Sweetness

I admit it, I’ve spent most of the evening crying. I’m much calmer now.

I haven’t fully processed everything and I have some decisions to make. But I’m going to sleep on it.

Wild Card was instrumental in calming me down. Intentionally too.

He called me early evening. Despite taking the phone to a darkened room in an attempt to hide my tear stained face, he knew straight away that I was upset. Of course he asked why. Not easy to explain to someone with English as their third language.

It meant that I had to simply it, and in doing so he made an interesting observation. If your sister wants to spend Christmas with your other sister, where is the problem? Why don’t you spend Christmas with one of your sisters too? He then made a slightly disparaging comment about Christmas, but only in the sense that we make so much of it when it’s the simplicity that is important.

It is not up to me to decide who my little sister shares Christmas Day with. It still hurts – a lot – but I’ve also realised that I am a victim of my own success. I work hard to be the ‘big sister’, to be there for them when my parents cannot. I protect them from my own feelings. They both genuinely believed that I wanted to be alone. I can’t really blame her for that, can I?

I’m still hurt. I’m still lonely. But my goodness, did Wild Card pull out the stops. By the end of the call I had been laughing for half of it. He ended it by repeatedly asking if I was OK, and was I going to cry again, no? was I sure? … So sweet. ☺️ My instantaneous anxiety at the end of the call – had I been too miserable, my face looked awful etc etc – was resolved by seeing we’d been on the phone for 50 minutes. No one would spend that much time trying to cheer a girl up whom they didn’t like.

His time and attention and simplicity of thought had calmed me down sufficiently to think again. Second helped too but not as explicitly.

He dropped his kids off at 5pm and called me on the way home. As expected, his text communications over the weekend had been understandably sparse but to call as he was driving home was sweet. My voice was thick with emotion, but luckily I could pass this off as my cold reasonably well. He told me he would call again once he got home.

And he did. This time, ironically thanks to Wild Card, I was calmer and he said immediately that I sounded better. I admitted that I had been upset earlier due to a disagreement with my sister. He didn’t ask about it or talk about it. But we talked for an hour whilst he packed his bags for his early morning flight to his homeland tomorrow.

The conversation felt like we had picked up where we left off. He was humorous, occasionally flirty and reminded me that there are only three weeks til we meet. Hearing him talk about his friends and family showed a sweeter side to him. I believe he is genuinely a nice guy.

Something has shifted though. Whilst he surprised me about talking of our promised date, I am not as excited as I was. I think as I sense the emotional unavailability of him, I’ve become less emotionally available for him. There is definitely emotional baggage regarding his ex.

He mentioned again his inability to communicate as much when away. I, again, reassured him and added that I wouldn’t text as much either as I would not want to interfere with his trip. He’s told me that he will call when he can, and has said he will on Tuesday when he is driving again.

Have I moved him into friendship zone unknowingly? I do care about him and want to meet him but the intensity has shifted somewhat. I still wouldn’t be surprised if we didn’t meet. I can’t even say how I’d feel if we didn’t.

The lovely Naomi (her blog is amazing!) is right. I’ve fallen for Wild Card. Ridiculously stupid and a sure fire way of getting hurt, I know. But three video chats a day, laughter and sweetness will do that to a girl.

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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.

What if

Life is a perpetual struggle for balance, isn’t it?

Yesterday I spoke with a friend and colleague about my complicated online dating life. It’s always interesting to hear a different perspective. Sometimes, knowing someone and their background can help you perceive why they may feel that way and give that advice. In the case of my friend, I was really surprised at her thoughts about the situation. She felt I should carry on as I was for now, but that meeting them, cautiously, was the only way to truly know.

I’ve booked flights to see Wild Card.

They’re not until the end of February. I’ve chosen a time when I can comfortably travel and when the prices were good. It’s enough in advance that I feel like I have plenty of time to continue to get to know him but also to see what may change now he knows I am actually going.

Worst case scenario is that something changes and I don’t go, losing the money. I can actually cope with that.

