After the mammoth 23 hour first date, I sailed through the twins’ birthday party high on life, as well as a more than slightly hungover Sunday brunch the next day which happened to be with my girlfriend, Canadian DJ’s step-sister. Apparently he had texted her the night before saying I was “quite lovely” and it’s fair to say she got a little over-excited, claiming she was so happy to have me in the family and that family dinners were going to be so much fun. This was after just one date. They don’t do things by half in that family. But I presumed she was joking when she suggested I go to Mexico with him when he left the next day. Woah. Let’s all chill out.
Having accidentally left my jacket at his place, I ended up seeing him on the Sunday evening when he returned it, which lead to an impromptu second date with dinner at the izakaya place next door to my building. Again, there was an ease between us, like no subject was off topic and neither of us were guarding ourselves unnecessarily.
He left for Mexico the next morning and there was a feeling from both of us even then that the next 2 weeks could feel like 2 years. I know, pass me the bucket. While he was travelling we kept in almost constant contact, barring when he was on flights, although he admitted he almost paid for in-flight wifi just so we could text. We’re definitely in the age of digital romance.
What followed was an unexpected, battery draining, heart fluttering, stomach flipping two weeks of all day texts and middle of the night calls. We texted every day and most nights we would end up on the phone, for hours. I was incredibly sleep deprived but it was unbelievably lovely having someone checking in on me, telling me about their day (mostly beach related), asking me about my day (mostly work related), telling me they missed me… It was enough to get me through the workday and any subsequent social engagements or workouts before I’d climb into bed again knowing sleep wouldn’t follow for at least another couple of hours. We talked about everything; our childhoods, passions and bugbears, our careers, our friends, trips we’d taken, trips we wanted to take, relationships, love and sex.
That last topic lead us down a tricky path. No one wants to be over 2000 miles away from each other developing a severe sexual attraction to someone and talking about what they’d like to do to each other. Or, worse still, sending those types of messages when one of you isn’t on vacation and trying to concentrate on work. Maybe the no sex on the first date thing was foolish, or maybe it would have made it worse if we’d gone there already. All I knew was the remaining days of his trip couldn’t pass quick enough.
Maybe as a result of that growing frustration and the fact he was getting restless staying with his parents, in the midst of our evening text sessions on the Thursday I jokingly said in response to one of his texts “oh yeah I’ll just get on a plane to Mexico” and he responded with “why don’t you?” I laughed it off, the daily tequila intake was going to his head. But when he brought it up again later that night and started proposing road trips we could take and offering to pay, I realised he wasn’t joking.
High on late night chats and the knowledge someone wanted me to fly to another continent to see them, I started to seriously consider it. I mean, I had vacation days to take and my boss was pretty flexible, so I took a quick look at possible flights if only to prove it would be an insane idea. Turns out that had the opposite effect. But this was the Thursday night and we were talking about me flying there on the Saturday. Insane.
I was conflicted. It sounded so crazy fun and sometimes you need that in your life. However, it was also plain crazy. We’d been on 2 dates (if you count the impromptu dinner) and while, yes I knew his family and was pretty sure he wasn’t about to kill me in some Mexican hacienda, it was still pretty early on in this…. whatever you’d call it whatever this was… to be going taking a trip together.
There was also the part of me, as one of my friends pointed out (team dating came back into effect) that was aware that I hadn’t been on a vacation with a guy since my ex-husband. In fact the longest I’d spent with a guy since my ex was in fact the 23 hours of my first date with Canadian DJ. And now he wanted me to go to Mexico and spend 4 days with him?!
What if I got there and freaked the hell out? How could I be sure we wouldn’t be sick of each other after 2 nights? Maybe 23 hours was our max, our peak, just the right amount of time for us to spend together at this time?
To appease him and essentially take the decision out of my hands, I decided I’d ask my boss and if he said ok to the time off I’d do it. If he said no, then it was a moot point. I emailed my boss and waited.
Friday morning, as I was brushing my teeth, I got a reply from my boss who’d I’ve given a slightly restrained explanation to (my friend wants me to join them in Mexico!). “Sure, Mexico for 4 days is crazy but sure.” Well he wasn’t wrong.
I decided not to pass on the good(?) news to DJ yet, I was still mulling it over. The general consensus amongst friends was “are you crazy?!” with a couple who fell on the side of “fuck it! Just do it!!” Including, unbelievably, my Mum. My mother, she who is usually sensible and level headed. Her response was “sometimes, you just have to say “life is too short” and go for it.” I was gobsmacked. And only more confused by this unexpected advice coming from this unexpected source. I was also pretty sure she’d been on the gin.
As the working day drew to a close and a sunny patio happy hour with friends approached I knew it would be the topic of conversation as we sipped wine in the sun. The first friend that arrived was all for it: “think how romantic it would be, what a great story! And seriously, it’s sunny here but think how hot it will be in Mexico.” She knew I had a weakness for the heat.
The next friend wasn’t quite as into the idea, she’s always more level headed and appreciate her ability to take emotion out of decisions. “Mexico isn’t going anywhere. Let him have his trip and have more dates once he’s back, then if it’s all going well then you can go to Mexico anytime you want. You don’t need to go now, after 2 dates, it’s just too much.” Her argument was definitely not as exciting to hear.
I think this was my first experience of having to decide between pumping the breaks, not rushing things and generally being “sensible” and the alternative which was an incredibly exciting, romantic and pretty epic opportunity for a crazy great story in years to come. You get such conflicting advice on both sides of the spectrum; don’t ruin it by rushing it, life’s too short, make him wait, he’s not going anywhere, if it feels right do it.
That last one, that’s the one that got me. There was something that really didn’t feel quite right. It was just slightly off. I couldn’t put my finger on it. Maybe it was my own ongoing battle with spontaneity, it was my anxiety’s favourite entry point. Maybe it was a fear about the escalation in a new “relationship” (I use that term loosely), given that I was a little out of practice. For whatever reason I just couldn’t pull the trigger. I’d had the flights pulled up on my computer all day at work, ready to book. I had them now on my phone screen as I sat drinking Viognier looking out over the water.
I closed Safari on my phone and opened WhatsApp. “So good news and bad news. Good news – my boss approved the days off. The bad news – despite that I don’t think I should come. I think you should enjoy the rest of your trip like you’d planned and when you come back we can spend some more time together before we take our first trip together. You’ve no idea how close I was to booking those flights, and I know come tomorrow morning when I could have been heading for the airport and instead I’ll likely be going for a run I’ll regret my decision but I do think it’s for the best. TL;DR: my boss is great, I suck.”
His reply was what I expected “I understand” then when pressed about the slightly short response “I’m not upset, I’m just disappointed.” Ugh, great. Who doesn’t like to be called disappointing on a Friday afternoon? Server, I’ll take another glass of Viognier.
We texted about it throughout the evening, he said he really did understand while at the same time trying to convince me that the trip wouldn’t mean anything, it wasn’t a big deal, to think of it just as a really long, far away third date. He was a pretty smooth talker and there were a number of times I almost caved. He’s an impulsive, spontaneous, living life to the fullest type of guy so I could understand why my reluctance to throw caution to the wind wasn’t something he was going to easily accept.
At the end of the day, I didn’t want to rush before I was sure what this was. I wasn’t asking for any commitment from him but, given both of our past-relationship situations, I didn’t think either of us needed to be getting into a position where we could end up potentially getting hurt.
Turns out, sometimes it doesn’t matter what you do to try and prevent that, it can still happen…