Defining the dream

I haven’t written half as much as I wanted or probably needed to, about my last trip to see Wildcard. In summary….it was wonderful but challenging.

At times I felt so loved and cherished- not just by him but also by his family. I felt so much love from them and for them. I was happy and content.

At times, I felt confused. I felt like I wasn’t sure how he felt about me, what was happening.

Once again, there was no conversation about our future. There was no proposal. I half expected this, but I can’t pretend there wasn’t hope somewhere.

I came home frustrated with myself for my conflicting feelings. I came home disappointed that he hadn’t committed.

A few days ago, I told him I had posted a parcel out – the photobook of our little holiday with his parents, and some other little gifts. He asked why I had posted them, and I replied: because I don’t know when I’m coming next – do you?

He then did his typical thing. He joked. He told me “next year”. I did my typical of not being sure if he was serious, and became distant. At this point, he told me he was joking and that I could come when I want, as long as it didn’t coincide with his brothers coming (which I wholeheartedly understand).

It had unsettled me though, a little. Because it was clear that he still has no concrete plan for commitment.

This was brought up with my sister and we had a long conversation. She said my family had expected me to come home engaged. We discussed this. I told her that neither of us were in the position to do this – I needed to sort my career, finances and house. He needed to secure his parents and wait for his brothers to be in a position to help. When I said I would give him one more year, she surprised me by asking why I would put a limit on, if he was all I wanted?

Good point.

Because, as my London friend commented: I don’t want to wait for him, only for him to change his mind at some point in the future. I am TERRIFIED of this.

Waiting for it is not helping me. I’m anxious and clingy. I’m needy and demanding. It’s not the waiting but the uncertainty.

I truly believe that he thinks all is well. His actions would suggest that he believes me to be his wife and when the right time comes, it will be made official and he will move here.

The problem, of course, is that my life has undergone a massive upheaval is the last 18 months. The upheaval isn’t over yet. Most of this is completely outside of him and his control. THAT, I need to accept.

I’ve been unable to truly determine what I want from my life for a long, long time. I had once achieved all I wanted. Yet, I wasn’t happy. Most of that has now changed or disappeared. All I know now, is that I want him.

What does that actually mean?

Finally, finally, I’ve allowed myself to truly think about that. I’ve made myself daydream about a weekend in the life with him. I felt it as I wrote…every touch, laugh and look. You can find it here:

https://startingfromthemiddleblog.wordpress.com/2022/08/14/dare-to-dream/

I can’t coast any longer. I’ve made one decision- about my career – and whilst I’m not sure it is the right one, I’ve made a plan. This daydream was about my love life and my family life. It’s something I haven’t dared to do for a long time out-of fear.

I’ve started to analyse it. In my next post, you’ll hear what I think this all means.

Trip 5, day 3: The switch.

I can hear the crackle of the open fire. Something delicious is on its way for dinner.

It’s been another lazy day. So far, apart from a mild hiccup last night, Day 3 wobbles have not surfaced. That’s not to say they’re not there- they are – but I’m managing them. Just about.

I’ve read two books, doodled, listened to music, played online games, played cards, and stared at Wildcard any chance I get.

It’s very hot here. Too hot to venture out. I’m enjoying relaxing, I really am. Honest.

I keep remembering that this is his holiday too. He needs to relax even more than me. He’s not had a holiday in two years. And believe me, it’s not that I want to be pff out every day either. I love just being close to him. It’s just…I don’t have the means to entertain myself like I do at home. At home there is always something to be done. Here? Nothing.

There’s always thinking. I have the time and capacity for that. I love him with an astounding complexity. There’s no other way to describe it.

He’s sleeping now.

******

The meal was delicious.

I will admit, I did start to feel a little…restless. We played cards briefly, but I didn’t find a game that he would latch onto so it was a couple of games and then he’d had enough. I drew, I read. Yup- restless.

Maybe ‘restless’ is another cause of Day 3 wobbles.

I tried hard, I really did. I acknowledged that my big feelings were affecting me. I tried my best not to let them escalate or alter my behaviour. Admittedly, I was a little quieter today. But that’s ok. No outbursts, reduced sulking, no arguments.

And then, it happened.

