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.

The sharing, the look, the love.

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

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

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

The call ends, for now.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another day, another ending.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As the day before, the call ends with love.

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

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

Aftermath

I’m OK. Honestly, I am. Surprisingly so, in fact.

Yesterday, anger won out really over other feelings. When I got home from visiting my sister and dropping my children at their dad’s house, I wrote the last few posts you may have read.

My younger sister – the one Lost Soul is friends with – called me to see how I was and asked me to go back to our sister’s house. I refused. I didn’t want to be around anyone in the mood I was in.

We talked about Lost Soul. She said she was surprised at what had happened as she didn’t realise I still felt that way. This gave me some comfort as for the past few years I have purposefully pulled back from him and just been the ‘dear friends’ (yes, I am bitter about that phrase!) he intermittently wants to be. And me too – he has been a good friend in lots of ways. Although, I have been a better friend to him, I think. Anyway, back to it.. I’ve pulled back. Everything that has happened romantically has come from him. I told her what he had said last weekend – that he’d promised her he ‘wouldn’t do this again’. She said she was surprised by that. In the past when all this started she said she had warned him not to hurt me. More recently, she’d actually told him to go for it if he wanted to. I don’t know about you, but this isnt sounding like just ‘dear friends’ to me. (I promise I will stop quoting that phrase soon but I’m getting a perverse sort of pleasure in quoting it bitterly at the moment)

I’m the end, after I ranted for some time about how he’d made me feel foolish and like I had imagined it all (she disagreed with me BTW) we both came to the conclusion that I now had the closure I wanted.

He said no, for whatever reason. If he did like me then there is clearly a reason why he wants me at arms length. I now need to respect that no matter what happens in the future. If we were just ‘dear friends’ (sorry) then do I really want to be around someone who continually plays with my feelings like that?

If he was being 100% honest yesterday and I have got it completely wrong then he really is not a nice person. Be it an ego trip for himself or a cruel game of entertainment or whatever, he has played with my feelings unnecessarily.

I wonder whether he realises how bad a picture he has painted of himself with the ‘dear friends’ stance. (last one, I promise)

I’m shamed and frightened by how much influence this situation has had on me. From my children noticing how much happier I was last weekend to other people noticing how ‘grey’ I went when I’d been away from him: but there is more.

With him back on the scene I had started caring more about myself and my appearance. Since this all started again, just before Christmas, I have walked more than ever and have lost weight which is now more noticeable in my appearance and how I feel. I love dancing and have often thought about how much I used to dance when I was younger – twice this week, when I’ve been alone, I’ve put my favourite music on and just danced. I’ve danced ballet-style to slow songs, stretching muscles that have long gone to sleep and moving in a way that made me feel calm and at one with the music. With more energetic songs I have been equally energetic, aiming to get my heart pumping and fat burning. I’ve encorporated other exercise moves too – squats and lunges, for example. Annoyingly, this has been due to him.

This doesn’t have to be a negative thing. This morning I made myself get up and dressed and took the dog for a two hour walk in the rain. This situation does nowhere near compare to the pain of losing my Dad but I’m damn well not going to let it pull me down either. If anything, I’m determined to get this weight off, get fitter and enjoy my life regardless of his rejection. And if the next time I see him I look amazing and feel confident to smack him in the face of what he has let go, then all the better. Revenge is a great motivator.

Fact is, I know this is not completely the end. It’s the end of my hopes, yes, as I will not let myself back in that situation again but I know that when I see him again in the future those feelings will still be there – for both of us. I don’t care what he says. I know him well enough to be confident in how he feels for me just as I am now confident that he does not want to be with me despite those feelings. No, the only way this will truly end is when one or both us finds someone else significant. I’ve been around him when he has been dating other women (which have all failed BTW) and he has still flirted with me. Neither one of us would have acted upon those feelings as we both feel strongly about monogamy but those feelings were still there – partly why I have always hoped that one day, the timing would be right.

At some point though, he will find the woman he will settle down with and maybe, if I am lucky, I will find who I have been searching for too. Only then will this truly end. What this weekend has done though has made me all the more determined to find it.

As my dad would say, ‘there’s a silver lining in every cloud.’ I just need to find a way to meet someone without the dreaded Internet dating. Wish me luck!

