Trip 5, day 1

Travelling makes you patient. That’s my new revelation.

I’m sat waiting for my flight. I’ve seen the gate number on the Ryanair app but it hasn’t yet appeared on the notice board. There are a handful of people here and I’ve bagged a great seat next to an industrial fan.

Boarding doesn’t close for another 45 minutes. Soon the rush of people will be here.

There is a marked difference in the airport this time – now Covid has apparently departed, people are travelling again. I was lucky enough to travel last year and can see and feel the difference. Despite the bad press, this London Airport was smooth and efficient. Too efficient really- I was through security in a blink. What I will say is, it’s clear some people have forgotten the rules of travel: there were lots of people who were sent away to repack.

I need patience. I’ve realised how much I can be impatient and how this is a trigger for my anxiety. I automatically think the worst.

I’ve got two weeks with Wildcard. I can’t wait. I also can’t deny that something has shifted and I’m not sure what.

However, I was really really happy last night when he told me that he has taken 9 days off. Actions speak louder than words – I’ve said this before – he is choosing to use his holidays to be with me.

After a major wobble the other week, I had an enlightening conversation with my Facebook friend, one of two who are in serious relationships with men from Wildcard’s County. This wonderful lady has been a rock for me and has helped me navigate many a relationship stress. She’s talked me through this one, and made me realise how some of my behaviour has put pressure on him around my visits.

She’s an expert. Her husband is living with her and they have two small children. She’s lived this life and whilst she acknowledges the difficulties, she’s happy.

She helped me put a new perspective on some of his recent behaviours. She’s honest and highlights the good and bad in this life we lead. She says I’ve helped her as much as she’s helped me. It’s funny how we find people like that, when we need them.

And so to patience. Here are my trip pledges:

I am patient and understanding.

I am reflective of how others feel, not just me.

I’m committed to relax, laugh and enjoy.

I will not apply pressure to myself or him. It helps no one.

And now, to wait patiently.

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.

One

It’s 3.30am and I’ve been awake just under half an hour. My stomach is churning and I feel like I’m burning up. I’m coming out of a gluten induced sleep and I feel lousy. That’s not the only reason though.

Yesterday morning I ended my conversations with Second. It’s hurt all day. I don’t understand myself.

I’d decided that it was the right thing to do. That I could not keep doing what I was doing. Even if it was just online. Even if I hadn’t met them both yet.

Having spoken to a few friends and family now, I’m sure you who may be reading this are as divided as they are.

A couple of my friends think I’ve done the wrong thing as I haven’t met either of them yet. They think I was seeing too much into it and that I should have allowed myself to meet both before even making a decision. Sexy penpals, remember? So why was I feeling so guilty then?

One of my sisters, my brother in law and one of my trusted friends think I’ve done the right thing. That it is clear that my feelings for Wild Card have grown stronger and that it was unfair on both to carry on talking to each of them. They think I’m giving Wild Card my best shot, now that I’m being honest with him. Whilst they are still advising caution, which I completely understand and agree with, they believe this was the only way forward.

And then there are the few that think I shouldn’t have ended it with Second. That whilst he may not have been as passionate as Wild Card, his steady consistency was something. That once, I ‘glowed’ when I spoke about him. These are the same people that wholly mistrust Wild Card. They think I should be suspicious of him, for no other reason that I can see than his nationality. They see this as doomed already. It can’t go anywhere. We can’t possibly have feelings for each other.

I told Second the truth up to the point of Wild Card. Which says something in itself. I told him that I felt like things had changed, that I had wanted more than him and that I was going to get hurt. I referenced the conversation from early December which had made me take a step back (probably rightly so).

In his own way, he showed his hurt that we wouldn’t meet. I can even go as far to say, that in his own way, he tried to show me that he does have some feelings for me. But that’s it. He didn’t deny anything else I said. Rather he felt like there was nothing he could say that would change my mind. He wished me well.

I spent the day churning all this round in my head. Feeling I’d done the right thing but missing him anyway. Sad that we wouldn’t be in contact anymore or even friends. Sorry that I may have hurt him. Scared he might hate me. I’ve read over the text conversation with him a few times. And I get a different understanding from it each time I do. I’ve nearly reached out to him a couple of times but have stopped myself. What good can come of it now?

One friend said that ultimately, only I can known of I’ve done the right thing. How true. It’s only me who has been talking to both of them.