In one of our jokey moments, I’d whined about wanting affection ( I literally whine to torment him – very fun). He didn’t understand however, so I explained it to him by stroking his arm and squeezing his hand. He replied that I wanted to be treated like a pet? That man has a real sense of humour. 😆

He must have taken it on board though. A few hours later, to my surprise, he reached out and stroked my hand and arm. I couldn’t believe it.

Let’s be clear here, he does touch me. His feet always find themselves in my lap or nestled behind my back. He will sometimes steal a kiss as he walks past. He slaps my bottom. When we are alone we cuddle and entwine legs and arms but we’re just not alone very much. To put this in context, it’s not his culture to have regular PDA. And I probably want far more than my fair share as I figure I’ve missed out on it for months and I’m a romantic. And he is irresistible. But…well, there isn’t a lot of it. Or, enough of it.

So, as I stared dumbfounded our hands, his hand swirling patterns on my skin, I got a lump in my throat. I turned away and admittedly…there were few tears. The fan was the most interesting thing in the room. As always, he noticed. He asked why I was upset and after a pause I replied, “because you don’t touch me like that very often.” He was a little shocked.

Since then? Woah. I’ve had stolen kisses at every opportunity. In the car he grabbed my hand in between gear changes (he has never done that before). He’s caressed my skin. It’s like I’ve flipped the switch somehow.

And I wonder if, in this circumstance, it’s about what you don’t know. They’re not a physically demonstrative family outside the European norm of two kisses on the cheeks. He’s never brought a girlfriend home before – probably never spent such a prolonged time with one. He’s a man set in his ways each day.

Of course, there’s a good chance he will forget this all tomorrow. But for today? We’ve survived Day 3 wonderfully.

Trip 5, day 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And so to patience. Here are my trip pledges:

I am patient and understanding.

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

I’m committed to relax, laugh and enjoy.

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

And now, to wait patiently.

Positive v negative

“Well son, I’m afraid life doesn’t work like that. You will have problems every day and you have to learn to deal with them.”

Oh yes.

My parent-wisdom words, no doubt regurgitated from hearing them myself as a child.

Is it wisdom though? Am I teaching resilience there or perpetuating negative thinking? As in, they’re not problems but a natural part of day to day life?

April has been a ‘problematic’ month for me.

I came home from seeing Wildcard, exhausted after travel and heart ache, and threw myself into work. Then a moroseness swept over me. And flu. So my solution was to stay in bed for four days. Yes I was ill, but equally I was down.

I got better, but within a week I was ill again. The annual, ‘Is it hay-fever, is it a summer cold’ debate resulted in a fever induced covid test which of course, turned out positive.

I’m grateful I didn’t have it as bad as some. But it was bad enough, despite my three vaccines. Head cold, fever, tight chest, aching limbs and neck, cough and absolute fatigue. As the days went on, a temporary well feeling would be quickly met with a need to go back to bed. My re-test only became negative after 8 days, and whilst I could have followed ‘Government’ guidelines after 5 days to return to work, as I am sure they are banking on, I couldn’t face going and infecting someone else.

Unfortunately, morals don’t always pay and I will be missing a week’s wage in what will already be a tight month. I will survive. And that is positive thinking for you. Or possibly sheer dumb avoidance. I can’t change the situation either way and it could be worse. Maybe karma will send me some better luck.

Of course, positive thinking doesn’t immediately help my daughter when she has been ‘dumped’ by another 18 years old who has decided after months of sweet talk and pursuit that he doesn’t want a relationship. It doesn’t help my son who is still waiting for his ASD diagnosis or not as the case may be. In these situations, a dose a negative actually does the world of good – in life, it seems that things always be a lot worse more often than a lot better.

This is my current and forced train of thought over the booked but no longer required trip to see Wildcard in the May Half term. As both sisters and my daughter are away themselves, there is no one to house and pet sit. I haven’t really got the money to pay for train tickets and a hotel and Wildcard didn’t even know I’d booked and nor has he asked if I am going. So, I’m not.

No, I haven’t yet tried to move the tickets and yes, I have longingly looked at my flights and train ticket prices. But it’s impossible at the moment so I need to just get over it.

On the plus side, one of his brothers is finally going over after three years (covid) and as this was one of the stipulations for Wildcard deciding that he is ready to let his parents fend for themselves so he can marry me, I guess this is another occasion for trying to see the positive side.