What women still think

He didn’t reply to my message all night. Didn’t look at either, as far as I can tell. Of course, I can see the bulk of a WhatsApp message through the alert so maybe he saw it and ignored it. Maybe he did want to come round and see me…

After a long and busy day at work (tha nk goodness because that means I’ve been occupied) I check my phone to see that he messaged at 8.21am apologising that he had only just seen the message. He said he was off work today and asked what time I was home.

Was this a good sign? I was probably just thinking far too much into it as usual. I checked the time and said I would be home in half an hour.

The reply was relatively swift: he’d be around soon to collect but it would be a flying visit as he was looking after his nephews.

So he didn’t want to see me then. Or maybe he really couldn’t-it was late after all. I decide either way to remove the torture out of it and offered to drop his stuff off on my way to pick up the kids. He thanked me.

Because I’m back in Looneyville, I call home and pick up his stuff but not before I’ve sprayed deodorant, perfume and eaten a mint. Just in case. Almost impossible, but just in case.

Should I tell him I’m free this weekend? Invite him round? I want that kiss again, those soft lips on mine. Even without that, I just want to be with him. I’ll tell him it’s just as friends – if he even asks – but I can always hope for more. I’m good at that. No, I won’t ask. I will sound too desperate. Maybe he will ask what I’m doing. Still hoping.

I arrive at the house, feeling sick, and walk to the door to find it ajar. His Dad is there doing some work. I hand over the item with all the usual pleasantries and leave. I notice his car isn’t there. Maybe he wasn’t in. Maybe he was actually babysitting.

Maybe I’m never going to learn my lesson. Maybe the only way I will ever get over him is to find his replacement. So what if it took me thirty odd years and a failed marriage to find him? So what if I’ve tried to get over him before by dating other people and it didn’t work?

What other choice have I got?

Lonely heart.

I didn’t expect to see you there. I mean, to be honest, I don’t think about you half as much as I used to do. And anyway, I’d had a bad day and so I had other things on my mind.

I’m self-conscious enough though to be pleased that I still had my makeup on and my nice jeans and jumper from when I’d been shopping earlier that morning. Less so that it was now accompanied by heavy walking boots, a rainproof coat and dog hair (and the dog of course).

Why’d I had a bad day? Long story, but along the lines that I felt lonely. Lonely is quite a regular feeling nowadays. My friend let me down. I miss my Dad like crazy. It’s Christmas. I’m lonely.

So, I attempted to walk off my sadness with my dog in hand, boots on foot. I didn’t know you’d be there.

Was I pleased to see you? Of course. There’s still that little thrill when we meet. A hint of a memory of what was and what could have been. But I’ve moved on now – you’ve moved on. We made that decision, didn’t we? That it wasn’t going to work? Yes, I know we were drunk. OK, yes, I did most of the talking. But I couldn’t cope with it anymore, see, the not-knowing. The backwards and forwards. So, for self preservation purposes, I called it a day on whatever it was. OK, yes, I will also admit that I have wondered what would have happened if I’d have just let you speak, but I got over that. It’s been over a year since then. I got over you, as much as anyone who thought they found and lost their soul mate can. Wrong time, wrong place and all that.

So I was pleased to see you because your addition to the tea and company I expected from my sister was welcome. You make me laugh, think, talk. That’s a good thing when you’re feeling lonely.

But… I do have to say though, that I was a little confused by some of what you said. The fact that one of the first things you asked me was “So what’s new? Have you met anyone new? Been anywhere new?” Of all the things that you could have asked me, that was pretty straight to the point. I didn’t answer that part. I wouldn’t have asked you, or anyone else that, so it surprised me that you would ask me that.

And then, later, when we were all talking, you said how you’d missed all this. I’m assuming you mean us together as you still regularly see my sister and brother in law. I was the extra ingredient. I agree, I miss it – you – too. So, OK, may be that one wasn’t so confusing.

What about this one..? We got talking about modern day women and what they want from a man and how it’s impossible. An interesting conversation. Then you asked me what I was looking for in a man… OK, part of the conversation: a woman providing an example. But did you have to then say that there was “only one man in the world like that, and that’s me.” Really? What am I supposed to do with that?

Then later, you mentioned that you had just started watching the film version of my favourite book. A coincidence? Maybe. But I wasn’t the only one to think that it was strange. Why tell me that?