Whether they had or have feelings for me or not… Whether I am right or wrong to even believe they should have at this stage… My conscience was burning. It didn’t feel right. The closer I got to meeting Second, I knew that I would hate myself for lying to Wild Card whilst I went on the date. And for all of Second’s ‘if a nice guy comes along, it’s fair game’ comment, I would have felt the same about him when I went to visit Wild Card. Once I started to get feelings, no matter how ridiculous you think they may be, I knew this had to stop.

I’ve chosen Wild Card, as my friend quite bluntly said it. I have flashes of self-titled stupidity, moments when I distrust him and our supposed feelings. When I allow myself to dwell, just for a moment, on the negativity of others and consider that this may all be a lie. That my own, apparently deep-seated need for affection is clouding my judgement.

But he has done nothing wrong! He has shown me consistent attention and care. There are no signs that he wants me for anything other than wantingto meet me and get to know me more. And believe me, I have over analysed every moment to be sure. He’s a different man than Second, much more willing to share and state thoughts and feelings. Like me though, he is conscious that this may not work out when we meet. That either one of us may feel differently. He acknowledges that this will never be easy but wants to try anyway.

Talking to him makes me happy. Putting aside my own natural tendancy to be insecure, the only negative thoughts I’ve had about him have come from other people. I know we are right at the beginning. I know this can go wrong at any point. I know I need to be cautious. But talking to him makes me happy.

So, I’m sad but I have a clearer conscience now: I’m being more true to myself and who I am. I’m cautious and realistic about my future but I am allowing myself to pursue whatever this is with Wild Card.

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.

In the middle of the night

Last night, I went to bed on a high.

My last post had been written in a state of dating anxiety and a little confusion, but had been interrupted by a video chat by Wild Card which had gone really well. Back to normal really.

Similarly, after that call, I had my usual evening WhatsApp chat with Second, once he had finished his shift. That, equally, went well as we talked about and made plans for our date. As he has been lately, his messages were sweet and complimentary. I can’t wait to see him online/speak to him on Sunday when he comes home. I went to sleep content and with a smile on my face.

So why did I wake up at 4.30am with thoughts whirling??

My sleep deprived brain was determined to thrash out my concerns at this ungodly hour. I accept that half of what I am about to write is completely unreasonable.

Wild Card – why all of a sudden is it back to normal? What’s changed? Was it just me being paranoid? Has his other woman (which he claims he doesn’t have and I have no proof of either way) blown him off? How do I know I can trust him? How do I know I can’t? The only way this could ever work is if I visit him. Isn’t that risky? But what choice do I have? I can never know the truth otherwise.

Second. I know he is feeling something for me as much as I am for him (How have I got myself in this situation?) and I also know he is more vulnerable that he wants to let on.

It’s such a weird situation – to be in regular, daily contact with someone for nearly two months… To feel like you are beginning to know them….but not to have met. There’s another six weeks of this to go and I wonder how it will progress. What can we talk about? I am aware that when he goes back home for his holiday, our regular contact will reduce and I’m OK with that. I do wonder if it will make or break us though.

How have I got myself into this bizarre situation?

I know that they have both captivated my interest enough that I’m not engaged in the online dating apps. That’s dangerous.

I don’t believe I’m lucky, or unlucky depending which way you look at it, enough to have met two men who I can share this stage of my life with. One has to be the villain: the Wickham to the Darcy.

But I can’t choose at the moment and so I will continue to enjoy both of them whilst having regular bouts of anxiety and guilt about it. Sadly, one of them will have to choose for me in the future, and no doubt they will.

I’m sure I would be less tired if I didn’t spend so much energy thinking about all this.

The alternative path

Whilst I must walk between two paths when Wild Card is concerned, my last post did not detail the situation with Second.

It’s equally going well. And, equally, there have been more ‘serious’ conversations.

He’s certainly more reserved and careful with his feelings. However he texts every day and every night when he finishes work. He’s sweet and funny. We get on really well.

Before Wild Card, he was certainly the front runner. Now it’s just complicated.

The biggest issue is I am unclear how there could be a future. He has two children and has just bought a house. He is five hours away.

From knowing him, I believe him when he says travel is not an issue for him. He travels a lot.

But like Wild Card, as my feelings develop through our daily chats I can’t help but project forward.

