Taking a risk…

Before Christmas I rejoined POF (Plenty of Fish), the third attempt at online dating. Third time almost lucky. I’m back of it again, almost as quick.

It started so well – ended up dating a bloke who got past date three – and smashed his way, unknowingly, through my defences.

For the first time in I don’t know how long I was excited about dating and looking forward to seeing him and doing things and just about the possibility that I’d found someone lovely. Turns out I was in the right place emotionally but he wasn’t.

For various reasons, which are completely understandable but not mine to repeat here, he wasn’t ready for dating despite thinking he was. He freaked out and well, today it all ended so to speak.

A fleeting three weeks of dating.

I am usually pretty good at keeping my defences pretty high in the beginning of a relationship. I had a mini wobble/freak out about it earlier in the week, worried that I would end up liking him too much and end up hurting again.

Well reader. That happened. And far too quickly for my own liking.

I never expected to just feel like I had ‘fallen’ so quickly. I am upset that its over before it really started and I’m upset because he’s upset and not happy. He is such a lovely person and this just compounds the whole situation.

It feels a bit like going though the break up with the Ex and its brought back all the awful feelings and memories of that hurt – and this is after only three weeks. I took a risk to see how it would go and I am glad I did but I am now moping, feeling shook up and like I could do with a good cry.

Although – trying to look on the bright side… for him, I think dating has been the shock he needed to go get help. He’s said it himself that he didn’t seek help and that really he thinks this proves he has do. I hope he does, he really deserves to be happy but I think it is going to take a while. I haven’t dated anyone as lovely before I don’t think. This is good for him but rubbish for me because I really think we would have been a good match and I really do think I ‘fell’ for him. Quite hard.

For me though, after roping in the support team (excellent friends) – well. I suppose it shows that I have been right to be picky (good single blokes are still out there, just hiding/elusive) and that I should trust my judgement more as with the other dates I just  knew it wasn’t right, or they weren’t ‘the one’ so to speak, even when they were nice people. Its also proved that dating can be good and exciting and that I can want to see someone again. It’s proven that there are good people still out there that aren’t going to annoy the living daylights out of me in the first few days/weeks. On the negative side to this, its reminded me that it can be fun and reminded me what I’ve been missing being in a relationship/being with someone and that for the right one, I will find a way to make time.

All for the good but at this moment in time, I want to bawl my eyes out because I am heartbroken. Three weeks! Thats it. Its mental. And that makes me want to bawl even more. And no, for the cynics out there, it wasn’t the idea of being in love or a relationship – it was just him.

Back to nursing a bruised, sore and broken heart and back to square one.

Little Christmas Love-in

Christmas is a great time for reflection – in fact, the whole of December has been really.

It started early in the month, or rather late November. Not sure why, but I suddenly felt like the madness that had been autumn might finally be calming down, I felt happier and the remains of bitterness that had been lingering might finally be subsiding – don’t get me wrong, I am not entirely sure I will ever be on terms of actively encouraging my ex to anything I do/organise etc, but I may FINALLY have turned a corner. This has lead me, this morning, to consider whether I should rename my blog. Suggestions welcome.

Shocking I know.

I wrote an open letter to the ex, here on this blog, not so long ago, which in itself was cathartic. It was even noted that I was pleasant to the ex by some mates and I re-joined Plenty of Fish with no expectation but in a better state of mind – and a bit more ruthless than the first time! So now it seems I am actually dating again and for the first time in over a year – this one has got past date number 3, has yet to really annoy me, seems relatively normal and I am looking forward to seeing him this weekend. This is quite daunting as it’s a while since I’ve been in a situation where I am happy dating. What is more disconcerting is the fact that this has come at a time where I am in a really good place and more than happy single. I am just going to see how things pan out I think.

On other themes of reflection – I cannot begin to really express the love that I have for my friends. I may have said this before. I am blessed with the greatest set of friends I have ever had. Some of them know me better than I know myself sometimes. When they say that friends are the family you chose for yourself I do think it’s true. My mates know me better than my extended family – and I am so lucky and blessed to have them in my life and I just don’t know how to thank them – I think cake maybe helps! They are the people that you want about you in a crisis – hopefully they know that if ever needed, I’d be there for them.

Racing wise – I might just leave that for another post.

So for now – I’ve spend December and Christmas with friends and my immediate family – chilled and content with life’s lot – and with so much to look forward to next year.