And then, the moment that you pointed out our age gap.. I can’t remember the context, but this was an unexpected twist… That when we met the age gap seemed too big but now it doesn’t. I mean, age gaps don’t mean a thing when you’re just friends so.. you know, that naturally got me thinking.

Don’t get me wrong, I also wasn’t the only one who noticed the name dropping of your girlfriend. Sometimes – if you don’t mind us both suggesting – a little needlessly. I’m sure that we also didn’t need to know that you have no sex drive anymore. Someone a little more invested might think you were hinting that you were less physically involved with your girlfriend but as I ‘called it a day’ last year, I obviously didn’t think this but I just wanted to add it in there as something potentially confusing.

I know, I know, we’d all had a bit to drink by this point. And honestly, it’s not the first time I’ve reflected that I probably imagined all these things. That maybe I am adding more weight to these innocent little comments than there should have been. Except… it wasn’t just me that noticed them. I mean, one of our party commented that you seemed more like your old self than you had done in months. Of course, I know that we have that effect on each other – people have commented on that for years. Just like they always thought that we were an item when… We weren’t. So what if they thought that some of your comments were a little suggestive too?

But yes, it was lovely to see you.

Obviously, in my current lonely state, it’s entirely possible that I imagined all the hints and suggestions. I’m back to those days of self doubt, confusion and heartache and I don’t want to go back to not knowing what’s going on.

What was that? What do I want then?

I’m not sure.

Ok, yes, I will admit that I have given mixed signals too in the past. But in my defence, I was confused. And protecting my heart.

No more mixed signals? OK, here goes…

If you told me that you’ve always loved me – no, less than that – if you told me that I’ve always had a special place in your heart. Or, that we were soul mates (yes, I know you’ve said that beforez but in this context)…

So, if, you told me that you missed me. That you always wondered what might have been. That you were scared of how powerfully we felt for each other and it was too much back then… If you told me that we were both older now, and you still felt the same after all these years. Then, yes, I would loan you my heart. Just for a while. Just to see if all that promise we have felt for all these years was truth. I could do that, if you said those things.

But, if you didn’t.. Well, nothing has changed then. I’d lose a little bit more respect for you as you’re either messing me about and still playing the game after all these years.. Or… You still don’t know what you want. And, you know what? You can’t blame your youth for that anymore. And surely, if you care for me as you say you do, you wouldn’t do that again.

I know we have history. So much of it. But that history has made me really tired of the “what ifs”. Has it not you too? So let’s not slip into old habits. Please. My lonely heart can’t take it again.

Hurting and flirting

I didn’t know he would be there.

I turned up at my sister’s house to pick up my son after another great day out with my friend walking. I shouted hello up the stairs and then he appeared. I was startled. Why does he have this effect on me? Lost Soul was warm and friendly. It’s so hard not to melt in that attention.

Ironically, my sister had already set off for my house so I left for home.

My sister and I chatted about our day and decided that we would have a catch up: she would go home and my nephew to bed and I would put my youngest to bed and prepare us some tea before picking her and our other sister up. Nice food and drinks with my sisters with no children – has to be done.

45 minutes later and I was in my way. All the way there I as battling with myself. As I’ve said recently, I can’t trust myself to act naturally with him.

So, I was friendly-distant. As in, I’m happy to see him but then try to ignore him. He came over and hugged me and then suggested that we all stayed with him and my b.i.l. instead. I reminded him of my children at home (under the care of my father at that point). He seemed disappointed and commented that they would be fine with my dad. I said not.

On the way out, the men followed us so they could smoke outside. He asked me if I was ok. I said, “yes, fine”. He said that I wasmt acting myself. He hugged me again and my sister and I left.

My mind raced as always. I always think I am playing it cool – not showing my feelings but being friendly and interested. It appears I fail every time. Maybe I can be myself around him – to a certain extent – when we are alone, because I don’t have to hide everything I feel when no one else is there.

I had a great night with my sisters. We had nice food – chicken salad wraps – good wine and we laughed, chatted and played cards.

But I couldn’t help myself. I sensed an opportunity to test out my flirtation theory now that I have his number. I took a picture of our little party and messaged him saying our party was better than there’s. Childish I know, but I knew it would get him to reply. He did and there was witty banter for a while. I enjoyed it. He again suggested that we came over but I again declined – my kids come first.

A little while later my brother in law called to speak to my sister. She spoke with him for a while before handing me the phone as Lost Soul wanting to speak to me. My soul soared.

