Pre Warning: this post is likely to involve discussion and reflections on religion, ethics and mental health- do not read if any of these things are triggers.
Right, dull bit over.
So , the musician- I call him this because he was indeed in a band but this was not his main profession. For his own anonymity I felt best not to put it.
So this is sadly not a story with a happy ending. To be fair none of these have been..but from the responses I have had- I know it can be a comfort to share the dating owes and know we are not alone. As I was reminded by a comedian recently, tinder has destroyed romance and connectivity and left us wandering like lost hobbits in a dick pic forest.
Anyway- fortunately this one did not involve dick pics. Nope we matched on the joys of bumble this time not tinder.
Still reeling from the bullet dodged with the dirty little pervert of a vet- I was skeptical about dating again but as they say- you have to be in it to win it – incidentally the only people who actually say that are people in relationships and smug married people who have forgotten the endless failures of dating, the constant personal rejection and resulting self esteem bashing! Good but must try harder- its like the worst school report of your life every time.
So after a few messages with this guy- he seemed witty, smart and dare I say it- actually interested in dating not hook ups. Not only that but he was actually moving into my postcode- another tick after too many dates a million miles away.
There was one small moment of fear where he bet me a fiver that he knew where I lived sent me my own address – but this was more a revelation of my own stupidity to not be more careful with my social media!! Noted ladies lock that shit down!
So despite my concerns I went along with a first date- one off the cuff as he was only passing through the city.
When I arrived I was genuinely shocked- for once he actually looked hotter than profile pictures. I always feel sorry for guys with this issue as they can’t use make up, filters or other means to doctor their images- that said I a also a believer in what you see if what you get and as I do not naturally have bunny ears or weird alien eyes ( I hope) I tend to refrain from these weird filters!
Anyway- first off he warned me he would be grumpy and wasn’t going to make an effort as was tired- he turned up and my heart genuinely skipped a beat- surely this can’t be right- guys that hot don’t usually want to date me?
He came filled with confidence and cockiness which should have been the first alarm bell- but for my sins sadly those are exactly the qualities I like in a guy.
He made me laugh but also we ended up delving into conversations about sex, religion and not quite politics- but ACTUAL conversation. This was a revelation after the endless mind numbing dates where we talk about work ( we will come back to this as this should also have been a sign).
What did become strange was he didn’t ask anything about me- no interest in my likes, dislikes, my job, my book…he claimed constantly to have seen everything he needed to know on social media and kept saying ‘anyway back to me’…initially this was funny- but looking back maybe it should have been a sign that he really wasn’t actually that interested in me.
The came the first hurdle – I joked that I hoped he wasn’t religious- turns out he is. This was a first. I have not met a guy who is religious so had never had to consider if it would even work and it’s a tricky subject for me.
Long story short, I was brought up a Christian and I think it probably did me great good. The morals are all good, the friends and sense of community was amazing, I genuinely loved every aspect of the church community except actual church, which I found massively boring!
As time went on and I grew up I simply realised I enjoyed all the aspects of community I could find elsewhere, my issue was I didn’t believe what they did.
So I went my own way. As the only person in my family who wasn’t religious this has proved a serious fracture in my family. My mum is a vicars daughter and my Mum and Dad now believe in a Pentecostal style Christianity which involved talking in tounges, healing through prayer and having visions.
Here I must stress, I have literally no issue with anyone who wants to believe in anything as long as it does not hurt others or lead them to judge others. I have seen the great comfort believing in God has brought my family and to be honest – if I could wake up tomorrow and believe in God I may actually choose it as I see it does a lot of good- but I don’t – its like asking someone to believe in Santa as an adult. You can’t just magic your mind- it chooses what it chooses.
I believe in science and fact and personally I believe in making a difference in the time we have but that difference to me is about making others happy doing what you can to help but not judging them for not believing in something you do.
I respect anyone with faith, controversially, even those willing to die for it (not terrorists I’m talking holy wars etc) , imagine caring about anything that much, its easy to judge people, to see something you don’t understand and deem it wrong. I don’t like that a lot of religion brings so much contention is ends in innocent people dying, – again another great quote- when did religion stop being about faith and become about right or wrong. All I see as wrong is taking away peoples right to believe in what they want to- sadly some faiths simply do not allow freedom of thought.
I do not know I am right- none of us do. I may die and end up at pearly gates but I suspect I am more likely to not exist anymore. As that is what I choose, rather than believe someone else will forgive all my sins, I choose to attempt to live a life whereby I do as little harm as possible in the first place and my idea of eternal life is to make sure I leave some impact on the world that is positive, even if it is simply writing a kids book that helps 5 kids that is all good by me.