I can imagine being with him and the life we could have, and I like it. We have similarities in ‘culture’ and upbringing.

So, for that reason he is not just a flirtation or a bit of fun. He’s a man whom I want to get know, despite the distance and complications.

How did I get myself in this situation?!

Keep walking, keep looking, keep learning. Don’t take anything for granted and take my time.

Anything can happen in this life. Fear is not going to stop me.

At any point, either one may disappear. At any point, a man may walk into my life that mens I shun all others. Or I might get bored of the drama and complicated feelings (probably not). So for now, I’m going to keep enjoying myself, be true to myself and try very hard to keep my whole self in the present.

Waiting for when

The problem is, I don’t think I deserve it.

I’m not pretty enough, not thin enough, not toned enough.

I don’t look after myself, I am too greedy, too lazy.

I’m not as nice as I think I am: I’m boring and awkward.

I believed something could happen with him because he made me believe I was attractive and beautiful and interesting. I needed to believe it was true so I needed him to commit to it, somehow.

He didn’t.  Now I don’t believe.

I plan and I scheme and I wait for when:

When I lose weight.

When I get fit.

When I’ve dyed my hair.

When my kids are happy.

When I’m happy in work.

When I get a divorce.

 

When will when come?

It won’t come while I wait for it. So I plan to manufacture it. It hasn’t worked yet.

He was here and I coped. I ignored. I didn’t look though my eyes burned with want.

And at the corner of my eye I saw the tell tale signs. I heard the usual hints. The same game play with rules I can never understand.

Except acknowledging that the only way I win is by losing. Saying goodbye to when and hello to now.

Dear friends

Sorry, I couldn’t help that title. Admittedly, I’m not feeling the bitterness I felt when I mocked it those few weeks ago.

So, yes, this is a Lost Soul update.

Following those text messages, communications between us were understandably absent. Until I was told that he had gone in to hospital for major surgery on a long standing condition.

I couldn’t ignore that for lots of reasons. The main one being, the last time he was in hospital for the same thing was when my dad was dying. I visited him a few times when visiting my Dad and he always asked how he was, more concerned with Dad’s health and us than his own.

Later, when Dad had died, he visited straight away, still extremely ill himself and brought a bag of provisions to help. He also came to the funeral, still recovering. I can’t ignore that.

So, I text a few times in the week following his operation, asking how he was and congratulating him when he finally got the all clear and was able to go home. I don’t regret that. My thoughts and feelings were of general care and concern and if he wanted to believe it was for any other reason, well, more fool him. He has been home a week or so and I haven’t text since then.

Then, last night, I called my sister to see if the kids and I could go round to play with her eleven beautiful puppies. We could but then she told me Lost Soul was also on his way round there too.

I won’t lie. I felt a pang. A something indescribable and fleeting. But it was soon gone. We’d messaged, were back to being ‘dear friends’ and what’s more, he wasn’t going to stop me visiting my own sister. We were going to come into contact at some point so I may as well get it over and done with.

We arrived and it was fine. I asked how he was and then ignored him to snuggle puppies. He asked me what my weekend plans were and I told him. He offered me wine and I declined. We chatted and I acted like I should – like he was a friend of my sister’s whom I like. That’s all. Well done me.

My children chatted with him also and my son was particularly enthusiastic as they spoke about video games and the like. Then we left.

I will say it again: it was fine. Not easy, not what I once wanted and not how we once were but I rallied.

So imagine my surprise this evening when, as I was driving home from shopping with my children, the phone rang and my daughter told me it was him. He never rings (anymore, anyway). Before I could snap myself out of my surprise and tell her to not answer, she did. And put it on loud speaker.

I thought at first there must be something wrong, but there wasn’t and he stuttered something about calling back when I wasn’t driving.

My mind raced on the way home. I could tell my daughter was suspicious as we’d had a previous conversation about Lost Soul when she’d overheard a conversation about him so I changed the subject, checking myself if I felt that the tell tale giddiness I get over him started to show. How ridiculous that I could let myself behave that way again anyway!

As I got home, we unloaded the car and she asked me if I’d called back. I said no and carried on unpacking.

My mind was racing. Why would be be ringing? Thoughts whizzed round like a discs in a jukebox, desperately searching for a probable answer.

Maybe he’s thought differently now he’s seen me again. NOOOO! Maybe he needs help with something? Maybe he can’t get hold of my sister? Maybe he wants to come round? NOOOO! I couldn’t let myself fall back in to the same old – and incorrect – thought patterns.

