Trip 6, Day 8

I was tired this morning and I’m not sure why as I slept well. Maybe it’s all the overthinking – that has to take up some energy.

He came, we cuddled. In those moments, just lying there as I often am, you really relish the soft touch of his lips on your cheek; the strength of his arms around you or the sensual touch of bare feet on bare feet. It’s my favourite time, even if there was no love-making, like this morning.

After breakfast, I showered and then we took another stroll on his roof terrace. The sun was bright and warm and I love chatting with him up there. He told me we would be going to his city that afternoon.

We’ve been to the city about three times across my trips. Today though, we did more of the touristy things. Being a Friday, a lot of the shops and market stalls were closed, but enough were open to make it enjoyable – more so because with less stalls and less people, you could really get a feel for the place. We saw three of the main historical and architectural wonders his city is famed for and we took some beautiful pictures. It was good to be out in the sunshine too.

I was surprised and really touched when he bought me some beautiful leather sandals from the market and enjoyed watching the sunset as we drove home. Stopping to buy my favourite fruit from a farmer on the way home- even though they were expensive – was also a kind thought.

We were soon home and eating a delicious dinner. His parents soon went to bed but, unlike last night, there was no tension or undecision of what to do. It was my last night so we were staying up.

Not long after his parents left, I leant over his knees and asked for kiss. Then I told him I needed one. Either way, I didn’t get. He was engrossed in deleting old photos from his Google account making room for the beautiful photos we had taken that day. Being the high-maintenance craze-pot that I am, I of course was a little nettled by that. There was a little banter back and forth and eventually the phone was put down and the teasing commenced. Like the previous night, he would beckon me forward and, when I did, would exclaim that I misunderstood. After a while and under threat of me sitting back down in my place at his feet, he took to holding me there by my clothes or hair, an amused gleam to his eye (which I will freely admit now that I love) and a smile on his face.

Never to be outdone or skimp on the jesting, round two involved him pressing his lips together most invitingly for a kiss, then moving away when I tried. I’d ‘give up’, he’d hold me in place and then it would start again.

Round three was war of the noses. He’d let me close enough so our noses touched but that’s it. Amusing yes. Frustrating, ridiculously. Enough so…you guessed it by this point I emotionally couldn’t see the funny side and as ‘this is the last evening you will have time kiss me for 5 months’ screamed through my head, obliterating all sense and reason, I started to cry. AGAIN.

At this, he pushed his lips to mine and his kisses were…out of this world. He was generally shocked by my crying AGAIN, I can’t understand why, as that it pretty much all I’ve done. He asked, did I not like his playing? Which I replied, I did, but I guess the blubbering mess of my face suggested otherwise. I told him I loved him and then,

“Do you hate me?’ One because he had every right to and two, because that was what he said to me most of all – his way of professing his love in a way that I only know and he can pretend he hasn’t just blurted his heart out.

“No.” His voice was deep and emotion tinged and I lifted my head up in surprise to look at him.

“No? Tell me you love me then.”

And he did, although I didn’t miss the way his eyes flicked away right before the end. So close though.

After more beautiful kisses, I decided I emotionally couldn’t cope any more. I got up and got us both some water. Placing his bottle on his table, I turned to go and saw such a look of pain in his face. He was surprised I was going and looked genuinely hurt. I’ve never, ever seen that look before. I lay back down with him and he held me. He said he didn’t understand me. We hugged, we kissed, and soon it was time for me to go. He didn’t get up to walk me to bed.

I went into my room, sat down, and let it all out. Why do I keep doing this? Why do I ruin everything? He’d be better off without me.

After a moment, I went to the bathroom to clean up but then I went back to him.

He made room and I held him. He said again, “I don’t know why you do that. Why do you cry every night?”

“I don’t know. Maybe I’m not good for you.”

“OK.. so..” and that was all he said. He buried his face into my neck and we just held each other, his sentence unfinished…mine missing.

Before long, he roused enough to tell me to go to bed. He walked me to my door, kissed me, and said he loved me.

I didn’t sleep well, as usual. I woke a number of times, full of self loathing and fear. I’d never seen him so hurt before, so dejected. What could I say? How can I explain?

At 4.30am, I admitted defeat and went to the bathroom. As I walked through the hallway, I thought I heard the TV on from his room, but on the way back it was quiet. I lay back in bed, trying not to imagine he hadn’t wanted me to know he was awake. Either way, I needed to try to sleep.

Within moments though the door opened and he asked me to switch on the lamp. He told me he had had bad dreams and now couldn’t sleep. He crawled into bed beside me, and locked me within his arms. Before long, he was asleep and I lay there, thinking of course.

