Kissing the giggles

I know I shouldn’t be, but I’ve been low the last few days. Not myself.

I’m a good person. I don’t like hurting people. I’m not proud of my recent behaviour. Will you believe me when I say, I honestly thought that Second wouldn’t be hurt? Not really. But in hurting him now, ever so slightly, I’ve prevented hurting someone else.

My fear consumes my happiness. I’m too scared to allow myself to be happy. To scared that I am wrong and they are right. Even though they don’t know him. Even though they’ve never spoken to him. Even though they’ve never seen the look in his eyes or the care in his heart. If it exists.

And because I value the opinion of those I care about, the reactions of some – to what I have done and am going to do – have started to play on my mind. Doubt, pure doubt. It doesn’t matter that they are basing their judgements and prejudice on a faceless name, a bias. Those thoughts worm themselves into my brain and pollute. What if I’m wrong? Blind? Gullable? What if, like with Lost Soul, I’m reading this all wrong?

It starts as always and that’s fine by me. It’s a familiar pattern now, of words and glances, smiles and looks.

He comments on my tiredness though… Once, twice. I know I don’t look good. I move my head, my hair, my position. But today, no angle is making me shine. My face and mind and soul are tired today.

He starts to eat and I start to leave but he says, ‘no, you’re going?’ and I say, ‘I don’t want to but you’re having your dinner.’

We talk some more. And then he leans towards the camera and sends me a kiss. Although, this time, he does it again and again moving his face as if he is moving his lips around my own.

This is what I will do when I see you. I will kiss you here and here,’ as he kisses each virtual cheek and at first I think it is a European custom but then he continues, ‘and here and here’ as he kisses my forehead and my lips, ‘and then like this’ and suddenly his kisses are frantic, and placed all over my virtual face.

Just like I do with my children when I am giving them my love and making them laugh… Kissing every inch of their face as quickly as I can, kissing the giggles out of them.

Suddenly, everything is alright again. That one gesture, one suggestion, is enough.

Shopping, Cuteness and lions

I have a had a mental kind of day.

I went Christmas shopping. I hate Christmas shopping particularly when everyone else is Christmas shopping. By early lunchtime I was done.

It didn’t help that I was expecting Wild Card to call. I wanted him to call.

I drove home but, feeling overwhelmed with a range of emotions – my friend’s controlling behaviour when shopping, driving past the crematorium where Dad’s ashes lie, knowing I will be alone for part of Christmas – I pulled over in a lay-by not 5 minutes from my house.

A short walk on a narrow road through hedgerowed fields leads to beautiful views of my local countryside. There’s a beautiful little Chapel and a stunning listed mansion which has been converted into apartments. It was bright, sunny and crisp and I enjoyed the exercise.

I had tried to call Wild Card myself but he was on the phone. I tried to push my suspicious thoughts to one side and the fresh air helped. Before long though, he called and immediately apologised, saying his mother was talking to his brother.

The light was so bright that I couldn’t actually see him, so I wandered into the grounds of the Chapel where a little peaceful, contemplation garden could be found.

Sitting on a bench, surrounded by the deep green of rhododendron bushes, we chatted. I’d decided that if I was going to get to know him more I should try to initate more conversations and help him with his English along the way.

His English is fine. The majority of the time he can explain himself perfectly, even when he doesn’t quite know the right vocabulary. I asked him again about hobbies, travel, films etc. We have things in common!

At one point he retorted that this felt more like a police interview than a lesson. He makes me laugh.

I took the opportunity to ask more, personal, questions. He answered so sincerely that my heart warmed to him even more. The conversation ended, and I felt a little more secure about my plan to meet him. There was a definite spring in my step as I walked back to the car.

I visited my sister for a little while and my previous mood returned a little. I just didn’t know what to do with myself. I felt in the way, but didn’t want to go home alone. After an hour, I decided it was time to go and I checked my phone to see that Wild Card had called me.

As soon as I got to the car I called him. We chatted for a little while and then my sister arrived at the car window, wondering why I hadn’t moved. She spoke to him briefly and at one point thanked him for making me smile as apparently my face had been sour before his call.

Initially, I thought she has spoken too quickly for him to follow but once she had disappeared he immediately questioned me, a smile on his face. I admitted she was right and agreed with my sister – he did make me smile.

