and I love yous, there was a little amusement there which he tried to hide.

He is still sulking. I am still nervous. But there is nothing more I can do. I’ve apologised and cried till I couldn’t breathe. I’ve not slept and panicked and ruminated. I’ve tried to explain, ignore and now I choose to be happy. Not because I am, but because that is what I need to do.

Maybe I should have done things differently. Maybe he is overreacting. But I still love him. This will need discussing at some point but when he is ready.

In regards to my August trip- well, that remains to be seen. I could cancel, rearrange or…and here is a thought…actually go. I’ve looked at some hotels which aren’t too expensive. I have a week to make a decision. Let’s see what the next few days hold.

Day 10 – relax

The last few days I have felt so much more relaxed about everything. It’s like the adrenalin of 19 months of waiting and 2 days of travel, and overall excitement and nerves, have taken this long to ease. I’m glad I chose to spend another week here, despite how my ex feels about it.

I’m sleeping better and I’m less conscious about my body – never completely, but less. Our intimate times are truly that now – passionate, intense and intimate. I could genuinely be happily entwined with him all day long – holding hands, touching lips or legs wrapped round each other. My heart and body and soul misses him when he is not near.

But it is more than that. I love being here and am really enjoying being with his mum too. Today I’ve had more cooking lessons and our communication is coming along great. I’m actually understanding much more of the gist of their language.

I love everything here. The culture, the people, the place. I love the rich terracotta earth and the bluest of skies. I love the focus on sustainable, natural produce and the necessity of family, socialising and rest. I love the smell of spices in the air and the vibrant colours. I’ve never said where Wildcard is from because it is irrelevant, but maybe you can guess a little from that.

And his dad – although I spend more time with his mum – he is lovely. He reminds me of my dad a little – not in personality or looks but just as I suppose two men in later life are. It actually made me weep a little this morning. If Wildcard and I marry, his Dad would be the closest thing I have to a father. I would like that. I want, so much, to be in this family. Today, as the three of us sat for breakfast, Wildcard in work, I looked at what they had prepared for me and I was just overwhelmed. I got up and hugged them both, because I just wanted to. They probably think I am a crazy English woman but I am OK with that. I’m an English woman who is crazily in love with their son, and loves them too.

I still have my second set of flights home booked. They are four days after the earlier flights. I can’t tell you how much I want to stay those extra days. But, I miss my kids and I don’t want to impose any further. However much they say I am family and this is my home, I am still a guest. And a complicated one at that with my gluten problems. Tomorrow I will need to move the flights or risk losing the money.

I’d hoped by now that Wildcard and I would have talked about the future but we haven’t, really. On the boat on Sunday, he talked about us having a holiday with the children there. But we’ve not had this serious talk that he has mentioned previously.

Via Facebook, I have made a friend who lives in London. Like me, she is divorced with three children although I think she is a little younger than I am. She is second generation British, with parents who immigrated from somewhere in East Africa. She is Muslim, madly in love with her own LDR and hadn’t visited her man as long as I hadn’t. We started to speak a few months ago to discuss travel etc. We have become friends.

She told me that, in her eyes, we are married. She said that by me staying here with his family, it is a HUGE deal. She said she can tell he is in love with me by what I’ve told her about him. And that there is still time for the serious talk before I go home.

I hope she is right on all accounts.

Day 4 – avoiding a crisis

I woke at 4am this morning. It had taken me a little while to get to sleep but it helped to listen to relaxing music.

I went to the bathroom and when I came out Wildcard was there. He followed me into the bedroom and repeatedly asked if I was OK. I told him I had just woken but I was fine.

We both returned to our beds and within minutes he had messaged me.

He asked again if I was OK, seriously? I was touched by his concern.

The thing was, there is something. I have a long standing issue with my eyes – I get the Coldsore virus on my lids. It flares up from time to time, usually when I am tired, stressed or run down. So you can guess what happened when I woke at 4am. I knew it was coming.

The medicines I take for this are only given when I have a flare. I had a few tablets left over from last time – naughty I know – as if I take them as soon as the symptoms start I can sometimes stop it from developing. Waiting for a hospital appointment delays that.

When I left my home, I had started with the coldsore virus in my nose. I started the tablets and within a day it had healed. I took the last tablet yesterday, just in case.

Wildcard was worried I would get ill. So at 4am, he probably sensed my nerves rather than my eye as it has not yet developed. Again this morning, with our morning kisses, he asked if I was OK and made me promise I would tell him if I was not. I mentioned my eye and he asked if I had brought medicine, as agreed. I said I had.