My birthday

“Tell me something good.”

“I can’t. I don’t have the words.”

“Yes you do.”

“You know I’m not good in English.”

“Yes you are. Go on, tell me something good.”

“I love you. And I miss you.”

His eyes were closed, head resting on his hand which lay between him and his pillow. At first his words seemed unreal, almost humoured in tone: his go-to when I ask him to open up. But then, as he continued, his tone changed and I knew that every word he said was true.

“I miss your kisses and your hugs. I miss coming to you in the morning and coming next to you in the bed. I miss wrapping your legs with my legs. I miss kissing you and touching your body. I miss making love.

I miss your laughter and your smiles. I miss coming home from work and you’re waiting for me.”

He laughs a little.

“I miss those kisses where I am afraid, but you hold me with both hands and you kiss me again and again. And I am afraid my parents will see but you kiss me again.”

Tears ran down my face as he spoke but I was smiling too. For he said everything that I felt, everything that I loved and everything that I missed too.

The best birthday present I have ever received.

Ouch.

I’m ill.

It started Friday with that prickly, tickly throat thing. By Saturday morning I was bed ridden – head cold, cough, temperature, sore skin and aching body. Everything hurts. You know the type. I’ve completed three lateral flows but they have all come back negative. So it’s just your usual flu. How nice.

I’m vain and sentimental enough to want to speak to Wildcard often as he cheers me up but not want to because I look awful. What a cruel world.

Yesterday I had ‘joined them for lunch’, as in, he had propped me up on the tea kettle, always looking at him. My favourite thing to look at. He turned to speak to his parents and whilst I had no idea what he was saying, I caught that face. The one with the twinkle in his eye, where he seems to speak from one side of him mouth in an almost cheeky mutter. He was saying something cheeky and funny. He then laughed.

I felt this absolute tsunami of love wash over me, right in that instant. So much so that there were years in my eyes. I can’t tell you how much I wanted to be with him, right there, right then.

He’s called me multiple times today. He’s laughed and joked at my broken voice but has been caring too.

Tonight, after what seems like 48 hours in bed, I finally got up and made soup and watched TV with my daughter. We are watching a series together.

In the scene, the hero stares lovingly at his girl. As he slowly reaches down to press a kiss on each of her cheeks, my mind was taken back to only a few months ago. I’d been stood in the doorway to his apartment as he washed his car. He finished, brought in the coiled hose and brushed up the last of the water. Closing the heavy door behind him, he turned to me, glancing up the stairs before grabbing me. He kissed one cheek and then the other. He kissed my forehead, my nose, my chin and finally…finally….my lips. It was the most romantic and loving thing he had ever done.

My London friend and I have barely talked for two weeks. I don’t know whether that says more about her or me. She’d never shown a dislike of him up until that time: instead helping to calm my anxieties and appreciate him for the good man he was. Not anymore. So now, we have nothing to talk about. She is now in the same bracket as my sister and my old best friend: people who have openly stated their dislike and distrust of him, with no evidence, so now we don’t talk as much.

Whilst a part of me will always be wary, will always doubt and question (partly because of my past history, partly because of my confidence and partly because of what I know has happened to others) it is a very very small part. I love him and trust him. I don’t believe you kiss someone like that unless you want to and feel something.

If only I looked this cute when ill.

Options

Re-read that. Just let it sink in a little.

So went my conversation with my London friend a few days after my last post.

I’ve floated about in no man’s land ever since.

Long Distance Relationships are hard. Most people don’t believe in them or trust them. They can be isolating. There’s lots of advice out there telling you to ‘continue to live your life’ and I do. But you don’t want to miss a minute with your other half, set in the knowledge that this is all you have.

My London friend is in her own LDR with a man from the same country as Wildcard. So you can imagine the effect these conversations have had on me.

I haven’t been the same with Wildcard since. Or her for that matter. Her words play on loop in my mind whenever I speak to him. It’s not that I think she is right. It’s just that she could be. She found an anxiety I already had and amplified it. Now I can’t drown out the noise.

Without telling him what she has said, we have talked about our situation. And equally, some of what he says could be true too. I can’t underplay how much of an upheaval moving to the UK would be. He talks of starting at zero, nothing, of having to rely on me. He talks of leaving his parents alone, his career, his car, his friends.