I barely wanted to move in case he left. Time passed by and eventually, I too fell asleep.

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Trip 6, Day 5 – waiting

Today has been a little different.

It started the same although Wildcard came to me a little later. Not that I was clock watching or anything. Whilst still being his jesting self, I’ve noted that he is paying attention to my needs with a keen eye and held me much longer today when he saw I needed it.

After breakfast and his departure (apparently my half hearted suggestion that he stay with me was something out of a romantic film. Boo.) I sat and did a bit of home housekeeping with emails and checking my online banking. No sooner had I done that, than my ex messaged asking for money. I said OK, as I usually do, but then sat stewing for half an hour before sending a rather long irate text. His attempts to pacify me were poor to say the least. My attempts to be calm even less so.

I need to cut more ties. I know it and so does everyone else. His need for financial support still, five years later is now just frustrating. Even more so because for the past 18 months, I haven’t had the same money I used to. Frustratingly of course, I took the leadership job in September to help with this situation: higher pay to get to a point where he can be taken off the mortgage I pay, and therefore he has no hold or threat over me anymore.

As one of my New Year’s reflections was a real desire to get a much better handle on my finances, I spent some time this morning in subtle planning and exploring. I want to get to a point where no penny is uncounted for.

Wildcard’s beautiful inscribed gift with ‘my wife’ on has given me some more hope that some point soon we will finally marry. I’ve thought this deep down for a while, and it’s not that he hasn’t already said this, but I think he has probably considered me his wife for some time. For him, the paperwork is a legality only needed if and when he decides he is ready to move to the UK with me. I suspect for the time-being, he’s actually quite happy with the arrangement.

And I understand why. I spent the afternoon in the kitchen with his mother. She showed me how she cooks some of her amazing, traditional dishes. We talked, albeit stiltingly, of her traditional role. He is well looked after and cared for, is providing the role of an elder son exactly as his culture and religion state. He has a career, a car…a life. I’m part of that life every single day with the multiple calls we have. He is not after a visa – whilst the UK is appealing, he has much more to lose here than many of his fellow natives who seek a foreign marriage. He has little desire to leave his parents, potentially give up his job and car, and move to a cold wet country where the culture is so different to his.

But I do know he loves me. I just still don’t know if it is enough, if I am enough, for him to give up on what he has.

His parents are wonderful and I love them dearly. I can’t pretend I don’t feel pangs of guilt at my hopes of dragging their son away. I wish there was another solution but there isn’t. In the past I’ve suggested us marrying but waiting some time for a visa – for me, it will give us more flexibility on our visits and I am happy with that for now. He doesn’t see it that way, so I will have to wait a little longer.

*****

I wrote this earlier with some resigned acceptance. Whilst it is not what I want – I want to be with him as closely and as often as I can – I do understand the situation and ironically love him for it

Unfortunately, subconsciously, this must have lodged somewhere. Like an annoying sticky bob seed.

Later that day – a day that passed by so quickly as I talked with his mother – he came home and there was joy in his voice as he greeted me. We ate and then I watched his daily ritual of preparing the sofa to relax – moving cushions, getting his water and phone charger, getting the warm blanket – and was heart warmed as I noticed him prepare my area too.

I soon joined him, his feet in my lap as always, my hand touching his skin. He plays on his game, I read on my phone. The last few nights, his mother has joined us too – making her own little snug opposite us blanket covering her and phone in hand. We’ve laughed as Wildcard has danced or done one of the many jesting things he does that makes me love him. During this time, he turned and asked what time I was leaving on Saturday. A simple question and no doubt as they were discussing plans as Wildcard is hoping to take the day off.

But it lodged in my heart. It found the sticky-bob seed of resignation and inflamed it. I started counting the days left, particularly as I had calculated that at best he would only work Thursday morning and take the rest off.

I couldn’t help it. I couldn’t.

I worked out that, with his brother coming Feb and Ramadan in April, I would not be seeing him until at least June. Five months away, again. And that thought, along with “I don’t want to leave him” is like an automatic push button on my tears. I turned my head and tears fell.

I was careful. No sobbing or weeping. No body heaving. But he knows, as he always knows.

“Are you crying?”

“No.”

“Look at me.”

I moved his strategically placed pillow and crept up so I was now resting in my place, on his chest. He asked why I was upset and I explained. He hadn’t considered how events would prevent my visit until the summer. But he spoke of us traveling again, south this time if I wanted. He joked I could try to fit him in my suitcase but then remembered his gift and reminded me that was what it was for.

(My waterworks have started again)

And then, I just lay in his arms and he held me – longer than I thought he would – until I was calm again.