He went off to work with a kiss, commenting that I could unpack my clothes in his wardrobe – again, another gorgeous sign that I am family.

Immediately after he left, his mother came in to ask if I was OK. I told her about my eye, and showed her my medicine on my phone which was available to buy in their country. She suggested we go to the pharmacy which conveniently is downstairs from their apartment – I had planned at 4.30am to sneak there myself – I could tell that she, and later his dad was worried.

The pharmacist was relaxed and spoke some English, and I was able to show my empty packet and the name of the medicine in his language. It is ordered and will arrive at 2.30pm. Within a few days, my eye should be fine.

I have travel insurance and could go through them, but this is easier. Apart from when Wildcard finds out.

If we are to continue in this relationship in whatever form, then I will come to stay and at some point I will be sick. It worries me less than it worries him. Hopefully he will worry a little less when he sees this is sorted now.

Day 1 – airborne

I’m looking at a beautiful sea of cloud.

The plane is pretty empty. I count 31 empty seats until you get to the next passenger. I think that was probably one of the easiest airport journeys I have ever done. Straight through everything with ease. My OCD printing and paperclipping has helped but was not needed so far.

I have been nervous all morning, understandable on so many levels and so I forgave myself. As soon as I walked into the airport I had to go to check in, not to check in luggage but to have my paperwork checked. It took less than 2 minutes. From that point I relaxed.

I’ve managed to buy Wildcard a few birthday gifts which I am happy about. Many of the shops were closed which with so few passengers is perhaps wise but it made me really think about how many people have been affected by this pandemic. So many people without work.

Wildcard has been quiet the last few days. He has called as much as ever but I know he is worrying. I almost didn’t come – yesterday I told him it wasn’t too late for me to pull out. He asked me why, and I said because he was nervous and didn’t want me to. He replied that he did but he was nervous. I’m hoping that, like me, he will relax more once I am out of the airport and in his car.

He is also convinced I will catch corona. I’ve brought my lateral flow tests so I can test myself at his house, in the hope this will calm him. It seemed to when I mentioned it.

Have I done the right thing, in coming? My sister and I joķed on the way to the airport that I will replace all my Wildcard calls with calls to home. She laughed when I told her there were six a day. I know he loves me. I just have to hope that all will go smoothly like all the other travellers who have managed to get to their loved ones in the last 16 months. The fact that the Government is considering letting all Euro football workers in without any tests or quarantine days a lot I think.

I am a rule follower. And if it really want safe to fly, I wouldn’t. But it is ok for one group of non-essential workers then it must be ok for others. And I would say seeing my boyfriend after so long is pretty essential.

So, I’m airborne on the first part of my journey. I have to negotiate an airshuttle and hotel in a language I don’t speak next, and hope that they have gluten free food tonight as well as tomorrow morning. Then, flight two. The one he – and so me too- is worried about. But I can’t believe that finally, finally, I am on my way to him. And for that reason, it is worth it. My love for him means I am willing to try, his love for me means he is worrying. Not a bad state of affairs, if you think about it.

To my love,

I know I’ve been different these last few weeks. Probably months. We have both been through some tough times, haven’t we?

I can not tell you how many times I have wished to be alongside you through your dark days, supporting you. I hope you have felt that I have tried, despite being so far away.

And you, you have a way of talking sense, even though you don’t always fully understand my situation. You make me laugh, show great patience. I hope you know how much I appreciate that.

You have said from the beginning that this relationship would be hard. Long distance relationships are by nature. The time apart is hard, and all the heightened emotions that come with that. And then, for us, there are cultural differences which are not so much a problem for me and you but are for others – our governements included.

And then…covid. Covid has kept us apart for over a year now. So what was always going to be a challenging situation is now even more difficult. The building hope of a visit and the devastation of another cancelled trip. Not knowing when we can be together. Not knowing where this relationship is going – it is on pause, almost.

I wouldn’t change my time with you though. I would rather have this than anything or anyone else. Our time has created a love so deep, so powerful that we have survived life’s ups and downs and are thriving through Covid’s restrictions.

Ironically though, for me, a love like that comes with a fear of losing it. Our relationship is so precious to me and I am so grateful that I have found it that I am perpetually scared it will be taken away from me.