He then asked why I had not been happy before and I explained with tears in my eyes about my impending lonely Christmas.

He asked about the kids and then my sisters and when he found out I wouldn’t be with them, he told me not to worry as he would be with me instead. Cute! We talked a little more then he went off to the gym.

As I had abandoned my friend in town (long story) but had the majority of her shopping in the car, I had offered to pick her up from the train station and take her home. We chatted, I dropped her off, then I went home.

It wasn’t long though before I realised that tonight was probably the best time to go food shopping. Very reluctantly, I set out again – not before texting Wild Card to tell him what I was doing. (I had heard nothing from Second all day, if you were wondering.)

Shopping was horrendous, as you would imagine from the last Saturday before Christmas in a large, major supermarket. As soon as I got home, seeing that he had replied to my text, I decided to call Wild Card again.

Yep, third video call of the day.

Before long, he had my in fits of laughter. He often does this. To the point that I can’t stop laughing and tears are running down my face. As addictive as constant laughing is, the look on his own face as he watches me is just… Beautiful.

Tomorrow he is probably visiting family. When I asked if he would miss me (a question which is regularly bandied about between us) he of course said no, with a cheeky look on his face and then laughter as I pretended to sulk. I told him that ‘I can’t make you miss me’ which then turned into a five minute exploration of that sentence as he tried to say it back to me. Naturally, we were both laughing at that too.

I asked him about the recent and regular pictures of lions which he has posted in Facebook, wondering if they had some religious significance that I had no idea about. He misheard me and thought I said ‘online’. He then proceeded to tell me that he always leaves his phone online but he isn’t on it. Whilst that wasn’t the answer to my question, it reassured me as it wasn’t so long ago that I’d changed the settings so I couldn’t see when he was online. Eventually he understood the lion reference and told me that he liked lions and that he particularly ‘liked the picture of the lion family: the mother, the father and the baby’. He is so cute.

All in all, a very heart warming day.

5.55am

I woke up at 5.30am this morning, again. Not sure why. I’m getting between 5 and 6 hours sleep a night. There are bags under my eyes. I’m hoping that when school closes in one week I will be more inclined to sleep in.

Yesterday morning at 9am I got a response from Second.

‘Good morning, sorry I didn’t say goodnight last night’

He got a gold star for that one. I’d have been happy with ‘good morning’. Although, saying that, after the ‘we are not serious ‘ performance, I have discovered my feelings have retreated back behind the self preservation barrier.

Once his children went back to their mother mid afternoon, he was very attentive as usual. I got a phonecall and a video call.

I’m still not sure he is emotionally available. Despite this renewed attention, he reminded me again that when he goes home in just over a week’s time, he will be quieter. I acknowledged that again with understanding.

The proof will still be in whether we meet on the 17th as planned. There’s been no mention of that this week. He’s got another four nights child free so, again, I think I will know better by Friday.

Wild Card on the other hand, well he is being as attentive as ever. Perhaps more so, even. More recently, his video calls have come at times when he is with his family. Yesterday, he had taken them all out on a drive to a town about an hour away for a walk. He video called me and took me with them for ten minutes, showing me the beautiful streets. That was cute.

I’m more certain than ever that he does like me. Those red flags, previously discussed, are still there. But I am aware of them now and will continue to play this slowly.

I feel less guilty following Second’s, ‘if you meet a nice guy then it’s fair game ‘ comment. Although twice yesterday when I was on the phone to him, Wild Card called. The first time I ended the call – at his suggestion – to answer Wild Card. The second time I didn’t. They’ve never crossed over so much as this and it was not an easy situation.

Whose call more important?

Second’s insecurity-inspiring behaviour this weekend has made me more cautious around him. Time will tell I suppose.

I do know that I’m not comfortable with this going on much longer but I figure mid January will be the decision deadline.

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.

Bumbling along

So, unlike my favourite dating blog, backinstilettosagain, I certainly haven’t got any interesting dates to share yet.

But, I thought I’d update you on Bumble again. Please share your experience with me too – it would be great to know how usual all this is!