However even if I don’t meet him at that point, there’s nothing to stop me just going on holiday anyway.  Quite a few people said they would like to go with me… I’ve booked: if they join, they join. Accommodation is relatively cheap and absolutely beautiful. He has shown me enough of his world for me to be intrigued by this beautiful place.

But I’m not deceiving you. At this moment in time, I want to meet him. Then, we will either get on well or we won’t. I feel like after all this time, I would like to know for sure.

I’ve read a lot now around his culture. I found blogs from women not dissimilar to me who are now in a happy relationship. I’ve also found blogs of the opposite.

I know what some of you are thinking. Some of my friends think this too. But how is traveling to meet him any different from Second travelling to meet me? None of us truly know each other. For all Second knows, I could be a psycho bitch.

I refuse to be prejudiced by his culture and the stereotypes of him that my own culture perpetuates. Wild Card is a man and I am a woman. He wants to meet me, I want to meet him. We have spoken to each other’s family. We have seen each other’s homes. He has started, more and more, to include me in the traditions of his family, propping me up to be part of it. I don’t believe he is a bad man. I can’t get to know him properly without meeting him.

However… If I do go with the sole purpose of meeting him, precautions will be taken. I’m not entirely stupid. I’ve found plenty of information and suggestions on protecting myself. I’m still in the hope that I will have some company but I won’t be the first solo traveller, so where’s the problem?

But what about Second?? A few of my friends have asked about him, wondering how I can book flights when I’m due to meet him a month before.

I haven’t met him yet either! I’m not going to put all my hopes into one man, one complicated situation. We may never meet – he’s warned me frequently that there will be much less time for chatting when he goes home on Monday. A lot can happen in a month.

Second has red flags too, possibly more because they’re based upon his words and actions rather than a cultural stereotype. We may meet and not get on either. There are no guarantees that either of us will want to meet again.

I believe in taking chances – amazing things can happen when you do. And I never want to live a ‘what if’ life. That’s no fun for anyone.

Swings and roundabouts

This post was written last night.

And the drama continues…

Wild Card… There are times when the cultural divide feels like a gaping chasm. But I want to learn and so does he.

Tonight we laughed solid for half an hour. That felt amazing. He takes delight in making me laugh, I can see it in his eyes. I’ve talked more with his family too, who seem lovely and respectable. More and more, I’ve realised that meeting up is the only way to know what this really is – and I’m not sure when that can happen either. I am starting to look in the new year. That gives another month before I book for things to become clearer and to either consolidate what we have or prove what we haven’t.

As perhaps was obvious, Second’s attentions have renewed. Yesterday he phoned and video chatted and said that he had considered moving our date forward to this week. In the end, we both agreed that he had too much on with his new house.

Tonight we have talked on the phone for well over an hour. There was flirting, of course there was, but there was also conversation about important parts of our lives: supporting one another, giving advice. It was really lovely. The language barrier with Wild Card makes this sort of conversation more difficult but we have had some chats like this.

Wild Card is more open about his feelings and perhaps more gentlemanly in his conduct. His contact has been much more consistent and I can see, visually, how he feels.

Second is easier to talk to in some respects. Having been married and already having children means there are more similarities between us. But I still don’t know how emotionally available he is and I feel that his mentioning me meeting other men is his way of telling me that. I know he’s interested but I don’t know what for, if that makes sense.

I suppose that I still feel the next few weeks will make or break us. There will be a greater distance there over Christmas. He’s either going to miss me or not, and vice versa.

I’ve tried to follow advice of friends and family and remain on Hinge. I’m talking to a few prospects and have been asked out on a date again but my heart isn’t in it.

Aren’t I stupid?

Paranoia and insecurity

For the first time in two months, Second has not said goodnight to me. My message has sat, unanswered and unread. He’d been on WhatsApp 3 minutes before I sent it, but not talking to me.

Let me take you back a few days. Six days ago, I wrote about our first proper video chat as he has arrived back on British soil following his six weeks at sea:

https://startingfromthemiddleblog.wordpress.com/2019/12/09/moving-into-first/

I ended that post by saying with the right conditions, ‘I could fall hard for this man.’