Once in bed of course, I started again. I messaged my friend and she reminisced on the times she had felt this way when her relationship was long distance. It’s normal, unfortunately. There’s nothing to quite compare to the anguish of knowing you will go back to waiting. Even when you are soul brimmingly happy, as I am.

Trip 6, Day 4

Maybe it was the extra kisses, but I didn’t sleep great last night. I just wanted him with me. I could hear the occasional sounds of his moving as a thin partition wall is all that separates us when we are in bed. I tried my best to ‘manifest’ a visit. Didn’t happen.

In the morning he came to me as usual and he held me. Those moments are so precious. There are studies about 20 second hugs and their health and relationship benefits – you should try 20 minutes plus of being locked in someone’s arms, feeling the heat of their body and hearing the beat of their heart. If I could physically get any closer, I would. I can’t, of course.

Another beautiful breakfast and then he went to work. My heart ached today- I couldn’t face him going again and leaving me. The novelty, if there ever was one,  has truly worn out.

I spent the rest of the day watching Bridgerton, writing a few poems and going into climatic shock when I went to the roof terrace to hang out washing and feeling the warmth of 19° sun on my skin. Winter here is definitely not like home. I relished in the sunshine and it revived me a little. However warm and comfortable I may be, I’ve sat in his apartment for three days.

Revived, I went down and was rewarded with a call from Wildcard. He was still working and asked where his mother was. I took the phone to the kitchen and they had a conversation.  I could tell he was mildly agitated about something but know so little of his language, I had no idea about what.

Knowing he would be home within the hour, I settled myself to another episode, happiness blooming inside me of his soon return..

When he comes home, it’s like a full scale firework display inside. As he changed out of his work clothes, I proceeded to clear away my things, aching for that first kiss. Just as I was leaving the bedroom – he called for me to wait for him there and he disappeared into his parents room and quickly returned with something in his hands.

He had a big smile on his face and was excited.

“I have got you a present”

His face was just shining with anticipation. I admittedly, was a little shocked. I thought it was a joke to be honest – may be stain remover as we’d discussed an ink stain on his coat? – and eyed the package in his hands with calculation.

Still excited, he went to close the blinds but said he wanted to see my face when I opened it.

So I did. It was a beautiful, thoughtful, sentimental and heart-felt gift. My mouth opened and I stared. Every part of it had been designed and chosen by him. Every part showed – no declared- his love for me. For all to see. No, it wasn’t an engagement ring. But it didn’t need to be.

My Christmas present

Facebook was a game back then. I’d long ago disabled my real account, bored of the drama and conversely the day to day posts of the contents of someone’s sandwich.

The name was mine but in a different form. I was trying to be a new me. Upon advice, I was using Facebook rather than it use me – talking to strangers from far off places. Trying out socialising skills which were rusty and dusty and under-used. Not that I wasn’t selective – some people I just avoided no doubt like some avoided me.

I will never forget…

Then, one day, there was your request in my inbox. I opened it up to see your face and ‘wow’ left my lips before I smiled. You were single, so no harm. I could…practise my flirting. I could…learn more about a culture I was already intrigued by. I could talk to an attractive man, even for a short time.

I accepted. You messaged. I replied.

In those early days, I was shy and you were persistent. I was hesitant and you were patient.

It was just for fun though.

Until soon it wasn’t. My feelings grew. I was conflicted and torn, suspicious but hopeful. You made me laugh like I no one had ever done. You were consistent and dependable.

And then, less than two months later, it was Christmas. My first Christmas alone.

In the previous year, when Dad had died, I was still numb. I dazzled like a Christmas light, not allowing the grief to surface, determined after six months of loss that I would make Christmas special. I’d filled my house with people and love.

But that year, I was alone. My sisters were with their extended families. My children were with their Dad. And I felt it keenly. I was alone, not with my Dad.

You told me you wouldn’t leave me alone. On a day that means little to you, you made it mean everything to me. You called me, more than before, just to keep me company from thousands of miles away. You made me feel loved and wanted and special. You gave me more than I ever expected.

I love you loyalty and your patience, your integrity and your faith. I love your humour and your teasing, your dependability and your mind. I love your face and your body and your spirit and your soul.

That was the moment I fell in love with you. The time I felt the most alone, the most vulnerable, the most insignificant. That’s when I really knew that I loved you.

I love you.

Happy Guilt

Wildcard and I have a verbal dance. Not being a dancer, I can’t complete this analogy properly but will say it is tango-esque.

He’s a joker, a teaser. Making me laugh for hours and hours is one of the ways he has consistently showed me his love this past few years. He delights in it.