So after last night’s mini-rant, I was all set to delete my profile on Bumble. And then I thought again. One, as mumslovelife said – I need more than one picture if I am going to be taken seriously. So, I took a deep breath, scrolled through my phone and added three more. Second, I haven’t given it long enough. I actually quite like the premise of it so I need to give it more time. And three, I could always up the age limit…

I’d select 35 to 43 initially as I am 38. It just seemed like a good start. I then changed the age to 41 to 47. I figured – hoped more like – that there would be more maturity, less sex fiends and more potential.

As before, the first trawl was surprisingly positive – there are some very attractive, eligible older men in my area! After a while the profiles have been mixed. There are still shirtless pics and still men openly talking about their sexual preferences in their profile. Yuk.

I’ve made a few more matches. I’m currently messaging one who seems OK so far. The other two are yet to respond. Miserable dater from yesterday has not responded to my last message so I guess he had more contact from Tinder after all. 🤣

I’ll post more as the drama unfolds.

Second match messages

The next Bumble match to respond…

Me: Hey there (After the last disaster I’m not putting effort in until I know they’re not an idiot)

Him:Hi. Are you the dominant type

Sinking feeling. I know where this is going. I check his profile again – he seems normal enough. I will give him the benefit of the doubt.

Me: In what sense? Relationships?

Him: sexually. Do you always like to be in full control?

And block.

Clearly, my world is very different to everyone else’s.

In my world, I log on to Bumble. I look at the pictures and profiles and decide if a) I could ever picture letting this man anywhere near me, b) he is possibly a murderer/psychopath/player, c) we have anything in common. I then swipe accordingly.

In my world, I realise that there will be men who do not like me. Fair enough. I also realise that if I do end up with a match, either one of us may then decide after messaging that it may not work. And, as experience has taught me, even if you then get to the stage of meeting up, the same may happen there too. Those are my expectations. That’s what I understand.

Clearly I am wrong here. Apparently men ‘swipe right’ to like you because:

A) they want the chance to abuse your appearance

B) They just want kinky sex and that’s all

C) they then want to completely ignore the message you’ve just sent even though you have matched.

One more day and then I’m giving up. I’m not expecting true romance here straight away, but a little humanity would be good.

This is why

I hate Internet dating.

After much contemplation, I thought I would give it a go.

I searched a bit, read some reviews, and settled for Bumble. This app only let’s you contact if you both are interested and the woman always has to message first. You both have 24hours to respond.

So, I started. I only put one picture of myself up, one from Christmas that my sisters said I looked beautiful in.

I read and swiped and was pleased to see that I had 50+ interests although apparently not the people the men that I was interested in.

And then it happened–I got a match!

Reading his profile, he liked cooking and baking, traveling so I though I’d skip the ‘hello there’ and try to be more original.

“So, what would you cook for a date then?”

Him: “Lettuce for you”

“Lettuce for your diet.”

He then blocked me before I could respond in kind.

Why?

He didn’t need to match me. He didn’t need to answer my message (which now makes me feel even fatter than ever) because after 24 hours of no response, we become invisible to each other. Why be nasty?

This, right here, is why I hate Internet dating.

I was on holiday with friends. He was not my usual type but was tall and blonde. He had a vibrant personality. I knew I liked him almost immediately but was too shy to say anything.

Then my friend took me to one side.

“You like him don’t you?”

She wouldn’t listen to my denials.

“I think he likes you too. He’s a nice bloke. Go for it!”

My opportunity came when I returned from a day trip with my friend. Our paths crossed. My friend disappeared.

We spoke and he told me he liked me just as I was. Before I knew it we were kissing and it felt so good. It wasn’t like me, but soon we were having sex and it felt amazing.

And then, dear readers I woke up. As in this morning. How cruel is my mind that I find someone I am attracted too, who likes me back, and we become intimate – and it is all in my head.

Still hate Internet dating.

Unhinged

After some encouragement and advice, I have now downloaded Hinge.

Hinge is a free dating app. You add basic details about yourself and choose which you want to be seen. You then choose three prompts from a bank and answer them. Finally, in order to be able to interact with others, you have to add six photos. You can then perfect your preferences and hey presto! You are sent a list of possible candidates. Similar, I believe, to other apps, you then can dismiss them or like something on their profile (prompt answer or photo) before moving on.

