1st January 2015, I found myself single on New Year’s Day for the first time in 17 years.
Christmas and New Year had been, quite frankly, crap for my family for the past couple of years. Infact, the whole years themselves hadn’t exactly been wonderful. Life changing, yes, wonderful, no. This blog isn’t about that, although I will give you a quick overview to help understand where I’m coming from when I say that the description “crap” was actually the worlds biggest understatement.
April/May 2012- My mum discovered she had breast cancer. A mastectomy, chemo and radio therapy later, she did have the all clear.
Nov 2012- My only sisters marriage broke up.
28th Dec 2013- My only sister passed away at the age of 39, cause of death listed as “sudden adult death syndrome”. No warning. They might as well call it we don’t have a fucking clue syndrome.
Dec 2014- My mum, dad and I all have to have our hearts tested off the back of my sisters passing to make sure there was nothing hereditary they’d missed. My sister’s three boys had already had the tests and been cleared.
Early 2014- My dad has a hernia operated on. Soon after he is diagnosed with prostate cancer. Thankfully not aggressive, but he would have to live with it for the rest of his life.
11/12th December 2014- My husband of just over 14 years left me. We’d been together since May 1997. We met when I had just turned 20.
That’s all I’m going to say on that, but if I refer to some things, you’ll now know what I mean. Through love in our marriage, our amazing son came into the world. Truly the most wonderful gift ever.
So, starting this year single was, in the greater scheme of things and honestly looking at the bigger picture, not the worse thing my family had had to endure. I was still here. I have a very handsome now 12 year old boy who is in a very lucky position of having two parents who absolutely love him and want the best for him.
However, it became apparent that there was a lot I didn’t know about me. First of all. I didn’t know how to be on my own. I’d never had to be. I lived with my family until March 1998 when my ex and I moved in to a rented property together. We eventually bought a house in December 2002 and our son was born in August 2003. So, apart from separate nights out, I’d never been alone. Even I didn’t realise how big a deal this was. After the split our son started spending three nights with his Dad, which was great for him, but what was I meant to do? How was I meant to do this? I’m not being a drama queen here, but truthfully, I didn’t know. As I said, we met when I had just turned 20. He was my first serious boyfriend, as the school boyfriends don’t count. We started living together less than a year after meeting. It was always me and him.
For the first few weeks of 2015, I tried to fill each of the three nights I had to myself with going out. It was ok. It was expensive. It couldn’t carry on. The thought of being home alone with my own company genuinely filled me with dread. I wasn’t sure I liked single me. I couldn’t remember her.
As we headed towards the end of January, I picked up a pencil and started drawing again. Something I never really had time to do with a very chatty son around who needed love and attention and feeding.. things which, in a heartbeat, I would put above doing anything for myself. However, now I had three nights a week where that wasn’t the case. I loved drawing, with my music on, glass of something in my hand.
Then the completely unexpected happened. I met someone. I didn’t go looking for it. It was there, and opportunity came my way. Again, this blog isn’t about that, more about the journey of the whole year. So, long story short, I spent three months with this guy. I’ll admit, I fell for him. In hindsight it probably was a bit too soon. I was vulnerable and as many friends told me, I needed to focus on me for a bit first. The way I saw it though, I now had something to do three nights a week, and more often than not, that’s exactly what I did, went to his. On the occasional night I couldn’t, the nights spent with me, myself and I were much happier. I did like me afterall. I don’t regret those three months at all. It was exactly what I needed right then and there. He made me laugh, made me feel wanted, made time for me. However, looking back, we hardly ever went out. The nights were spent at his. I knew I was a social butterfly. I was happy and content, but it was becoming hard work trying to break him out of his own little shell. The break up in April wasn’t nasty, he just felt he wasn’t ready after his own marriage broke up. He was honest and decent about it. I was upset and felt lost all over again but….. I also knew I’d faced worse and got through it. For the briefest of time I wanted him back. I would’ve waited for him to be ready. Life however, had other ideas. The spending time on my own was now bearable, enjoyable even. Though I still felt I was missing something. My friends were/are great, but, I knew I did enjoy company on a more companionship level. I wanted to move on again. If there was one thing my sisters death had taught me, it was that life was too short. I wasn’t about to start wasting any time. No one knows how much we have left.
