Once again, it’s been a while since I last wrote here and it’s been even longer, I’m sure, since I last wrote about love.
Beware though, because I come writing with good news! Followed by a familiar hint of anxiety.
Let’s start this story by rewinding twelve months…
September 2016. I was on course to end the year without having met a single new person. Internet dating, suddenly, wasn’t working. I’d met at least two people the year before and had maintained a similar average since 2012. My anxiety issues were rising. Self-doubt became almost intolerable, as I almost completely lost sight of what I might’ve been worth to myself.
I wasn’t good and, endlessly pursuing a potential partner online wasn’t going to be my remedy. I challenged myself to leave this last dating website and stay off it until the end of the year… Somehow, I did just that. Believe me; the temptation to re-register and log-in frequently was strong! I’ll admit to occasionally trying to browse member profiles as a ‘guest’, “just in case” my perfect partner appeared… But, I had survived three months.
As the new year broke and those anxious feelings of ‘what if?’ continued to linger, I challenged myself to another three-month stance from internet dating, which would lead me up to my birthday and then Easter. Somehow, I made it through that period as well. I cannot now remembering it as being ‘as hard’ as the pre-Christmas chore but, I soon pushed myself again with a new personal declaration:
Complete 2017 without dating anyone.
One year is a long time but, again, here I am; coming towards the end of September and I’ve not logged in to any website!
I had no intention of finding or meeting anyone this year…
In June, however, that began to change.
I’m going to refer to this person as ‘N’, without giving too much away. We basically have a mutual friend who has, on more than one occasion, suggested that N and I should meet and would probably get along well together as we have lots in common.
Our initial meeting was unplanned. It was a situation where, had I not waited almost two hours from my two friends (including the mutual) and had N not ditched another friend to meet with the other two then, we wouldn’t have met at this time. We weren’t introduced at this point and barely expressed a word to one another. But, the next morning, I received a series of texts from one friend, stating that N had been casually asking about me and would quite like to meet me.
I felt I knew where this was going from the first text message I received. In truth, I was extremely hesitation and quite reluctant – in the hope of maintaining my “year off” and also because I find it extremely difficult to meet people who I haven’t already ‘met’ online.
I was told that N was extremely shy and so, it was decided that we would do something as a group of four. It was a great day. We did talk here and there and I did realise that we had a lot in common. But my heart remained still. I had no intention or expectation that we would willingly meet again. At best, I thought we might be able to develop a friendship over time (I have only a smaller number of friends), as I have done with others.
There were complications in arranging another ‘group’ meetup, mainly due to the conflicting working hours of two members. After two months of casually talking about the idea online, I found that we would both actually be prepared to meet up as a two. So, one in evening in the middle of August, we got to spend a couple of hours in one evening together.
An evening with a potential friend. Someone I had been told was equally as shy as I can be… But, we talked almost constantly throughout the evening. I found her to be someone I could feel quite comfortable with. Almost like a family member. I also sensed that she was keen but didn’t see that as having to be an issue right there and then.
One week later and we met up once more, in an evening. Again, spending about two hours together. Our conversation ran continuously (I’m usually terrible at this) and we were soon talking about date-like plans for the following week. It was at the end of this second encounter that I had to pause after we said goodbye… I haven’t told anyone this but, I sat alone in my car, in the darkness, for a good ten-minutes; trying to figure out what was going on inside of me…
I think I was beginning to feel something for N, whether it was love or something less. I found it difficult because I just wasn’t ready; I’d been wanting to avoid this for 2017 and the thought of what seemed like a “date” was terrifying to me.
*We have never officially discussed the possibility of dating but, I’ve been told by one mutual friend that, however we choose to define this, N and I are ‘definitely dating’.
Another mid-working week evening and we arranged to meet outside a restaurant – somewhere that neither of us had been before. I’d booked a table (thanks, e-mail) and we were soon sat down, talking away again. I remember feeing anxious, prior to this, about what I was going to wear… I don’t own much in the way of formal clothes and was relieved to see N turn up wearing pretty much the same thing!
[Note: I wasn’t wearing a dress or skirt!!]