And this is where the sharp edge of words come in to force – I am an option.

Whether he loves me or not, I am still an option. One that he hasn’t yet decided on.

He says he wants to be with me. He just hasn’t decided yet. For me there is no option: I don’t want anyone else. The course of our life isn’t decided though and there are decisions we need to make together. I suspect that his culture has brought him up to believe that he makes the decisions. I can’t be sure.

(She also says I make too many excuses for him)

Yesterday he posted a video on social media of him and his cousin’s little girl. It was cute. Adorable. He looked happy. And sexy.

And herein lies the next problem. If he waits much longer to make his ‘decision’ the option to have a baby may be taken away from us. I’m not getting any younger.

How long do I wait, then?

At what point do I realise that he is never going to commit, and move on? Or do I wait for him to find a better option and leave me?

He can’t win, really. If he had proposed too soon (which isn’t soon for his culture) my family and friends would have had the visa thief banners out. If he doesn’t propose then people accuse him of not actually loving me and seeing me as a option.

When is the right time? What time is actually acceptable?

Monday is our two year anniversary of meeting. Two whole years of multiple daily video chats. But I have only spent just over 4 weeks with him in person. He hasn’t physically met any of my family, including my children.

Am I making excuses again?

Tonight, as I dropped off my children, it occurred to me that I will be spending another weekend alone. That if I had someone closer, I would have arranged a date with him. Instead, I’m alone. I’ve had my videochat and we have said goodnight.

***********

As seems to be the way nowadays, I write a post, pause so I can edit and then….I don’t. So this update comes two days later on a bright Monday morning.

Saturday came and went. I couldn’t tell you what I did exactly. Half heartedly cleaned the house and fed my children – which is pretty much what I’ve done for the last six months – until it was time for them to go to their Dad’s.

Yesterday I was alone. I lazed in bed until a ridiculous hour, because, why not? And then, in a fit of frenzy, I decided to put some makeup on for the first time in a week and get the hell out of the house. I took myself off to a local pop up artisan fair – spent money I don’t have, reminisced about all the fairs I had done with my dad, considered whether I could actually start my own business this way and annoyed Wildcard because he couldn’t understand why I had all of a sudden put a face full of make up on to go to a market. He got over it.

I don’t mind his controlling behaviours. And the reason for that, is that I am actually stronger than he (and my London friend) think. He has never stopped me from going anywhere I really wanted to go. His sulking bemused me and makes me feel wanted. Once his own insecurities are resolved by showing him that yes, I did go out to a market wearing that make up alone, he relaxes. It’s no different to how I feel when he goes out wearing his sexy black jumper and dark blue jeans.

In the evening we had our usual chat and we discussed my anxiety with the slow start of my tutoring. He reminded me that there was a lot I could be doing (and what had I been doing for the past six months?) Whilst I waited. Whilst joking, he managed to call me out on a lot of my behaviours this last few months. Whether he realised he was doing this or not, I don’t know. But it set off a series of truth fireworks in my mind.

Seeing my distress, he probed my feelings. He said I hadn’t been the same since I had returned from my last visit. He asked why, what was wrong?

How to explain?

Read my next post to find out.

With or without you

I’m not sure I can do this again. I don’t think I have the strength. Equally, I don’t have the strength to cope without you either.

You tell me not to worry. You tell me that this may only be a month or two. Not a year. Everything will be ok.

But I cry. Huge tears streaming, mascara smudging, nose red running. I look grotesque but feel worse.

You ask me to explain but I can’t. To you this is nothing. You don’t see that this is part of the problem.

Why aren’t you disappointed and upset too?

You tell me its only been three weeks. You remind me that you haven’t even asked me to come. You don’t see that this is also part of the problem.

Nearly two years we’ve been together. I’ve counted it month by month. Why? Because each month makes us more serious.

We’ve passed the time you spent with the doctor. Only six or seven months together. But you travelled hours in a day to visit her. Went out of your way. You haven’t done that for me. Yet you found that you stopped missing her when you were apart. What does that say about your feelings for me?

And your first girlfriend, the one you admitted you loved. The one who hurt you. You bought her gifts to show her your love. You showed her respect. How long were you with her? Two or three years? I have nothing to show for your ‘love’.