At the end of April, I started yet another “first” for me. Online dating. Now, before you judge me, I work full time and my son is with me for four nights a week, and for those four nights I turn down any offers of nights out unless they include my son too. Opportunity to meet someone the old fashioned way doesn’t come around often. The guy I met in January seemed to be the exception to the rule. So online I went. Kept my profile short, simple, but honest. The very first guy I started talking to was, and probably… if I’m honest still is, my soul mate. We clicked. We chatted every night into the early hours. His life and split and interests mirrored mine to the point I was starting to think I knew this person and I was being cat-fished. We arranged to meet, early May now, seemed silly not to, but before the date he took the opportunity to break the ice by bringing me coffee into my place of work. The click was definitely still there in person, and the date later in the week was probably the best I’d ever been on. But…. and there is a but…. he had a wobble and told me he went online for a confidence boost and wasn’t expecting to start talking to someone he got on with let alone wanted to meet, and if he was honest, it probably was too soon and he wasn’t over his ex. I was gutted, he was me but male… we should’ve been so right for each other. The date still continued after this revelation, and it still ended with a really unforgettable kiss. In a very very strange turn of events, a situation at work led me to spend a great deal of time with this guy over the months July-October, as he offered to give me lifts to work while my own shop was being relocated. It’s fair to say we have remained friends and he’s grown to be a good friend, one I can vent to if needed. I’m very happy he’s still in my life.
After that date didn’t lead to a new relationship, back online I went. Another guy had contacted me. O.M.G. Not gonna lie here… DROP. DEAD. GORGEOUS. 6ft 2″ God wanting to talk to me. Note he only had one picture online… didn’t really trust the guys with only one picture but chatted away anyway. Very easy to think it may not be the man in the pictures. We exchanged numbers and online chatting progressed to texting…. constant texting……. I asked for more pictures which he dutifully emailed and they were all of the same guy so looked promising. We went on our first date in the middle of May. Yes, it was him, and yes, there were fireworks. What followed was the most rollercoaster of a relationship in the history of short relationships…..He revealed that first night that in just two weeks time he was due to go away for the best part of three weeks!! He cursed bad timing as now he didn’t want to go! After two dates, a night in a hotel and him asking me if I’d wait for him because he really liked me and wanted to see if it would go somewhere when he got back, I found myself walking on air for three weeks while a guy I’d only just met was texting me sweet nothings from a foreign country saying how he didn’t want to be there and wanted to come back to me. It was everything a girl wanted to hear. And did I mention how good looking he was? The girls at my work loved my soap opera life and looked forward to the next instalment!
The first meeting when he got back was undoubtedly passionate and felt long over due. The guy sure had missed me and for a while, the world he promised me didn’t seem too far away. As time went on…. I saw him less and less. Text contact was still there, but he was elusive, tied up with work, cancelled or didn’t show up then come up with an excuse. We never ever argued in person, instead taking to arguing over Whatsapp! Then we’d see each other, and he smiled and I forgave him. He earned the nickname alley cat. He was 100% committed to me, and I still believe that, but it became apparent that he had a lot of issues he needed to deal with before committing to the kind of relationship I wanted. He wanted me to wait till he got his life sorted. I was ready for a relationship NOW. I had to let him go. I didn’t want to. For ages he seemed to think I was still waiting but for me it was over. By July, as much as I still deeply cared about him, I couldn’t deal with his drama on top of my own and I needed a partner to be there for me. He wasn’t. On rare occasions it seemed he had a intuition that I was going through something and I’d get a text at the right moment. But physically, he was no longer there to hug when I needed a hug. Over the last few months he’s realised that I will always be there for him if he finds himself in a situation I can help with but that’s all. He’s moved to Leicester now, I stored his work stuff at mine until he found a place but now he’s gone, contact, understandably and necessarily, is down to the occasional “hi, how are you?” and that’s it. I don’t want this one back. I won’t now want any more from him. That’s one explosive relationship that needs to but put down to experience.
