Same Same, But Very Different


They say we look for the familiar, that we find comfort in it. But what happens when the familiar isn’t attractive to you and, in fact, is maybe a whole lot of what you’d tried to leave behind?

Most of my dating stories, start on dating apps – such is the life we live in nowadays. And while this one started as a result of a dating app, in fact it began with a message request on Instagram. I’m always skeptical of those, it’s mostly some “bodybuilder” in India who wants to say hi or, in some instances, just gets straight to a marriage proposal. My favourite ones are men who message my blog instagram seemingly never having considered that a man harassing me in my DMs might be the exact basis of some of my stories.

This time though the message came from someone I thought I possibly recognised and as I read the message, he explained he’d seen me on Tinder and I realised that was where I’d seen the face. He said when we hadn’t matched on the app he decided to reach out to me on Instagram – this was during a period of time when I had my Instagram handle on my dating app profiles.

Sidebar – I’m in two minds about that. Part of me hates people putting their instagram on their dating profile because I feel like a lot of people just do it to get more followers. Especially the people who put their handle on but have a private account. It can be for no other reason then surely than to gain followers? But part of me likes it, and when I do have my handle on my profile, it’s because if people look at my Instagram I think it gives them a pretty good idea of who I am (all the while remembering nothing on Instagram or any social platform is every 100% accurate of real life). But in terms of my interests and a much larger breadth of pictures to see what I actually look like, I think it can be pretty helpful.

But I digress. Although another discussion point is this – if you’ve seen someone on a dating app and swiped right or liked them and you don’t match, especially if you’ve let some time go by, or maybe you’ve even seen them a few times and swiped right or liked them each time, and you still don’t match – maybe they don’t like you? So why would reaching out in another way seem like a good idea? I’ve always thought it was a ballsy thing to do. And you know, sometimes ballsy is good. We always say the men in Vancouver have no balls and never approach women, so I can’t be mad when one does I guess.

Ok, another sidebar. Is this deception – a bald man wearing something on his head for all his pics? I mean, there’s no way to talk about this without being judgey but essentially that’s what dating apps force us to be. It’s not that I care if a guy is bald, some bald guys are hot, just like some guys with hair are hot. And some are not. But, I mean, I want to see what I could be waking up next to. Although then that makes me wonder if the flip side of that argument is that women should put pictures on without make up…. But it’s not the same thing! Is it??? Now I’m conflicted. I hate double standards between men and women. I’ll need to think more on this…

Right, back to the man who seemingly always wore hats in my Instagram DMs. He said he’d seen me on Tinder, and had to reach out because he thought I was “cute” and saw that I was Scottish so thought we were kindred spirits, as he was also Scottish. Now, that sounds nice and I love having a connection to home, but I’ve always kinda liked the fact that there’s not that many Scottish people in Vancouver. I didn’t come out here to hang out with Scottish people. I could have stayed in Scotland for that.

Having said that, meeting people with the same cultural references as you, who miss the same food, and have the same understanding of what it’s like to have your family over 7000km away is always comforting to some degree. So I figured why not meet him, as he had suggested in his first message – definitely bold, definitely not from around here.

We arranged to meet at one of my favourite bars in my neighbourhood, which was close to where we both lived, and to be honest it was one of those dates I felt a bit “meh” about so I was glad not to have to travel too far for it. I was just getting ready to leave my apartment when he called to say he was running late. He got mega props for calling and not just texting, but all of those props were lost when after me saying no worries, I could meet him whenever, he then said “are you drunk?”

Maybe I was a touch blase about the whole date to the point that I didn’t care, but did that come across as drunk!? I thought it was a weird thing to say and I found it kind of offensive. Could I just cancel the date now?

I persevered, hung around my apartment an extra 20 minutes and then headed for the bar, knowing I’d get there before him so I could choose where to sit. Now he was older than I normally date, at 42, and I still wasn’t sure how I felt about the hat thing so I choose a quiet little corner where I wouldn’t be spotted if anyone I knew came into the bar. Is this a bad sign? Trying not to be seen with the guy before the date has even begun? Oh god…

When he arrived, toque (the Canadian name for a woolen hat) in place, I realised what about his pictures had put me off – he reminded me of a million men back home. Men who try to dress like they’re still teenagers, when in fact they’re middle aged. A lot of them come from the west coast of Scotland (Glasgow, I’m looking at you), shopping centres are filled with them on Saturday days and bars are busting at the seams with them on Saturday nights, and it’s something I’ve always found wildly unappealing. This all ran through my head as he walked towards me across the bar.

Despite all of those cultural generalisations I’d just made about my own people, he was very smiley, so at least there was that? And I had to try to remain open minded about it as we went in for the “hi” hug.

That would have been easier had he not recoiled mid-hug and said “wow, you’re terrible at hugging, try that again.” Um, what? I just met you. You don’t know me. We’re on a first date. Why are you trashing my hugging ability?!?

It rubbed me so far the wrong way I can’t tell you. Especially after the “are you drunk?” comment. And it was such a stupid thing, I had to wonder if part of the reason I was so pissed off about it was because something about him inherently annoyed me to begin with? I happily would have ended the date at that point, but then I figured he’d have something to say about that too.

We chatted through the usual – work, why we moved, family, why we wouldn’t move back, things we loved about Canada, things we found tough about Vancouver, and dating. When he told me he was from a place near Glasgow, I almost shouted “I FUCKING KNEW IT!” but I restrained myself and instead focused on the toque sat atop his head, while we were indoors and it wasn’t cold outside… Did I mention it was August?

It was clear from our discussions that we had a lot in common, and if you asked someone on the outside looking in if we were a good match, they would have likely said yes and probably made some comment about it being cute we were both Scottish. Ugh, puke.

I honestly couldn’t wait to get home that night, it was one of those that every five minutes sat in that bar, was five minutes lost when I could have been in my pjs at home, which was definitely the more attractive option. So when after a couple of drinks we finally got the bill, which he paid, I was grateful I only had a six minute walk home.

Talking of which, in our initial conversations we also both agreed that actually the other person being Scottish wasn’t a plus for either of us. He said he’d told his friend that exact thing before our date, while I knew it had been swirling in my head since he reached out. So it was weird to me that he had mentioned us both being Scottish when he’d initially reached out to me on Instagram as if it was a good thing. But I didn’t press him on it, because I’m not an asshole, unlike people who critique other’s hugging ability. Clearly I was so salty about that still.

After the date, which I escaped with no one I knew seeing me, I messaged him later to thank him for the drinks, as I always do when someone pays, and while I already knew I wouldn’t be seeing him again, for some reason I couldn’t be bothered to deal with that on that evening. So instead, I just let his “you’re welcome, it was really great to meet you” reply sit on my phone to be dealt with another day.

That other day was the next day. I replied to his text from the night before and just said that it was lovely to meet him but I didn’t feel the connection I’m looking for, which I usually know right from a first date. I’d expected him to do the usual “oh I felt the same” reply which a lot of guys engage and I can totally understand why they do – saves face, saves ego, saves any further discussion. I’m ok with it. But not this guy. Not “you’re a terrible hugger” guy.

Instead I got a reply from him which stated that he felt like I needed someone to help me make better dating choices and that while we may not continue dating, maybe he could be that guy for me. Are you kidding me??? I got that text while I was in the gym and I honestly almost threw a dumbell at the guy beside me. Why are men so entitled to tell women what we need and always assume they are the ones that can give it to us?????

