One from the archives… AD

I wrote this at the start of the new year. I didn’t post about all my dates because I’m weird, sometimes I just save drafts and go back to them to re-read. But this one is about Army Dude (AD) from Hinge who’s last parting words were ‘you still owe me a handjob’.

I got a date. Well, I got coffee. With a guy I started chatting to on t’interweb. I agreed to meet on a public car park like a misspent youth on my way home from work. Because lockdown. Because it’s public. Because I can stay in my car. Social distancing ergo keeping my distancing.

Initial thoughts Not too sure. He seems nice enough, cute. But also very forthright. I like it but if this is normal and not super excitement to meet me then I’m going to feel pressure. Soon. And I don’t do well with pressure.

My red flag radar is flapping in the cerebral wind, BUT, I’ve been out of the game so long, I could do with a refresher.

Because how am I supposed to know what looks and feels right if I don’t look and feel what’s wrong? Like trying to figure out a maths puzzle; Solid reasoning.

So off I went, my best friend armed with details in case nobody ever saw me again!

I read somewhere that two things you should consider after a date are these: if you wasn’t attracted to them, would you want them to be your friend? And do you like them or are you worrying about whether they like you.

Yes, I would want him to be my friend. And I do like him but I confess I have been wondering if he felt the same. I didn’t hear from him straight away and so I used that time to review.

The coffee lasted over 2 hours, and although there was lots of chatting, he asked very few questions. I had to offer info and tidbits about myself. He did make me laugh a lot though and I got a tour of his camper van. Which is called the fuck truck. No not a physical, physical tour, just a look round and I realise that meeting a guy on a car park in a van he calls the ‘fuck truck’ does sound a bit rapey in hindsight.

And although he was funny, I was crying with laughter at one point, he did discuss politics and religion. His 2 children also came up as did his hatred for his not-yet ex-wife. Separated but not yet divorced, I sensed some bitterness. He stated he hated her. I clarified if he meant indifferent, because we all know that is the opposite of love, and he remained resolute: hates the woman.

Bad choice for a mother then eh?

He’s in the army and spends his weeks down south, coming home at the weekends to see the children. I got a very understanding/fatherly vibe from him, although his daughter was clearly his favourite. I think first borns usually are though. No offence if you are number 2,3,4 but I’m here to tell you, mum and dad love you just as much, but nothing breaks the bond of the first born. The first born teaches you everything. Albeit a second born will challenge that.

He is definitely bangable. He’s cute, pretty fit with a full set of teeth.

Is he dateable though? Boundaries..

Investment: he was quite happy to come to me, 30 mins drive. He initiated the meet. He’s been very chatty all week, making sure he was the last person to text and the first person I wake up to. I left him a voice note because he sulked a bit that I wasn’t chatty enough, he didn’t response with one or a phone call but I did get the date. We met, he put me at ease straight away and a comfortable comfort fell over me. We sat in our cars for a bit and then I sat in his van because having the windows open in -2 was giving us both frostbite! His body language was hard to gauge, very little eye contact, he had a fairly open body stance but was rarely facing towards me and when I playfully grabbed him arm after he laughed at me, he didn’t respond, although he did hold his hand out to help me climb out of his fuck truck.

Communication: has been great all week. Asking questions, wanting to be the first and last person To text with his good night and good morning texts. Little hints at how pretty I am and pet names which have abruptly stopped so now we know there is absolutely no stock in a man giving you a pet name! Last night though, meh. Very few questions. He talked a lot which I am fine with as it took the pressure off me and I did laugh a lot as a result of it, which is like medicine for the soul, especially right now.

Friendship was more difficult to gauge. I’m not looking for my best friend, I’m looking for a partner. I want somebody who is my equal and is going to help me build as much as I want to help them build. I sensed a degree of selfishness, nothing specific I can describe, just a gut feeling. He has tried to bring up sexy time stuff twice, both times I knocked him back with my ‘you have mistaken me for somebody many more dates in’. He didn’t seem to take the hint or just ignored it, because the only compliment I got on the date was that I have a nice bum. I mean I’ll take them as compliments, but I’m also beautiful and funny. And smart.