Conditions are not looking favourable at present.

During our pretty amazing video chat last Sunday, I had mentioned that I had a busy week at work, particularly with after school events, and that on Friday I had my work’s Christmas party. He always seems quite happy when I go out: asks for photos once I’ve got ready and likes my slightly tipsy messages, including a voice message which he said was ‘sexy’. What, me??

During the chat on Sunday and whilst taking about the party, he said that I ‘might find a hot young male teacher there’. Shocked and surprised, and remembering I am on video chat I said ‘really?! Is that what you want me to do?’

He stuttered and went red at this point, quietly said ‘I wasn’t serious’ and quickly changed the subject. Apart from that, the video call was amazing.

Monday was a big day for him. Following some legal issues, he was going to find out whether he had actually bought his house or not.

By the evening, he had his keys. This week then, he has been busy trying to buy and move furniture. I know this, I know how stressful this is.

We’ve still messaged every day and I actually spoke with him on the phone on Wednesday. All good. Sure, the chat has felt a little different and not as long but there is a good reason for that, isn’t there? There were a few jokes about the ‘hot young teacher ‘ from both of us, but I tried not to contemplate what this might mean. We had a really sexy chat on Thursday night, taking about our future date. Again, all good but earlier in the evening I was aware that he wasn’t just talking to me from the delay in replies although he was online.

Friday morning… Nothing. I messaged him in the day, hoping he was OK and that his house shopping was going well: that night he would have his daughters over for the first time in his new home. He was busy getting last bits ready. No request for pictures that night, though I recognised that he had more important things on his mind.

As the night went on there were some messages sent, some of which he initiated. I sent him some pictures of myself but he didn’t acknowledge. He sent me some pictures of his home.

Then he asked me how I was getting on with the ‘young male teacher’. So, baring in mind that I’d had a few drinks by now and that I often wear my insecurities round my neck like a cape, I started to worry.

Why does he keep mentioning that?

Is he joking?

Is he insecure himself and trying to work out if he’s the only one?

Is he trying to hint that he has met someone else or wants to and I need to move on?

I told him there was no make teacher and he said, ‘Awww’. What the??

I told him that if I had, the teacher would have been pretty fed up as I had messaged him all night.

‘Maybe he will be nice like me and understand that you need to.’ What?

The conversation ended pretty soon after that as he was going to bed.

So, with a drink person’s truth, I told him that he was really confusing me but wished him goodnight. He didn’t respond again that night.

But he did the next morning.

I woke to a ‘good morning’ and an inquiry about my night. He then asked what I was confused about.

Having already read back the proceeding night’s messages, I decided to avoid the latter question. I asked him about how his girls had enjoyed the first night in his home.

Before long though, he asked about my confusion again. Oh hell. There was no avoiding it a second time.

I said that the meeting another man confused me because I wasn’t sure what he meant by it. I said that I understood he may be talking to other women but that I wasnt going to encourage that.

He told me that I needed to learn that he had a wicked sense of humour. I replied,

‘so you were joking then? It’s hard to tell over text.’

He told me that he was not telling me to move on, but that if I was to meet a nice guy then that’s fair enough. It was all ‘fair game’.

My head was spinning here, and it wasn’t just the hangover. Anyone who dates online acknowledges that the other person will have more than one on the go. Isn’t that the point at first? And deep down, if he met someone else, I would be happy for him in as much as I would be gutted for me. But I’m not going to openly encourage other people!

So… He tells me he finds me attractive, sexy, funny, lovely, special and that he wants to meet.. We’ve talked repeatedly each day for two months, even down to him questioning how quiet I’ve been if I don’t text first in the morning…. But it’s OK Ustome, feel free to date other people, just in case. Who does that? Sure, accept that it may be happening, but to openly encourage that?

My insecurity was sky high at this point.

‘But you still want to meet? Or am I just someone online until you meet a nice woman?’

In hindsight, I see how incendiary that was. I just needed to know.

He said ‘of course’ he wanted to meet and that ‘I was being paranoid’

I said I wasn’t and that I was just confused. I said that I understood now. I then questioned the distance and said I was still fine with it and was he?

