Pondering

I’m a light sleeper, so when my phone rang at 1am I jumped up and reached down at the end of my bed to see what time it was ans who was calling.

Bleary eyed, I saw that it was 12.55am and that it was a private number. For some reason that my asleep brain could only answer, I hit the green button.

A female voice answered. An unknown female voice.

I can’t remember exactly what she said, but it was along the lines of:

“Why does my boyfriend have your number on his phone?”

Remembering that I had just been rudely awakened, the following thoughts tumbled into my brain:

Who the hell is this?

Does she have the right person?

Is she calling from her boyfriend’s phone? There’s no way Wild Card is with someone we else right now.

Why has some random man got my number?

Why is she trawling through her boyfriend’s phone?

I could be his bank manager for all she knows.

So, being the intelligent and fast thinking woman that I am, I replied:

“Hello?”

Yeah, I didn’t know what else to say.

I think she may have repeated the question. I know I repeated ‘hello’. She then put the phone down.

What the???

For a start, I haven’t spoken to any other man than Wild Card since Jan, and before that was Second only. Sure there were a few when I was dabbling in online dating but that was eight or nine months ago! Who the hell still has my number?

Turns out, quite a few. Scrolling through WhatsApp there are many strange faces staring back at me.

Even so, without contact evidence she has clearly gone through his phone book. I could have been anyone!!

Pairs – 9th April, 2020 (daily prompt)

Six months ago, I was single. I had been single for three years. I had been unhappily married for many years before that. Not to a bad man, just the wrong man.

When I split from my husband in 2016, I had no intention of finding someone else any time soon. I grieved the failure of my marriage even though I had wanted it to end for some time. And then, my Dad was sick so the focus was on him.

Occasionally I thought I might be ready. It never lasted long. I would dally with online dating or chatting but would quickly get bored or recognise signs in myself that I wasn’t ready.

At the end of October last year, I decided that I would try dating again. I was ready. But I decided that rather than focus on finding a long term commitment, I would just happily enjoy communicating, flirting and dating. No pressure, no rush.

I was surprised at the amount of attention I received. Sure, some I wasn’t interested in. Some were just after one thing. But I was enjoying myself, taking my time. A couple I really began to enjoy talking to.

And then Wild Card came along. I’d joined Facebook a few weeks before as my friend had recommended it as a good way to chat to people, men and women, and to build my confidence. She felt it was a secure way to talk/flirt with men as they often lived too far away for them ever to be more than online flirtations. Boy, was she wrong.

I said I’d give it a try. I joined a few groups that I was interested in, and that was enough. And then Wild Card sent me a friend request.

When I looked at his profile, my immediate reaction was that he was very attractive. And he was single, so possibly a bit of flirting material? Why not, I thought, and accepted his friend request.

And then he messaged me. And we started to chat online. And then he wanted to videochat. I was reluctant at first, shy, but soon gave in. He was funny and attractive. I enjoyed talking to him. But I quickly decided that was all it would ever be. He was a distraction, a bit of fun away from some of the other men I was in contact with.

But, the more I talked to him, the more I liked him. Soon I liked him as much as an online date I was in regular contact with. And then, I liked him more.

And now, now we are a couple, a pair.

I have no doubts that I am in a relationship with him. I recently let go of my fears and jealousy and have felt all the better for it. It has helped me see all the ways that he shows me, every day, that he loves me. Maybe not the way I expect or even want. But he really does show me.

Except for today. Today, my 40th birthday, he has told me by creating a beautiful and heartfelt video of our pictures, videos and memes set to poignant music. He tells me he loves me, that he loves every moment. That he wants to be with me.

I am in a relationship. I’m one half of a pair. And six months ago, I would never have seen this coming.

The plane finally landed

The plane finally landed.

As soon as I stepped on to the tarmac I felt a sense of… completion, I suppose. Like I’d achieved something. More than that though was sheer excitement and nerves.

I walked in to the airport to be handed a form to fill in before joining a long queue for passport control. Turning off airplane mode showed that he’d messaged nearly an hour before to say he was waiting at the airport. We kept messaging as I moved, ever slower, up the queue.

Eventually, I was walking through double doors into a wide open space… And there he was. Big smile from him, big smile from me, as we walked towards each other. I got the french style two kisses, one per cheek, and he grabbed my suitcase.

It felt weird, surreal. This man that I knew and yet he felt ‘other’ – for the only reason that he was flesh and blood, walking alongside me, brushing up to me as we walked, fingers grabbing mine for a second then letting go.

