I’ve not said anything before now, but I have in fact been dating someone for the last 3 months. It has been so wonderful and fun and has made me feel so confident and beautiful and absolutely happy. Happiness in its purest form. We’ve all felt this way about another person at one time, the classic line of ‘they make me want to be the best version of myself‘ and without wanting to be a walking talking cliché, it really does feel that way.
Given my previous dating experience, I must admit and fully disclose now, with a heavy heart and a lot of sham hanging around my neck that, I am, very unfortunately, one of those girls you have to shake your head at. I have no trust or belief in the fact that the other person is not spending every moment of their days regretting ever meeting me and plotting ways to sneakily let me go.
I know. I see these girls all the time and I shake my own head at how ridiculous they really are too. I hide it very well in front of the person I am dating, let us call him ‘the datee’ for the moment. As far as is concerned for the ‘datee’, I am the very essence of cool and collected, and as a result, again very much unfortunately for myself, it comes to three months into the dating, that I still have no idea of our relationship status – if one exists at all!
And I do know it is my own fault for not addressing this issue earlier on, but in truth, I was (and still am) absolutely terrified that bringing up such a heavy conversation topic will bring with it the end of my delirious happiness which I have had the absolute pleasure of batheing in for these months. My argument was that I would rather continue on as we are, fun and passionate and sweet, than to drop the reality bomb on both our heads and clear the mist from the rose tinted glasses to reveal that he just isn’t interested in me enough. That I am not worth enough.
I would just like to make it clear that wanting to know what our relationship status actually is, is not for the public. It is not so that I can update my relationship status on facebook or to mention unnecessarily to various faces from my past that I want to prove wrong with a massive grin on my face (…actually no, the second part is one of my life goals). It is all for me, something as simple as being desired, or even loved, choosingly by a man, who I desired and loved in return is what I hope for most in the world.
He, the datee, does, or did make me feel that way. Take two weeks ago for example – a simple evening in where I couldn’t think of anything but how devastatingly beautiful he was that day, I couldn’t tear my eyes from him. Even his breath smelt sweet to me, he could do no wrong. It was strange and foreign to me to have a man so focussed on me. Sure there had been others, but none that looked so completely involved in being in my company as he was.
He told me at a time when I felt dishevelled and tired that I was beautiful, that he wanted so badly to take a photograph of me just as I was in that moment, with my hair to one side and my cheeks flushed, as he said. I couldn’t quite comprehend that such an intelligent, soulful, beautiful man such as he could ever accept, let alone adore, what I considered to be vile qualities I unwantingly possess, and then proceed to pull me into his arms as he drifted in and out of satiated sleep.
The air was so hot in this little world that we had created and the lights dim above his head. His dark skin, hair on his chest and chin, muscles – all indicated that he was a masculine and protective character. Yet under my white sheets dotted with pale pink roses and the lilac fairy lights above him like a crown, he was a sight I would certainly choose to see every day of my life. So comfortable, he nestled himself so perfectly into my surroundings, my comfort.
As I looked at him with sheer adoration, my bare legs draped over his, I couldn’t help but smile, a slow and adoring smile that warmed my heart and made me feel more at home than I have ever felt at any point in my life. For that moment at least, he was undoubtedly and entirely, mine.
My datee was always sweet, sweetness in its purest and most beautiful form – the kind that makes you want to kiss every inch of his darling face and neck and shoulders and chest and back and arms (you get the picture I’m supposing) and lie in his arms for eternity.
When he told me what made him most sad in the world, he was poetic and devastating. In the dark, I wept silently and entirely selflessly, trying my best not to let him realise – this was about him, not me. He pulled me to him in the most loving embrace when he did eventually realise. His calming words made me hold him even tighter, he shouldn’t have been needing to comfort me as he was. I couldn’t say for sure as we hadn’t been seeing eachother long enough (according to various episodes of Sex and the City or articles in Cosmopolitan) that I could even consider being in love with this man, but I can honestly say that almost every moment with him made me want to burst into tears from sheer happiness.