It was a brief chat but it made me feel good. The call ended soon after and before long my sisters were on the way home.

I can’t stay away. I can’t make myself not love him. And I know he loves me, in some way. I know that he feels some of what I feel. And that’s why it hurts so much.

Clarity in the cold light of day

It is barely 6am. I am sat outside in my Pj’s, a fleece hoodie and my walking boots. I was tired of teetering on the edge of a single air bed, worrying about where my hands were and where his body was in comparison to mine ..

I want to tell you that I had the strength to push him away and say no.

I didn’t. Well, not exactly.

Not that anything physical happened of course – apart from holding my hand and frequent hugs, there was nothing romantic.

Like old times, it was clear other people thought that something was happening.

He got really drunk. Again, nothing new.

When drunk, the same old self-critical bs comes out his mouth. (This perhaps a little unfair, but please remember that this is the day after the night before and I’m cold and tired.) I don’t call him Lost Soul for nothing.

Despite being a really attractive man, he has low self esteem. He puts on a front of charming arrogance at times, only showing his true self to a chosen few. I call him out on it regularly – it is one of the things he loves about me apparently.

And then it happened. Finally.

I’m not sure how the conversation moved around to this. But things needed to be said and I needed to say them, once and for all. He agreed.

I told him that last time, I ended up broken hearted. That his actions and words had confused me so many times. That I was attracted to him and that I had felt a connection with him that I had never felt with anyone else.

But, for whatever reason, we’d pulled away from each other and that I had missed him over the years.

Therwas an awkward moment where I went in for a hug and he thought I was going in for a romantic kiss.

He commented here that I had been the one who pulled away from the friendship. Although I knew this to be true, I’d always thought he’d consider himself to be the one that pulled away and this surprised me. He also said that he had sensed that I had been unsure of what I had wanted. This flummoxed me a little.

I then went on to say that I had got over this (I’m not entirely lying, I had for a while) but that our intimacy a few weeks ago had highlighted a few things.

He held his head down at this point.

I told him that I did not regret it. I told him that it was as far as I wanted to go because I was unsure of his feelings. What it had given me was some clarity – I hadn’t imagined our connection.

He agreed. He felt the connection and attraction too. He said that he could be himself around me – he trusted me. But..

I cut in here.

I said that I recognised that he needed a young single woman whom he could start a life with. And that I needed someone dependable and strong to share my life with. Despite our chemistry, we were not right for each other.

He agreed and commented that he recognised that he was not dependable and that he had let me down. He said he had had no idea that I had felt that way in the past and was sorry that he had “led” me on and upset me. He said that he still wanted me.

Moments later, he pulled me close so that our foreheads rested on each other as we spoke. I couldn’t stand it; the intensity of feelings. I weighed it up and went for it. He pulled away.

I said, quite calmly in fact, that I wasn’t going to kiss him like that (not strictly true, but I was going to see what happened). He said that it was not that he didn’t want to but that he had feelings for someone else.

I once again called him out on this and rather frustratedly. I pointed out that this was identical to what happened initially all those years ago – he admits he has feelings for me then starts talking about someone else. I also said that this pattern also occurred when he was at a low point – he fixates on someone he can’t have. At this moment, it is some girl in Leeds (miles and miles away!).

He wasn’t happy about this. I won’t dignify his comments by putting them on here but he said that he thought she was the one and that it could get serious. Bs.

I went on to say that I was independent and was in no rush to get in to any relationship. He called me out on this, recognising my own need for intimacy. He asked me what I was looking for in a man.

It also turns out that he had told my sister and brother-in-law about our intimacy. I was surprised.

Despite all this, a tension had lifted. I felt better – at the time anyway – and we rejoined the party at the stage.

A little while later we were all back at the tent. He sat next to me as I cooked some food for everyone. The flirty banter was much the same, even though I felt we had had some clarity. At one point, he commented that he was cold. I touched his hand – mine were warm. He asked me to leave my hand there.

After food, he realised that his taxi was not going to arrive any time soon and so asked if he could sleep with me in my ‘bedroom’.

There was a ridiculous situation where he lay on the cold floor for a while because he would not be happy if she did the same with another man. I commented that we were just friends, I had three layers on and he was freezing. I was toasty with my single duvet – it was up to him. He eventually got on to the single air bed with me and I cuddled him warm. Genuinely, there was no other option but I realise that it was far from ideal.