He kept asking if I was OK, and smiling, and I could tell he was a little nervous too. But oh my was he gorgeous. Really gorgeous.

His poor family had also been waiting in the car and they all got out. I got a handshake and kisses from Dad and a big hug from mum. I felt so welcome.

I sat in the front with Wild Card and we made our way out of the airport. It was half eleven at night but there was still plenty to see. Admittedly, whilst wanting to take in my surroundings, it served as a great diversion tactic from my nerves and shyness.

Except it didn’t work because he kept asking if I was OK. Loud at first and then by whispering to me.

We arrived at his apartment and they all showed me upstairs. They were all so welcoming and friendly that I started to feel at ease despite my nerves. I sat next to him and his hand would absent mindedly touch my back or brush my hair.

Then, he showed me to my room. The door closed and he stepped forward and gave me the softest kiss… Those lips were everything I thought they’d be and more. And then his hand brushed back my hair and held my head as he kissed me again and again. Yes, it was as good as it sounds and as good as you are imagining it.

We then went back into the living room and we all had tea. Soon, his family were going to bed but Wild Card and I stayed up talking for a while.

He is everything I hoped he would be and more.

I know he likes me. They way he looks at me, the frequent but fleeting touches, his kisses, his attentiveness… You can’t fake that.

Coming next – my first full day with him.

Still

Whatever has bothered him over the past week has clearly passed.

He’s been affectionate all day.

Still attentive.

Still loving.

He asked why I like him, again. More evidence that he is feeling as insecure as I am.

I’m still happy. No stress today. No anxiety. Just happy. Still.

Lists, lies and love

Started Saturday…

Four weeks today I could be sat on a train, passport and suitcase packed, on my way to meet Wild Card.

Exciting. Life changing. Scary.

Naturally, this sparked a fresh wave of anticipatory internal querying. Plus, a few other things have occurred to put my mind into overdrive. Again.

Firstly, I must state here and now that Wild Card has done nothing to make me feel anxious or wary. His attentions are consistent. He hasn’t asked for money. He’s not promising me the world or a future of perfect happiness. At times he is teasing and less affectionate than I crave (we can have an entire conversation of him teasing and making fun of me whilst we both laugh and I fake sulk) ; other times he is heartwarming and romantic. Sometimes he is tired and sullen. Sometimes he is too busy to talk. In a sentence: he is an every day man who continues to try to get to know me and who attempts to share his life with me over video.

What has happened this week, is that we had a conversation about Facebook. He noticed that a single man has been ❤️ my photos and I admitted this man has tried to message me. He asked me about him. I said I didn’t know the man. He asked why I was friends with him then. I couldn’t answer that. I deleted him – my suggestion.

Wild Card, however, has a number of women on his Facebook. So I felt it fair to question that too. I asked if they messaged him, he said yes but they were just friends. I think my face said it all. He said that, if we meet and we want to have a relationship then he will delete his Facebook and start again. He also said that he had introduced me to his parents and had invited me to visit, did I really think he had done this with all his female friends on Facebook? He, again, told me to research his culture online. Not something you want to do if you are a scammer, I would guess.

So….. Firstly, he has not hidden anything – he has admitted that girls message him quite openly. Secondly, he is not certain that we will make anything of this, which is fine because a marriage scammer would be wanting to make this certain, not putting insecurity – and reality of this not working – in my way.

And before you ask, I still have a number of attractive and single men on Facebook. He has not queried them or asked me to delete them, even when I said I would.

Last night he called me at six just to say that he knew I was with my family (my mother was visiting and we were having a get-together) and that he hoped I had a lovely time, he didn’t want to message me when I was busy and that he would miss me. A two minute check in. He messaged later on (we said we would talk later but I was still out) to say good night and hoped I was having a good time. Other highlights from this week included him dancing for me and the pair of us in hysterics over it.

So what has sparked this week’s head-stress?

I have told my friend (the Second champion) that I have booked my flights. She had at one point in the past said she would come with me – that, obviously, didn’t come to anything. She reacted better than I thought. She did say it was clear I was in love with him (really??!) and that I needed to be careful in case I came home broken-hearted when he didn’t want me. O… K.. .

My mum’s arrival this weekend also means that I need to tell her more about Wild Card. At Christmas I told her about him. She knows we are in contact, knows where he is from but that’s it – she said immediately that he was just after a visa.

