The Online Dater: Career before Men

I don’t want to see my boyfriend anymore.

Now, before you gasp in horror and wonder what went wrong let me tell you what happened.

I got a new job.

My new position shouldn’t interfere with wanting to see The Man but I’m afraid it does.

Here’s a confession – I’m career obsessed.

When I was younger I dreamed of winning Pulitzer Prizes, traveling the world with just a notepad and pen, becoming a published writer before 30.

While other girls dream of finding their prince, settling into a home and living a fairy tale (which, when you quality consider the Disney films and toys, is no wonder young girls didn’t dream bigger), I paid little – in fact, no thought to it.

My career is my priority. It’s the most important thing to me. I’ve always been unashamedly honest about that – to some peoples horror.

I’m three weeks into a new job and learning a lot. It’s longer hours, more work and not in the centre of London.

Drinks and dinner after work are suddenly becoming a distant memory.

It’s not just The Man who suffers – friends do too.

But I’ve started a new chapter in my life and at the moment I want to be selfish.

I want to take time to get used to the job and the new routine. I want to work late into the night to find stories. I also want a few spare evenings to train for a bloody marathon.

But how can I do all of the above and have a social life? I can’t. Something has to give – and unfortunately it’s The Man.

In a few weeks I’ll have sorted my work/life balance. I’ll feel secure in the work I’m doing and be able to see The Man more than once a week.

But for now I’m being selfish. For now – it’s all about me

R x

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The Offline Dater: Help – My best friend’s got a boyfriend

Three's a CrowdI’ve already met my life partner. The person that makes me laugh when I’m being a grump, knows what I’m thinking before I do and has my back no matter what happens.  We do everything together – including writing a ridiculous blog about dating.

There was a time when R and I had resigned ourselves to the inevitability of our marriage – it was only a matter of years before the pressures of ‘adulthood’ (you know, mortgages marriages and madness) forced our hand and we ended up cocooned in a cozy granny flat surrounded by cats and the stench of our own bitter longing.

It’s not that we’ve ever been anti-men (despite R masquerading as such) but time and time again, as relationships ended, I’ve called her in floods of tears and she’s picked up the pieces. Reminding me that romantic relationships will come and go but she’ll be on hand with her support, cynicism and tough love (which to be honest is the only way to handle me when I’m on a post-love come down).

But finally (and trust me when I say that it’s long over due) the tables have turned: my best friend has a boyfriend.

Initially, I was hugely over-enthusiastic. Texts of encouragement, followed by hysterical giggles when she mentioned his name and an unhealthy interest in every detail of their dates. Admittedly, the pressure of my excitement was probably a bit much but I was literally overjoyed. I had planned the wedding, picked out my bridesmaids dress and had written her off with her very own Hollywood happy ending (which obviously involved him becoming one of my best mates – the newest addition to our every growing gang of oddballs).

Then it dawned on me, he’s not our boyfriend – he’s R’s.

Over the last few weeks I’ve spent some time with Primetime and I really like him. Aside from the fact that he’s clearly crazy about R, he seems like a genuinely decent bloke (despite the disconcerting penchant for reflective aviators – I mean, I don’t want to talk to myself when I’m looking at you – it’s just odd). As such, I’ve been super keen to get him along  to social events and make him feel welcome and part of the gang.

I now realise that this is a huge faux pas.

The thing is, I’m hugely protective over R. Not akin to a serial stalker story line (“I can’t have her so no one can mwhahahah”) but in a sort of maternal fashion. So whilst I’m trying to make him feel at ease and comfortable I’m controlling the urge  to shoot him a look that says ‘break her heart and I’ll break your legs’ (To be honest – I just end up smiling gormlessly – somewhere between ‘I come in peace’ and ‘oh don’t mind me, I’m verging on a break with reality’)

Either way, the point is, this is one thing that I can’t and shouldn’t share in. Hopefully, one day, Primetime will become part of the furniture – a plus one that’s no longer a plus one but until then I’m trying to take a step back, rein in the enthusiasm and let R and Primetime do their own thing.

Lx

P.s got to shoot – the cats are calling

 

 

The Online Dater: Help – I’m dating my best friend

I remember the first time we met. I was walking up the stairs and suddenly a tall figure appeared on the landing, towering over me. There was a lot of hair and long limbs.

‘Hiiiii!’ She shrieked, shaking her arms and hands at me as I hauled my luggage up the steps. Oh god, I thought, one year stuck with her?