And yet. Here I am, sitting at my laptop for my 8th hour searching dating articles to find my answers, with a tin can of Harvey Wallbanger at 5:53pm on a Monday, wondering why he won’t respond to a simple message. You see, regardless of how crazy I may seem, and have been in the past, I know in my heart of hearts, that I could never be with this man, really. This isn’t a case of ‘oh woe is me‘, but he is far superior to I in many various ways. But that’s okay. I’ve had a blissful three months, and should be grateful for that. I allowed myself to relax into the shape of his body and build myself a comfort, an attachment with him that makes me feel as though I am missing a limb whenever he isn’t in the room. I should be grateful that it didn’t end earlier. I don’t regret for one moment allowing myself to feel wanted or desired, sometimes we have to live in a fantasy in order to retain our sanity, as crazy as that sounds.
I just wish he would tell me that he was done with me now, that he needed to move on and find someone else who really matched his intelligence and beauty. At least then I would know our relationship status: None existent.
It seems to me that there is nothing I really want to do in life, aside from a couple of things that nearly all people have, but that which I fear I may never have.
Yes, I am career driven, I go to university and hope to receive a high class degree. But for me, it has always been the case that i have always wanted something much simpler. Aside from my future career, it was always my priority and desire to be in a relationship, to eventually get married and have children. When I was asked as a child to fill out the ‘What I Want To Be When I Grow Up’ questionnaire, I would look around the room to see what the most normal response was, and then I’d note that down. ‘Teacher’, ‘Lawyer’ or ‘Nurse’ seemed to be the most common (though on reflection I doubt any 10 year old who wrote down that their aspiration was to be a successful lawyer of any kind must not quite have appreciated what ‘lawyer’ even meant).
I’ve never been in a relationship, properly. You know the moment where you both sit down and have The Conversation about how you feel about one another and where you see the relationship going, I’ve never had that conversation go the way I want it to. I’ve dated, of course, had what could not be described as a boyfriend, more of a ‘mutually exclusive but not together man friend’, as my friends and I so lovingly coined for one guy I was seeing. And yes, reading this, it may seem to you that I am or have some kind of repellent about my person that the male species don’t take kindly to, but honestly, I don’t know what it is.
And yes, I am neurotic and spend every waking moment waiting for the time when the current guy will suddenly realise how foolish it is to be attracted to me and then proceed to run for his dear life, but aside from this, which I also spend every moment of the day trying to suppress with all my might. But come on, I know so many women are the same – if not all but a few. I have relaxed in what I myself would admit, was desperation to finally have what every other of my friends have.
I truly am not one of those desperate girls, but that quality does creep up on me, if I’ve not socialised with other human beings in a while. Revision for my university end of year exams does not bode well for someone like myself, who thrives on human contact. I am independent, I must be. But it is difficult to see your closest friends fall further in love with their boyfriends everyday. Especially when the double bed which you used to enjoy starfishing in now feels obscenely large. I don’t even revel in lying right in the middle of this bed anymore, it does not feel like my own anymore, more that I am staying as a guest at a friend’s house. I sleep on ‘my side’ even though every side and every which way of that bed is mine. I even occasionally wake up to find that although I remain on my side, my arm is outstretched beyond the imaginary boundary. Even in my sleep, I reach for the comfort of another’s arms. And that is, I must admit, a sadness, even by my terms.
Its been a while since I’ve written on here now, and during that time, such huge changes have emerged and wilted away. Its strange how in such a short space of time, someone can walk into your life, turn it upside down, make you forget how you ever existed without them, and then just as easily as they wormed their way in to your world, they leave.
The fact is, when you read blogs, posts, pages, advice columns, books old and new, or watch films, the main protagonist is always the victim in a situation. They are the one who is hard done by, who has been mistreated by a loved one. Yet in my case, I was that person who treated someone badly. I was the one who made this man feel torn between me and his mother. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen every romantic comedy film out there, I know the score when it comes to ‘Mumma’s Boys’. But that’s not what this is. Religion, culture and the resulting upbringing defines our behaviour in times of need. He, being brought up into Islam, has the utmost respect for his family and his mother and has told me himself that he would sacrifice the success of his future to make sure his mum was comfortable and looked after so that she never felt lonely.