And then it struck me. Whatever this was, it was some kind of olive branch. I’d reached out first after our ‘disagreement’, so why shouldn’t he be able to call me about anything normal? Sure, warning alarm bells were going off in my head but I found an opportunity and called him back.

I will sum up the conversation. Basically, he had called to offer my son some collectable game pieces that he was going to sell. He thought it would be a good way to encourage my son to not play on the xbox so much and he would be able to play the strategy game with him and my brother in law.

What the…? Add any word you want there.

According to him, the collectables are probably worth about £100. Why would he offer them to my son for nothing? Why would he do this? I thanked him, said I would ask my son the next day and let him know.

When I put the phone down, I considered the possibilities. Maybe he is looking for an easy sell, hoping I will offer to buy them from him? Well, I’m not going to. He shouldn’t offer them if he was hoping I would buy them and secondly, I’m not just going to lay out that sort of money on something I don’t even know my son will be interested in. If this ends up with my son enjoying this strategy game thing, then I will offer money at a later date. Not now.

That eventuality satisfied, I thought again.

I won’t allow myself to believe that he has manufactured this whole thing to spend time with me and my son. What I will consider though, is this is a guilty man, a man who knows he has hurt me, trying to prove to me that he’s a good guy. Not for any reason other than to show that he’s not as bad as he has behaved.

But I know that already. I was in love with this man, once considered him my soul mate (which I now feel he has disproved and which I’m trying very hard to convince myself that I’m not on both accounts). He isn’t a bad person, he’s just really messed up when it comes to relationships.

The reality of all of this is that I don’t believe a word of what he says. I can’t trust him with my heart and I can’t allow myself to believe that anything he says and does means that he feels more for me than ‘dear friends’. He had his chance, he didn’t want it. End of.

I don’t know if I’m going to mention anything to my son. I need to think about it. But if I do, it will be because I will believe that Lost Soul is doing something kind for my son, and nothing else. I’ve got some thinking to do.

Sensitivity

I feel like a bit of an idiot at this moment in time. But as I’m the only one who knows I was an idiot, I suppose it doesn’t matter.

The night started off well. I’ve been looking forward to going out with my long-time best friend who I see every couple of months or so. Her newer friend who lives around the corner from her came too.

We’ve all been out before. Usually we have a good time. Usually she goes quiet when she’s had a few drinks and then me and my friend can talk.

I wasn’t keen on her when I first met her. But over time I have got to like her a lot more and enjoy her company.

They both picked me up and on the way to the restaurant I told them that I’d felt a bit off the last few days – unsettled, anxious even, and a little tearful.

As I said, the evening started off well. We had a few drinks in a winebar before we walked the short distance to the restaurant. This is where it started.

My friend and I have always joked with each other. It’s always been in good humour and nothing serious. It certainly started out that way.

But as the night went on, it carried on – from both of them. I think my friend sensed it was beginning to annoy me, but her friend continued. By this point we had eaten but she was drunk and loud.

I made comments. I said ‘it was funny the first ten minutes but it hadn’t been for the last three hours’ but to no avail. It continued.

By time we arrived at my friend’s house at 9.30pm, I’d had enough. I sipped my drink and stayed quiet. Still it continued. I decided I was ready for home.

My friend’s husband had offered to take me home and my friend usually comes too. Unfortunately for me, we had another passenger. And still it continued.

At this point we had stopped for petrol and my friend’s husband was paying. The joke was made – again – and the raucous laughter followed. When he returned, my friend commented that “*** isn’t half picking on ustome. I was but then I stopped but *** has carried on.” My friend said this in jest also I think but I’d truly had enough by now. I turned to look out of the window and unwanted tears ran down my face.

I don’t think they saw. No one mentioned it. Not long after, my friend and I had a reasonable conversation whilst the other was very quiet sat next to me. Maybe she did know.

I don’t think in any way either were purposefully being nasty. But they crossed a line – one of them repeatedly – and didn’t see that I’d had enough.

I know I’m feeling sensitive at the moment. I’ve seen a few pupils from school recently and I’ve heard them shout me. I’ve not heard exactly what they’ve said but my mind has jumped to the negative as I’ve looked at their grinning faces.