This recollection wasn’t the first time I met the Man (the pronouns should have given it away) but the first time I met L.

I was 18, about to spend three years in an unfamiliar county with strangers and the first person I met was a loud, slightly weird looking (dress sense wise of course) girl with a farmers accent.

Things couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start – but soon we’ll celebrate our seven year anniversary.

But why am I telling you this, I hear you ask? Especially when my details about the Man have been incredibly skant (we’ve been together for two months now, how time has flown).

If you haven’t noticed in the past seven months of our blog, L and I are very different. She’s annoyingly optimistic and romantic. I tend to be a cynic and question everything. Our friendship shouldn’t work – but it does.

And I’ve known for a while that I would date someone like her.

It struck me at Glastonbury. The Man and L have physiological similarities – tall, long gangly limbs and lots of light brown hair.

But even their personalities were the same. The Man isn’t as unbearably optimistic as L (thankfully) but they both appreciate a good pun and can matter on for hours.

It was when I stood between them, looking like their adopted Asian daughter, that I realised I was dating my best friend.

It shouldn’t be surprising really. The person I see the most besides my colleagues is L. It was only matter of time before I found a version of her with a penis.

But I may think twice before we start hanging out in a three. The similarities may be too weird to face.

R x

The Offline Dater: Getting Over It

When life gives you lemons watch It's A Wonderful Life

When life gives you lemons watch It’s A Wonderful Life

You guessed it folks: I failed to bag the boy.

Aside from the standard moping, sitting around penning terrible love songs and basking in a general state of misery; it dawned on me (conveniently as a post deadline loomed) that there are several courses of action that I could now take. These are as follows:

Swear off men for life
Attractive proposition – wouldn’t be the first time I tried (and clearly failed). Way back in 2012 I flew all the way to Thailand for date… it didn’t work out. I was left penniless and heart broken. I swore off men for a year after that… ach who am I kidding – it was eighteen, long, man-free months.

Sit in his unwashed jumper whilst consuming my body weight in Cadbury Dairy Milk
Well aside from the fact that I didn’t get as far as owning any of his clothes, I can’t go anywhere near the chocolate… did I mention that PT was a personal trainer? Chocolate is not going to help me when I run into him (accidentally of course…as I stake out his apartment)

Call him up and demand a rematch
Who needs labels? Who needs a “relationship”? I’ve seen the error of my ways – I’ll happily be whatever you want me to be JUST TAKE ME BACK.

Errr moving on…

Re-read past correspondence and over-analyse the minute details
I do not need a reminder of my poor phrasing and bad grammar. Delete.

Talk about it insensately until your friend volunteers for ear amputation
There are only so many times that you can say the words ‘he’ and ‘I’ before you should do everyone a favour and take a vow of silence. My housemate gave me a week. More than generous really – even I can get bored of the sound of my own voice.

Find a gaggle of men to have meaningless one-night stands with
You know how the old adage goes: get under someone to get over someone (honestly who comes up with this stuff?) but we all know how much I struggle to get a date – there’s no way I’m finding a one night stand. Let alone a gaggle of willing sexual partners. 

Declare the end of the blog
No seriously. It’s crossed my mind. Dating is exhausting and there’s nothing less that I want to do right now than get back in the proverbial saddle. Besides, R has a boyfriend. Might as well end it all now… the blog I mean… I’m not that bitter.

Find a distraction
Drastic career change that will mean I’ll have no time for men. Tick.

Drastic body image overhaul
Tattoo, piercing, Zooey Deschanel fringe?

Remain resolutely optimistic and appreciate the experience 
Always a lesson.

Lx

The Online Dater: Romance at Glastonbury

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Five days without a shower, ankle deep in mud and the smell of sweat, beer and weed permeating your clothes.

Glastonbury music festival is not the most romantic place in the world.

Last week L and I packed up our bags and headed the most renowned festival on the planet. Five days of drinking, dancing and swaying to the music lay ahead of us.

Tickets had been booked nine months earlier and it had always been assumed that L and I would share a poky two-person tent.

That was before I met Prime Time. That was before I got a (ick) boyfriend who was going to Glastonbury.

A few weeks earlier he had asked whether I wanted to bunk in with him. I declined without thinking – we had barely been seeing each other and it felt too sudden. But we made plans to meet up on the sodden fields of Pilton farm.