I probably asked for this next response:

Did I ask for that?

The conversation ended ok. There were messages on and off throughout the day, initiated by both of us. I sent him a picture of myself in a Father Christmas and he responded in a typical, positive way. Maybe it was just me being insecure and paranoid.

At around ten pm, having not heard from him in a couple of hours (which was unusual) I asked him if he’d had a good day with his girls.

He replied that he had and that he was watching a film with them. When I said that I wouldn’t interrupt then, he said ‘no, it’s okay, how was your day’.

A few more messages exchanged and he sent me a picture of himself with a glass of wine as we had both admitted we were having one. I responded as I should.

Then nothing again.

Like the crazy, insecure woman I have become, I periodically went on WhatsApp and saw he’d been online a few times since but hadnt messaged me.

He was last on at 11.11. I messaged goodnight at 11.15. Nothing. It’s the first time in weeks that he hasn’t said goodnight.

After half an hour of WhatsApp watching, I knew he wasn’t going to respond and was probably in bed.

My anxiety was through the roof.

Yes I know, maybe he’d had a busy day, had a couple of glasses of wine in front of the fire and had gone to bed.

Maybe he has someone else.

Maybe he was checking his phone as much as me.

Either way, it stung.

I read the following post last night from one of my favourite dating bloggers :

https://wp.me/p5vuqV-8f9

It hit home for me too. Having spoken about the impact of getting his first home and how this has made him reflect on his divorce, I suspect that he hasn’t been emotionally available this week which is why I’ve sensed some changes.

Fact is, without the ‘get a young male teacher’ debacle, I would have just put the changes down to the stressful week he has had.

I don’t know how to proceed now. Back off and give him space? Won’t that just give him the invitation to move on?

Carry on being myself and hope that he won’t find me clingy?

What hurts, I think, was that there was no hint that he was taking to two people when he was at sea. The amount of time we were occupied in texting meant that it was impossible. Ironically, things have changed since he got home which would suggest that if he does have someone new, it’s a new thing. That’s what stings. He is still deleted off Bumble, because I checked. Doesn’t mean he is not on something else.

All I can do is wait and see. Maybe he’s not emotionally available. Maybe he is the right person but wrong time. Maybe I’ve scared him off. Or I am paranoid.

I know I’m being a hypocrite.

*********

I’ve slept on this post.

We will see today. He could message me this morning. He has his kids until tonight I think, and there was talk of another video chat/phonecall.

I don’t know how to respond, what to do.

My self esteem is so low that I’m expecting him to leave. I always have.

Up until this week, things have been great. I don’t know what I can do anymore. I suppose it’s over to him.

Raising the red flags.

Whilst I’d been relatively happy with Wild Card’s apology, explanation and discussion following his jealous outburst on Saturday, comments left by some of you did hit home. I’ve been thinking quite a bit about it and I’ve decided that for every slushy thing I write, I’m going to temper it with a reality check which will be written in brackets.

He continues to video chat each day. (of course he does, he wants you captivated – doesn’t he?) Sunday, he was really sweet and I again felt we had a good conversation (he’s making up for his jealous outburst on Saturday).

Yesterday was pretty interesting. We had brief texts in the morning and then again in the evening. I wasn’t myself – I’d started to put Christmas decorations up and had found some items which reminded me of my Dad. Next minute he was video-calling me. He was eating his dinner with his family – in the weeks I have known him, he has always ended a call before eats, naturally. (Did he think I was being off with him?)

He asked how I was, and then started to make me laugh. He asked me to say his name – apparently when I’m being indignant, as in when he is teasing me, I use a particular tone that he likes and finds funny. He kept asking me to do it.

He asked about the decorations and then asked again if I was OK. I explained about my Dad. We talked for a little longer, whilst he was attempting to eat. He again made me laugh and kept checking if I was OK and was I alright now, before eventually he went to finish his dinner. It was sweet. (what can I say that’s bad about that??)

****************************

I swear that man knows when I’m writing about him negatively.

He’s just called. Again, an enjoyable chat whilst he drank tea with his family. His mum wanted to see my Christmas decorations.