I’m telling you this because I actually wasn’t sure what Hinge did. I chose it because I then believed that if someone who I liked, liked my profile back, we could then communicate. As in, my frayed ego believed that if I didn’t get contact it was not because my ‘advances’ dismissed, rather that I didn’t appeal in the first place. My bizarre logic makes this version feel kinder, almost like you would only get in contact if the fates allowed, if that makes sense.

Apparently not. After a good scroll through and a few likes being sent out (I quite like that I don’t know how many I sent out, the fall from grace isn’t as big that way), I went out and accidentally left my phone at home.

When I got back, I discovered I had a like! Not, unfortunately, by anyone whom I had liked but someone else. It then dawned on me naive I had been: all the men I had liked would have to respond. And as I discovered, they’d have to respond before being able to do anything else.

I’m even more depressed now.

I hate Internet dating.

Considered spontaneity

It’s been a mad old week. Last weekend I had hoped to have been away with my friend but she weirded out on me. More on this later.

My whole household has been struck down with norovirus this week which was pretty grim. I managed to finish my book and actually watch a film that wasn’t Disney which was good.

I was overwhelmed with aching loss for Dad yesterday. Just shows my ‘carry on as normal’ defence is not infallible. Not. At. All.

All these seemingly unrelated things have resulted in an action I’d been dismissing for some time. I just did it, tonight, out of the blue.

I’ve signed up to Internet dating. And I’ve actually put a picture up. And I’ve liked six men. Again, more on this later.

So, last week over the period of a few days, my friend and I tried to find a cheap getaway for the weekend. Or, I should say, I did. She just said no to everything. I’m not sure what was going on but everything I suggested, she criticised. At no point did she ask me what I wanted to do, but to be quite honest, I wasn’t really bothered – I was just looking forward to getting away from it all and spending time with my friend. Sensing she wasn’t herself, I tried desperately to find something that met her approval. In the end, because I hadn’t found anything, she decided that this was all too stressful and backed out, leaving me potentially completely alone. I haven’t heard from her since. Luckily my sisters were available amd along with their husbands, we had a games night with a few drinks. Yes it was fun, but yes I was the only single one. At one point in the evening, the red wine helped me whine to my sister and brother in law about the fact that Lost Soul is now dating an older woman with children. Which feels like a complete slap in the face. Read about it here:

https://startingfromthemiddleblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/06/clarity-in-the-cold-light-of-day/

Moving on.

I contemplated my friend’s actions, in a lot of frustration being honest, over the following days. I felt a little used and surplus – for her, it was more about the trip than being with me. I realised that I cannot rely in her to be my regular companion if this is the case.

Then the norovirus. (don’t worry, no details!) When I wasn’t fast asleep and just feeling sorry for myself, I managed to watch some TV. Luckily, I was ill whilst my kids were with their dad so I actually had the remote! I ended up watching Planes, Trains and Automobiles which I hadn’t seen in years. It saddened me to realise that both John Candy and John Hughes died in their 40s – mortality hitting me in the face again and giving me a wake up call. Life’s too short to wait around and be miserable.

This then got me thinking about Dad and a conversation we had just a few months ago. He asked me if I thought I’d ever marry again. I said probably not. He told me that I was ‘only a girl’ and that I had my whole life ahead of me. Because he lived with me, I know he always worried about me meeting someone new. The fact he said that shows that he probably had a idea he was dying.

The book that I read this week is called ‘You Don’t Have to Say you Love Me’ by Sarra Manning.

Yes, it’s chick-lit but it’s easy reading, funny and I can relate to the characters. The descriptions in the romantic scenes are heartwarming and yes, made me crave to feel that way again myself. Admittedly, I’ve read it a few times now. 😊

So all of these things have pointed me towards dating again. I’ve been separated nearly two years and a as certain as ever that it’s the right choice.

Sure, I can think of a million reasons that I should wait. And I’m still not convinced this will work. But I have to try.

I’ve put an OK photo up. An everyday photo. I’ve been honest. I’ve tried to be myself.

And, at the risk of sounding like a hypocrite here, the dating pool I was sent as ‘matches’ was pretty grim. I even extended the distance to 50 miles. Only 6.

Well, it’s a beginning.