No doubt, some of this comes from how I feel about myself and my confidence. You are so wonderful, that I can’t help but think that you deserve more. Someone more beautiful, someone younger. I can’t understand what you see in me, perhaps. In turn, this fear and low self worth means that at times I act in a way which could jeopardise what we have. I doubt and question and test. I need constant reassurance that this is real, my love is returned equally. That you feel the same…you still want me.

Time should have proved that to me, I know that. But time has a sneaky way of adding to those fears too. After 18 months of daily contact, albeit online, it is not surprising that we have fallen into an easy life together. The honeymoon period over, perhaps. I crave the look of desire you once gave me, the times you told me I looked beautiful. Even the times you asked if I loved you, missed you…

It is a normal part of every relationship, I know that. What makes it harder for us – well, me – is that the distance means I don’t have the other parts. The cuddles and kisses. Holding hands. Sitting together, thighs touching. You stroking my hair or putting your hand on my back to guide me as we walk. The knowing smile and look in your eyes as we gazed at each other over dinner, a reminder of the love we had just made or the promise of what was happen next when we were alone. All things that I loved in that one week we were together.

The distance makes me need this more. My insecurity and fear makes me crave this more. The time apart and the difficulties we have individually faced make this essential for me.

I know you love me. I know it in your actions and how you tell me every day. I know you miss and want me in how many times you call and your perseverance in this relationship. And yet, at times, I crave more. I can’t have the physical so I need need words – out loud, spelled out. I know that’s not fair to expect from you. It is not like you don’t say it. And you shouldn’t have to say it more just to appease me.

As time has gone on, and disappointment and missed time together (covid, grrrr) has plagued our relationship, I’ve found that I am scared to dream of our future. I once pictured you here. I dreamed a life for us. Now, it seems too much to hope.

We have talked about it enough for me to know you are waiting until we are.physically together to talk everything through and make decisions. I respect you for that, don’t disagree with your plan. This is the rest of our lives and there is a lot to discuss. It is absolutely right that this should be in person after spending more physical time together.

But the anticipation is killing me. The not knowing, the questioning and guessing and wondering… all not-good for an insecure overthinker like me. And as time goes on, I fear that I will do something to make you not want me anymore. Or that someone better or easier will take you from me.

And to see others reunited…getting married…that is hard. I want so much for that to be us. To know that you want that, me, as much as I want you. To know the difficult beginning is just that, just the start of something wonderful.

I want a life with you. I want to give you a good life. Be there when you need me. I want the excitement of building a life together, you and me, making the best of this world. You inspire me to be better and I want the same for you.

I love you so much. I’m so grateful you are in my life. And I’m sorry for my fears and how they sometimes taint the good that we have.

Don’t give up on me baby.

The hopelessness of hope

Are you a positive person or negative? An optimist or a pessimist? Glass half full or half empty?

Up until a few years ago I would have said that I was a positive person. People have told me I am a positive person. I try to see the good in every situation, try to learn something from the bad.

At some point, that changed for me. How easy it is now to spiral down the rumination vortex to a bleak and dark place.

I’m in my bed looking at two pencil portraits that I made of Wildcard and me. They were copies of stills from videos that he took of us when I visited him in February 2020. I am proud of them. But up until now, they have spent most of their life in a cupboard. Why? Because I feared hanging them up would be a bad omen. That I was being too self-assured about our relationship, presumptuous.

This year, so far with some success, I have been planning and preparing. I’ve used Mel Robbins’ free course and bought a great Legend planner. I haven’t met all my goals. But I feel good about what I have achieved. I feel there is some purpose and plan to what I am doing. To forgive myself for not completing everything is a big step for me.

What I can’t do, and I have tried, is plan my future dreams. My skills at shutting off unwanted emotions are top class – they caused a break down a few years ago. Hiding emotions simply saves them, festering, for another day. The more you hide, the more they multiply and grow strong. I know this.

My top class skills are currently throwing a impenetrable forcefield around my dreams. I start to think of them and whoosh down it comes. Blank. Nothing. Gone. I see a glimpse or a hint and then, no more.

Those dreams are fuelled by hope. Hope that my relationship with Wildcard will continue to stand strong against the pandemic and everything else which makes it hard. Hope that legalities and finances will allow a life together. And … bang. It is down again.

I can’t think about it because it is everything I want. And like the pictures, if I dare to hope…if I dare to dream aloud and acknowledge what I really want, then the fear of the hopelessness if it doesn’t happen is too much to even contemplate.