I thought I was pissed about the “are you drunk” and “you’re a terrible hugger” comments. But this was next level. And, to be clear – I’m aware that I definitely don’t always make good dating decisions, him being a fucking case in point! But a) it is not his place to point that out and b) what on earth made him think he could help me?!

As you can imagine, my reply was less than cordial, which of course he used to suggest that I’d taken what he said the wrong way etc etc. And eventually I just had to tell him that the conversation was over, otherwise I knew it was going to spiral.

The thing was I never really wanted to date him in the first place, he kind of annoyed me before I even met him, more so when I met him and entirely after I met him. It was another proof point that forcing myself outside of what feels “comfortable” and what makes sense for me has never once worked. Even if we are from the same country, even if we have had a similar life experience in moving to Canada. We may have come from the same place but we were very, very different, and not just because I’d never tell someone I didn’t know that they were shit at hugging. See, still salty.

…previous post



How do you ignore your gut? Should you even try? Or should you just always go with it? Even when you want it to be wrong?

After the weekend of distant texting, by the time O texted on the Sunday night my gut was on full red alert. He sent a half assed text telling me they’d won the basketball tournament, and that was about it. My reply was that I guessed we weren’t doing dinner? He replied apologising, saying he didn’t realise he wouldn’t be back til later. It felt insincere. And I was majorly pissed off.  But mostly, I felt panicked. I felt panicked that things were changing and I couldn’t control them and I didn’t understand them.

I told him that I didn’t want to have to deal with inconsistency. He couldn’t go from being the texter of the century (while always claiming he wasn’t a texter) to essentially being MIA for 24 hours.

Here’s the thing with consistency when it comes to communication – I don’t need 24/7 communication but I do need 24/7 consistency. So if you only text me once every three days, that’s fine, but keep doing that. If you text me once every hour (don’t. I don’t think anyone should text someone that much), then you better be setting your alarm to keep that shit going so I don’t think you’ve died. Granted that’s an extreme example but my point is, don’t fuck with the consistency of communication. Yes life happens, yes it’s not always possible, but that’s why it’s important to think about the levels of expectation you’re setting. And that’s why numerous times I’d questioned O about the likelihood of this high bar being kept up there. And he’d always insisted it wasn’t a problem…

We didn’t end up seeing each other on the Sunday night and, in fact, it was eight days until I saw him again. Over the week his texts became less and less frequent and he dodged every opportunity for us to meet – he was busy. We eventually made preliminary plans to meet on Saturday. I was actually busy on Saturday, I was heading out of town to stay with my adopted Canadian Granny, but I didn’t want to be the blocker so I said it worked for me. And as I headed for the skytrain for a night out the city, I got the text I knew was coming from O – “really sorry, I don’t think I can meet today, I’ve thrown my back out”.

I could have written it myself, albeit the back injury was an added flair of an excuse. I had fully expected it. So why did the disappointment sting my eyes? Why did the expected call off still result in brimming tear ducts?

I think I knew at this point things weren’t going to be the same again. There would be no reverting change in his behaviour that could now not make me question him, question his integrity, question his motives, question his honesty.

Despite being on the Skytrain, heading out the city, I replied and suggested I go over with some food for him and asked if there was anything else I could take him. Banking on the fact he’d decline I didn’t pause my trip to White Rock for a single step. Expectedly, he declined the offer but said “maybe tomorrow”. I decided at that point that I’d be seeing him the next day whether it meant I had to doorstep him or not.

Later that afternoon, sat in Granny’s garden, surrounded by her beautiful potted plants with the sun beating down, I told her the whole story over numerous glasses of wine. And what she said to me still sticks in my mind – “when you’ve explained to someone how inconsistency causes you anxiety, you can’t believe someone only has good intentions for you when they then become inconsistent and seem unconcerned for the anxiety they must know they’re causing you.”

It was followed up with some sage advice about trying to draw a line in the sand and not giving anymore of myself to him. I realised I’d already given more than I would have liked, more than I intended to, more than I felt comfortable with. I’d been swept away by the whole thing and now I was left feeling adrift. Granny did a great job at lifting my spirits over dinner but there was no denying the growing sadness and confusion.

The next day as I returned back to Vancouver, I lured him into a false sense of security – I hate games, but fuck you – getting him to confirm he was still at home in bed and his flatmate was out. With that info in hand, I told him I was taking him coffee and his favourite doughnut from Tim Horton’s and I’d be over in half an hour. I didn’t ask, I told him. I left him no choice.

And here’s where I know I differ from some people. For some, as soon as someone backs away from them they put their own walls up, turn the other way and don’t look back. I, on the other hand, like to get right in amongst the shit pile and stir it up. It’s like I can’t be done with it until I’ve tested it to the nth degree. Partly it’s because I’m a hopeless optimist and hope that one day my gut will be wrong and someone backing away will all of a sudden change their mind and come running back. And I know the retort to that is why would you want someone who wasn’t sure about you? Don’t ask me, I’m all sorts of fucked up.

It’s also partly because if someone wants to end something with me I want them to say it. I want to make them say the words. Both for their discomfort and my closure. I’d rather be stabbed with a knife than slapped with a fish. Does that even make sense as a saying? I’m going with it. Like, if you’re going to walk away from me, then tell me, give me the brutally honest reason, don’t just leave me hanging.

So looking to get into the middle of this shit pile, I went round to O’s and for the first time since I’d known him, it was awkward. Not just because his 6’5 frame was barely able to move – apparently the back injury wasn’t a lie – but it was clear something had changed. He was in pain. And I  wasn’t very sympathetic. I couldn’t be. I couldn’t bring myself to give any more of myself. The doughnut and coffee were the extent of it.

In the 45 minutes I was there, one of his best friends came to pick something up with his girlfriend. It was another awkward interaction, with O briefly introducing me, while I sat on the edge of his bed like some pathetic groupie. They left and there was more awkward chat between us. He commented that I seemed to be enjoying his discomfort. He wasn’t wrong. But I wasn’t enjoying mine.

I left him in bed to go and meet friends at the beach, as had always been my Sunday plan before my impromptu home delivery to the invalid. I never intended to stay at his for long, I just wanted to see him, look him in the eyes, try to get a read on the situation. But I think all I’d managed to deduce in my time there was that the situation was fucked up.

He clearly knew I was pissed off but I couldn’t tell if he cared. We texted a little that afternoon, while I was enjoying a sunny beach day and he was feeling sorry for himself in bed. I still couldn’t muster any sympathy.

When he asked me to go round for dinner the next night, I was slightly surprised but I couldn’t decide if it was a good thing or not. Maybe he was going to take the opportunity to chat about things, have those open and honest (and maybe difficult) conversations that we both agreed during our first date we preferred to games and confusion and things left unsaid.

Turns out, he just wanted someone to snuggle with on the sofa. He’d made it to work that day and we met halfway between our apartments as he walked home. His 6’5 frame stood out even more when he walked with a limp. On this occasion I did feel some sympathy for him. He was clearly in a lot of pain, so I offered to take his backpack, cause I’m nice like that and despite how confused I was by the whole situation, I apparently couldn’t help myself. We stopped for food on the way home and continued back to his for a night of laying on the sofa.

There was no explanation for his distance, no reference even made to it. It was like those eight days of us not seeing each other, and the diminishing texts, hadn’t even happened. We had sex that night, despite his back injury – funny what guys can rally for – but even it wasn’t the same. Maybe because he wasn’t his usual energetic self, maybe because part of me wondered how many times this was likely to happen again, or if in fact this might be the last.