An Open Letter to the Ex

Just to give some background to how I have come to write this – I have always felt there have been things left unsaid, that I feel need to be said – for me to get off my chest to the ex just how his actions/behaviour affected me and for him to own his responsibility for his poor behaviour. I cant remain annoyed or angry forever and for the first time in a while, I am in a really good place, starting to find my mojo again and after speaking to a few mates about this – this might just be cathartic.

I even managed to be nice to him yesterday.

To my Ex,

It’s about 18 months since I had to pull you up and say ‘You don’t want to be with me anymore do you?’. This is the crux of why I have still been quite angry until recently. Your lack of balls. You behaved badly in the last few months we were together – I had put it down to stress with training and work, then one night, your behaviour was that of a complete and utter knob and I knew.

The pain in the realisation was awful. I was driving back down Castle Howard drive, heading home after swimming. The penny suddenly dropped. How I drove home I will never know.

Your lack of courage to even say to my FACE – your reply – and then to not meet and discuss this BREAK UP until the weekend? Cowardly. I still can’t believe it was me that had to insist that it was the next day. Leaving yours with only a small bag of possessions and my bike was a sad reflection of eight years together.

You said that these ‘feelings’ or lack of, had been developing for a while and that you had hoped that they would go away – so basically burying your head in the sand. Well, experience should tell you this never works. You took away ANY possibility of this being something more joint – of me having some knowledge or say in the matter. For us to figure out if there was something we could have done to have saved it. Was the eight years together not worth trying to save? Or at least put more effort into saving? Did it mean so little to you? That might be harsh but that’s how it felt. You took any choice/decision/power out of my hands. Gradually acting more of a knob and more of a recluse. With hindsight, seeing as you were soon set up with your current girlfriend, there wouldn’t have been a hope in hell either way. Not having any control of it, having it taken out of my hands made it harder to deal with.

I think there were a few give aways. Before I asked you to marry me, you were distance. You were at Christmas. Again, I put it down to stress. Maybe I should have said or asked if things were ok – but I think you would still have continued to have buried your head and not told me. I loved you so much and was excited that hopefully we would maybe be able to settle down and that things would calm down after Ironman. I asked you to marry me. Your reaction – well. I wasn’t wanting to set a date! Just some sign of commitment. To me. To us. Your reaction sticks in my head. It should have been exciting, something to celebrate. The lack lustre attention around my birthday – compared to the normal fuss. A few other things stick out too. The lack of enthusiasm about settling down together?

The signs were there really – why couldn’t you have just had the balls to say something sooner? If you knew you were developing feelings for her – why not at least try focusing on us, and trying to figure us out? I don’t even care if you actually cheated on me – its more the fact that you dragged it out.

What I have come to realise that I wasn’t the problem and there is nothing I could actually have done.  The issue is yours and yours alone and like I said to you at the time, you will probably repeat your behaviour. As soon as your current girlfriend wants more commitment from you, more than you are willing to give, you will bolt. You will likely break her heart. Unless, like your ex, she gets wise and leave you first – because this is a definite theme.

After we broke up. Sorry. After you dumped me. I lost you – and my second family (the second blow!) but equally I learned quite a bit, which opened my eyes and made me realise a LOT of things. Other things people have mentioned too, continue to help me realise that actually you probably did me a massive favour and I have probably had a lucky escape. It’s taken me a while to get to this point though.

After the split, I was became very ill, very quickly. There is no diet quite like the heartbreak diet. Mind you, being well under the 10 stone mark was fun. The emotional pain lasted longer. I physically got stronger but remained emotionally broken for a long time. The hurt, pain and anger that comes with any break up. Some of it still remains.

My friends saved me. Completely and utterly. I am eternally grateful for their love and support, which has been solid and dependable – even today. They have let me be myself and helped me heal, despite the scars that remain.

Over time, I found my feet. My reaction was to go buy a bike, buy a business and prove that I could manage without you. Prove myself capable. Since you dumped me, I have done more than I could ever possibly imagine me doing. After your first IM, you said that the next year would be about my racing and you supporting me. You never did. You decided you were doing IM again and I supported you. In fact, in all honesty, I think you (unintentionally) held me back and I forgot who I was. I been away on my own, I’ve traveled on my own. I own and run a business. I have tried new things I never thought I would. I have done my half-iron and done races I have wanted to do – even going off on my own to race. I have focused on me and found that I am stronger and more capable than I ever knew. I have had so much more fun and I have found my spontaneity! I have the closest, best group of friends that rallied round and supported me and still do.

The only thing you said was that was actually truthful was that I deserved better.  I did deserve better and I continue to deserve better. Heaven forbid any bloke trying to date me now.