Equally, the Love is Not Tourism Facebook group gives me mixed feelings. Hope when I see couples still together, still planning on reuniting in the future. Hopeless when I see couples who have parted, no longer able to maintain their love in this situation. When I read of their passion and belief that they were soul mates, that the love was a lie or not strong enough…I am filled with fear that I feel too much. And when I see the wedding pictures – we did it! – I feel hope that one day it will be us and hopelessness that it may never.

I can’t ever imagine a life without him. That is how much I feel. I have possibility in my life now, because of him. My future isn’t fixed. I know that I want him in it. I want what I feel to be the truth, the reality. Because if it not… if I am wrong… I will never feel hope of love again. I will lose all faith in myself and love and a dream future.

So I hope that my dream future is hard to imagine not because I am scared but because it is too wonderful to contemplate or imagine. I truly, truly hope.

Games

During a particular tricky period in our relationship (Ramadan in April last year – my first cancelled trip due to Covid), we started to play an online game.

I’ve never really been one for computer games. Occasionally, when bored, I lay download a couple for a while then delete. I like games involving strategy  – those that make my mind work and make me feel a sense of accomplishment when I solve them.

We started with a game of online Ludo. He had only recently downloaded it through Facebook and asked me to do the same. The first few games he absolutely destroyed me but I didn’t care. In this delicate period of our relationship, it brought us together and gave us something to do, to talk about and laugh about. Eventually … and I mean eventually, I started to win a few games which added to the fun. He won most of the time but whilst I am competitive I didn’t mind because I enjoyed it all so much.

During a recent conversation, chess was brought up and how he would like to play. We discovered that neither of us really knew how but that it may be too difficult to learn together due to the language barrier. He then suggested draughts.

My dad taught me how to play draughts  . Dad always won, but I soon started to learn and would win some games and I liked the strategy and cunning of the game.

So you understand, I was quite happy to find an online version of this game.

He destroys me. Nearly every time. We both started on 500 points – he is now on 27500ish and I am on 7500ish. We have drawn a few times, I have won occasionally. I don’t care though.

Or rather, I didn’t. 

I love that about him – his intelligence, the way his mind works. I don’t mind that I lose because we keep playing and having fun. Am I surprised I lost a lot? Sure. I thought I was reasonably ok at draughts and thought we would be more evenly matched, but it’s ok.

Then, this morning after I lost again, he commented that I always lose and maybe he needs to play with someone else- a stronger player.

Wow, that hurt. He was joking, it was trash talk. But it really stung and – as per goddam usual – my eyes filled up. I thought I had got away with it – it was the end of the call and he wasn’t playing full attention but he noticed as he always does.

How to explain? How to tell him that his comment felt like a knife in my gut – that I am not good enough. That my mind rolled and played with that idea…that I am stupid, not good enough and I never will be. That every moment of my anxiety comes from that – that I am not good enough for him and that one day he will find someone better and I will be left alone.

It is not the winning. I genuinely didn’t care about that because I loved the fact that he won, that he is so intelligent, and that made me more. But his comment – however much he was joking – just made me love myself less.

Is it his job to make me feel good about myself?

If you pay attention to the many online relationship and coaching gurus, no it is not. And I do get that. Confidence comes from within. You have to have pride in yourself, see your own worth – dampen down you inner critic. If I don’t feel positive about myself, how can I expect anyone else to?

But.

I can’t believe this is the entirety of the situation.  Surely, part of feeling loved is feeling that you are special to that person? That they love all of you: They value your strengths. They find you attractive and sexy.  They love your flaws and your faults because they make you who you are.

In making the person you love feel that love and attraction you feel for them, they feel good about themselves.

So…how does that work then? For someone to love you, you need to feel good about yourself but someone loving you makes you feel good about yourself.  Chicken and egg I think.

Does he make me feel good about myself?

Sometimes. Every call makes me happy. When he tells me misses me – which is not often. When he tells me I look beautiful or that he wants me. When he mentions something about our future.

These things don’t happen every day and I don’t expect them to.

But every day he calls me, every day he kisses me, every day he tells me he loves me. He makes me feel loved.

So what’s my problem? I have absolutely no idea.

His loving me has made me feel better about myself. It has made me want to improve myself more.

I try very hard to be a good person. I work hard. I am successful – I have achieved. I try my best when I can. I try to look after myself – make the best of who and what I am. I have a lot to offer someone.

So why do I feel this way? Why can a throwaway comment make me feel so bad – make me feel like I am not good enough for him?