Occasionally though, he will say something a little to the left of laughter…or, more likely, my mood will not see the humour in it. I’ve observed this trigger and know that it’s entirely to do with my fear of losing him and of not being good enough. We then begin our dance of tooing and froing…of empassioned pauses and fast turns, emotional filled, shocking and tense.

Last night’s gem isn’t hard to qualify as I was clearly in that mood yesterday as you can see from my post. I was feeling fear and doubt.

After writing that post, he called as usual, and I tried very hard to raise my positive energy and cast away my fears for another day. And I succeeded at first.

He then made a joke. It was a common one, something he says regularly- daily, even. It’s a joke which I laugh at, accept, feel warmth about 98% of the time.

Today though, I followed up with a question…

And he, as usual, continued his joke. No, he didn’t think of me that way. It didn’t even enter his mind.

The dance stops dead. The female lead freezes and stares at the male.

I was triggered. My mind shifted out of our usual joking – the joke we had had every day – into new territory. It side stepped into a new beat.

I questioned again, digging, clarifying…emotions overriding common sense. At this point, I’m glazed over, mind racing. There’s a lump in my throat and I feel the too-familiar tingle of tears in my eyes.

She spins and turns away….he stalks towards her.

He’s not oblivious. He knows that I’ve entered the dance, stamped my feet and sauntered away. He, of course, chooses to dance.

He questions me – why am I crying.

I reply, I’m not. I’ve managed to stop it.

He retorts, you haven’t. You look like you will explode.

The dance continues.

So I ask again, you really don’t think of me that way?

Yes, he says finally with humour and depth and truth in this eyes. I think.

At that moment she relents and is swept into his arms in a final montage of love.

He says I’m stupid, of course, with humour. Why would he be with me if he didn’t think like that? Why do I ask these questions when I know the answers? Indeed, why do I? The voice of sense is in my head…she sits there smug, knowing the truth but watches as my inner imposter takes the lead for a spell.

This morning I called him when I woke. He was in a good mood and as we greeted each other, he gave a huge grin and was chuckling to himself as he did something on the phone.

“Why are you laughing?”

“Nothing.”

This of course makes me nervous. My brain goes into overdrive- what …or who…was he laughing at? Was he speaking to someone else when I called? Have they sent him something?

“Why are you nervous?” He asks.

“I’m not.”

“You are. Why are you nervous?”

“What were you laughing at?”

“I’ve sent you something. You haven’t seen it yet.”

Oh. So when he was laughing and doing something on his phone, he was actually sending me something. Oh.

I look at my phone and he’s sent a series of photos and I gasp and put my hand to my face and then laugh with him. At first, I don’t remember him taking them but eventually the memory breaks.

The photos are intimate but in an innocent way. We are in bed together and it was one morning when I was there. In the photos he is shirtless (it was the height of summer) and I am wearing a vest top but we are cuddling: with him looking at the camera and me with my head against his chest. Intimate, innocent, but kind of sexy. In the first of them, the angle isn’t great as I look at the camera too, and it’s not very flattering for me, and I remember telling him I didn’t like the photo so I moved to rest my head against his chest and closed my eyes. In the others, it’s recorded a loving moment and I hadn’t remembered or realised he’d taken so many.

There’s been a few times I’ve thought I’ve caught him taking surreptitious photos when I’ve been reading or when I was crying at the airport, saying bye to his mum, and I’ve just gone along with what I was doing- if he wants candid photos, let him. I take them often enough. But I’d forgotten this moment, and in its intimacy I realised once again that he loved me when he took them and he loved me enough this morning to have been looking at them before I called. So, yes, he does think about me in that and every other way.

I ended the call in happy guilt. Guilt that my mind jumps to the negative, so quick to allow my inner demons to cloud my judgement. Happy that he has proved again that he loves me and wants me.

About an hour later he called again, this time in his car. He was waiting for his parents as they were travelling to see family for a special event. He looked jaw-droppingly good. I asked to see what he was wearing and he panned out, a little reluctantly.

I told him he looked delicious, and he said he’d brought the blazer jacket I had bought him some time ago.

“Is that the jumper I bought you too?”

“Yes,” as he moved the camera to show me again and I glimpsed the ring I made him and the watch I bought.

“Baby! It’s like I’m there with you!”

He smiled shyly and looked to the side – the gesture he makes when he’s showing his true emotions. He laughed a little, and showed me his footwear – which I’d also bought him. 😍

“Oh baby, I’m there with you, hugging you with the jacket and jumper and ring and watch and the shoes!”

We both laughed and smiled at each other and then his parents got into the car.

As we ended the call, I thought about the fact that today, he had surrounded himself with many the things I have bought for him over the past three years. He didn’t need to – he has other things he could wear that I haven’t bought. But he chose to.

Now, I’m just happy. 🥰

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.