No longer will I bend over backwards and do all the chasing – because lets face it, I did most of the running in our relationship. No longer will I forget who I am and I will do things for me.

It has been a long journey to get to where I am.

I want to let it go – I do, but equally I just want you to acknowledge the suffering you inflicted – to know – what ever you may have been torturing yourself with before the break up, is not a patch on the effect it had on me. You could have had the guts to say something sooner.

I have grown. I am me. On my own, independent and strong. Brave and unafraid.

Remaining bitter doesn’t serve a purpose and the bitterness is fading. I am not sure how far off I am of forgiving – and doubt I will ever forget – but at this moment in time I think your problems are probably far bigger than any of mine.

Finally – what ever has happened in the past has happened and nothing will change that. I am far better off without you, but avoiding events that there is a likelihood we are both going to be at or want to be at, serves no purpose. I hated for a long, long time, but this has changed to something I’m not sure about. I am not sure how I feel, only that writing this has helped.

I’ve read this back and it sounds harsh in places but I felt it needed to be said. Time is a healer to an extent – and I am not sure I am completely there – just don’t expect me to ever hold you in the same regard I once did. Actions tend to speak louder than words.

Your Ex.

The FEAR of Dating

Dating.

I really dislike it.

Its hard work. Its effort. Its time consuming.

And I am not sure if it is currently worth it.

I was on the verge of deleting Bumble (for those that don’t know – a dating app where women have to strike up the conversation) but after swim, waiting for friends, I was sat swiping left/right. To cut a long story short – I’ve been on a couple of dates with a bloke with similar interests and what not.

First date went well. so did the second. He hasn’t really annoyed me yet but that isn’t the issue/main concern that’s making me write this down.

I am, put simply, terrified.

I have realised how much I am enjoying being single, not having to consider someone else, not having to ‘answer’ to anyone, not having to make time for someone (and thats how it feels sometimes) and the thought of giving all the perks of being single is suddenly quite daunting. Also learning someones habits and thought processes, their experiences/expectations.  I think I am actually a wee bit scared of being hurt again. Of risking liking someone to be so badly let down. All of a sudden its like the FEAR has been put in me. With my friends and nearest and dearest – I love them to bits and trust them – but thats a different kind of relationship – but to let myself love someone again and put all my trust in them like before – well, quite frankly scares the hell out of me and I feel like I am closing myself off and finding issues/expecting it to be easy from the get go.

I told him that (as he works shifts) I would not be sat at home pinning for him along with a couple of other things but in all honesty I’m beginning to wonder whether I actually want a relationship or whether I am just scared of wasting/investing time and effort in to something when I’m not sure – we’ve hit it off fairly well but it’s me who is finding this is all a bit hard and a bit overwhelming. He’s mentioned coming to support at some of my upcoming races – which is a lovely gesture and I suppose I should be flattered but in all honesty – I don’t want him there but I can’t quite explain why. Randomly, I was voicing these concerns to my hairdresser and she knew what I meant. Ive become so independent and enjoying suiting myself that I am finding this prospect of dating/not being single, really quite hard.

Everyone keeps telling me I just need to take it slowly.

Everyone keeps telling me when it’s right, that I will know.

I thought I knew with the last one.

I got that disastrously wrong.

Emotional Recovery

This blog post has been written and re-written a few times over the last week or two It is also rather long! The original draft I blurted out after a week of being very tired (and suffering DOMS) and emotionally a bit out of sorts – not helped by watching Rocketman at the cinema.

But seeing as tonight is the year anniversary of the official beginning of the end so to speak, it does feel fitting and somewhat cathartic to sit and reflect.

This post is very much about emotional recovery as opposed to physical (although I’m catching up on rest now and realise I need 7 hours of sleep a night to really function!).

Brief background

Today is the Summer Solstice – this time last year I was swimming in a lovely little lido in North Yorkshire – knowing full well something wasn’t right. I knew things hadn’t been right for a while but I’d put it down to stress. This particular night though he was mega distance – more so than normal and driving home I just knew.

I texted him ‘You don’t want to be with me any more do you?’ and the response?

‘I didnt want to do this over text’

So essentially – he didn’t want to be with me. His behaviour highlighting his cowardice more than anything. I had to pull him up. I had to hit the nail on the end. Eight years. Just like that. All for another woman essentially. Far from repeat myself – take a look here for the full story.

So one year on….

I am still single.

But emotionally I am in a far better place. Don’t get me wrong, there is some lingering bitterness – understandably but it’s fading. Rising above it all and in the words of a mate ‘remaining classy’ has, at times, being very difficult – but same said mate is my voice of reason and go to when I need reminding of this!