Mum is a tricky one, because at the time of her major mental breakdown/bipolar diagnosis she was being scammed by someone online. He turned out to be from Nigeria and stole thousands from her. (He said he was American, was going to treat her like a princess and had his own business/was wealthy). None of what happened to her has happened to me with Wild Card. But I am fully aware of why she will be worried when I tell her more about him. (He is not Nigerian btw).

I’ve told my ex about my trip. I’ve told him that I am going on holiday for my up-coming 40th and that I am going with my usual travel buddy. Lies. Although, I won’t be able to afford to go on holiday for my 40th now, so that part is sort of true. I hate lying. But it’s got nothing to do with him, other than the fact that he will have our children that week. If I could have found someone to go with me, I would have gratefully accepted. No one will come so I’m going alone.

Yesterday, all this playing on my mind, I sat and wrote lists. Lists of what was concerning me about my trip and what I needed to do to ensure I was safe and confident. Lists of why I liked him. Why I thought he may like me. Lists of anything he had said and done that concerned me. Lists of things he has said and done to make me feel secure.

I felt better afterwards. Ultimately, I am in control in this situation. I don’t have to go. I can change my mind, right up to the point where I board the plane. I can stay wherever I choose. I can meet him or just have a week’s holiday in a nice hotel. I can meet him and never speak to him again. I can meet him and talk to him for years and never do anything again (Him willing, of course, but that makes the above a moot point anyway). Whilst he is still interested, it’s all up to me. If he becomes disinterested, we were not meant to be anyway.

Finished today….

I’m feeling in a much better place. My mum came to spend some 1:1 time with me yesterday. I was on edge. I didn’t know what to say. I wanted to tell her everything but didn’t want her to worry or tell me negative things.. After about half an hour, I couldn’t take any more. I told her everything…

And she has completely put my mind at ease.

Whilst reminding me to exercise caution, she’s told me she trusts me. She said I am an intelligent woman in a much different place than she was. She talked about what happened to her and she said the experiences are worlds apart.

She’s told me that sometimes in life, it’s necessary to come out of your comfort zone and to take risks. Otherwise, you’ll never know what could have happened, what you might have achieved.

I just felt like a weight had lifted off my head and shoulders. I’d told her the truth which was the big thing, but she trusts my judgement and that means a lot.

I honestly don’t know what’s going to happen in the next month. Anything is a possibility. But I’m now excited about this, more than anything. It’s an adventure. I’m going to be careful, and have been doing my research on solo travel and his location, but I am excited to see him and where he lives in equal measure. Well, nearly.

‘What news?’

I’m sorry if I’m coming across all negative at the moment. My posts can’t be that enjoyable to read. But they’re cathartic and that’s what I need.

Due to the unwarranted negativity I’ve had about Wild Card and this… whatever it is… I’ve become reluctant to talk about him to my friends. This creates its own problems as they think I’m hiding something – I’m not. My sisters remain my trusted sounding board in which I have promised that I will hide nothing from them. Although apparently he is all I will talk about. Blush and shrug.

Interestingly, I had a brief conversation with one of my close friends who was particularly scathing when I told her I had said goodbye to Second. She had been very negative about the whole situation, particularly about Wild Card and was almost bitter. When we spoke yesterday though, she admitted that she had in fact mirrored her own situation on to mine – someone she was very interested in online ended the conversations because someone else had come along. I knew she hadn’t got over it but it was clear why she’d reacted so badly to what had happened with Second – she was Second in her own situation, even down to her/him touching base after a few days to see how everything stood. It made her overwhelming negativity towards Wild Card more understable but I’m am still very cautious in telling her anything now. As my sisters say (and herself actually), she is quite a negative person at the best of times, particularly when it comes to relationships.

So, with that, I’m trying to self regulate my anxieties now. On my way to my appointment this morning, when some doubts and fears started to creep in, I loudly told myself to “stop being ridiculous and that we had been on the phone for nearly two hours last night.” What more did I want?

Yes, one hour fifty minutes to be exact. I guess we were making up for the reduced conversations over the weekend. Lots of laughing, lots of talking. It didn’t feel like two hours and I didn’t want it to end when it did – it only ended because three people tried to get hold of me whilst we were talking and he told me to answer the phone.

As we had talked about my son’s birthday, I then sent him a picture of my son blowing out the candle on his cake which he responded really sweetly too. The advice I’ve read about this type of relationship /situation advises to keep them involved in every day life and to send regular pictures etc. He does to me and I’ve started to do so to him. He clearly likes that and I need to do more.