After the meal, we went on to watch a film – which we both enjoyed but, from the moment the noise and everything started, I found myself frustrated that we weren’t able to continue talking. I suddenly didn’t care about the screen, I just wanted to continue as our evening had begun. By the time this film did finish, it was past 23:00 and I was half asleep – not wanting to say goodbye but too tired to continue to maintain company.
We said our goodbye with a hug (our first), at my suggestion. We talked briefly about meeting again soon although, she would now be away and busy for the next week (a very long week, from my perspective).
I’d gone in to that evening, still willing to convince myself that we would only be friends and nothing more. But, the more I had paid attention to her throughout our conversations, I found myself distracted by what was really going on inside of me. Everything I wasn’t ready to accept.
I don’t know how well I’ve explained these events because, the few times we have been together, we’ve not only enjoyed the shared company but I’ve certainly felt like everything has been mutual. Well, since I was willing to accept that I might be starting to develop feelings for her.
In the past, I’m used to meeting people with a slight… Imbalance. In most cases, I like the other person more than they like me. From what we’ve learned of each other so far, we share a similar sense of many things. I’m greatly surprised by how comfortable I’ve felt with some I’d been told was ‘extremely shy’… Maybe we just work well in a conversational sense. Of course, shyness doesn’t solely refer to someone’s vocal confidence… I believe I’ve noticed or glimpsed ‘shyness’ in other aspects of her character. On the whole though, I often find her ‘reading my mind’ – suggesting ideas that are forming between my prefrontal lobes in the very same moment.
I’ve enjoyed everything so far and I hold on to a lot of optimism for the future. Again, this is new for me! I’ve felt Lust in the past but I’m not at all used to these other feelings, almost free of anxiety and fear… Because, that’s it; my mind isn’t typically recycling the potential for ‘What ifs?’ and ‘Maybe I’ve wrong?’. I’m enjoying this.
So, at the time of writing, it’s been almost a fortnight since we last met. I’ve found some days to be harder than others (Mondays, especially) and I’ve tried to refrain from texting too much.
Generally, in fact, I’m doing something where I’m trying to avoid spending too much time engaging in online conversation with people generally… Regardless of who I’m talking to; I’m trying to talk less online and talk more when we meet in person. In some ways, I wonder whether I’m taking this self-imposed idea to the extremes of cold-hearted ignorance… On the other end of the scale, I’ve noticed that I’m a bit more chatty in person than usual.
N and I haven’t really spoken much for a few days and I’m overly aware that she has yet to respond to my ‘welcome home’ message. I’m trying to remind myself of all the positives we’ve experienced and the possibilities that she has been very busy or maybe just wants some time… But, on a Monday and in a job I’m lacking enthusiasm for, I’ve already got enough swirling around in my own mind to partially distort and disguise certain thoughts.
I still cannot believe that, in a year where I’ve said that I wasn’t going to meet anyone, I’ve met someone who, in these early stages at least, seems highly compatible to me. I don’t believe in ‘Fate’ any more than I would believe in God. I believe in some form of ‘Energy’, whether its our own or a force we are all able to manipulate in our own way…
Have you seen Interstellar? Whether you love that film as much as I do or not, there’s a suggestion in the story that ‘Love’, however you prefer to define it, may be evidence of a higher dimension that we, as beings confined to four dimensions, may be unable to clearly perceive.
I love this idea (no pun intended). Sometimes, you can look at a person and know that what you feel is mutual. At other times, you can look at someone else, with honesty and see that it’s not. But, how? I don’t believe in Third Eyes, mind-reading or anything quite like that… What are we really looking at?
There’s a story called Flatland (I think it was made in to a Hollywood animation a few years ago), written in the early 20th Century and based in a two-dimensional world… Where a square (the main character) is visited by a sphere from a world of three dimensions… They can talk and communicate between each other but, in a 2D environment, Square (limited to travel along X and Y axis) can only ever see a tiny portion of Sphere, who is able to travel vertically along Z. Square has no perception of vertical movement and yet, it can see the form expanding and contracting in front of it… The difference here, I guess, is that Square can at least see something.