Things that I have realised:

I have had a lucky escape – so many people have mentioned how boring the ex is/was. Family and friends. Even now ‘he seems a bit 2D’ – this made me laugh. I’ve thought about this and actually theres some truth, though I wonder how much of this is related to him falling out of love with me and falling in love with someone else – but I don’t know so much – when he left old job, I hoped that we would do more spontaneous things – and we never did. In 8 years we never even lived together. Clearly he wasn’t the one, and thank the heavens we never got married. His loss will be someone else gain. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and two failed marriages which didn’t last as long as our relationship, and then our eight year relationship – he has some serious issues to sort out (as soon as any woman demands commitment out of him he bolts/behaviour changes). My dad always said he’d never marry me!

Being single and independent – is A LOT OF FUN! Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it’s quite hard and I’ve had to make myself go out and do things. Quite often though I have managed to rope others in! I can suit myself without considering someone else – which has been an amazing feeling – after being in a relationship for 12 years and never being single as an adult…. anyway – lesson learnt – retain some independence. Be my own person. I do miss having that person who always has your back, if that makes sense. I was talking to the girls at work and they got what I meant!

Friends (and family) – I’ve found out who my mates really are and what they are made of – this includes virtual friends I have made over Twitter! I am in a far better place because of their love, support and enduring patience. As well as a lot of ribbing and piss taking. They keep me grounded. There are no words to explain/convey my love and gratitude for everything over the last year and in general. Someone mentioned that I am pretty strong emotionally – and I had to explain that most of this is because I have this amazing set of people around me – that I have surrounded myself with, that I draw my strength from. I have accepted the support, leaned on them and moaned a bucketful and all they have shown me is love, care and support. Without them, I would not be where I am now. I’m also one of the youngest out of the lot of them and I trust their usual wisdom. Normally anyway. Apparently I am the bad influence. I don’t think I am. If any of my mates read this – some know about my blog/Twitter – massive thanks and love – you really are awesome!

I am more capable than I believed – I’ve done more random things in the last year than I think I ever have – honestly – buying a business, racing on my own, travelling about, on my own, fixing things, being self-reliant. Finding my own two feet and what makes me tick! Finding out who I am in relation to me, and not in terms of ‘a couple’.

Good sex is out there. Just saying.

Being selfish – first time single as an adult and I have been able to be completely selfish – and I’ve enjoyed it. Doing things/races I want to do. Sometimes you need to be selfish and be true to yourself – this links quite nicely back to the bit about being independent!

I also need to take less crap from blokes and probably be a bit less laid back in relationships – I hung around and waited 8 years for nothing – never demanded anything, had low expectations.

Making up for lost time – I have filled the last year with adventure – with saying ‘yes’ to as many things as possible, to living life to the fullest and doing stuff that I never dreamt I would. My bank balance isn’t happy but – I have no commitments and ties – and to be fair, I’ve done some serious adulating and sorted out my credit card. For all my little emotional wobbles – being single at 30/31 – has been be best adventure I have had for a long time but this does lead to some worries/concerns which are probably only natural.

General worries:

Starting again – will I ever trust anyone so completely again? Head is weary, heart says yes. I use one of the girls at work as living proof that things will come good.

Children – I don’t know if I want them. Part of me screams yes. Part of me is enjoying life too much to want them – no-one ever sells the joys of motherhood. This really worries me. I am worried about being an older mum. About settling down.

My expectations – My mum thinks I am being too picky – well I don’t want to waste another eight years on someone that isn’t right. I was talking to my boss about this just this afternoon and she doesn’t think its a case of me being picky but more a case of me having higher expectations, less willing to settle for second best and having a better idea of what I want in life/a partner.

Being lonely – sometimes I am, which is unusual. I miss having a partner-in-crime, a go-to person, someone to spoon/watch dodgy telly with. To spend time adventuring with – its always better with someone else.

Getting ‘stuck’ with the wrong person again. Goes without saying.

Not knowing what I want – I don’t plan ahead anymore – I don’t think, oh in x amount of years I want to have done/achieved/be… in the words of Graeme Obree – ‘be more seagull’. I am very much a believer that things happen for a reason – and always when I try and plan too far ahead – it never pans out like that.

The person I am now if very different to the one I was a year/eighteen months ago. Far more outgoing, no longer in someone else’s shadow, more confident and outgoing, braver and stronger. I’m a older, improved version of the 17 year old me I think. And for all her spunk – I rather like her!

The heartbreak, the split, life experience shapes you, but more importantly, life is what you make of it, and its there for the taking!