It’s hard to know what to talk about sometimes. This is such a different situation to any other I have experienced. I know I need to work on my own conversation starters and consider that he might actually want to hear about the mediocrities of my life when he asks, ‘what news?’ every day. I don’t know whether it’s because I spend all day talking but I’m not the best at starting conversations.

I’m hoping though that he’s a firm believer in the following, just like I am…

Actions speak louder than words.

Battle lines – an example of the good, the bad and the downright ugly

“It’s important to send lots of pictures, keep him involved in aspects of your every day life.” That’s a great idea. I should do that. And I just took a lovely picture of me and my son today.

Yes, but you’ve not heard from him this afternoon, he’s clearly busy. And is he going to want that picture annoying him when he’s busy? I won’t send it yet. I’ll send it later.

Later. You’re being ridiculous. Firstly, he told you to message him whenever you want. Secondly, he sends you pictures of him and his family. Do the same. Include him. Good point. I will send them.

Oh. They’ve not gone through. Has he turned off his Internet? Maybe he is just busy.

It’s six pm. And he’s seen them. And he’s sent a kiss. That’s sweet. That’s a nice response. I’m glad I sent them now.

But he clearly is busy as he hasn’t sent anything else. So, I will just do the same, send a smiley face or something.

6.30pm. He has messaged! Ah yes, he is visiting family. That’s important to him. It was considerate of him to let me know now as this is when we would usually talk. He knows I would have worried otherwise.

Yeah, unless he’s just telling you not to bother him and is trying to avoid all conversation with you. He might not even be with family. He could be talking to someone else or on a date. He might just be sick of you.

No, it’s Sunday, and he is probably with his family. I will wish him a nice evening and leave it at that.

7pm. Ah he’s messaged again, asking I am not missing him? If only he knew! I’m getting withdrawal symptoms. Now he’s asking what I’m doing. I won’t tell him I’m sitting here stressing like a loser. He’s asked if I want to see him family but I can’t talk, just observe. Hell yes, I do!

And there he is. God he is gorgeous. He’s wearing that black top I like him in. And he’s just given me that face. He’s pleased to see me. ☺ I will mouth that I miss him….that’s hilarious, he’s just pretended to rub his nose so he can hide his mouth as he says ‘no’…..and he’s just winked at me and then rubbed his eyes… If anyone’s watching him they’ll be wondering what is going on…. Ah he’s showing me his family now. They’re all sat together talking. Can he still see me when I’m watching? Anyway, I look OK. Keep smiling.

Ah he’s back. Still gorgeous, still trying and failing to hide his smiles for me. I’ve got to stop panicking.

He’s going to get caught so I will tell him I will go.

I wish I hadn’t said that. He’s gone now. But he’s text goodbye. Sigh. I need to chill out, calm down and stop stressing about nothing. And keep thinking about his smiles and that look.

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.

Pausing the fall

Can you actually do that? I’m going to try.

As is often the way when I write on here, the minute I had posted ‘Falling’ I came off WordPress to see that I’d had a message from Second.

We had a decent text chat and he messaged me again a few hour later before bed. He told me he was out for the day the next day and would have no WiFi but promised pictures when he got home.

He stuck to his word. He sent me beautiful pictures of his destination and then a film montage of him and his family. We chatted until he was too tired to do anything but sleep.

OK, I will admit it, my heart panged a little. What’s made it worse, that despite my perceptions that things have changed, when I checked my phone he has actually been in contact every day since he went home. I didn’t think he had. And I certainly hadn’t expected him to. Sure, the conversations are much shorter, but honestly, what else do I want from him??? He has been in contact every day since flying home, to spend Christmas with his family for the first time in ten years, and since he split with his wife. I feel like an absolute selfish mare.

Naturally, because that’s just the way I am, my head went into overdrive. Thinking, analysing, processing. Add tiredness, a week of much more alcohol than normal and my period and you can imagine the result.

Luckily for me but not for her, my sister chose to call at that point. Saying that, I’m not sure how much she helped. She said she sensed that I was more into Wild Card now and that she felt sorry for Second. She said that she had thought I was really into him and that Wild Card was the distraction. 😕

We tried to pin point when things changed.

It’s when he came home, ironically. It’s from the ‘this isn’t serious, we haven’t met yet, I’m taking it slowly don’t push me’ message he gave me, when I questioned him for suggesting I find someone else. Read it here.