Tomorrow I have my first date scheduled. I don’t want to go. He seems nice enough but we have only chatted a few days. He asked me to meet up and I decided that this was better than weeks of chatting, only to realise they are not who you thought when you finally meet. I’ve been there before.

But I’m feeling too sensitive. I’m paranoid about being stood up. I’m worried he will see me and make a nasty comment in person or after by message. Unfortunately, and pathetically, the lettuce comment has stayed with me. I know it was a troll just as I know that the other two men who told me how attractive I was before quickly disappearing aren’t worth a second thought. I’m not bothered by the rejection, it’s more how it could be done. Staying home with my dog and my fire seem so much more appealing right now.

More tomorrow.

Final thoughts…

On Lost Soul.

I can’t tell you that I won’t ever mention him again because I will. Maybe the next time that I see him, months from now or maybe I will reminisce about my time with him, good or bad. But for now, unless something new happens, I will not post about him after this. I think it is the best way to move on.

I survived my weekend. I coped. I was strong. OK, yes, I was really angry but I’m not angry now. I’m fine.

I will admit to one thing though.

Yesterday, I purposefully went to see my brother in law knowing there was a chance he would be there. That wasn’t why I went exactly, but it contributed to it.

I actually wanted to go so I could speak to my brother in law about the situation, as we have done before. I couldn’t get hold of him on the phone so I decided to call round. I even filled my car with things that needed to go back to my sister’s (I swear she thinks my house is an extension of her cupboard) which again, needed to be done but wasn’t my incentive to visit. As I was loading my car my son came home and wanted to come with me: all the better to add to the lie, but it somewhat lessened the strength of my purpose. I couldn’t talk about things with my son there, so why was I going?

We arrived and my son offered to knock on the door to see if my brother in law was in. I stayed in the car, heart pounding, questioning what the hell was I doing.

My son shouted that he could see someone/thing through the glass of the door and it became clear that it was my three year old nephew. The blinds twitched and I saw a face at the window. For a second, I thought it was Lost Soul – only when I entered the house did I realise that was not the case. The power of the imagination, eh?

We unloaded the bags into the house and had a brief chat. My brother in law said he was intending to visit today anyway so my nephew and my youngest could play and this suited me fine as it meant we would be able to talk. This finally ended my suspicion that Lost Soul was hiding in the house somewhere, waiting for me to leave. Pathetic I know, but I could have sworn it was him at the window and it took so long to open the door…

Just another way of how this situation has messed with my head.

My son safely upstairs in his room and the younger ones playing, the conversation began.

I relayed everything that had happened in the last week, from his comments, flirting and kiss last weekend, to the events of Saturday.

Give him his due, considering how close my brother in law is with Lost Soul, I can’t fault his loyalty to me. By the end of the conversation I felt reassured: there had been no occasions where I had instigated the flirting; Lost Soul always started it, did flirt, did say he was attracted to me and did say we had a connection; his ‘dear friend’ comment was ridiculous. And finally, that although we acknowledged that Lost Soul and I could have been good together, he was still playing the same games/didn’t know what he wanted etc etc.

My brother in law said he was proud of me: for putting myself out there and for calling Lost Soul out on his behaviour. He laughed at the ‘dear friends’ quote too, “what is he going on about?!”

I assured him that when Lost Soul and I came into contact again there would be no atmosphere from me. Mainly because I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of thinking that I was heartbroken over him.

I don’t know what I am. I feel a kind of release in that I don’t need to wonder any more or regret what I haven’t said. I’ve been open and honest and – strong. Something I have not felt for some time. There is almost a freedom to the feeling.

Of course I am still questioning everything. How much I imagined or willed into being compared to how much he led me on and manipulated. How much he actually meant. How much I was influenced by my physical attraction to him, blinded by it.

I had a difficult evening with my daughter last night, which is a completely different story, but at one point she said that she hadn’t spoken to me about how she struggling because she knew how difficult I was finding things. “And then last Sunday you were so happy and then the next day you were sad again.”

I was so frustrated that he was the cause of both of those emotions. That his minor attentions could make me so happy and then so deflated when they ended. No person should have that much power over you, whether they do it intentionally or not.

Equally though, if this has all been complete nonsense, how would love feel with someone who actually does want to be with me? Someone who values and respects me, who I am attracted to and connected to. If I feel so strongly about this farce, then who knows how amazing the real thing will feel.