I admired him always for his respectful attitude towards his family, friends and me. It was one of his most attractive traits. I was pleased that he was so supportive of his mother who was so in need of help as her mental state deteriorated due to her upset after changes in the family. I supported his choices, was proud of him even. Yet there was a small but ever present part of me that was bitter and resented his mother as he directed all of his attention towards her. He was on 24 hour watch over her between his shifts at work and job interviews. It meant he was antisocial, even towards his close friends and me. I hated how much I had grown attached to him and how close he lived, but we could never meet. If I didn’t spark up conversation first, he wouldn’t. We went a week without talking because I thought it best I give him space. He never got in touch.
We had something. We weren’t official, but we were each other’s and nobody else’s. That’s all that should ever matter. Its not about what the public think of your relationship, how they classify it, as long as you both know.
That’s where I went wrong. I’d not had a proper relationship before, so I relied on the advice of friends to dictate my every move. It was an immature thing to do, but when you’re worried about something you care so much about, you claw desperately at the life lines of your relationship.
I took advice and gave him an ultimatum: Make time for me as well as your mother, or I won’t be there at all.
I stuck to my guns.
It took me to have to go back home to visit my mum and explain to her what had happened for me to realise. She rebuked me like I was 12 years old again. She made me see that I had a guy who needed me but didn’t know how to tell me. Someone who cared so much about his ill mother, that he was acting as her full time carer. I’d turned away from someone who was thrashing and gasping for air in the ocean of heaviness that had entered his life against his will. It wasn’t his problem, but he was the one sorting it out.
He is the most fun I have ever had. Yet he is also the most mature and respectful man I have ever met. He is everything that I would hope a man should be. And I know it is as a result of him being Muslim and being brought up into a respectful household – one which his mother had created.
I hate that I can’t tell him all of this. He refuses to speak to me properly, or meet me. I completely understand why, but it breaks my heart.
I wasn’t in love with him, that takes time. But I know that if I’d stuck by him, I’d have fallen further for him. I know that whatever happens in the future, he will always be a ‘What If’.
Do you have any ‘What If’s weighing heavily on you?
Living with three other girls, its difficult not to get caught up in the drama. I myself am female. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy spilling over into bitchiness and talking about others behind their back when they do me wrong. One of the nastiest but satisfying pleasures in life is being a girl and venting to other girls the reasons why you hate so passionately, another girl for something she has or has not done. The sense of community when they nod in agreement, let their jaw drop in shock at a particularly juicy piece of gossip, or offer you another slice of pizza to console your devastation at potentially losing a friend for something so insignificant as not washing their dishes for 2 days.
Its difficult not to be caught up in the moment. We lapse into what we think is hatred for the smallest reasons. In reality, in the cold light of day, its a different story. The sense of dread burying itself into the pit of your stomach as you realise that you have just sabotaged what is actually a really great friendship is particularly sobering.
Its easy to become embroiled in this tit for tat childish behaviour when living in the environment I live in. Living with friends the same age at university, its not dissimilar to when your parents left you and your siblings alone in the house for an hour when you were younger. Except it feels like that all the time. No adult comes into our house and tells us to do our chores or go to bed. We are the adults. This is both an exciting and frightening thought. I am responsible for myself and others. I dictate when best to hoover, or what to have for dinner. I am forced to carry on as if I was an adult, we all are. Yet we still act like children when it comes to rivalry, jealousy and friendships. This silly backing of sides that took place on the playground in lower school still goes on today, even at my age.
I guess I’m thinking of this now because so much has gone on in my house over the past few weeks. Adult pressures such as the paying of rent and bills and more contract signing mixed in with 4 girls was bound to cause strains. But the degree to which our friendships would be tested never crossed my mind.
I am so conscious of the concept of wasting my life. I live my life with the mantra never to waste a day, never to regret how I spent any part of my life. But arguing consumes weeks in my house. Weeks gone. I’m so glad now that everyone has ironed out their issues. Peace within my household has resumed. I don’t think I’m going to allow that sort of behaviour to stagnate for weeks again. Its such a waste of happiness.