I just don’t know anymore. I’m second guessing/over analysing everything now. I may have been doing that all along, actually, but it feels worse now.

Why do I like him? Am I really that shallow that it is because of his looks? (my goodness he is delicious.) Is it because of the way he makes me laugh? Is it because of the way he makes me feel?

I can’t do this. I don’t believe all the negative things I’m writing but neither do I entirely trust all the positive.

My sister can’t understand how I can like both equally. She said ‘they’re so different’ so how can I feel the same?

I have no idea.

They are very different. But they both make me laugh, have both shown kindness. Have both been complimentary and constant. They both have things about them that make me feel insecure at times, but that’s as much me as them.

Moving into first

Yesterday I was pretty much in a permanent state of excitement. Second was due to fly home and we were going to have a video chat. To me, it felt like an impending date.

We have had two very short video chats up til now. The first was the night before he flew out for work and he surprised me – I wasn’t expecting the video call as we’d only chatted on the phone or messaged previously. The conversation had been short but good, yet I was shy too. It also didn’t help that my son had walked in as we were talking.

The second time was even shorter – he attempted to call me whilst on board his ship. The picture quality was awful so we soon gave up.

Yesterday’s promised video chat, once he was back on British soil, had built up into epic proportions.

He text me throughout the day – before leaving for the airport; waiting for his first flight, waiting for his second. For both of us, the texts were full of promise for what was to come. There may have been a little gentle teasing on his part in anticipation for my flushed face – however short the previous video chats had been, that had been pretty obvious both times.

It was going to be late before he finally landed in Scotland and reached his hotel, but he’d given me an estimate of ten o clock.

My house has never been so tidy. I was frenetic, desperate to burn off this anticipation and to pass the time.

Admittedly, at 9.30pm, I poured myself a gin, checked my make up and hair and then sat to listen to music.

He finally messaged just before ten to say he had landed and would get his bag and then a taxi and then would call.

I would say that was the longest hour of my life. He kept in touch but, as you would expect from a busy airport, he was delayed at each stage although he kept me updated.

Normally blushing, my face was flushed with the gin and the tension whilst I waited, and I fanned myself desperately in attempt to calm down .

If any of you were a fly on the wall, you no doubt would have laughed st my antics during that hour. At one point I actually feared that he wasn’t going to call at all as the time continued to drag.

And then, he was there. Yes, I blushed numerous times. He likes it apparently (I’m not so keen). The conversation was pretty much fluid. There were a few suggestive moments (which added to the blushes) but he was a gentleman and what’s more, he is as gorgeous as I thought he was. I could get lost in those eyes.

It’s still a month until our date but he said he would speak to me today. I can’t wait for either.

I started to engage with Wild Card all those weeks ago because I knew that I was getting attached to Second and needed the distraction.

Second has behaved impeccably in the two months I’ve known him. We’ve been in contact, at length, every single day, even to the extent of discussing things that had been worrying each other in our lives generally.

But even as I write all this, it doesn’t change the fact that he lives four hours away. Distance means absolutely nothing to him. He travels around the world for work. He seems to have friends all over the country and thinks nothing of driving to see them. But it means something to me and this is the one red flag that is keeping hold of my feelings and interest and encouraging me not to get too attached.

Given the right conditions, I could fall hard for this man.

In the middle of the night

Last night, I went to bed on a high.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How have I got myself into this bizarre situation?

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

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

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

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

Dating dilemmas

The situation with Second continues to develop positively.

We message every day and his texts are becoming more and more affectionate. We are both looking forward to our date, which is still a very long six weeks away.

However, he is back in the UK from Sunday, which means we will be back to phonecalls and some decent video chat time before he flies to his homeland to see his parents for Christmas.

Of course that, plus some tangible changes in Wild Card’s behaviour this week (more on this later) has sent my anxiety rocketing. So what do I do? I go back on Hinge.