The rest of the week was more of the same, infrequent texts and an inability to meet up. I stopped attempting to make plans by the Thursday. I was sick of suggesting times, making myself available, being accommodating in the hope he might actually say yes. There’s only so many times you can be told no. I wish I was one of those people who only needed to be told no once… alas, I’m a sucker for punishment.

My anxiety was out of control, my mind a constant whirring of how the situation might be rectified, why he might have changed his mind, what I could do to change it back… talk about mental torture. I threw myself into working out. And trying to ignore the deafening silence from my phone.

It got to the weekend and I had no idea what his plans were. I made my own and adjusted to the deep, sinking feeling that had been perpetually in my stomach for the last two weeks.

Waking on Sunday morning at 8am I read a text from him that he’d sent at 3am – “any chance you’re having a late night?” Was it a drunk booty call or was he just finishing work (not uncommon for him) and he wanted to talk?

I responded saying I had but clearly not as late as some people and asked if he was ok. And then I waited. And waited. And waited for a reply. At 4pm, I decided I’d pretty much had enough. “So you’re going to text me at 3am, I reply when I wake up and then you go back to ignoring me as you’ve done for much of the past week? Really?”

Interestingly, that got his attention. He replied saying he’d been meaning to call me. “And yet here we are, texting” I replied. My phone rang almost instantly. I gave myself a couple of seconds to compose myself, or at least try to. There was a fairly high chance I was going to lose it – whether “it” was my temper or my tears, I wasn’t sure.

He said he knew he’d been off, he knew he’d been busy, he knew things had been different. I said I was disappointed with the inconsistency. He said he was sorry, he’d never meant to let me down, but that he also knew he didn’t have space in his life for someone right now, for a number of reasons.

He didn’t have space for someone in his life right now.

The very thing I’d asked him a number of times and he said we’d figure it out. Wow. I guess what he meant when he said we’d “figure it out” is that he would just wait til he came to the startling realisation himself that he didn’t have space and choose to do a great impression of a ghost rather than actually talk to me about it.

So then why the fuck would he text me at 3am and ask if I’d “had a late night by any chance” then? Cause he wanted to have the chat then? I’m going to guess not. Because he wanted to see if he could squeeze one more sexscapade out of me before he ghosted me entirely? More likely.

My mind was racing while he spoke. I had so much I wanted to say to him. So much I wanted to shout at him. And instead I just asked “so that’s it?” and he said “yeah, so that’s it.” And just like that it was done. We said goodbye, I hung up and finally lost it. My tears, that is.

To say I was disappointed, is an understatement. Mostly I was disappointed in myself. Mostly because I knew I shouldn’t have allowed myself to be swept along, because I knew I was opening myself up to getting hurt again, because I knew it was going too fast. But he assured me, he said all the right things, convinced me he wouldn’t be leaving an O shaped hole in my life anytime soon. Four weeks later, that’s exactly what I was left with.

I’ll never understand how he ever thought he was going to make it work with his schedule or with whatever other issues he had going on. I’ll never understand how he could sit and talk about consistency and honesty and communication and then let things go the way they did.

And once again with a guy, I had to go looking for the answers. They just start to drift a little, but not far enough that it’s undeniable, they deny anything’s changed or they feel differently, until it gets to a point where I have to call them out on it. I’m not one of these people that can just let it go or fizzle out. I want that last conversation, I want at least some reasoning or explanation even if it’s bullshit & makes no sense. But it’s always me who has to ask the question. Sometimes I wonder what would happen if I didn’t.

But once again, that feeling of being cast adrift was with me, making itself at home within me. It had become the thing I feared the most. The feeling I don’t know how to quell and the feeling which causes self doubt in me like nothing else. Wondering if anything will ever work out, if anyone will ever live up to what they say they’re going to do, if there’s something inherently wrong with me. I wasn’t sure I could do it again. I honestly felt like I’d reached the tipping point.

I had more questions than answers, and more concerns than confidences. A friend said to me a while afterwards, realising I was struggling to come to terms with the swiftness of the zero to 100 to zero journey we’d been on – “you don’t need to know why he did what he did, just know that it wasn’t an accident.” I have no clue what happened on his end, what changed in his mind. All I know is how I felt and what I did. And those are the things I can learn from.

I didn’t want to write this story. It still stings. Not because I still harbour feelings. Unless that feeling is confusion. I like closure, I like tying up loose ends, I like closing the loop – I was able to do none of that with this situation. Him saying he didn’t have space for me or anyone in his life right now would have been an acceptable explanation (let’s forget the ghosting that took place to get there), except for the fact that two weeks later, I saw him on Bumble again, with an updated profile which now read “looking to date a tall girl”….

To O,

Fuck you.

Sincerely, this 5’4 shortarse


Next post…

…previous post

That Age Old Question


As if age hadn’t been a hot topic after the Billy The Kid incident, after dating two 25 year old’s – yes at the same time, though both in varying degrees of seriousness – it was once again at the forefront of my mind. How old is too old and, more importantly in this situation, how young is too young?

While with Frenchie it was incredibly easy, with absolutely no strings attached. Malaysian Persuasion, on the other hand, definitely brought more emotion and, dare I say, immaturity to our situation. And that in and of itself proves that the numbers making up the ages are not the concern. The number of candles on a cake is not the issue. The number of years on this earth is not the thing we should be focused on – it is the person, their motivations, their goals, their maturity (which is not directly correlated to that number) that is where you learn the most.

As I get older, and seemingly the majority of men on dating apps gets younger, the question of age appropriateness is often on my mind. Particularly as a woman. Because, of course, there’s something that makes it that much more shocking when it’s an older woman with a younger guy than an older guy with a younger woman. Oh society… how I abhor your double standards.

Friends, and I myself, have used the term “age appropriate” when talking about people I’ve been dating. And generally that’s applied to anyone a couple of years younger – at 33, it seems 30 and up is acceptable for me to date? – and then any age older. ANY! Why is a 38 year old guy (looking at you Filipeen) so much more appropriate for me to date than someone in their late twenties?

Yes, I know women mature faster and so by dating a younger guy you are potentially dating someone not only 5 years younger in age but 15 years younger in maturity. Ok, I joke, they don’t mature that slowly… But maturity can’t be assumed based on age. For either sex.

When it comes to society’s opinion, I’ve learnt not to care. I know that for me, for whatever reason, I have found more fun and more common ground with men younger than me. So I don’t care anymore, and my friends have learnt that generally when they ask the question of age in regards to someone I’m dating, my answer will start with “he’s twenty…” something. Though they did really draw the line at Billy The Kid, but to be fair, so did I.

The flip side of my comfort level with dating younger though, is how it feels for the younger guy to be dating an older woman. It’s a conversation I’ve had many times and from what I’ve experienced, issues arise because of two main factors…

The first is that there’s a misconception that because I’m a 33 year old woman I must be racing to get married and have babies. But as we all know, I’ve done the first and got the therapy bills to show for it, and I’m not entirely certain how I feel about the second… so rushing to do it? Absolutely not.

Now, yes, there are women who are desperate for those things and, for those women, that desire intensifies with age, particularly as society’s opinions (seriously, who gave society such a loudmouth?) and biology start to close in on us. But to believe that all women are looking for that and that just because your age starts with “thirty…” something means it must be the sole item on your agenda is terribly misinformed.