Flirting. Zero! I touched his arm and he did not respond. This could be related to his job. I know that working in the military is full of horrors. And although I have not seen anywhere near the death and destruction he must have witnessed, I appreciate the need to cover the bad stuff with humour. Lots of dark humour and avoidance. It’s a defence mechanism for self preservation & nothing to with the poor victims. But if carries over too far into your life, you’ll never connect again.

He was definitely chivalrous. A gentleman, although most people are on their best behaviour on a date, however if chivalry is not something you practice often, then I doubt it would come as naturally as it did for him. There wasn’t much in the way of emotional resolve I felt. Again, probably from his career choice but bottling up and plastering everything with humour tape will only cover the cracks, it won’t prevent you from splitting apart.

Overall I would give the date 6/10. The humour was clearly hiding a lot of trauma on top of his divorce from his wife who he was holding a lot of hate for still. I’m sympathetic, she was unfaithful. Having your heart broken is an excellent reason for hating someone. But usually, being unfaithful is the symptom, not the cause and both parties probably need to face some harsh reality/truths. As he is laying it all squarely at her feet, I don’t feel like he has the growth mindset I am looking for.

The date ended him walking me back to my car, he opened my door and held it open, chivalrous, he suggested next time we should involve alcohol and food. I didn’t agree, but I did point out I had wine in my car which could have been put to good use although I’d had a lot of fun without it anyway. Would have totally kissed him if it wasn’t for this sodding pandemic, he lingered so I guess he was debating it himself.

The chat since our date has been quite flat and although he is totally bangable, I can’t see this having any legs long-term. I suspect I’m a 3 date challenge to him but he’s going to be sorely disappointed because we’re not even going to make it to date 2.

I’m back…I think

3 years ago, I found myself swallowed by a big black hole. I was numb. I was exhausted. I woke up one Friday morning and I could not move. It wasn’t because I was paralysed physically, but mentally and emotionally I was broken.

I’ve suffered with anxiety as far back as I can remember. I have stubby fingernails and some pretty crazy actions, borne out of overthinking, that pay testament to that fact. But after a break up, a new home, a new job, finding my feet with single parenting and the loss of my beloved dog Rosie, the cracks in my toughened exterior finally shattered into a million pieces.

I rang the doctor. I had no idea why I was feeling the way I was but after a 20 minute chat, the doctor simply said…it’s not an anxiety attack you are having. You are depressed.

For the first time in a long time I cried. I cried and cried and cried and cried. I struggled to breathe through the sobs as the reality dawned on me that my brilliant astute brain and my inner strength had finally given up on me.

Of course they hadn’t given up. Simply put, my mind and body forced me into facing my reality that I cannot lunge myself into all manner of exciting things as a way of dealing with what was going on inside.

I was hurt. I was sad. I was carrying a heavy guilt. I felt like a burden on my friends and family and rather than face that head on, I simply ignored it and went on with life. I was fixing a broken heart. I hadn’t felt loved in a long time, nor did I think I was deserving of it.

At the very same time, I had met a guy. He was nicknamed Super Mark because he had done all these incredible things. He had such an amazing life story. Things were moving rapidly, but when I woke up on that Friday morning I had no idea how I was going to tell him.

He knew I was off work. And one night on the phone he asked me if I struggled with depression. No, I answered. He responded softly saying ‘I have you know. I’ve been depressed to the point of suicide. I know from experience that the only way to start healing is to talk’.

In that moment, everything I had been holding in came tumbling out. I have no idea how long I was on the phone for. He patiently listened to me pour my little heart out. I have no idea if he was listening really, but I sensed he was from his mmm’s and aah’s and awww’s.

By the time I finished, he simply said ‘this is a chapter in your life. You won’t feel like this forever, just for now. Do you feel better?’

It dawned on me in that moment that by talking and getting everything off my chest, I felt a sense of relief. I wasn’t ‘fixed’. I had simply opened the door into healing.

And the mad thing about it, was that afterwards, Mark didn’t run a mile. He chose to love me instead and gave me a wonderful 8 months. That is until I found out he told my Dad that my mum was fit and how much fun it would be to have me and her together.

