I hadn’t been doing any dating really lately, since the demise of the last boyfriend.
He’s been making valiant efforts (largely ignored) to be friends, despite having been deleted from Facebook – which these days is the relationship equivalent of being sent to a Siberian gulag.
There was a chap I went for a drink with, and rather liked – but subsequently we happened upon one another in the street, me showerless after the gym and in the process of depositing a dog shit into one of those little poo-bags. I suspected that I would probably not be seeing him again after this, and I saw him early this morning actually, walking down the road holding hands with an attractive brunette, both of them with that particular spring in their step that is only really seen in people who have recently had sex with someone with whom they haven’t been having sex for the previous 20 years. Predictably, I was in gym clothes and I hadn’t had a shower. Didn’t have a steaming poo bag though. Yay for me.
Honorable mention goes to the very nice man who took me out for lobster and with whom I had drinks on one other occasion, but then disappeared off the face of the earth.
It’s hard not to wonder if you are utterly dreadful. Especially when your husband preferred virtually everyone – your friends, the wives of his friends, colleagues, on one occasion (or more accurately, on one occasion I know about) the sister of a colleague, plus various randoms – to you. But then when I consider this, I always end up in the same place – I am probably not utterly dreadful, and the level of dreadful I probably am, will eventually be beloved of someone, and if it’s not, then that’s ok too.
And then I met a man.
He got in touch with me through an online dating site, and he seemed nice. He’d done the Camino de Santiago, which is on my wish list. He was a teacher, and had used that to be able to teach history around the world – Argentina, Mexico, the Bahamas, Monaco, Sydney. Now he was doing his Masters in Archaeology and teaching part time. We were both going to be in Paddington around the same time, so we agreed to catch up for a glass of wine in a local pub.
It was a roaring success – we get on extremely well. And we’ve seen rather a lot of each other (and I don’t mean that in the biblical sense) in the weeks since.
He seems to be a proper man. Even a proper grown up man. Which is rare, in my experience. He does what he says he is going to do. He calls me darling and sweetheart in a way that doesn’t make me want to slap him. And most importantly, he is not afraid that if he phones, makes plans more than 2 or 3 minutes in advance, or introduces me to people I will misinterpret his current enthusiasm for a proposal of marriage which will inevitably end in me stealing his house and his money. (I kid you not – anyone who is dating in my age group will be familiar with this scenario).
Which is all really, really good. Obviously.
But what is this small voice, quiet but persistent in the background, that is telling me that it’s too good to be true? That prevents me from responding to his endearments with my own?
I’ve tried very hard not to see men through the lens of my previous experiences. At the same time though, I’ve also tried very hard to reconnect with my gut instincts – which were largely destroyed by my marriage. When you’ve been in a relationship where, too often, something was telling you that something wasn’t right or didn’t add up, but your concerns were always attributed to you being mentally unstable, eventually you will both believe that you are indeed mentally unstable and that you cannot trust your instincts.
And now I don’t know if that small voice is my gut instinct, or fear.
I suspect it is fear. But then, on top of everything else, I’m afraid that it’s not. The reality is, though, that this really is a fear that I’m going to have to be prepared to face. What’s the alternative?
So here I am, dating again…