The second issue, and it’s one I come back to frequently, is that when you’re the younger age, you don’t know what it’s like to be the older age. At 25, I couldn’t have imagined what 33 would be like. It seemed so far away, and serious, and… old! And now, at 33, I remember what 27 felt like because it doesn’t seem all that long ago! And, yes, I’ve grown and yes, things have changed but ultimately I don’t feel that different at 33 than I did at 25. I mean I’m a little more husbandless than I was eight years ago, but same same.

And there is often a fear of the unknown. Particularly when you only consider the age. When it comes to friends of the younger guy – for them, they don’t necessarily know the old 33 year old. They just know she’s 8 years older than their 25 year old mate. They don’t take into consideration that maybe the 33 old is actually still fun and isn’t about to haul their friend down the aisle. Hell, maybe their friend actually has something(s) in common with the old lady – shock horror. But I can understand where the hesitation comes in, as misconceived as it may be.

As long as misplaced hesitation is all it is. If you take age out of the equation and there’s still something there – a connection between two people, an understanding, common interests, an attraction – then I truly don’t think the numbers matter.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – you can meet a 25 year old with a tonne of life experience and maturity or you can meet a 38 year old who’s scared of commitment. And both could end up as a tale of woe on your blog so…

Next post…

…previous post

Block, Delete, Repeat – Part 3 of 3


When honesty is your only policy and you’re put on the spot by the guy you’re dating asking if you’re sleeping with anyone else, what do you do? Do you decide now is the time to get on the train with people that think lying is better than hurting someone’s feelings? Is now a good time to pretend you’ve lost suddenly your hearing? Would it be best to somehow trigger your building’s fire alarm and get the hell out of dodge?

No. There is never a good time to lie. It doesn’t matter if you’d rather not have to tell the truth, it doesn’t matter if you know the answer isn’t likely to go down well, it doesn’t matter if the reality brings with it an uncomfortable conversation. There is never a good reason to lie. I truly believe that. I also believe you shouldn’t ask questions you aren’t prepared to hear the answers to.

I stuck to my end of the bargain, I answered truthfully. He did not stick to his end of the bargain, he was not prepared to hear my answer.

I said I had been sleeping with someone else, one other person, Frenchie. Well, I didn’t tell him it was Frenchie, that was for your benefit, dear reader. I then thought it might help to qualify the fact I wasn’t actually dating the other guy, I wasn’t going out with him, spending quality time with him. But as soon as that fact was out my mouth I realised I’d possibly just made things worse. There really was no way to dress this up. But as I pointed out to him, we hadn’t had a conversation around this. We’d never said we were exclusive.

Now, for the record, he never clarified whether he had or hadn’t been sleeping with other people as well, but clearly he wasn’t about to launch into that when he was so preoccupied by my admission. He told me he’d presumed I was sleeping with other people, which led me to think he also had, but that hearing it made it much worse. He told me he couldn’t deal with that. That when he slept with someone it meant something, which in fairness he had said to me the first time we’d slept together but I figured that was just a line he used. His feelings seemed genuinely hurt. And I felt like a big ol’ whore.

I told him the fact we hadn’t had the conversation about being exclusive, and that he had said a few times he didn’t know what he wanted meant I didn’t think there was a problem with it. What I couldn’t work out though was why I felt so bad about it… why did I feel like I’d been cheating on him? Why did I feel like I’d done something I shouldn’t have? And why did it make me feel so dirty? I definitely do not like multi player dating.

I told him if he wanted something more to happen between us, then we could do that, see how it worked out. I’d happily stop seeing anyone else. I told him I loved the fun we had together, the sex was the best I’d had and I’d rather have that than anything else.

The conversation only last about ten minutes and he said he had to leave. He needed some time. He had to try and get his head around it. He walked out saying he’d be in touch.

I felt like an absolute bag of shit when he left. Not only did I feel horrible for having caused that reaction but I had been so looking forward to our night together, despite his earlier delay tactics, and I was gutted that I was now left by myself with nothing but my thoughts and my feelings.

I barely slept. The next morning, the Monday holiday when we were supposed to have been having lots of middle of the night and early morning sex, I was awake at 4am and as soon as it was getting light out I went for a run. I needed to clear my head. I kept trying to remind myself I hadn’t done anything wrong. But that he was entitled to need time to get his head around it and decide if he actually did want us to exclusively date.

But how much time? A day? Maybe two? I tried to give him space, but four days later I hadn’t heard from him. And it was my birthday. I went to a park after work with friends and got (un?)necessarily drunk. It was messy. Turning 33 while having all of those feelings wasn’t the best way to start, or end, another year in life.

Despite my best efforts not to drunk dial, I of course did. Because if 33 years on this planet has taught me anything, it’s that I shouldn’t be left alone with my phone when I’m drunk.

Stupidly he answered. It was 10pm on a Thursday night, he should have known to let it go to voicemail. We had a conversation, I told him I just wanted to speak to him, that I thought we should meet to talk about it, that I couldn’t believe he hadn’t been in touch the whole time since Sunday night, how much more time did he need?! 33 year old me wasn’t patient.

He said he agreed we should talk and as I was about to suggest meeting up at the weekend, he said “I’ll come over now.” What?! I was sure he’d said that just to get me off the phone. He knew I was drunk and apparently I kept going silent, I’m sure it was just my signal…, so why then suggest to come over?

Come over he did, and his demeanour was one of someone who did not want to be there. So I was confused as to why on earth he’d come over, at his own suggestion. He told me he couldn’t deal with me sleeping with other people. But he also told me he didn’t want to date me. He said our lives were too different, “the age thing” wouldn’t work. Wow, that’s what you want to hear on your birthday, right?

As it turns out, “the age thing” wasn’t enough for him not to sleep with me again that night. As I was berating him for how he could be so narrow minded as to want his cake and to eat it too, he looked me dead in the eye and said “get in the bedroom.” I’m not going to lie, him taking the lead like that was incredibly sexy. So I duly followed his instruction.

The sex was great, but he left later that night, re-iterating again that we couldn’t date, and basically saying that was it. Over. Done. I was more than a little devastated. He left me as a drunken, birthday mess.

In the following weeks, I tried my hardest to convince him he was wrong. And he wasn’t always 100% convincing in his disagreement to my point. He wavered and at times I thought there was a way around it. Why I couldn’t just accept he was right, I don’t know.

The anxiety I had been left with was surprising. It wasn’t the usual hurt or upset or loneliness I’d feel after things with a guy went tits up. Maybe it was because I felt like I’d come off in a really bad light and I was desperate to change that.

I hoped he still wanted to date. I really liked hanging out with him, he was fun and funny and sweet and there was something quite calming when I was with him. The fact we had never been planning to seriously date had been quite nice, there wasn’t not too much pressure on it. And yet, somehow got to the stage where it just felt way heavier than it ever needed to or ever should have. And as a 25 year old, I’m pretty sure that was the last thing he wanted.

I also knew there were red flags he’d shown that, even if he had still wanted to date, I should consider before deciding still see him. Him going MIA, him not honouring our plans, the fact I feel like he lied about the family dinner he “forgot about”, or even just the fact he made the plans for the family dinner when we’d already made plans for that night. It was pretty shitty behaviour.

As much as I wanted to be easy breezy, I wasn’t going to be treated like shit, no matter how casual the relationship. There’s casual dating and then there’s being walked over. And whether it was because he was 25 or just a bit of a dick, I didn’t know and it didn’t matter, I didn’t want to make it ok for me to be treated like that.

