My Core Says Me, Not Stay
In 2017, I have already learnt that I do not want what I thought I wanted. Before 2016 drew to a close, I achieved the confidence to make men fall for me. I didn’t change my makeup. I didn’t change my clothes. I changed the way I viewed myself. For years I have searched for that essence that some girls have either got it or not, and I finally found it. I have always looked how I look and been called pretty but I’ve never had the charm to be disarming. And the game — because that was what it was — was thrilling for a few weeks. I knew they wanted to sleep with me — I could see it — but it was not what I wanted. I wanted something real and long-lasting, and I found him.
From the moment I met him, he threw me. He was earnest and open and unabashed in who he was. He was kind of goofy and clumsy and unbelievably embarrassing. But he threw himself out there into the world and was so refreshingly un-London like. He was nervous and babbled constantly and made terrible jokes. Yet he acted completely smitten and desperately wanted a second date. His sweetness caught me off guard and I thought there was no harm in promising a second date.
Our romance was a whirlwind from then onwards. We saw each other over the Christmas period on our home turf as I discovered he lived in the next county, roughly an hour away. I felt like I’d known him a long time and it wasn’t awkward. We were stunned that it was only the second time we’d ever met. I discovered that I found him handsome and was attracted to him. He still made awful jokes but he was not so much goofy or embarrassing anymore. We made plans again in a few days time to go to the cinema and for dinner. We were barrelling ahead on Couple Fast Track.
Due to some unforeseen circumstances, we decided to spend New Years Eve together with his friends and I would stay over at his and meet his family. In the end Plan A wasn’t going to work so he would drive me down to London earlier (originally I was meant to take the train) and we would spend it at his place — food, wine and a movie. I hadn’t slept with him and wasn’t planning to yet. He knew this and was going to give me his bed. Plan B didn’t happen either. What did happen was he ended up driving all the way over and took me to the hospital as I’d been really ill and then he stayed for a few hours at mine afterwards and we watched a film and snuggled on the sofa and he went home. So a very uneventful New Years for either of us. This was our fourth time meeting.
When I was well enough to travel, he picked me up and drove me back down to London. (He wanted to meet my family, and he did, even when I gave him the option not to.) He wanted to kiss me but couldn’t so he resorted to hugging me at every opportunity. Every morning he would message me to see how I was feeling and if I was back at work and then he would check in again in the evening.
For our next date, we booked a impromptu weekend away in a fancy hotel not too far from London. This was our official fourth date (sixth meeting) and was to make up for New Year’s Eve and to celebrate my birthday since that had also been a shambles as I’d ended up in hospital again on the day. It also coincided with our one-month anniversary, not that either of us cared. He ending up asking me to be his girlfriend to show that he was serious and that he wasn’t going anywhere. He said it didn’t matter what my answer was and it wouldn’t change how he would treat me. I didn’t answer right away but I told him that I was looking for something real, something that had the potential for a future if we were compatible and still together a few years down the line. As much as I liked him, I promised myself that the next relationship I was in would be with someone who was looking for a future too, and he was. However, he was moving away in two months for half a year on secondment and I had said a long time ago that I wouldn’t do a long-distance relationship again as it had been horrendous in the past. Eventually, despite it, I said yes because I believed in him and us. It felt more wrong not to give us a chance.
Oh — as I write this — how I miss him and how we were! Those glorious dizzying anticipating days were filled with an intoxicating cocktail of emotions. We were drawn together and missed one another with an alarmingly fast ferocity when we were apart. I miss our Skype chats, our phone calls, his sweet words and the endless plans we threw out in the open because we thought we had all the time in the world.
We were so compatible and together we were exceptional until we smacked into a great brick wall. One month in, he developed an inflammation in his right eye that impacted every area of his life. It affected his vision, his work and his self-confidence. He changed and he became quiet and withdrawn and spent his days at home outside of work. Every time I checked to see how he was, I was met with the same response for weeks: I’m just lazying around feeling sorry for myself. This was not the man who was energetic and chatty and was always making the next plan and more plans to spend time together. The last few times we were together, he was quiet and lazy and made no effort with us. My patience was starting wear a little thin (as I only had so much positive enthusiasm to boost him up) and I was starting to feel a little resentful when I cooked and cleaned but he made no attempts to help me. In the end, one Sunday afternoon, this crashed together badly. I’d been going through a few difficult things that I hadn’t wanted to offload on him as I wanted to give him as much space and as least pressure as possible. I tried to tell him what I needed and he did somewhat try but he failed to understand me so I pushed him away. Crash. He told me he wasn’t sure if we were right for one another and he was trying to see into the future for us but he couldn’t figure it out then. He didn’t know if he could give me the emotional support I needed. We had planned to spend a week back in our hometowns again and he had been excited at the prospect of me meeting his mother but now he wasn’t sure if that was too big a step we weren't ready to take. Yet when I pushed him away and told him that we were over, he looked deeply upset at the prospect of ending things but he wasn’t the same person — we weren’t the same together anymore — and I didn’t know how to handle us like this so early on. Plus we had the impending predicament of a long-distance relationship looming ahead of us. He left that day on a temporary goodbye but a few days later, I made it permanent.
I gave us up because I realised that the promise of a possible real future terrified me. We were both serious-minded in our view of relationships and I realised I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready to build a life with someone because I hadn’t yet fully lived the life of my own. I had a few lingering dreams I had always been too scared to live and whilst the fear was still there, the fear of regret of leaving them unlived was now greater. Volunteer in Africa. Teach in Korea. Move abroad for a few years. Travel on your own for the summer. Just do! I’m still sorting out those dreams in my head but I have thrown them out into the open now. I am applying to anything and everything that interests me. I am opening myself up to opportunities and I will see what paths they may lead me to. I trust that I will end up exactly where I’m supposed to be at the right place, at the right time.
And I let us go so we could have a chance again in the future. I need to do these things for myself first before I can fully commit to someone and he needs time to heal on his own and to focus on himself and his career during his time away. Neither of us should be pulled away from doing what is best for us in the present time because we are too focused on making a long-distance relationship work. Deep down I know I have done the right thing but I miss him, who he is and his company. I feel that because I ended us, I have no right to feel this way anymore.
We have spoken since. He texted me a few days after to see what I was up to that weekend. A week later, I called him and we spoke on the phone longer than I expected. He sounded better and more like his old self. I told him that I still see things I want to do and I still think of him and wished we could do them together. He said there was no reason why we still couldn’t do them. Our contact seems to be more initiated by me and I have no idea what he thinks or feels anymore. I miss those days when he would message me every morning without fail and when he would message me to say goodnight. I miss those days when he would eagerly ask us to plan our next date so we would know when we would be seeing each other again. I miss those days when he would look at me with wonder in his eyes and say, “You are so beautiful” in a way that no-one has ever looked or said to me before.
I miss him so much it hurts but I chose this and so I have to live with my choice. I have to live with this tentative friendship we are trying to form and know that when we meet again, it will not be the same. He will not chase me like before with his endearing openness and optimism. I want to be with him again but I fear he will never chase me again and I have to also accept then that maybe we were never meant for a future. For now, I end this in the same way I ended it with him. With hope.
I am writing this to you because I am much better at voicing things with words. I think we should end things for now because our timing is not right. You need time to yourself to heal and deal with your eye until you feel more like yourself again. I have and am trying to support you but I honestly don’t know how because we haven’t had the chance to get to know each other well enough before this happened. I do really care about you and I wish I could help you more. And when you are fully better, soon enough you will be moving to B.
You said you weren’t sure if we were right for one another in the long-term and I do think it’s too early to tell. I don’t think dissimilar interests or whatever you thought matters; I think there’s something very right when we are together and we sensed this from the beginning. My gut instinct somehow does believe that we have a good chance of us being something long-term but I’m not ready for that yet and I’m not ready for a long-distance relationship which will add unnecessary strain and pressure so early on. I would love to give us a chance again in October if you do move back to work in S. and I am still in London when we are both settled in a place more long-term where we have more time to build something.
There is still so much I want to do on my own and I wasn’t necessarily looking for a serious relationship when I met you. But you were so good and so sweet and you made me happy and we came together so easily that it did not feel right not to give us a chance. With you, I feel we would give the relationship the commitment and chance for a future and I want that but I don’t think timing is on our side right now. We both need time and space to live our own lives because we will be separated by distance in the near future.
This isn’t the end like we said. I want to see you again and I would hope that amongst everything, we could form a friendship somehow because we are both good sensible people. A lot can and will happen between now and October but if life gives us a chance to start something again, I would be really happy and I would be more ready for it then.
Thank you for sweeping me off my feet over Christmas. Thank you for all your care and concern when I was ill. Thank you for being the sweetest and kindest guy I’ve met in a long time. You really were my knight in shining armour!
Focus on yourself for now: get better, move to B. and advance in your career. I think there is a time and place for us to start again and be really happy. So for now, we’ll keep in touch and I’ll see you again soon.
P.S. Every time I see or talk about planes or space, I think about you.