(Which is proof that even the good guys can be grade A fucking dickheads)

I digress. Back to healing.

I started therapy and working on doing things that made me happy. That’s how I got into football coaching. And how I got back to my hiking. I started budgeting properly and planning days out to the beach. I discovered hypnosis and meditation. Eventually, although it took a while, I found writing again.

Reflecting on the last two months, despite the wonderful things I have been experiencing, I have definitely fallen backwards a little. Depression isn’t ever fully resolved. It’s a constant battle of forgiving yourself. Forgiving the feels. Forgiving people. And in my case, speaking your truth. And after the year we have had, being confined to my own four walls, it’s amazing that I didn’t slip sooner.

I injured my foot and broke my big toe at the end of March, which stopped my usual exercise routine in its tracks. I was able to walk so I still hiked a little. And I managed to limp around the football field twice a week, there really isn’t much running in coaching thankfully. But it delayed my progress.

Last weekend though, I climbed 5 mountains (not as dramatic as it sounds. Actually it was, because it was hot as fucking hell in England) and since then I have been doing my 15 minute hiit or dance workouts. The result is I am happier. Less fatigued. More motivated. I’ve found myself singing again, to the point people have commented. I’m dancing as I walk and shop and talk. My mood is just way more upbeat. I don’t feel like writing is a chore (sorry for that), I’m doing the washing again. The plates are no longer stacked high.

I’m not saying that exercise alone fends of depression, but I’m a pretty good example if it does.

So next time I go AWOL, please, somebody shout at me to dance round the living room for 15 minutes and all will be well again.

Peace out mofo’s!

Crazy Train Pt3

‘When love is not madness, it is not love’

How much do you guys agree with this statement?

I’m not sure. I’ve had loves that have their own kind of madness. Not all of these loves have resulted in a relationship. I’ve loved people from afar. And I’ve been in relationships that have been all-consuming.

The all-consuming loves bring excitement and electricity and wonder and yearning and desire and and and.

But my most successful loves (despite them ending, because life happens) have not been all-consuming. They are steady. And secure. They are peaceful, low energy. Safe.

But I’m not the kind of person who would be satisfied by that for an entire life. I need the adventure and excitement like I need my next breath.

I love GG. I haven’t told him. I’m scared that I recognise that the relationship we have, as wonderful as it is, does not fulfil me in adventure and excitement.

It’s really hard to change habits you know. Self sabotage when it has been life-long is a tricky one to curb. My head knows that what we have together is beautiful. Im grateful for it. It’s peaceful. And lord knows after the up and down few years of dating I’ve had, peaceful is what I need.

My head also knows I love him. But my heart and my body just isn’t catching up. I’m logical by nature. My head always overrules my emotions and in most cases that is the right way to approach things. I think?

But how do you will the heart and body along.

I’m comparing again, and I know I shouldn’t. And this is a moot point because neither happened. But how would I be feeling today if this 7 month relationship had been with either FD or Mr Big? Would I even be questioning my feelings?

A big fat NOPE!

So why am I doing it with GG? It’s unfair. I’m unfair. I’m being unfair.

And I can’t be sure I’m looking for reasons here, I’m almost drawing up a pro’s and cons list which is also unfair. I mean, I’d feel pretty shit if it was the other way round, but considering all of the amazing qualities of GG, there really are very few bad bits. Except….there’s a distinct lack of spontaneity. And it’s the spontaneity that I think the quote at the start of this blog refers to. Not crazy in love; I’m not talking about the love that makes you wonder if they are into you. Where they are. Who they are with. The double/triple/quadruple texts. I’m talking about the madness that makes people elope to far away places for shotgun weddings. The madness that makes people vulnerable to being hurt when they’ve not allowed it before. The madness of riding 100 down a motorway with wind in your hair and 1200CC’s between your legs (a motorbike metaphor). The madness of wanting to rip each other’s clothes off at any given moment.

Is it really too much to want to be slammed over the kitchen side whilst I’m making toad-in-the-hole?

Just wouldn’t cross GG’s mind even though it does mine. And I tell him. Often.