Within a few hours I was messaging four men. I think they sum up Internet dating pretty succinctly:

1) Absolutely 100% perfect body man messages me. I’m confused – erm, why are you going for the chubbilicious mother of three? Because he wasn’t 39 and probably wasn’t the 29 he owned up to. I would guess he was early 20s. And despite his repeated protestations that I was ‘sexy’ and why should age matter if he’s interested, he was definitely a no go. Even if he had the body of a God.

2) Cute looking, age appropriate divorcee. Funny, complimentary. Great. Until he admitted that he had too much baggage for anything serious. Next.

3) Age appropriate funny guy. Trying too hard to the extent he wasn’t funny. Sorry, but no thanks. Please don’t call me ‘presh’.

4) Local guy. Seems nice. Some pictures are cute, some are not. Seems normal. Asks me out on a date, on Sunday, after a couple of hours of texting intermittently. Really? Apparently so. And in my anxiety driven state I agree.

I’ve been worrying about it since. Yes, I want to go on an actual date. I still haven’t been on an actual date. But I feel bad on Second, and I kind of feel bad for the guy. I’d be going on a date to help me not fall for the man I’ve been messaging every day for seven weeks and won’t see for another six. I’m not sure even modern dating rules would be OK with that.

In regards to Wild Card…. Well, he’s got family over which has been keeping him busy. That’s his reasoning. Video chats have been short. One time he said he would call back and then didn’t (sincere apology the next day when I pointed that out). The longer ones have been later at night and he has started to fall asleep whilst talking to me (again, he has apologised the next day). Whilst romantic me quite liked the fact that he was clearly trying to find time to speak to me, up to the point where he couldn’t keep his eyes open AND watching him fall asleep was second best only to actually lying there with him…. His attention has been different. Last night I questioned him on it, and he said he wasn’t different he had just been busy. So, is it anxious me or are things slowing down? Probably a bit of both.

He still questions my feelings for him and I’ve no doubt that me questioning his own has put ‘a spanner in the works’. We both appear to be struggling with the honesty and integrity of each other. Easy to understand considering the distance and cultural divide.

When it’s good though, it’s really good. We laugh and joke and talking to him face to face, even behind a camera lens, shows facial expressions that cannot be faked.

I really don’t know where to go with this one. I can accept that the addition of family this week has put a strain on his time and energy, so maybe I do need to trust him a little more.

Tonight he called me and we chatted for about 20 minutes. Amongst other things, he asked again about the possibility of me visiting him. He then had to go for a family dinner and said he would call back. I’m still waiting, and it is unlikely to happen now as I know that this is around the time he goes to sleep. 😒 Are my expectations too high? He was genuinely apologetic last time it happened but…. I don’t know. Am I that easy to forget to call, or even text to say he’s tired and will call tomorrow? Culturally, his family come first – research has shown me that. I get that even without knowing that.

Last time, I sent him a message saying he hadn’t called me back. He messaged me super early in the morning apologising and when he video chatted later that day had asked if I was angry with him. This time, I’m going to do nothing. No texts in complaint or even just to say hello and see what happens.

He probably, like me, has someone else. I’d be a hypocrite to think otherwise or to be critical about that.

***********

And, he’s just called. He hadn’t gone to sleep, although he was in bed. We had a really sincere, deep conversation.

Back to square one.

And I’m cancelling Sunday’s date.

Just words

For the past month I’ve been feeling pretty good.

Work is hard but much better with the new Headteacher. I feel valued and I love my new job.

After a health scare and a series of tests, I’ve been told I have IBS and have discovered I have a gluten intolerance – much better then the pancreatic cancer that Google diagnosed. This has meant that I have cut out a large part of my previous diet. I’ve lost a stone and a half so far. I can see it, I can feel it.

Online dating has been beneficial too. With my more open mind and ‘modern’ dating theory, I enjoyed talking to different men even if the chats have subsequently drifted away. I’ve been complimented and that has helped me feel good. My perceptions of myself are changing.

So, all in all, there’s been a spring in my step.

Friday, I went Christmas shopping with my friend. We went to Manchester, a city I barely know. We went to the art gallery, shopped – tried to find coffee shops with gluten free food and failed – and generally had a good time.