By now I’ve realised I’m a woman who can take a few Knocks but get back up and straight back to it. Seems nothing puts me off. Back online I went. This time trying a different site. Oh my, the guys on here were a different breed, and I don’t mean in a good way. And .. despite putting my location, I was getting messages from guys miles away… I don’t drive… for me, that wouldn’t work! There was one, only one, who was good looking on the one picture they’d posted, and his profile seemed similar to mine, not much info but looked genuine and honest. I viewed the profile but by the time I found him, it was late at night and I logged off. By now the traveling to work situ had kicked in, so I didn’t go back online for a couple of weeks. Genuinely no time to arrange to meet anyone. When I did go back on one Saturday evening in August, the guy I’d viewed had messaged cheekily saying “so you view my profile without saying hi? :-)” , ha ha, I liked it! I messaged back explaining the situation and apologising. We chatted very briefly before a suggestion was made about meeting up. I was free that night, so I said so. Took him by surprise. Took me by surprise. The other two I’d met was after several weeks of chatting. I’d only just said hello to this one. He was unsure and thought I wouldn’t turn up. Seemed he’d chatted to ladies before who, at the mere suggestion of actually meeting, just did one and stopped talking to him! I knew I was going to go, I’d been at work, I was on my own on a Saturday night and I wanted a drink!! We arranged a meeting place, he gave me his number but I didn’t give mine and I started getting ready for the date. I wasn’t even nervous, I was a pro at this now, and despite their issues, the previous two guys I’d met online had been who they said they were, and both genuine guys who strangely are still in my life. Although not, and never again, romantically. I was ready to settle down. The guy I was about to meet, I knew very little about. Hadn’t yet built up a connection with him. Hence no nerves. Yet, walking to our meeting point I did get nervous for that very reason. I didn’t know much about him. Didn’t know we had anything at all in common to talk about. I’m not shy but if conversation isn’t two way I struggle to think of stuff to say to start a conversation. Also, walking into town it was windy and rainy… I looked good…. Not! He’d told me he’d be in a silver MG and I’d told him he could go park up as I categorically wasn’t getting in a car, however fancy, with a stranger. So when he pulled up to the kerb in the car at our meeting place, I said again, I’m not getting in. He said “well, where`s the nearest pub, we’ll drive there and then if you’re still uncomfortable, you can go”. He had a glint in his eye that didn’t go unnoticed, it was a nice glint. And the smile he gave me….. Right there I fell for that smile. Yes. I was stupid. I got in the goddamn silver MG, laughing at myself in my head, but something inside me told me to trust my gut. My gut instinct was this guy was more surprised that I’d turned up, and had stayed in his car in case he was stood up and had to swing back round and go straight home. Now, he did just wanna go for that drink. As I’ve previously stated, this blog is about my year as a whole, not a dating blog. This most recent online dating encounter was the one I had the least expectations about. Although completely out of my comfort zone having not had the weeks worth of chatting, we got on. We laughed. We shared several sneaky kisses in the pub. He drove me home and 100% genuinely came in for a coffee.
17 weeks later, I’m sat here writing this blog. We’re still together. Since that first meeting we’ve seen each other at least once, if not twice, a week. We’ve grown. I am very very fond of him. His eyes are endless pools of green framed with eyelashes to die for. His laugh is infectious, his smile still gets me every time. This one’s nickname is simply “gorgeous”. The guy works shifts yet still makes time for me. This relationship has out lasted the one back in January. Every morning we wish each other a lovely day via text and every night bid sweet dreams. Then when we see each other we fill hours with good conversation, laughter, maybe a movie, quality time together. This is what I’ve been working towards. Took a few tries to get there. The journey led me here. And right now, I wouldn’t change a thing.
The point of this blog? No one knows what someone else is going through, beyond what that person is willing to share, and people, even those who are closest to you and know you the most, are quick to judge situations based on what they believe in their own heads to be true. Truth is, although I didn’t directly put myself in the situation I found myself in at the beginning of the year, I am dealing with it, and genuinely just wanting to get on with the life that is still there for me. And I’m going to be ok.