This time coincided with Wild Card seemingly ‘upping his game’. Or maybe I took on board what Second had said, that if ‘another nice man came along it was fair game’. Things with Wild Card have certainly intensified.

I’ve resolved myself to try to take a step back. I haven’t met them yet!!!! They’re nothing more than sexy, attentive, online penpals. I need to calm down.

Am I doing wrong? I feel like I am, still. But I have no real evidence that neither one isn’t doing the same thing.

It’s a mess. No, sexy penpals, that’s all. Pause the fall.

Falling

It’s been five days since my last update on Second. Maybe that says something.

When I last posted about him, he had called me on sunday after dropping his kids off. We had three, long conversations on the phone and it felt like things had gone back to normal. He told me that he would call me on Tuesday as he drove to his parents’ house – a long drive by all accounts.

He surprised me though by texting once he had landed on Monday evening and then by a phonecall as he had paused for a break from his driving. However, when my son interrupted the call he apologised saying he had forgotten that I would have my children. I said it didn’t matter – my daughter was in the room and knew I was on the phone to him – so we spoke for a few more minutes before I said I should let him go then.

“Oh, OK then.” He said it with surprise, like he would have carried on talking. I was so confused! I couldn’t back track so we ended the call.

He didn’t call Tuesday as he had originally suggested he would, but at 10pm when it had turned into Christmas Day where he was, I sent him a voice message wishing him Merry Christmas and hoped he had a lovely time with his family.

Nearly two hours later he replied saying thank you, he was tired after long journeys and busy days and that he would message me the next day.

Which he did. I got a Merry Christmas in the morning and a photo of him and his Dad. I wished him a good day and then there was radio silence… Until I sent him a photo of myself – to return the favour of course – once I had put make up on and done my hair. He saw it but didn’t respond for another five hours. (Yes you read right) He complimented my hair, asked about my day and had I had a good time etc. Shortly after he said he was going to bed.

The next day was my walk with my friend and as I thought one of her gifts was funny and pertinent to a conversation I’d had with him, I decided to send him a picture of it. He replied, short and sweet, but fine.

Again, hours later he sent me a sweet little Christmas video. I sent him some pictures of my walk. He sent me pictures of what he was doing. Chit chat, and then silence.

Four hours after that he sent me a text saying he was sat outside looking at the stars. He then told me he was lonely. I asked a few questions: Asked if he was alright, but he said he was and he was with his uncle. I told him I was always there if he wanted to talk and he thanked me and said he just missed someone to cuddle. I sent him loads of cuddle emojis and he asked about my joke present then went quiet again.

An hour and half later and at 1am where he was, he sent a text asking if I was still awake. Unfortunately, I didn’t see it until 10 minutes after he’d sent it and although I replied, I knew he was probably asleep. Turns out he was.

This morning when I woke I checked my phone and he had just been online. He’d seen my reply but hadn’t bothered to text me back. I waited an hour and a half then sent a simple ‘are you OK?’ He replied quickly, saying yes, asked how I was and said he’d fallen asleep before I had replied. I said I’d guessed as much. Nothing since.

Yes, yes, I know, he said he would be really busy. He must have told me five times. And he has messaged me. But the hard thing is, whilst I knew he would not be messaging me all the time, I didn’t expect the delays in replying particularly when he has already read the message or the fact that at times he has been online but not messaged me. It’s stinging, I will admit it.

I’m trying to do as I promised. I’m texting less so that he can be with his family. I’ve touched base a couple of times. And I do miss talking to him. I’m surprised at how much.

I have a feeling he was probably a little drunk last night. Part of me is touched that he reached out to me when he felt lonely and that I was the last person he messaged before he fell asleep. But… Part of me wonders if that is all I am to him. A distraction when he needs one.

My feelings are falling away. I hate not knowing where I stand and as I over analyse everything and have the self esteem of a hedgehog, this few weeks are not doing me good.

I wonder whether this is contributing to my growing feelings for Wild Card – ever there, ever attentive. Equally though, it’s adding to my fear factor – a few weeks ago I liked them pretty equally and selfishly wanted both (for now) to act as a buffer to the rejection I was sure I would get from one at some point.

I don’t know what to make of it. He’s doing what he said he would. I’m falling for Wild Card. What’s my problem? Is it my ego? My self esteem? Fear?

All I know for sure, is that it’s just making me a little sad, that’s all.