And we did. I met his friends, he met mine, and his shoulders came in very useful (I’m barely over 5ft, so while most people watched Dolly Parton strutting around stage with her enormous bosom strapped into a white costume, I watched people’s backs).

At the end of the nights we would say goodbye. He headed back to his spacious four-man tent and a blow up bed – which he shared alone – and I would lay down for the night next to L, spooning a large backpack and a box of wine.

Well, after a few days I couldn’t take it anymore. After a bit of coaxing from L – nay, a lot of coaxing – I realised a midnight jaunt to find his tent would be tres romantic and satiate a must needed need (alcohol makes me horny, and I was drinking all week).

So off I trotted at 4 in the morning, wellies on and a thick cardigan around my shoulders (not quite heels, black lacy underwear and a trench coat, but hey ho). Prime Time had headed to bed several hours earlier after over-indulging at M.I.A the night before.

After a few minutes of mud squelching I was in his camp.

Here’s a tip for you. When 120,00 people gather in a few fields to camp – many of those revellers will buy similar tents as your boyfriend’s. They will camp next to similar gazebos that your boyfriend camps next to. And you won’t be able to tell which one your boyfriend is sleeping in when its pitch black and you’ve drunk half a litre of vodka.

Suddenly this great idea was becoming complicated. I had been wandering around the field for twenty minutes, tripping over guide ropes and collapsing into porches. I used my phone’s dwindling battery to call him several times – but no answer.

After many hopeless turns I found a black tent similar to one he was sleeping in. It looked familiar. I thought I’d chance it. I said his name a few times outside his door – but still, no answer.

With a deep breath I thought I’d go in for the kill. I unzipped the front a few inches up and tried to see if I could see him. No joy. I continued, unzipping it a little further. Still it was darkness inside and he wasn’t answering his name.

Oh shit, I thought. If this isn’t Prime Time (which it most likely wasn’t), I’m just unzipping the front of a stranger’s tent. At best it would be funny, at worst I could be accused of stealing.

Was this worth it? Potentially get punched in the face for a night on a blow-up bed without L kicking me in the face?

No. Besides – tent walls are notoriously thin anyway.

R x

The Offline Dater: When it all comes to an end.

I think you’ve spent too much time thinking about how you should act, what it should be like, what it could be like.. when actually you are very much in that moment… if it was going to be a whirlwind romance, there would be no questions or doubt you would just go with it without thought

It’s a strange kind of sad that I haven’t experienced before, when you know that something has ended for the right reasons but that does nothing to lessen the impact.

I walked away from his flat with tears streaming down my face with a disconcerting sense of calm: author of my own fate – knowing that we were done.

After weeks of confusion and endless questioning I had finally come clean to PT. I told him everything – and answered all of my questions in one fell (and fatal) swoop.

It’s liberating to have finally worked it all out. To have realised that I want PT for as long as he’s around but I want it on my terms. No holding back. No mediation. Just simple, straight forward feeling – not thinking.

I unburdened myself. I explained that it’s not all about the destination, I can’t possibly know where I’m heading but the journey I’m on has to be right for me. We have to be on the same track.

I can live in the moment, secure in the knowledge that it’s just a second in time. Those feelings I feel right now, might not be present tomorrow but that’s okay – because we’re living that change together. A sense of security that can only come from being on the same page.

Because there’s no-one else. Not at that moment. Because you have what you want at that point in time. And who you want, wants you back.

And I’m right to get carried away because ultimately, and I don’t care who reads it, ultimately it’s about finding love.

It’s the end of all of the questions. I asked my final one and the answer I received was not the one I needed. I walked away.

Lx

 

The Online Dater: I’ve never been in love

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I’m 25 years old and I’ve never been in love, not even close.

Even writing that sentence makes me shiver. How could I have gotten to this age and never achieved it?I don’t find social situations difficult. I don’t find it hard to talk to men: in fact, it’s easy.

So why, then? 25 years, nine years of prime falling-in-love time. Can we blame my single sex schooling? My ambitions?

Or is it my disinterest? My emotional distance – my fear of feelings and emotions?

I’ve never been to a therapist, and I don’t feel like my situation may have an answer.

If could turn back time I would change none of my life – except my relationship with men. I want to have been in love. I want to have loved. I feel incomplete not having done this.

And not in a CV checklist way. In a way that I feel people should live.

Men and women should have loved and lost in their lives – if only to have understood themselves and the universe better.

Am I a lesser person for having never been in love?

R x

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!