It is difficult to lie together on a single mattress, holding each other close without touching each other in an intimate way. We just about managed it amongst some laughing. At times he would hold my hand or stroke my arm. Other times he would pull away.

As I sit here typing, I can hear him move on my airbed. Part of me is annoyed because I want to go to sleep on my airbed.

Things in some ways are still not as clear as I thought they were. I did a lot of the talking last night and some of it was said in self preservation. His actions and his words are still conflicting.

What was clear is that nothing has changed. And I mean that in both senses of the phrase. We are still drawn to each other and people still think there is more going on than there is.

He is still playing games though. This elasticated friendship is still very much in play and he wants to be in control. I believe this the one area of his life where he has felt in control.

In the cold light of the morning, I’m not sure how much I influenced the steer of the conversation with my words and actions. From things he said, he is confused that I keep turning him down for sexual intimacy.

He still has a power over me that I can’t resist. But I know him so well that I preempt his games with blocks. I no doubt confuse him as much as he does me.

I can’t do this though. I want to think that despite my blocks, he would have told me truly how he had felt if he had wanted more. I can’t be sure though.

But I know from my own reflections recently that I can’t go through this again but that I am as much the game player as him.

True love shouldn’t feel like this.

Camping

I’ve just come back from a two night camp with my three children and three other families – my two sisters and their children and another family which are friends.

The Great British weather did not fail us. We drove up to Grange over Sands in Cumbria expecting rain but in sunshine. We managed to pitch our three tents and party gazebo in summer showers.

Our second day was met with heavy rain and our party gazebo was its first victim. Yesterday morning, my sister and I woke up to wet clothes and managed to bucket out far too much water from one end of our tent.

But we also had evenings under the stars toasting marshmallows. We made bacon sandwiches amongst the wasp storms and ate the best sticky toffee cake that Cumbria has to offer.

So, all in all, we had a great time:we made he best of the situation and had fun.

I’ve now got to apply the same principle to this weekend.

It’s my sister’s birthday and she has invited me and our other sister to go camping (yes, again) at a local music festival.

I’ve only just managed to wash and dry the soggy, smelly mess that was the clothes and blankets from our Cumbria trip.

But that’s not the issue.

Lost Soul has been invited.

I don’t want to see him. I can’t believe thats what I’m saying but it’s true. My inner control freak is very much like wanting to be heard in this situation – being in his company does me no good, no matter how charming or otherwise he is being. I will spend the time until he arrives in nervous anticipation and sheer disappointment in myself for feeling that way.

I will then spend the time whilst he is there trying to work out what his game is and how I should react to it.

So in summary, a weekend of overthinking.

But No! I refuse to let him ruin my weekend on camping, music and family be ruined. I’m going to make the most of it. I’m going to have fun.

Any tips to offer? They will be gratefully received.

Defiant

I will admit it. One day was not quite enough to get my head straight.

Yesterday I continued to mope. I defiantly ate chocolate brownies for breakfast (no one is ever going to love me so I may as well eat whatever I want). I didn’t get changed and refused to get in the shower.

By mid morning though, the depression started to lift. Still clad in pyjamas, I began to drift about – tidying here and there- and trying to focus on something positive. On Tuesday, a big group of us are going camping in the Lakes; so for a little while, this occupied my mind.

In trying to find the right charger for the air pump, I searched through my bed drawer and came across an old journal. Knowing that I had written about Lost Soul in it all those years ago, I allowed myself a peek into its pages in an act of sheer self-sabotage.

I ended up reading all of it, knelt on my bedroom floor.

There were moments long forgotten alongside those memories that I still hold dear. But more than anything I was moved by the voice of my writing… its pain and desperation, the fleeting happiness and enduring hope.

“My head is aching with all the thoughts that are running through it. I wish I had a machine so that I could just extract it all…. Why am I so pathetic? Why can’t I just sort my head out?… He keeps telling me he loves me… He said he wants a relationship with someone just like me but not me as he doesn’t want to lose me. He said that I don’t realise how wonderful I am… I’m trying to gain perspective, trying to console my aching heart. He’s apologised for leading me on, hurting me.”

I was struck by the repetition of my thoughts and feelings. All these years on and nothing had changed. I became so angry: with him and myself. How had I allowed myself to fall back into this situation?