We went to one place particularly as my friend loved it there. It was a market hall of alternative stalls – think piercings, incense and rock band t shirts. Not my thing, but she loved it. As she was browsing, I noticed the stall opposite was selling 50s style dresses.

Before I knew it, I was trying one on. The smaller size. And it looked good! The sweetheart neckline emphasised my full bust, the tight waist band and narrow belt cinched in my newly rediscovered waist. The skirt floated over my hips and covered the parts of me that I still want to hide. I felt beautiful.

I came out the changing room, and beckoned my friend over from the other stall.

Whilst I value the honesty of my friend normally, I did not expect the reaction I received. Frowning, she said, ‘you need to wear a cardigan with that’.

When I stated that I didn’t think I did (doubt already creeping in) she replied that the dress made my shoulders look wide.

I went back into the changing room and took off the dress. As I changed, I saw the loose skin that has appeared as I have lost weight. I saw the areas of my body that still need to lose more. I was deflated.

Is this what’s going to happen when I meet Second? Or Wild Card? I will dress up and feel good, only for them to see my faults??

Later, my friend tried to back-pedal but it was too late.

Just words.

Yesterday, I was not in a good place. My insecurities had all come back, the spring in my step had gone.

Wild Card had called me earlier in the day but I had been at my sister’s. Whilst still being very much covered up, he happened to see more of my body than he had previously. The video chat was brief because I said I was going home soon and then I would call him.

Half an hour later I tried but there was no answer. Hours passed and still no response. So I tried again – this time he was already on the phone. I left it for fifteen minutes and decided to try once more. If I got no response then I knew he’d disappeared. Clearly he hadn’t liked my body. Who could blame him?

I had spiralled in to a pit of self loathing and negativity.

I called. No answer.

I then may have sent a text stating that he had disappeared since he had seen my body. Yes I know, clingy move.

I deleted it hastily, before messenger claimed he had read it. But within seconds he had replied telling me he was driving and to wait.

Anxiety ripped through me. What had I been thinking? How stupid was I to believe the things he said? No doubt his previous video chat when I couldn’t get through was to another woman.

The vile and self depreciating thoughts spiraled out of my head and into the pit of my stomach.

Eventually he called. He was out with family and the call was brief. He said we would talk later.

I finished getting ready for the charity night I was attending with family. Nothing looked right, not even the dress I was now able to wear for the first time because I have lost weight. There were bags under my eyes and my skin tone was awful. My legs looked huge and my hair wouldn’t style.

My family commented on my silence as I drove them to the party. I was contemplative, internal. I considered the power of someone’s words, however innocently and sincerely meant, to change my thought processes. I thought about how I was pining for Wild Card’s attention when I feared he had disappeared. How strong my developig feelings for him were becoming … A man I had only dated on video chat.

I felt stupid, ridiculous. So what if I’ve lost weight, I’ve got so much more to lose! I haven’t even met either man, what was possessing me to think that either could work? I was just a flirty distraction to them, that’s all. There was no way that I was there only me in their lives, this is the modern world. And what a hypocrite I am to even want that, I am talking to two men, just to ‘hedge my bets’.

Just words.

The charity party was a great success and I did start to relax a little. During the night I had brief contact from Wild Card and more regular communication from Second. I perked up a little.

When I got home and crawled in to my lonely bed, I couldn’t help but message Wild Card. I told him I hoped he’d had a good night with his family and that I was looking forward to speaking with him soon.

To my surprise, considering the hour, he messaged back. He asked if I had missed him, and I replied that I had. I was honest about fearing he had disappeared. He told me what I knew all ready – he had been busy with family. It wasn’t the right time to go into how a text stating that, would have saved me an evening of anxiety, but I will at some point.

I’ve stopped going on to the dating apps and how allowed other connections to drift away. I would willingly date either man now, yes slowly, just because I want to know them more.

But my insecurities have now peaked. I’m questioning the logic in focusing my attention on two men in which any potential dating would be problematic. I’m just not sure I have the heart to start again. I know I don’t have the heart to say goodbye either.

And yet, what have I had?

Just words.