The struggle (even though it shouldn’t exist) continues…

Crazy Train Pt2

It’s dark. GG is drunk.

I’m already reeling from the introspection of the last 3 seconds before he finally blurts out what I have been sensing and therefore trying to sabotage for the last few weeks.

I don’t respond immediately. Aside from the fact I’ve just taken a moment to reflect and accurately recognise my selfish behaviour, I’m also conscious that GG is feeling 9 beers brave.

‘Oh, you feeling brave tonight. Is that because of the beer?’ I ask.

Yeah, I’ve been wanting to tell you for a while, but only now do I have the courage’

‘Hmmm’ i murmur, because I don’t know what else to say. This isn’t a conversation I want to be having at nearly 2am on a Monday morning and I especially don’t want to be having it knowing he is drunk and may not remember too well when we do wake up.

So I kiss him enthusiastically, because regardless of how I feel about all this, knowing somebody loves you is incredible. He doesn’t ask me for an answer or push me for any response in kind and then we drift off, with my arms and legs wrapped around him in what I call the koala bear snuggle.

I open my eyes to the harsh sunlight coming through the windows. I take a peep across the bed and GG is awake. Before me. This is rare.

I smile. He leans over and kisses my forehead saying good morning. I know he’s hungover, so I tell him I’ll go make the tea. With extra sugar.

We spend the morning doing what young couples in love do, showered, made breakfast and watched the rabbit hole that is YouTube. He invites me stay for lunch to meet his friend. And his dad, but I realise I haven’t re-lined the kitty litter and kitty needs feeding so I need to get home.

I can’t decide if this is a brilliant stroke of luck as an excuse to get out of there or if I’ve genuinely got concerns for my cat who has survived 12 whole years, mostly fending for himself. Either way, the cat is allowing me to dodge yet another situation I’m not quite ready for.

But before I leave, I can’t not say anything. Because then I really would be THE worst.

I’ve slept on it. I’ve had all morning to think about how I feel about him.

So I ask ‘are you still feeling 9 beers brave?’

‘How do you mean?’

‘Well, last night you told me you love me. Do you remember?’

‘Yes. And I mean it. I love you’

I smile at him. ‘I’m not very good at being vulnerable and talking about my feelings. But I’m crazy about you and I’m very happy you are in my life. It’s just gonna take me a little while longer’

Crazy Train Pt1

All aboard.

So this week has been a deep dive into a world of vulnerability. Vulnerability that was unexpected and that I was not ready for.

It all started on Tuesday when GG gave me the key to his house. I say key. GG, the big bloody geek, has a digital door lock. The kind that does not need a key, just a fob. Or an app.

Yes. I said an app. I’m not tech-averse, but if it ain’t broken, don’t try fixing it, ya know?

Anyway, I digress. GG handed me the instructions to download said app. I did. I tested it. It worked. I now have unlimited access to his house. His sanctuary. His safe space.

After a few questions about boundaries and when I can and cannot use it (there aren’t any) I said, ‘this is a pretty big deal’. GG said, and I quote ‘we’ve been seeing each other for 6/7 months, I’m ready for this. You don’t have to be, I’m not saying I need a key to yours, but I’m there’.

Then, I had the worlds longest day on Friday, I had to complete a 3 day audit in 1 day. I was at work for well over 12 hours, but I got the job done. I rock up at GG’s house at 11pm to find he has ran me a bubble bath, lit some candles, switched on the diffuser and poured me a glass of wine.

Stay with me here, I’m not finished.

Last night, we watched the Euro Final. With us both being big football fans and knowing the high stakes that came with seeing England in a final, we made a Sunday roast and then settled down to watch the game. Heartache ensued. C’est La Vie. But by the time the game finished, GG had sank 9 bottles of beer. Too distraught from the game, and very drunk, we went to bed. At some point, we found ourselves looking at the clock and it was 1:20am, wayyyyy past my bedtime. Luckily, neither of us have work today. But GG rolls over to me and says ‘can I tell you something?’

Of course, I reply.