But no. This is not a regret. This is me becoming more of an adult. Learning from my mistake. I don’t regret what has gone on because our friendships pulled through and survived. And they will thrive. This was, contrary to how it made me feel at the time, a positive thing.
Finals? Hahahahaha! Please. I’ve still got an entire week left. Do you have any idea what I can accomplish in that short amount of time? Seriously, there’s nothing to worry about. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna’ go paint my nails like little zebras.
Okay, it’s not like I’m mad about finals or anything, but seriously? A comprehensive test? How unfair is that?! And it’s worth, like, 96 percent of my grade. I’m too mad to study. School is so stupid. No, everything is stupid. LET’S START A REVOLUTION!
I’m just gonna’ go over to Tiffany’s for a quick study session. I always do my best work in groups. Oh, and Jennifer, Michael and Josh will be there too, but we’re definitely gonna’ get stuff done. Definitely…
Okayokayokay. Two hours left until the test. I have four Redbulls in the fridge…
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I’m being completely serious now. My life is going to change. I’m going to start doing things differently. I’m going to start doing things properly:
I’m going to be absolutely committed to this list. To my 20 Step Challenge.
This is so beautiful. Dusk settling so early at this time of year, and the twinkling fairy lights make for such a romantic setting…
When I was younger I idolised the way in which my mother and father met, got married, started their life together. I thought it was perfect and sweet and completely romantic.
My mum and dad met at university, through mutual friends. When my dad graduated, he stayed in London an extra year to wait for my mum to graduate too. They rented a tiny flat together in the heart of London, scrimped and saved and married, managing to work their way up from the bottom.
It’s difficult to imagine my mum being an 80’s chic girl my age, seeing a guy for the first time and offering him her last cigarette. I never saw my mum as the kind of girl who would be so romantically involved…or one who would smoke cigarettes “because it was the cool thing to do back then love“. She’s mature, and strategic. Fun of course! …but not the kind of woman who at one point had the same mentality as me towards guys. I can’t match my mother to the girl in the dusty vacuum packed photos tucked in a box under their bed.
They’re still together, my mum and dad. 25 years they’ve been together – only 21 and 23 when they married. And they’re still just as sweet and youthful. They are, I must admit, the coolest parents too. Even now, they’ll walk down the street hand in hand, share their private jokes, bask in their real love. Even when I was younger I knew I wanted that. To feel that way about someone and for them to feel exactly the same way about me.
I know I romanticised the whole situation. In the harsh light of reality, they were broke students who had mushrooms growing out of their carpet and were having to fend for themselves in the ‘Big Smoke’. But I like to think of the music of that era, the clothes, the political backgrounds of the time, the things one could get away with. And yes, in a very geeky law student kind of way, I even love the pomp and ceremony of the law system in England at that time. Old time Judges and secret soundings – the whole thing. I would have loved to have been at uni at that time, aside from everything, I wouldn’t have had to pay £8200 per year in tuition fees. But that’s beside the point.
A few years ago my dad bought the box set to a programme he and his friends watched at the time. I think in their minds, they watched it mainly because it was hilarious, but also because of the ridiculous irony in how well it reflected his student life. ‘The Young Ones’ with Rik Mayall and Ade Edmonson struck a chord with me. It was brilliant in its humour and mocking of the then current political state of the country. It was wonderful to hear the hearty laughs and happy sighs given as responses as we re-watched that series, by my mum and dad. When they were my age, they were struggling for money, lived in unhealthy conditions dubbed ‘student accommodation’ yet were the happiest fools. I am so conscious of this fact, and take any such issue in my stride now. Instead of allowing those sorts of issues to consume me, I choose to be happy.
I guess all of this is just something I’ve been thinking about a lot, seen as I’m a similar age to the age my mum was when they met, in a similar circumstance as a student in a new city. But my love life is all over the place. I think New Year’s resolutions for this year need to be realistic and simple – it’s the only way to have the slightest chance of sticking to them: