This was a real turning point for me in my dating career, and even now it pains me a little think about it.
About two years ago, I met a guy, let’s call him Edgar (I’m a big fan of old timey names), on some form of dating app – I’m going to assume Tinder but I can’t actually remember.
At first I wasn’t sure, but there was something intriguing about him. He didn’t live in London but would come most weekends to visit me, and we’d have great chat every day. Good chat is very important, and yet so hard to find!
He wasn’t conventionally good looking but I fell hook line and sinker for him. On one of our early dates he met my friends, and at this point we hadn’t even kissed, I had a massive panic attack over dinner. I had to go hide in the bathrooms, I probably should have taken that as an indicator that I was actually starting to like this guy.
I returned back to the table flustered and terrified I was going to throw up – I am such a catch – and we left the restaurant and we walked back to mine. And on that walk the panic lifted and I felt calm and comfortable.
He stayed at mine, although no shenanigans – more on that another time – but it was a change in our dynamic. And I thought to myself ‘yes, I like this one, I like this one a lot ‘.
We continued to talk everyday and see each other when we could. He was bright, put together, had a good job, kind and if I ignored the massive pile of emotional baggage – then he was perfect.
I made a deal with myself to not be guarded, I convinced myself that although we lived in completely different places, and lived very different lives – maybe this could work, maybe this was what I needed.
I knew there were deep rooted issues, I would wakeup with him screaming in his sleep, the shaking in his arm, and the heavy drinking culture he was party to. He clearly had some shit to deal with (don’t we all) and he never burdened me with it, but I could feel it there under the surface.
On one of the bank holidays, he drove down to see me at my parents, he took me out for dinner. And I sunk deeper and deeper.
My parents liked him but they were worried about his drinking tales and the shakes in his arm. But the dog liked him and that’s all that matters really.
Anyway, we continued in this vein, me going under like the titanic, him on a lifeboat.
We were talking about going away for a long weekend, and we’d chatted about it and planned to plan in the week.
We messaged as normal, and then it happened…
I was in the middle of teaching a dance class when I checked my phone, and saw a text message from him.
The message read,
‘my ex is back and we’re going to give it a go, and I thought it best not to string you a long’
I paused, went numb, text my friend who was in the room next door.
Excused myself from the class and burst into tears.
I went back into class and sat in the corner, unable to raise any enthusiasm.
Once class was over the wailing began.
I’ve never, and have never since cried like that. I cried for days, my eyes were almost swollen shut. My boss just eyed me nervously all day in case I sprung a leak in the office.
My friends and family rallied around. And of course I eventually pulled myself out of it.
But the thing that has plagued me since that moment, is why was I so upset? It had only been a few months, it wasn’t a long relationship, I’d never thought once ‘I love this man’ but here I was reduced to a complete wreck, and writing this I can still feel that lingering pain.
I once said to my friend who was gutted after a short relationship, that sometimes people worm their way into our hearts without us realising, even in just a short space of time. And this was true of Edgar.
I realise now I was so gutted for a few reasons, firstly because I opened up and let him in, I dropped my guard and decided to give being open a try – and it backfired. Secondly he was the kind of man I could imagine myself being with, he embodied the things that I wanted, and I blindly ignored the things I didn’t. And thirdly I felt secure, I felt like we were equal and that we had a future.
So was it really him I loved? Or the image of him? To this day, I’m not really sure.
Now I look back and I realise he was a coward to have dumped me like that, no warning; one minute fine, everything gone the next. I also realise that it could never have worked in the long term. But I also learnt that whilst it hurt I’m glad I tried to open up, drop my guard, better than sitting numb through a relationship, which I have done a number of times before and since. It showed me that I’m capable of having intense feelings for another, and has made me think about what I really want from a significant other.
So yes it sucked, yes sometimes I still want to throw a rock at his head, but actually, weirdly, it was probably for the best.