But the anxiety I was feeling was also deeply rooted in the fact that I clearly disappointed him, that he then had this horrible idea of the person I am. And maybe part of me wondered if actually I was that person. Did my casual view at the time of dating and sleeping with multiple people mean that actually he wasn’t wrong if he thought poorly of me? I like to think that I get to make the choice for myself and if I’m ok with it and the people I’m sleeping with know and are ok with it then there’s no harm. But maybe that’s not the case. Maybe dating and sex and relationships (no matter how casual) deserve a little more gravity towards them, deserve to be honoured a bit more. But that only works if both parties feel the same. Frenchie didn’t need that, but seemingly Malaysian Persuasian maybe did?

There was also the fact that of course I wanted him to want me. I just wanted it to go back to the fun, casual, great sex dates we were having before I’d gone on my trip home and things got strained and complicated. I guess I knew leaving for almost a month could have had a detrimental effect but I thought it would be that he’d get bored waiting. Not that all this mess would precede it. You live and learn, I guess.

Eventually I stopped trying to perpetuate conversation. I gave it up. And between the end of May and August our texts were sporadic at best, but every now and again he’d like a photo of mine on instagram, or send me a message, as he had done on Canada Day long weekend. And the conversation would get so far, to him saying he missed me and wanted to see me, but as soon as I’d suggest meeting up, he’d back out, get cold feet, go MIA.

I finally told him he had to either strap on a pair of balls and organise to meet up or he had to leave me alone. I know I could have blocked him on instagram and on text, but it’s not my style. Why? Because I’m a glutton for punishment, maybe? After many, and I mean many rough plans being shelved because he was busy or he “just couldn’t”, we finally made plans to meet on a Sunday afternoon. I was going to a baby shower in the afternoon so we organised an early evening.

We met at a local bar and at first it was a little awkward. General catching up chit chat, work, family, holidays. But after a couple of gins he was back to his flirty and suggestive self. The afternoon progressed to more gins at the bar where we had our first date. And eventually to us buying a bottle of gin and going back to my place. And by that point, there was no difficulty telling where it was going to end up.

Despite the awkwardness at the beginning of the night, there wasn’t a hint of that when we were once again back in my bedroom. It was as great as it had always been. We remembered each other perfectly. It was, again, some of the best sex I’d ever had.

When he left later that night, I didn’t know where things stood. We’d had such a fun night, we had laughed a lot and the spark that had always been there had evidently not died. As he left though he said he’d be in touch, and then I heard… nothing.

How I stopped myself from messaging him I don’t know. In fact, I do, I occupied myself with getting out and dating again. But it was torture. I wanted to call him an asshole. I wanted to ask him what the fuck was going on. I wanted to understand how he could seemingly turn his feelings on and off.

This time I did block him on Instagram, which meant he couldn’t see anything I was doing but, almost more importantly, I couldn’t see anything he was doing. I developed an unhealthy obsession with checking the activity of people I followed so I could see which Instagram model’s posts he was liking that day. And I wanted to weep every time I saw his face pop up in the Instagram Story circle. So I did myself a favour and cut it off. I also deleted his number and deleted the iMessage thread from my phone. And my MacBook. And the WhatsApp chat. Gotta catch them all!

I managed to resist the urge to message him until one fateful night in December. I got drunk – what did I tell you about being left alone with my phone when I’m drunk? Actually technically I wasn’t alone but my girlfriend was on a phone call and I decided to take my chance with no adult supervision. And I know what you’re thinking – but you deleted his number? I did, but drunk me is a genius and remembered that in WhatsApp when you delete a thread it only moves it to the archive, which you can still always go into and find the convo. So I went in there, got the number and messaged it.

You’d think he’d have learnt his lesson from my drunken birthday night call, but no. So again, he replied. At first he was receptive to hear from me but as soon as I launched into the still underlying want to get him to want me – because who doesn’t want to date a drunken mess? – he backed off. And, well, let’s just say I didn’t take kindly to that. Add to this the fact that for the duration of the time I was messaging I had continued to drink and so by this point my texts became not only abusive but also unreadable.

Turns out he didn’t appreciate either because he stopped replying, which didn’t necessarily mean I stopped messaging him (God help me, someone take my phone away from me!!!!) and when I looked again in the morning it seemed he’d actually blocked me. Oh well, at least that was one way to put a stop to it.

But, as amusing as I actually found it the next morning, thankfully the hangover fear didn’t reach me this time, I did feel bad about being such a bitch, no matter whether he deserved it or not. Which, for the record, he did. Obviously.

I was also just about to start a new job and was trying to detox my life and start what was going to be a crazy challenging new chapter with no bad juju so I decided I had to apologise. But how, he’d blocked my number? Well, technology nowadays means there’s always a way, so the following weekend I unblocked him on Instagram, followed him again and sent him a Direct Message.

It said “hey, I wanted to apologise for my texts the other night. Despite whatever has happened before you don’t deserve to be bombarded with abuse on a Wednesday night. I guess I just really don’t like to be told no and rather than accept that maybe you’re right, that we’re not right for each other and we shouldn’t date and that, I haven’t been able to let it go since I came back from my trip in April and you let things get so weird. I’m not proud of it, but I realise now that this isn’t doing either of us any good, so I’m sorry and I wish you nothing but the best.”

It was a tense wait to see if he would even see the DM seeing as he didn’t follow each other so it would go through as a request and not straight into his main inbox and not everyone get notifications for DMs from randoms, which essentially I was at that point as far as Instagram was concerned.

Three hours later I got a reply – “Thanks, apology accepted.” I cried.

It was such a relief and it felt like truly the end of the line for this whole mess. It was a mixture of happy tears that I’d been adult enough to address my faults and take responsibility, which he accepted, but also sad tears that it really had been such a mess and now it was done. Despite my feelings towards him, all the hundreds of different ones I had, I knew I had to let this go. No good could come of it. Eight months after it started.

I replied to say thanks and that I liked to think I would hold my hands up when I’d been a dick, which invariably I had the other night. I also added that I was going to unfollow him again on Instagram, that I’d only followed him to send him the message but I didn’t think it was good for either of us to still have that connection. But it was just a precautionary measure and not meant as one final big fuck you.

He replied again laughing and saying he understood. It was a good note to leave it on. So I deleted the message thread from Instagram, went back to his profile and clicked the “Unfollow” button. If only my feelings had been able to unfollow as quickly, but I knew they’d get there soon enough.

Next post…

…previous post

Full Disclosure Required


Nobody wants to be a downer on a first date and generally topics such as bad breakups or ongoing medical conditions might be left until a possible second or third date. But when does trying to keep things light and fun actually become hiding, or lying about, your current state?

I met Irish Tech Triathlete online, he was 36, so entirely age appropriate (whatever the hell that means) for me, we had a lot in common in that we both worked in tech and we both enjoyed working out, not that I was training for triathlons or iron man races, and he was pretty funny.

We matched on a Sunday afternoon and by 5pm he called me. Like phoned me. On the telephone. I forgot people used them for that. It was a pleasant surprise in a number of ways – a) no one calls anymore, everyone hides behind texts (me included); b) often online matches can take what seems like an age to actually get to the meeting stage which bores me and; c) he was just as fun on the phone as he was on text.

He had a busy week coming up, and so did I, so he suggested we meet for drinks in the next hour. Um… what? I’m lying on my sofa, covered in cookie crumbs, wearing bed socks and now I have to make myself presentable not just to the world but to a first date. Ugh… fine.

An hour and a half later, cookie crumbs and bed socks gone, and we’re in a bar close to my house, having a really fun time. He was a super funny guy, we got on immediately, with a lot in common and easy banter back and forth. It’s the one difference I’ve noticed between dating North Americans and people from “back home” or maybe just outside of North America – there’s a sense of fun and banter and sarcasm and teasing that I haven’t found with people from Canada and the US. That’s not to say they don’t get there eventually but in the first instance, with someone new I don’t feel like they’re entirely comfortable with being that way. Brits or Irish on the other hand are happy to absolutely take the piss out of anyone and there’s something strangely comforting in it!

As the date went on, we had more drinks and he probably had two beers for every gin I had but he was a big guy, like 6”2 and he was well built so I didn’t think much of it. However by the time we got ready to leave he’d had a good few pints and I was aware he was definitely tipsy, while I felt fine, thankfully.

I lived a block round the corner which I didn’t strictly tell him but when he suggested walking me home, I figured I didn’t mind him knowing where I lived. When we got to my building though he made a comment about the building I lived in and how he was interested to see the view from my apartment. I’d had no intention of inviting him up but for whatever reason, in that moment I decided I’d let him come up. I was actually surprised by how much I liked him.

Did I feel pressure? A little. Did I think it was easier just to concede to a half drunk guy? Probably. Did I feel threatened? No, not explicitly. But it was another situation where maybe I should have found and used my voice more vociferously.

Voice MIA, we go up to my apartment, and in my head I know it’s literally going to be a look around, let him see the view and then say bye, no offer of a drink, no offer of a seat, nothing. I’m aware that trying to get rid of him from inside my apartment is arguably more difficult than from outside my apartment building when my concierge was 20 metres away. I’m not saying it made sense, but it’s what I did.

We duly look at the view, I show him around my tiny apartment which takes all of 20 seconds and then I say it’s time for him to go and me to go to bed. Of course he makes a joke about us both just going to my bed, which I laugh off. Then he says “but how am I supposed to get home? I drove and I can’t drive now.”

This is where, previously, I would have started feeling bad, offered for him to stay, offered to drive him myself (even though I definitely couldn’t have either), just tried to fix it in some way. But after bending over backwards for guys previously and it coming back to bite me on the arse, I decided he was a grown ass man who could figure it out himself. How had he thought this was going to play out? That I’d just let him stay? Not tonight my friend, not tonight.

He pretended to be hurt that I wasn’t helping him solve the problem he’d created for himself and then conceded that he would get a cab and come back for his car in the morning. He kissed me goodnight and it was a nice, albeit slightly drunken kiss. As the kiss went on I could feel him exerting some of that 6”2 frame on me to try and get me towards my bedroom from standing by my front door. I tried to resist, but at 5”4.5 I was really up against it.

So I pulled away, called him out on it and said goodnight. He gave me another peck, then just as I thought he was leaving, came back and started to kiss me again, and yet again tried to move me towards the bedroom. At this point I realised he had to go, so I pulled back, opened the door and essentially, hand in the small of his back (which was about mid-rib height on me), ushered him out.

I was disappointed the night had ended like that, he’d been a really fun guy and I had wanted to see him again but feeling like he was pressuring me first to come up to my apartment, then to stay and then to get me into my bedroom – it didn’t feel great. I put it down to him being drunk, he hadn’t seemed like that earlier in the night, but even if it was “just” when he’s drunk surely that was enough to be a red flag. And I wondered if he was even aware of it.

The next morning he messaged to say he’d had a great time, that he’d picked up his car and he was sorry for being a little “worse for wear”, he hadn’t realised how much he’d had to drink. I appreciated that he made mention of it. I’d have found it more difficult if he’d just swept it under the carpet. I also felt bad for him that it was a Monday morning and he was feeling rough – not a great start to anyone’s week.

Still, the end of the night before had definitely left a sour taste in my mouth and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to see him again. So I replied to his initial text, something light and non-committal, wished him a good day and left it at that.

We texted a couple of times over the coming week, just small talk around our days, jokes from our first date and then the next Saturday when we were messaging, he said was skiing up in Whistler but suggested meeting up when he was back down in the city. I figured a second date was at least worth a go, so told him to text me when he got back and then we could see what time it was and make plans.


I never heard from him again. For two and a half weeks. No follow up to our potential Saturday night plans, no messages afterwards to say his day had changed or to catch up with me after the weekend. Then one random Thursday afternoon at 5pm he messaged asking if I was free and wanted to go for drinks that night.

I was already at happy hour with a couple of friends, but figured I could go meet him after that. In hindsight, between the weird end to the first date and him going MIA for over two weeks I should have called it quits at that point, but it seems I’m not a quitter, in the worst possible way, so we made plans and I headed to meet him around 8pm.

He was really apologetic about his disappearance, which I fully called him out on. He’d been busy with work and there had been a lot of stuff going on. I explained that inconsistency didn’t work for me, which he said he understood and it wouldn’t happen again. He’d wanted to see me, but had just needed to sort some stuff out.

In the next couple of hours he did a great job of turning around the situation because somehow we ended up back in my apartment, again, and this time I was more open to the possibility of him ending up in my bed.

He was really fun and funny and (despite the initial red flags) seemed to have his shit together. He had his own place, had a good job, seemed to have a busy social life. He also wasn’t bad to look at and that never hurts. The rugby sevens weekend was coming up and he hadn’t been planning to go but as we were talking about it he mentioned it would be fun to hang out together at it, so he’d look at getting tickets. It felt like he could actually slot into my life kinda nicely, if it came to that.

Back at mine, he was far more respectful and guarded than he’d been the first night. He didn’t seem in a rush either which was nice. Or at least, it would have been if it hadn’t been for the fact that as things were about to start getting kind of serious after a whole lot of getting naked (side note – triathletes have incredibly lean bodies!) he “lost that loving feeling” – as it were.

Now, I get it, shit happens, you can’t control that thing – I mean the feeling, not the actual “thing”, although I’ve heard it claimed many a time it does in fact have a mind of its own – but twice? I had to try my best not to take it personally and wonder if my less than triathlete lean body wasn’t quite doing it for him.

After the second time, it was clear he wasn’t up (pun intended) for trying to make it work and instead just lay quietly in the dark. I gave it a minute and then asked the darkness “so, what’s up with that?” I’m sure I could have been more sensitive but… fuck it.

He stayed silent for a few minutes as the question kind of hung in the air. A number of times I wanted to interject the sound of tumbleweed and make a joke or try and offer up a possible reason or solution but instead I let the silence fill the space.

Eventually, after what felt like a lifetime, he started to talk. With an arm over his face, like a little boy admitting to something he’d done. He explained to me that the ex he had mentioned briefly on our first date was not only an ex from just a few weeks ago (the most recent time they’d broken up anyway), she was in fact also the mother of his 18 month old child.

A child he was now in a custody battle for, but was already solely looking after. A child he’d had with him in Whistler those few weekends ago and so was never going to be able to go out when he got back to the city. A child that he was going to have at the weekend and so he was never going to be able to come to the rugby sevens. A child that meant he only worked 4 days a week, yet he’d made comments about being Monday to Friday. A child he’d had done a very good job of actively avoiding talking about. A child I didn’t know he had.

The fact he had a child wasn’t the issue. The fact that when he’d told stories, like how he’d been hiking the other weekend, he purposely neglected to tell me that the other person on the hike with him, had been his baby. That when we agreed about how great living alone was, he didn’t actually live alone, he lived with his child.

I get it, it was a second date, I was hardly about to walk down the aisle and was just hearing all this stuff for the first time but there was something about the fact that it was a massive part of his life that he’d left out, so the whole picture of his life he’d painted was in fact false. Plus, now that massive part of his life was impacting his ability to be present in this part of his life.

He had been trying to learn Canadian child custody laws so he could fight for sole custody without having to pay for lawyers he couldn’t afford, he’d had to get a restraining order against his ex to stop her taking the child out the country, which apparently she’d attempted to do a number of times, he didn’t have a huge support network here with his family being back in Ireland and the 4 days of the week he worked he would do 14 hour days so he was almost working full time hours.

When he was explaining the situation, and giving the backstory, he was clearly anguished, he was clearly stressed and, despite how little I knew him (clearly!), it pained me to witness it. I started having flashbacks to when I had felt trapped and unable to cope with a situation. But that was years ago and I wasn’t attempting to date while going through it.

I mostly stayed quiet throughout his explanation. There wasn’t a lot I could say. I quieted my first instinct to help and, I don’t know, offer to babysit?! This wasn’t my mess to try and fix and while I felt bad for him and thought it was incredible he was stepping up to be the sole caregiver and I hoped the situation would resolve itself, I knew that I didn’t have the capacity to support someone through something like this. And in fairness, he wasn’t asking me to. But he clearly also wasn’t able to put it aside, which is no surprise, and so there really wasn’t a lot else to say.

He admitted he had hoped that dating might help him take his mind off it and would bring some light relief to an otherwise fairly stressful life, but had realised that in fact he wasn’t ready for it. Well no fucking shit. If he’d actually told me the situation right off the bat I would have told him he was attempting a triathlon before he could even crawl.

I halted the dragging night from taking either of us down further with a swift and entirely inappropriately cheery “well, you should probably go now!” I’m not sure I’ve ever asked someone to leave as they were lying naked next to me in my bed. But I guess there’s a first time for everything? And this felt like the right time to try it out.

And that was that, Irish Tech Triathlete, and his complicated custody issues, was never to be heard from again.

Next post…

…previous post

The Aftermath – Part 4.1?


I guess you could call this a bonus post? I had thought I’d be able to get the whole godforsaken Filipeen saga wrapped up in 4 parts (you can read part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4) but there’s still more shittery to write about, so here I am.

Having sobbed all the way home, I actually felt better than I thought I would when I settled myself on the sofa to eat my feelings in leftover Christmas chocolate. I absolutely knew I’d done the right thing and I felt relieved it was over, that I didn’t have to deal with Filipeen again, but I couldn’t help but wonder how I’d got myself into the mess to begin with…

Why hadn’t I been quicker to walk away? Why had I let it get so far, to the point he was able to diminish my self worth? Why did I honestly think he might be the only person that would want to date me? Where did that “scarcity fear”, as Julia calls it, come from?

Those weren’t questions I had answers for right at that moment but as I pondered them, my thoughts were interrupted by a text. From him. “So I don’t really know where we left it? Am I ok to contact you? Can we still be friends?”

Mother of fuck, get a clue.

I had no ability to see how we could be friends. I hadn’t been on Bumble to make friends and ultimately when someone has stripped your character down to nothing, why would you want to keep them in your life? It made no sense to me. But he’d done a great job of making me feel guilty even about that. During the discussion yesterday, when he’d made a point about how he hoped we could be friends he commented that people who can’t remain friends after dating clearly aren’t mature. Setting up the narrative that if I said we couldn’t be friends, I was obviously immature. Even now he was manipulating my thoughts.

I didn’t even know what to say in reply, and I was too tired to try to deal with it. So I just said “I don’t know right now. How about text me if you want and I’ll see how I feel?”

That was the Sunday and on the Tuesday he took it literally when he texted me to ask if I’d watched anymore Archer. We’d been watching it together whenever I was over at his place, funnily I hadn’t been tempted to remind myself of those nights by watching more of it in the last couple of days. I replied “no, I’ve been busy seeing friends and taking care of myself”. I was hoping the terse response would help him realise I wasn’t interested in friendly chit chat.

I made it through the rest of the week relatively unscathed, given it was the first week back after the holidays and I was hardly in the best of moods to start with. To celebrate surviving I went out with a girlfriend to eat tacos, drink margaritas and catch up after the holidays. Obviously my festive tales were fairly exclusively focused on Filipeen and as we were knee deep in the pre-NYE character assassination chat, my phone buzzed. Being the terrible friend I am, I checked it mid-sentence and stopped dead.

It was the star of the story and the look on my face obviously said so. My friend’s only response was “tell me how exactly this story turns around to the point where he’s still fucking texting you now?” She was incredulous. I insisted on finishing the story before we dived into this most recent text. And as the story progressed she’d interject every so often with “and he’s STILL texting you??!?! HOW?!?!?”

When the story finally caught up with current day, I read the text out loud to her “hey! Where was that bottomless mimosa brunch place you were saying was good?” Ohhhh, now you want to leverage my downtown party lifestyle knowledge??? What am I, some fucking restaurant concierge?

My friend asked me how I felt. I said not good, I didn’t want his name popping up on my phone and disturbing my days / nights / life, and she was right when she said I needed to tell him that. Fuck what he thought about people who couldn’t stay friends after dating, fuck it if he thought I wasn’t coping, fuck it if he thought he’d got to me. She was pretty resolute about it.

So we spent the next half hour crafting the perfect response as we moved from the restaurant to Forever 21 to look for outfit pieces for an event we were going to in a few weeks. Browsing the racks we put together a text that ultimately said that I didn’t want to be friends with him, I didn’t see how that could bring value to my life, and that in hindsight I had realised that the way he treated me and how he’d acted had been incredibly selfish, confusing and unfair. I wanted to be nice but honest, I wanted to be firm but fair. And ultimately I wanted him to leave me the fuck alone. Text iterated for the 100th time…. and sent!

He replied later that night, with an essay length text, saying it was unfortunate that I saw the situation that way (insinuating, of course, that it wasn’t that way in reality at all) and that as a result he didn’t think we could be friends (when I’d just said in my text that I didn’t want us to be friends, of course he needed the last say in that) but he wished me nothing but the best because I really was an incredible person who deserved to meet someone who was right for me and the life I “really wanted to lead” (a nod to the fact he didn’t think I was honest about the life I wanted to live).

I never replied and instead deleted our entire message history.

I was grateful I had been with my friend when the brunch text came in. I probably would have sent a mindless reply otherwise. Instead we talked through the whole thing. She’s a therapist and while she can’t counsel me professionally (instead she introduced me to the therapist love of my life, Julia), she does an incredible job at putting her knowledge to use when chatting with friends in situations just like this. She’s also one of the most empathetic people I know, which helps massively and I love her for it.

Discussing it with her, I realised he gave so many excuses for why it wouldn’t work, as if he was grasping for any old reason. Yet none of them were reason enough for him to cut it off himself. He had to tell me everything that was wrong with me and leave it to me to decide if I could live with staying in the relationship while knowing he was feeling all of those things.

I don’t believe it was a actually a choice for me to make, rather it was a test to see how much I would put up with and, ultimately, a way of getting me to be the one to break it off rather than him. So that he wasn’t the cause of anymore hurt to me than I’d had in my past, so that he wasn’t the bad guy. Even wanting to stay friends afterwards, always the sign of the good guy right?

It’s bullshit. I wish he’d been man enough to say “this is how I’m feeling, it’s not working for me, I’m sorry but we can’t keep dating”. Instead, by being a coward (or trying to save me hurt, as he put it) it caused me more confusion. And if there’s one thing that causes more lasting damage than hurt, it’s confusion.