And then there’s the crazy girl. Again, two or three years was it? My only consolation here is that she wanted to meet your family, your mother, but you didn’t want her to. You didn’t want to marry her.

I’ve met your family. You tell me that is important. So you need to understand, that is all I have. Being with you and your family makes me happy because I love you. But being with you does something else: it makes me feel special and important.

That’s all I have.

No gifts. No grand gestures. No direct invitation. No engagement. No disappointment that I can’t come. Nothing.

Now I have nothing. So what’s stopping you from walking away from ‘serious’ like you did with your first love and the crazy girl? What’s stopping you from walking away from the doctor you loved with grand gestures but bored of her when you were apart?

I have nothing. I am nothing.

And that is why I cry.

I realise now that I pushed my visits. I pushed because I missed you and loved you. I needed to see you and be near you. I needed to feel that you loved me, face to face.

But I pushed because in being with you, I was special. I was important.

Now, once again, I can’t be with you.

I can’t live without you. But you, I think, can live without me.

Harry

It’s still less than two weeks since I came home and left Wildcard. It feels like months.

But it’s OK. I’ve got myself a new boyfriend. He is called Harry.

Harry was kind of foisted on me. I told him repeatedly that Wildcard was the only man for me, but he was insistent.

He makes me laugh from the moment I set eyes on him. He is loving and gentle and open. He says the things that Wildcard implies but only rarely states.

We decided to call him Harry because it’s an English name. The original name was ‘Carlos’ but that didn’t sound right either.

Visually, he is a little freaky. Big, almost white-blue eyes that stare at you from behind black circular glasses. Wide, rounded cheeks and a double chin. He has a dark beard and dark hair like Wildcard though…. His voice is higher, and whines.

Regular readers, have I confused you? Let me explain.

Wildcard makes me laugh like no one else has ever done. My family has always joked that I have no sense of humour. Apparently that isn’t true – I just hadn’t found the right person to make me laugh.

Wildcard and I talk on Messenger. And on Messenger, there are filters which get updated regularly. My sides have split over his pizza face and when he was a corn on the cob. It’s not just the filter of course – it’s what he does and says. He is hysterical.

With or without filters, he knows how to make me laugh. The things to say, the faces to pull…the silly dances, the jokes.

With this new filter though, he has created an alter ego. Harry is the romantic person that Wildcard won’t be.

It’s true that whilst I laugh readily at Harry and his antics, his appearance is a little quirky. And yet, I’ve grown to love this romance and affection. He says what I want Wildcard to say.

Harry has been around for about a week now. I’ll admit, my overthinking, over-analytical brain considered why Wildcard can’t say these things- he’s created Harry as his opposite. He must know that is what I want him to say. Why can’t he say it?

Well first, he does say it. He says it when it is right for him. Second, he is saying it. Which made me question why he needs to be in character to do it.

Why is he afraid to be readily open about his feelings?

I guess there is only a couple of reasons why. He isn’t like that – not everyone wears their heart on their sleeve.

And I suppose the other is fear. Fear of opening up. Fear of getting hurt. Over the past two years of being together, I’ve pieced together that his first girlfriend hurt him. He loved her. She pushed him to marry and he wasn’t ready so she went and found someone else – her ultimatum didn’t work and suggested that she found this man whilst still with Wildcard. I’ve deduced that he has never really forgiven her despite still being ‘friends’. She knows about me and has questioned him about our relationship. She has hinted about leaving her husband and being with him. He told me he can never forgive her.

It explains a lot of his jealousy and paranoia and his reactions when he has believed me to have done something wrong – like the getting a lift from my ex. I’ve always know he is less secure than he makes out he is. Perhaps now I have reason why.

Maelstrom

Exhaustion.

Change in weather – it is cold and rainy here.

Messy, dirty house – courtesy of my daughter.

Menstruation starts after 40 days – PMS, period pain and fatigue.

Menstruation starts – part of me didn’t want it to start.

Be it my period or over eating, I’ve put weight on. I can feel it.

My settlement money has finally arrived. It is less than I thought (courtesy of tax, thank you). I don’t know what to do with it.

I’m missing him. I’m missing him. Everything. His sounds, his smell, his touch, his taste, his love. I’m bereft.

I don’t know when I’m going back.