Back to the date- so this made me seriously consider if I could even date someone with such differing beliefs..after experiencing my parents judgment I figured it would be an issue But after discussion, I quickly relaised that this guy may have has personal views but he was willing to accept others do too- and to be, that’s the best any of us can do.
Sadly his cyber stalking had probably at this point led him to think I was a raving loon as I have to regularly use my Facebook for work and join groups to find contributors- one of which was a documentary on the rise of the mega church. So to him I probably looked like a mentalist!
However, we went our separate ways after the date and it seemed to go well. After a few ore texts he agreed to a second date.. bonus!
Very excited about this prospect but also weary of past endeavours and men, I decided to ask a few deal breakers. One of his was mental health…now this is where the issues started and was probably the end for him.
Me personally, I never lie about the fact I have anxiety- I work in a therapeutic field, I would say 50% of my friends have some sort of mental health issue and we live in a society where one in 3 of us suffers at some point. So why lie- you are only digging a grave for yourself.
His reasoning was clearly based on past relationships and I totally got it. It hurt. But I got it. I too have seen friends in relationships with broken people, unable to relate to them and it’s ultimately their downfall as a couple. It’s a tricky place dating with issues…I mean we all have baggage and issues; just some of us don’t cope as well with the small stuff as everyone else.
The best example I was given was oddly by my dog’s behaviourist- his explanation was about dog’s buts it relevant to us too. We all develop a stress sink as we grow up- how big that sink is impacted by genetics; environment- got everything, as we are little sponges as kids. However, at some point- around 6 or 7, the size of that sink is set in stone. No one can ever change it; no amount of therapy or medication can rebuild it. That sink in your brain is ruled by your amygdala – which is like a stopcock in your mind. When the sink fills with stress, that stop cock alerts the rest of you its full, it can’t take anymore, and we go into fight, flight or freeze mode to protect ourselves. We are overflowing, we can’t cope so we run, hide or fight it. All are effective, not all are appropriate.
So, with that in mind- we are dating in a world where we all have different sinks in our head which dictate what it takes to push us over into fear, anger, depression. Maybe the key is to find someone with the same sink as you- but god knows how u would ever do that.
So instead- we find ways to manage the amount of stress that goes into the sink in the first place- we develop ways to shut off the tap so it doesn’t over fill.
My point is-
Everyone has a tipping point. If you meet someone and date them- I get you wouldn’t want someone who is constantly overflowing- but it Is worth considering that they have the power to control the flow and manage it…they are not a lost cause and people who avoid them simply make them feel worse about themselves as its makes them feel somehow inferior or broken so by all means, avoid those in crisis as they shouldn’t be dating anyway- they need to focus on themselves- but just as you have functioning alcoholics who are now dry with AA- you can have functioning individuals with Anxiety, even depression.
Anyway, I fessed up I have mild anxiety- the main side effect f which is I feel things more than most other people. I get more sad and stressed but I also feel more passionately and deeply and have more patience with people and think more deeply on things than most in an analytical way which makes me less judgmental. Would I like to not have it, of course? However, I do think a life where you do not feel the passion and excitement I do over the little things, like the rising sun over the sea, or the simple text saying someone is thinking of you- when you love in a world of grey not black and white, you learn to appreciate the little things, a lot.
It also compels me to help others; For my soulless job in telly, I also have my book and my clinic…particularly my book I writ to help kids be resilient, to find ways to come from a young age so when they do find resistance or prejudice, they can understand themselves better, respect themselves and deal with it like a boss.
Anyway- back to the date. So date 2- we meet in a pub and this time both dress up a bit more. I debated just a hoody and skirt again but figured I may as well try and make a good impression as this guy is worth it. No idea how he could look hotter- but he did! Although I must say I also loved his last look so he could hardly go wrong.
The date went really well, lots of laughter- I loved the fact he pushed the envelope- asking about baby names- maybe that was the reason he ran- he didn’t like mine lol- but also talking about fun things we could experience together- the key to a relationship- we both wanted to snowboard better, he wanted to teach me how to ice skate, see Paris the right way, see New York, Travel, have fun and enjoy the world and life- it seemed to good to be true- it was.
The date was cut short as he had to eats with his folks- fine, family is important so understood but can’t lie- I was disappointed. We had a kiss- and expecting that to be the flaw- it def wasn’t! I literally walked all the way home beaming ear to ear…maybe this would actually be something- its only two dates but I wanted to see him again.
Unable to contain that we were texting all night and he agreed to come over to watch a movie that same night. We didn’t watch the movie- once again our conversations took over. I don’t think I have ever met a guy who likes to talk as much as me. But the best part for me was I had had already gotten into my pjs and he was in his sweats- the total ability to just chill with each other was again a first.
So after another seemingly successful date and a very passionate kiss on the doorstep (genuinely didn’t want him to leave!) Once again he left and I shut the door with a huge smile!
