I treated this one differently from most men I have ever dated. I didn’t tell a single soul about him until after our third date. I had this ridiculous idea that if I could just nurture it and protect this budding relationship it would be safe. I told myself that telling people about it was too risky and that all I had to do was make it to 5 dates and then I could tell everyone.
We talked for ages on Hinge during lockdown. He proposed a zoom chat, but with my then 8 hours of daily zoom time, I said we would just wait it out. We met up in Spitalfields Market on July first. Since bars weren’t scheduled to open until 2 days later, this was the best option. My first impression wasn’t ideal. He didn’t really look like his photos. He showed up wearing shorts, a sweatshirt, and flip flops and the omnipresent hair, he immediately apologised for both the outfit and hair. I was pretty nervous the first ten minutes, but he was so genuine and earnest that I felt pretty at ease. He has one of those smiles where his whole face crinkles and it made him seem so sweet. I could tell he thought I was pretty, and alluded to it in the classic British way. It made me feel excited. It was my first real DATE DATE after months of being alone. We ended up sitting in the empty market for 4 hours and two bottles of wine. It was really lovely. He blew me a kiss when he left and I thought what a cute, goofy man. I hope I see him soon.
We texted every day after that.
The Narrow, London
Four our second date I ventured over to his neighborhood for a date in a proper restaurant! He dressed much nicer this time around and even had a fresh hair cut. He also wore boat shoes…aka my greatest weakness in life. We sat outside overlooking the river. It’s so easy to talk him, there;s never been a moment of awkwardness, and he was good at asking questions so I felt like we were really getting to know each other. After the date he walked me to the uber and kissed me. Usually I text all my friends in shock after a good date, but I kept telling myself, just make it to 5 dates. Don’t embarrass yourself, don’t jinx it. I just kept thinking to myself, thisisspecial thisisspecial thisispecial.
Our third date was in a romantic wine bar. At this point, I already knew I was falling for him. He made sure to tell me how good I looked and how he loved how I did my hair. Two bottles of wine later, we were for sure making out at the bar. DEFINITELY not my usual behaviour. I hate PDA, but in the moment everything was just so romantic and I wasn’t being my usual control freak. I am not used to a man being so overtly interested in me and clear about his attraction to me. Let’s be honest, my love language is words of affirmation, so I was hanging on every word
He texted me the next morning that he was still thinking about how good I looked, if that’s not a great way to start your day, I don’t know what is.
A few days later I went away to the countryside for some R&R. He was actually visiting a nearby town that weekend. We talked the whole time. Right before I went back to the city I did a cursory instagram stalk. Where I saw he had tagged a girl in his weekend post…I felt that immediate pang in my stomach.
But I tried to remain calm. There was no reason to panic. He had sent me photos of the trip, and told me he missed me. No chance he was doing this while he was away with a girl. I was over reacting, and what I could even say anyway. At this point, I decided to ignore it and keep talking to him as if everything was ok.
This was my favourite date. It felt like we were actually together. After texting every day for 5 weeks, I felt like we were past all the getting-to-know -you chat and actually had things to talk about. We talked about family, I told me how it was killing me to be so far from everyone I love. We talked about his past relationships. I finally just said to him,
I really like spending time with you.
Sounds trivial, but for me, being open and honest about liking someone is extremely hard for me. I constantly live in fear of rejection. But he smiled and said, Awwww, I like spending time with you. I said to him, I really don’t want to get hurt in this. But he said he appreciated how sweet and open I was being with him. We discovered that his love language is quality time, so for several hours we just sat on the couch together and talked, no distractions. It was actually perfect. Not to mention, look at the bomb cheese plate I made
He didnt spend the night, but he left around 1 AM. I was so sad to see him go. I woke up thinking, I can almost tell people about him, I can’t wait.
Later that week, he went away on a guys trip so he was gone for a little while.
Except of course, it wasn’t. He posted another photo of the same girl. This time I knew there was no real way to ignore this. I wanted to immediately lash out and question him on the extensive lie he told me. But I kept it together. This time too, he sent me photos from the trip, told me he was bringing me back a pony and sent me various flirty messages.
The following week I was away at a girls trip and decided to test the water. I texted him asking if he missed me, he immediately replied, “very much so” and I said I wish you were here, he said “me too”. So for a few hours, I kept telling myself, shes just a friend. YOU ARE OK. You can fight for this. Not all hope is lost.
Unfortunately, several wines later I texted him again. In the past when I was outside the city he asked me to send him selfies so this was very much par for the course. And to be honest I am used to texting him every.single.day.
It felt like a punch in the stomach. Deep down, I knew it was done. That the brief moment where I felt secure and pretty and wanted was just a flash in the pan. But I want to know what happened so badly, had he been dating this girl the whole time? Had she asked him to be exclusive? Had he changed his mind? Did I do something wrong? Was I ever right that he liked me?
As you have seen in my past failures, not knowing is what makes me feel most unhinged. I tried so hard to give it some time, I texted him asking how being back home was. He responded immediately but not when I asked him if he wanted to do something this week. I waited a little while and sent this massively dramatic message.
Its been 4 hours and I never heard back. I don’s really expect to. I know it’s a sappy message but it’s how I feel. So so so so stupid.
The problem is, each time I bounce back from these rejections there is less of me left. The next time I want to tell a man I like him, I will remember this, and stop myself. It all chips away at me, and soon there will be truly nothing left. Everyone my life gives me so much shit for being pessimistic, but I don’t know how to push myself to keep doing this. Is this better than the feeling of being fully alone, I’m not so sure.
As they say, you have to keep going. So I did. Last night I went on one of the worst dates I’ve ever been on. I won’t even dignify it with a post. This man might be the last finance bro I ever go out with. The misogyny permeated from every inch of him, from his rolex through his loafers. He also let me know I was far too old to be this picky. (honestly, probably true). I couldn’t even cry after the date, I was so enraged.