Is This Love?

So, I mentioned in my last post that I’m deeply in love with someone. Having not truly felt this way before, I’d like to talk about it here and get a few things out of my head and off of my chest. I do not know for certain that this is a feeling of love… How do you know?! But, I’ve felt physical attractions towards people of the opposite sex before and, this is certainly much more than that!

It all started in the beginning of May, earlier this year, when I ‘found’ her on a dating website. I began internet dating at Christmas (feeling very lonely at the time of year); joined a few sites; headed in to a disastrous relationship that left me in pieces by the end of February and, just when I was losing all hope; beginning to believe that there was no-one out there for me, I found her profile and sent her my usual lengthy message, taking a serious interest in what she had to say in her profile.

She wasn’t easy to  find and, feeling an immediate physical attraction to her, I wasn’t expecting a reply. I spent a lot of time searching the site, using many of its features that I’d never used before and, as I was on the verge of giving up and removing myself from this site (seriously), I received a reply the very next day.

Really, it just went on from there. We were messaging back and forth through this site almost every day. We talked about our many shared interests, she asked me to add her as a friend on Facebook and we also found a connection through our own suffering, when she told me she’d been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and I also revealed some of my own anxieties and struggles with depression. Having known someone earlier in the year who was diagnosed the same, I never would’ve guessed that.

We both left that website (every women I’ve spoken to online claims they get abused by perverts on all of these sites) and continued the conversation on Facebook and through texting as well. Within that first week, we both agreed that we would like to meet at some point and it took about five weeks, I think (due to conflicting working hours, etc.) before we finally met in Bristol.

When my first relationship ended on Valentine’s Day of this year; driving home from Gloucester at 11.30pm, I felt almost suicidal. There were times when I considered just running my vehicle off the road or in to the central reservation. All the verbal abuse I’d suffered that night; it was the darker side of bipolar disorder. Since May though (hey, maybe that’s what I’ll call her on here?! :-)), I’ve been able to look back upon my six-weeks with ‘January’ as an experience in preparation for meeting and falling in love with May.

It’s just a shame that I subscribed (yes, payed for) to two other dating sites only days before meeting May online (simply because I wanted to see who’d favourited me on one of them – not that it ever lead to anything). I’ve been seriously uninterested in other women since. I don’t even find other women to be that attractive physically any more. I only have eyes for the one and, the only times I really have been back to these sites is when I’ve seen signs that May still wants to be back with her ex (it doesn’t last for long and she always comes back to me).

We did meet up in Bristol one Sunday, on rare sunny day in June (this year), while the Festival of Nature was over-taking the harbourside. Whatever happens in the future, I will never forget the first time I laid eyes on her. We’d agreed on where to meet and, as I say waiting, knowing that she was delayed by traffic, I was looking around anxiously. Suddenly, there she was. She saw me; both hands waving, with a smile on her face. As I stood up, she ran over to me, ecstatic, as she wrapped both arms around my neck.

We had a good look around the event (it was very busy and neither of us particularly likes crowds), thinking it would be ideal, with her interest in nature, animals and insects but, from what we saw, it turned out to be more of a children’s event, with adults only encouraged to sign up for various events and organisations. Instead, we found somewhere to sit and just talked,  in the sunshine, for a good couple of hours. I’d never felt so relaxed in another person’s company before… Everything just came to me so naturally. There were few awkward silences and it went so well.

When the time came to say goodbye, I walked her back to her car (as it turned out, she’d parked opposite me!). We shared another hug, with all the warmth, joy and emotion that we had shared in such a short space of time. This one though, lasted for a good thirty-seconds. It was more of a cuddle, I suppose, as she rubbed my back and we bought our heads together as we held each other closely. Later that evening, I received a heart-warming text, telling me that she was off to bed with such a warm feeling inside that she would hold on to for a very long time. I don’t think I really need to add anything else. 🙂

I’d have to wait another seven-weeks before I could see her again; two-days before her 26th birthday. We still talked often but, in that time, I realised how badly her depression affects her at times. Instead of lashing out and hurting other people (like January), May reverts in to a reclusive state where she reads but doesn’t respond; shutting the world out, including her closest friends and family. But, give her a few days and she’ll usually find her way out to talk to me alone, if no-one else. I don’t get upset by this, even the long absences between seeing her. Perhaps it’s because what I feel for her feels mutual, to me? I never had that with January. Time away from her would bring me to tears, from the minute I walked in my front door. I get the impression (from Facebook activity) that May tries to keep me at a distance when she’s trying to work things out with her ex and, yes, that does hurt and frustrate me. She’s not always that honest about it until afterwards, when it hasn’t gone to plan – maybe she’s afraid of hurting me? I try not to take it too personally or to heart though, as she did tell me that things were ‘too exclusive’ in their relationship; they never got out to spend time with their own friends and spent virtually all of their spare time together. Sounds kind of unhealthy, doesn’t it? But understandable, at times when you can feel so low and lonely, finding it so hard to trust yourself, let alone someone else.

Our second meeting (only three weeks ago) was almost as nice as the first. It was complicated by the fact that I was going to meet her during her thirty-minute lunch break (she’d not been in the mood for going out or seeing anyone). We met with another hug and spent some more time sat outside chatting about things. I’d been pressing her a bit to see her so that I could give her a card (and the gift I’d made for her) in time for her birthday. She was over the moon with the small box and, her face really lit up when I told her what it was really for – another moment I shall treasure. No-one had ever made anything for her before. That led to our second huge of the afternoon. I also gave her a card, which she saved until the day. By then, her lunch break was over and she needed to return to work. We said goodbye with another hug (one every ten-minutes, on average). Not as long as our last goodbye but, still as warm and memorable. As we separated, we was looking deep in to my eyes, smiling. I wish I’d told her then how I felt about her or, at the very least, asked her how she felt about things.

It was actually last week when I told May about my feelings for her, through a private message on Facebook although, I would’ve preferred to have said it face to face. She’d been quiet for the past week or so and I was afraid that she was ignoring me. As it turns out, she’d spent both weeks following her birthday in the company of her ex. When she asked me to reveal what I was so keen to say, I told her, while also showing respect for the fact that she was clearly trying to work on their damaged relationship. She replied with a smiley face and a kiss, which I assume just meant ‘thank you, yes, we can be friends, I understand‘…

A few days passed and I decided to message her to see how things we going. She’d previously told me there were changes going on at work and also, I know she had a lot of goals and dreams that she was slowly working towards. But, she’d skipped on the details and I was keen to know more. I also slipped in a note to say that I was back on that dating site, in the hope of meeting someone new but, she took offence to this and told me how much it actually hurt her as, once again, her attempts at rebuilding their past relationship had failed. Apparently, he’s tried but doesn’t understand her condition and cannot cope with her manic depression. I apologised immediately, explaining why I’d gone back there but, she just told me to leave her be and how she just wanted and needed to be alone (manic depression).

I couldn’t avoid taking that to heart a bit. I took out some of my frustrations on the job I was doing at work. I wasn’t even going to mention the dating site business; I was going to wait for her reply and then consider telling her… Rest assured though; I deleted my profile again that same night and I have no intention of going back. But, I seriously dreaded coming home that evening to find that we were no longer friends on Facebook. Is it possible to be too honest, sometimes?

I haven’t heard from her since but I’ve just sent her another message this morning. It shows as unread but, I’m wondering whether Facebook does that now once messages have been deleted? Usually, you get a ‘Seen’, with the time displayed next to it. I’m stressing too much, I know! She has a habit of deleting any comments I make on her photos or wall, which I find odd. The only ones which remain are those to which I add a ‘x’ at the end, rather than a smiley face or other emoticon…

You could read that any number of ways.

When I started online dating, I didn’t really know what I was looking for. I knew that I was physically attracted to slim, fairly tall women with dark hair (especially when they dye or colour it red!) and that I wanted someone who shares similar interests (art, rock music, the outdoors, exploring, etc.). I don’t drink and I don’t do night clubs and, I get the impression that some women find that off-putting. I know that May gets home sick easily and may not be one to travel, which could affect one of my dreams to see more of the world but, as I was told in counselling recently; perfection does not exist so, we should stop trying to pursue that and instead settle for our own excellence. May has plenty of that. She inspires me in so many ways; I’ve not met anyone like her! In spite of all the adversity and the stigma over mental health, she flourishes in her day; her charcoal portraits are more life-like than anything I’ve ever seen or created and she’s got her own style; her own independence. I’ve always felt we have an understanding between each other. Not perhaps something you would talk about but, it’s always there, deep down inside.

Relationships aren’t meant to be easy and I know that the risks are increased when one person suffers so severely with her mental state at times. But, I do believe that I can be there for her and try to understand when she needs me. We all need a little space and some time apart. By working at it, one day, and keeping my eyes and ears open, I know it would be worth it for the beautiful moments we’ve already shared and, everything that may still be yet to come.

Thanks for reading.

One comment on “Is This Love?

  1. meandanxiety says:

    Hey Brandon,

    This sounds very complicated, no wonder you’re confused! I hope that everything works out for you x

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