And suddenly I know what’s coming and in those spilt seconds, I realise I have been expecting it. The whole last couple of weeks of my own behaviour, the questioning, the overthinking, the sense that something isn’t quite right has just been a subconscious reaction to what was about to happen; to what I was preparing myself to hear. I already knew what was about to spill out of his mouth and have known for a while as he says;

‘I Love You’

Temporary Madness

I’m the worst person in the world. THE worst.

In the same week that GG gave me a key to his house (!!!) and where he had a bubble bath waiting for me with candles after the worlds longest day at work, I decided it would be a good idea to test the waters with Mr Big.

I got the reaction I was expecting, it’s a one way street to casualville. I’m learning that the sooner I speak up, the less likely I am to spiral into overthinking. So now I have my answer.

And I thought about whether it is possible to break habits? My contentment with GG is what is making me happy right now and I should chalk the feelings I have been having over the few weeks as a temporary blip.

Slowly learning to recognise and experience what is a good thing as opposed to just imagining what it should be in my head.

Revelation

Let’s make this quick.

Profound levels of understanding about myself don’t happen very often. But I think, I THINK, that I have stumbled across one.

I will happily go 2, maybe 3 years living the single life, enjoying what it has to offer. But because the men I choose have similar outlooks to me, I tend not to have any deep or meaningful connection with them. Over time this leads to lowering self-esteem and I get to a point where I need validation that I’m worthy of more than sex. Or worth more than an ego boost to these men. So I get to a point where I meet people who are nice and safe who I have to build slow burns with because I’m not immediately attracted to them and therefore I know I can’t get hurt because I won’t have feelings for them.

But by doing it, I have proven myself worthy of being somebody’s girlfriend and thus builds my self-esteem. Then after a few months of re-building, I’m like ‘this isn’t for me’ because I want the passion, the crush, the desire that comes with somebody exciting.

But the exciting ones never want any form of commitment.

This is my pattern.

This is it guys and gals!

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday to ‘There Never Was a Saint with Red Hair’

Yesterday marked one year since I re-established this blog with Too Many Choices. According to my stats, I have had over 1000 views on my blog, I have 110 followers and I can’t even count the number of likes and comments I’ve received over the year. WP can though, it’s 618 and 277 respectively.

In the last 12 months, I’ve also written over 40,000 words which means, if I had put any thought into scheduling my content, brainstorming ideas instead of just writing whatever is on my mind, then I might even have had half a half sensible story; 100,000 words yo! That’s a book!

More than that though, I have made some amazing connections with other bloggers who I now consider friends and it’s tough luck if you are one of them and wish you weren’t. You are more than a friend, you have witnessed all the good and bad of my inner psyche, helping me through the tatters and always knowing just what to say to bring me up from the depths of despair or back down to earth, because we all knows I need it.

I’m in awe though. I’m amazed that what started out as a simple writing exercise designed to aid my thought process and decision making in relation to men and dating, has been relatable to so many people out there. So much so, that they have stuck around to follow my blog, commented or liked my content. I find this incredible and so, for anybody who has stopped by, commented, liked or even enjoyed my content so much that they follow me….a great big huge thank you.

I thought I’d give a brief recap of the last 12 months;

Started out with 4 ‘boyfriends’

Dropped to zero

Developed major league crush on FD

Got carried away with Mr Big

Started dating GG

Lost 1.5 stones

Gained .5 stones back

Lost my writing mojo/muse

Found it again

Lost it again

I went to the beach 5 times

Climbed 3 mountains

Played and coached football twice a week

Took up tennis

Put the tennis racket back down

Made last two in interview – didn’t get the job

Made last two in interview – did get the job

Lost my shit – the crazy way

Gathered my shit – the crazy way

Cried, laughed, meditated, slept.

Phew! Can’t wait to see what the next 12 months brings.

The S Word.

How do you know if you are settling for something?

Is settling OK?

Or should we be striving for the absolute best?

It’s been five months with GG, 6 if you include the talking/virtual stage before we actually went on a date.

The list of good qualities he has just pours out of me, kind, generous, laid back, funny, charming, fit, geeky.