Confusion breeds doubt and insecurity. It leads to not trusting your gut and being unable to cut through the noise. I feel like it’s a go to tactic for men – confuse her, that’ll really fuck her up. Because if there’s one thing that’s easy to walk away from and explain why you walked away, it’s a messed up woman.

Well fuck him. I knew what I wanted, I put it out there and I don’t regret it. It’s me – it’s how I am, it’s how I live my life and it’s how I love (not that I loved him – to be clear). I don’t think I’ll ever fully understand the reason behind why he felt the way he did/didn’t or acted the way he did. Were we really not compatible or was he scared? I don’t know and it doesn’t actually matter.

I want someone to be all in with me, someone whose commitment I never have to question or wonder about. And that wasn’t him. End of saga.

Next post…

…previous post

The Arms Are Here To Stay – Part 2 of 2


I spent the remainder of that Friday in the office, still wondering what the hell had happened in the last 20 or so hours, but mostly attempting to remain awake. I chose to work in the office lounge, on a comfy chair with my feet up on a foot rest and there were definite moments of head bobbing, almost falling asleep. It wasn’t my finest hour at work, I promise I’m usually a professional, but the lack of sleep – it really had been 3 hours max – was killing me.

Turns out it was killing him too. We texted as they drove south from Vancouver to the States and Arms had passed the driving duties to his friend so he could nap. I was incredibly jealous of a car ride nap.

As it would turn out, Arms and I would text off and on throughout the rest of his trip and, having started following each other on Instagram, would keep up with what each other was doing that way too. I figured it might stop when the vacation ended and he got home to Calgary but given that his daily routine of Crossfit Coaching was different to my office schedule our texting actually increased to where we were texting or messaging on Instagram everyday.

While it was incredibly lovely, albeit surprising, to still be in such close contact with him, I was finding it quite confusing too. I’d gone into the “date” (can you call it that when his mate comes along too?) seeing it for what it was – a guy in town for a few days, in fact, only one night by that point, who lives in Calgary and had made no mention of looking for a relationship. I was hardly expecting it to be the great romance of the century. But we’d gotten on so well when we’d met, the sex had been pretty goddamn great, at least for me, and now here we were still messaging a month later.

Was this going to progress to something more?

Up until that point we’d not really mentioned anyone else when we’d been chatting to each other, like if he was seeing anyone else or if I was. It’s that unspoken rule of dating (not that Arms and I were dating), you don’t mention who else you’re dating unless you’re asked. (And then if you’re asked you should always counter with “are you sure you’re ready for the answer?”) But I wasn’t naive enough to think that he wasn’t seeing anyone and I would have been lying if I said I hadn’t been out on dates in that time too.

So why weren’t we having the conversation?

I think we each knew the answer to where the other person was at but for, me anyway, I felt like I needed it clarified. Almost as if anything else between us had to be taken off the table. The last thing I wanted to do was start telling him about other dates if there was ever likely to be anything with us again. But I knew that he lived there, I lived here, he’d never mentioned wanting a relationship or even serious dating and there was definitely a chance I was taking his friendliness to mean more than he may be intended.

I do have a gift for letting my heart run away with my head. I get swept up in imagining what might/could/possibly be rather than looking at the cold hard facts and treating as they should be.

Eventually one day when we were texting, we were talking about a hypothetical situation with both of us in it and I decided to take the opportunity to expressly say “yeah but it would only ever be platonic”. Even just typing those words in a text instantly made me feel better, lighter and more in control. He agreed and the conversation moved on. I don’t even know if he’d remember that part of the conversation but it was so significant for me.

From that moment onwards, he went from being “this super hot guy I’d had incredible sex with and had been messaging with everyday since” to “my friend Arms who, oh yeah, we hooked up this one time”. It was an important shift and changed even the conversations I had with my girlfriends about him. Up until that point the first description of him had got all their heads running away with my heart but after the re-framing they were definitely a little less excitable about it all.

They were also sceptical. Sceptical that we could just all of a sudden be these kind of friends who could have honest and vulnerable discussions about dating and sex, and random conversations about Instagram memes and working out, having had the history of that one night together and him looking the way he does with his shirt off. I was kind of surprised too but I loved it.

Once I knew exactly where I stood, I was able to completely let my guard down and we talked about everything. I told him about every bad date, every good date (though there were fewer of those), we’d help each other craft the perfect Tinder replies or post-date texts, we talked about sex (a lot), he’d tell me about all these girls at his gym and I’d warn him about shitting on his own doorstep, and he wouldn’t listen. We’d also talk about how we were doing with friends, or self improvement stuff, we’d cover family goings on, books we’d read or how we were dealing with shit we were going through.

We were now texting everyday and speaking on the phone maybe once a week and every so often a friend would say to me “are you still chatting to Arms?” and I’d say “yep, he just texted me” and it would always be followed with “and you’re really just friends?” usually with a side of an eye roll too.

The things we’d talked about, however, the details we’d gone into with each other on certain stories/people, we could never look at each other in anyway but as friends. Some of those stories were dark! Some of the admissions we made, to the things we did sexually (more him than me) or the level of crazy we got to (more me than him), were things we would barely have let ourselves speak out loud let alone to another person. But we made a safe space for each other. There was never any judgement and we’d frequently find ourselves giving advice but always finishing with “but whatever you do, I’ve still got your back.”

We also don’t always help each other. I’d been texting this guy, who I’ll write a post about later, and he had really great banter. I was in the middle of simultaneously texting him and texting Arms to tell him how funny this guy was. To make it easier to illustrate, I took a screenshot of my text convo with the guy to send to Arms. Of course I got mixed up in my text windows (I was on my laptop) and somehow sent the screenshot of the convo with the guy back to the guy along with a message saying “see he’s funny! He’s getting massive brownie points right now”.


I almost had a heart attack. I was sat at my desk having palpitations. I texted Arms to explain the situation who could do nothing but send me back a bunch of laughing face emojis. Then a bunch of “haha”s. Then a meme about doing exactly what I’d done.

Like I said, not always helpful. Though he eventually stopped laughing long enough to tell me not to worry, that the guy should be flattered because it was a nice message. He was right and I managed to kind of talk my way out of it. But I appreciated Arms’ eventual support, even if he still enjoys referencing this little snafu way more than I’d like. The tables were turned though when he screenshotted a convo with a girl to send to me, and accidentally sent it to ANOTHER girl. Who’s laughing now?

We’ve talked each other out of the darkness when things have gone to shit too. A relationship I thought was going somewhere ended up biting me in the ass and he talked me off a ledge. And when he started being vulnerable with a girl he was seeing and she shut him down, I was there to find the silver lining of the situation.

So we’ve  been in the dating trenches together. He provides a male perspective to me, I provide a female perspective to him and we both provide a shit tonne of dark memes to each other that are so bad you wouldn’t even give them a double tap like on Instagram, god forbid someone saw you’d liked it. And they’re always followed them up with a “this is why we friends” message. We’re as bad as each other.

He’s been here to visit twice since that initial road trip brought him to Vancouver and none of my friends believed me when I said he was staying on the couch and we wouldn’t be sleeping together. Now there really is nothing further from my mind. He’s one of my closest confidantes. He moved to Australia a few months ago and the time change hassle might be my only complaint about him.

I like to call him my favourite Tinder Fail Success – I didn’t find the romantic relationship I was looking for but the friendship that came out of it was worth far more and he was the greatest lesson in looking under the hood (as it were). And I am hopeful that Arms will be in my life for a long time, if not forever.

Next post…

…previous post