I still love him. But I am no closer to ever being with him and don’t think that I ever will be.

And rather than give blame to him or me for what has happened, I come to realise that this was always going to happen. The hope that I had long had, buried deep inside, was always going to come to the surface when I became single again.

Now, though, I had my answer. Hope is futile. It is never going to happen. So my grief over the past few days was necessary to – as I’ve already said in my posts – to purge that hope, and him, from my system.

I felt angry, yes, but defiant too. And dare I say it, positive too.

Now I can truly start. I have grieved my broken marriage and fought may way through the exhausted depression left in its wake. I have now mourned a love that I had put on the highest pedestal, somewhere which it probably did not deserve to be. I’ve survived it though; the crushing disappointment and the attack on my self esteem.

It’s clichéd, but now I realise that I’ve got to show myself some love. I’ve been battered by so many things in the past few years and yet most of them can be attributed to my love of someone – my parents, my husband, my lover. All that energy and love, although well spent then, has taken its toll on me. Sadly, I cannot say that I have felt the same energy and love coming my way because they were unable to for so many reasons. I suppose I could say, in some ways at least, that I have felt unloved but perhaps more precisely, I have not felt like someone’s priority. I have put my family, my children, my husband and my job first for so long that my mind could not cope any longer.

My body has bourn the brunt of this self neglect and abuse for years. I have talked before about my emotional over-eating, lack of exercise and just general lack of care.

People will hurt me for the rest of my life – it is human nature after all. Their misdemeanours will be forgiven and forgotten because that is what love means. But the same cannot be said for myself. Hurting myself cannot be forgiven because there is no excuse for it.

I can be a better mum, teacher, daughter, sister and friend- not by trying harder or working longer but by being a better me. And I am the only person that can make that happen.

There’s a powerful voice in my head that tells me that I will never do it. Or if I do, that it won’t last or it won’t make me happy. This voice has encouraged the chocolate brownie breakfasts and the scraping back of unwashed hair and the dry skin and the chipped nail polish and the ill fitting clothes. This voice has whispered my self imposed failings continually in my ear until my heart has recognised them as truth.

No more.

I am going to truly devote time and love to myself. I’m going to show myself the love that I show those around me. I’m going to give myself the quality time that I reserve for those I love. I’m going to give myself the little acts of kindness that I use to show someone I care or in recognition of a need in them.

This blog, this journal, is so important to me. Starting from the middle was created because I recognised that I needed to start my life afresh somehow – something was wrong or missing.

Now, I have an idea of how I will do this. The last ten months have been a long and arduous journey to the truth:

To be a better me, I need to love me better.

The purge part 2: Self-indulgence 

I feel emotionally bruised today. I have a head ache, which doesn’t help, but everything is an effort. 

Despite this, my head is a little clearer. 

I have put myself in this situation. He is probably out there somewhere with no idea of the torment that has been raging. 

Four years ago, it was me that walked away. Sure, he hadn’t committed or anything, but it was me who told him that I “couldn’t wait any longer” and so started Internet dating. It was me who got back with my ex-husband nine months later. It was me who got pregnant and had a third child. 

It was me who, on the handful of occasions we have met since then, has ‘played it cool.’ During our intimacy a few weeks ago, I kept pulling away and walking off. I kept pushing him off me, not wanting to succumb to my feelings for him. Scared that by being as intimate as two humans can be, I would sink again.  After our little intimacy – which he initiated – he did not call or text. Neither did I. Even when it turned out that he was having a tough time. 

And when I see him again after that I am apparently (from a bystander who knows me very well but had no idea who he was)  cold and distant. I don’t ask him how he is. I don’t ask him how things are going. I don’t welcome him and I don’t look pleased to see him. 

The truth of the matter is, he may not want me. He may not be interested in any more than what we have had. But, so wrapped up in protecting myself, I have played stupid games. 

My low self esteem and self hatred have made this situation ever more painful. It is me, not him, that has created this heartache. 

And so today, I will indulge myself in my self pity and woe. Tomorrow, I will continue on my journey to find a life that I am happy in. The only way I can positively  influence anyone’s feelings for me is to be myself: to be open and honest, caring and loving. That is who I am. One day, I may again come across someone who turns my world upside down. Next time, being together with that someone will be as easy as breathing- the way it is supposed to be. 

(Sorry about my sneaky way of adding another post about him. Things needed to be said.  ☺ )