So, you would think after 6 months, I would have met at least one friend or at least one member of the family and I would definitely have heard something along the veins of ‘I love you’. Not necessarily that direct, but things like ‘I’m crazy about you’ or ‘you make me so happy’ or ‘I can’t imagine my world without you in it’ or ‘I miss you’. None of these things have happened.

My love language is quality time, closely followed by acts of service. Physical touch and words of affirmation are sub-par to the above but that doesn’t mean I don’t need them. Because I do. I hold no value of gift-giving, albeit, I do think it has it’s place in a relationship that isn’t just directly related to birthdays, holidays and Christmas.

And I don’t think you can say one person is 100% a love language, because it’s more like a spectrum;

I’m 36% Quality Time, 30% Acts of Service, 18% Words of Affirmation 10% physical touch and 6% gift giving.

And my love language will increase or decrease depending on any given scenario I am in, but in general the above is an accurate reflection of how I give love and how I like to receive love.

I get a lot of quality time from GG. Assuming cooking or buying dinner is considered an act of service, then he tries really hard. But there’s not much else. There’s very little words of affirmation, he can choke out ‘you look pretty’ when I’ve made an effort. He’s not into PDA which is fine but he does like to gift things, either buying dinner, or bringing a bottle of wine or buying chocolate.

And I feel guilty, because as much as those things are nice, it’s not what I really need. I can buy my own things, you know?

And so, I’ve done the worst thing I can do, I’ve started drawing comparisons. Comparisons to other people, ex’s, tv, social media. I know I shouldn’t. I know. I don’t need anybody telling me why I shouldn’t draw comparisons but the other side of the coin is that we use our past experiences to develop an internal radar. We have a gut. We have instincts. We are animals after all.

My instinct is telling me that I’m settling.

Remember my boundaries post? And how I was adamant that I would not invest in somebody who wasn’t investing in me?

Well, GG has met my parents. We’ve talked about meeting my son. He’s been on the phone to my friends with me. All these things which are normal building blocks to a relationship, yes?

And while I’m trying to build my blocks, every time I look over, my metaphorical wall is always much higher than GG’s.

Now I’m not saying he doesn’t make an effort and isn’t investing. He’s just organised a weekend away, we had a lovely time and he’s organised another the end of this month.

He’s asked me to be a plus 1 for a wedding in October. OCTOBER! So there’s the future element of building going on, but it feels superficial. It’s surface level. Do you agree? Or have I started my usual of overthinking?

I need to be honest here too, because the doubt has crept in for two reasons;

1) 6 months is usually make or break time for me. It’s like I have an internal body clock telling me, here you go, 6 months in, decide if it’s worth your time/effort to continue things forward. But then I think, hang on, that’s your pattern and the whole point of the last 18 months was about recognising patterns and changing them. So then I think, no decisions need to be made now but then I think again and I don’t want to waste another couple of months if it leads me to the same conclusion.

2) After 3 months going cold turkey, managing to avoid any contact with Mr Big, we’ve done nothing but see each other or talk to each other (professionally of course) over the last two weeks.

And damn if my body doesn’t just vibrate around him. It’s like I’m on a completely different frequency with him to anybody else. Not even football dad had that effect on me when I was at the height of my crush. The babes comment? Pah!! Nothing on what I feel when Mr Big is in my midst.

And whilst I know Mr Big and I have no future unless it is to bounce each other off the bed every once in a while, I do wonder…can I find that buzz with someone else? If I can, I should probably do the kind thing and bring the pleasure that has been GG to an end. Would I even feel that buzz if things were right with GG and I? I should feel that buzz with GG, right? And if I can’t find that buzz with someone else, is that settling or is that normal? By not actively pursuing the ‘buzz’ I feel like I may just end up in something boring and unfulfilling, but I’ve only ever followed the buzz and it’s never got me anywhere. I said buzz a lot. There, I said it again. I’ll stop now.

And I know not all days, hours, minutes are constant excitement, but I’m scared that I’ll end up 13 years into another relationship being unhappy. It’s harder to start over in your when approaching 50 than it is when you are approaching 30.

So, to quote Shakespeare, ya know, if Shakespeare was a 30-something-female living in the post-Covid dating world in 2021….

‘To settle or not to settle? That is the question’