Then Christmas hit- time to go back to the folks and the nightmare that is my family. I do not fit in and I spend the whole time stressed. Luckily the musician was there to take y mind off it- we had literally texted all day every day for 3 days.
By the afternoon we were both being driven mad by our parents and joked about escaping to a romantic cottage filled with snacks, movies, pillows and even a naked rule lol…god how I wished I could have escaped to that.
As it happened I was looking for a cottage and he joked I should make sure it was near his gig on NYE. Maybe I would get a New Years Kiss after all.
By boxing day my family had driven me to despair and the boredom was eating my brain. The musician and I were still messaging constantly and he suggested I come back to Bristol- this was the beginning of the end.
I took one look at the misery of boxing day- kids TV on to try and shut them up and calm them down, adults bored of the kids TV and on their phones, no one talking, everyone fed up- why was I even there when I could be in Bristol spending time cuddled up with this hot guy who was clearly interested in me and actually wanted to spend time with me. So I left.
I didn’t even have time to ask him over, I said I was back in Bristol and he said he would be over in an hour- wow I thought, this guy is keen…this is really going somewhere. How have I been this lucky to find a guy who is gorgeous, creative, talented, funny and say and seemingly interested in me- I started to panic. This really was too good to be true.
The ex whom I started this blog after went along a similar path—we hit it off, spent all of xmas on a few dates and texting constantly and spent new years together after just 3 dates…I was smitten, he promised me the earth…. he instead gave me hell. I suddenly feared the worst- this could be the same thing.its history repeating itself…back then I couldn’t understand hwo it could all be so good and now I was thinkignt he same. But friends told me to give this up a chance, he wasn’t my ex, maybe he genuinely meant all the suggestions and fantasy’s I shouldn’t end it based on a hunch. Turns out I didn’t have to.
At the end of Boxing Day, he left and said we would meet up the next day.
I woke up excited to see him again. I knew he was moving into his new flat so didn’t want to send endless messages like the days before as knew he would be busy. I didn’t bat an eyelid when I hardly heard from him and I got ready to see him that night excited that he would soon be a neighbor. He didn’t follow through…I waited, and waited- not wanting to seem impatient or pushy, until 8pm when I finally texted hoping he would suggest somewhere for our 5th date- he simply replied he was out with his housemate and would text me after- he never did.
It was like I ha been a balloon, filled with hope, anticipation, passion and attraction and then I just popped, with one text. That moment I just knew. Maybe he was attracted to the housemate, maybe he simply couldn’t bar to see me again. He had left at a very heated moment the night before- and then not met up again, maybe he simply found my sexually unattractive…my mind was racing.
My friends as usual told me it was me over thinking, that he was a man, they have no capacity to think how we do and to not read into it.
However, the days passed and the tets didn’t come, it was like someone threw water on the fire of flirting an no matter how much I tried to reignite it- he wasn’t playing ball.
So I had the option of a cottage near his gig or down in Cornwall…..I chose Cornwall. I suspected he wanted to bin me off so not going to look like a total psycho and book a cottage near him- even though that had been his suggestion!
Eventually, I caved, I messaged him as I am sure may of you have done- you are on your third glass of merlot staring at the phone willing it to light up.
The response- simply that he thought I was in Cornwall- the only way he could possibly have known this was through social media- but as this all started with him sending me my own address and our first date consisted him saying ‘I know’ to everything I tried to say about me and what I was into- I suppose I wasn’t surprised he had based my whereabouts on a fb post.
As it turned out- I had hoped I might see him before I went away so left my booking until later- but no suggestion of a meet up. Similarly the next day, he had gone from asking me to text when I got to my parent 20 mins down the road but when it came to me driving alone for 4 hours to Cornwall, not even so much as a ‘safe journey’.
I knew it- I felt it- this guy was done. I just didn’t know nor understood why. I was hurt..big time. But we had only been on 4 dates- but those dates had filled me with hope, joy, happiness and for the first time a connection I hadn’t felt in so long. Apparently this was all in my head.
After an evening of stressing and not knowing whether to enquire if there was an issue and how to even approach that without sounding like a total psycho- I caved the next day and he called it off.
Apparently there is no reason other than he doesn’t see a future. My feeling, there is a reason he feels that way and the details- whether it is the mental health issue, the religion barrier- the fact he simply doesn’t fancy me, who knows, I will never really know.
However, as if a cruel irony, I now find myslef back in Stives for New Years Eve, where this blog started..no less single no more wiser but feeling just as broken hearted by the only guy in a year I saw a future with since the one who broke me and prompted to start this blog. A bold statement for just a few dates- but when you feel an instant connection its just there. Sadly, when you don’t its not there either.
So I guess in the words of the Lion King, this is the Circle of Life.