Nevertheless, she persisted


I haven’t written for a while. I haven’t written because this year has kicked my ass. There has been man stress, work stress, more man stress, and now more work stress. I haven’t had mental capacity for the blog and, for months now, I haven’t been “properly” dating either, albeit somehow there are still men in my life.

Throughout the man stress I’ve wished work felt more stable, fulfilling and enjoyable. And throughout the work stress I have desperately wished for a partner to walk through it with me, and comfort me on the many nights of tears. I have incredible friends, who have supported me constantly but, at the end of it all, what I’ve had and what I will always continue to have has been solely me, myself and I. 

When I let myself go down the rabbit hole, it’s incredibly easy to feel butt hurt for myself and wonder what I did so bad in a previous life that I’m being dealt so many personal challenges in this one. I can lament the fact that never did I imagine that I’d be 35 with no job, no financial stability and no relationship. I can compare myself to other people who are seemingly thriving and wonder when will it be my turn for success and happiness and love. It can be a pretty quick downward spiral into a full on Joey-esque “why me god, why????”

But there are no answers to any of those questions, especially not down the bottom of a rabbit hole, so what good does it do to ask them. While I believe in allowing yourself to feel the feelings and not just slap on a smile for the sake of it, I also don’t believe in wallowing or perpetuating negative emotions. 

I have no understanding of where my life is taking me, or what exactly this path is leading to, but I’m trying to trust in it, attempting to become comfortable with the uncertainty and instead accept that this is just where I’m at, for now. We often get so wrapped up in where we’re trying to go that getting there just feels like it gets in the way. But I’m coming to terms with the fact that I will perpetually live in the journey and so I should probably get comfortable with it.

And with every challenge, with every “what the actual fuck” moment, I find myself believing in myself a little bit more, less questioning if I’ll be able to get through something and more wondering how I’m going to get through it. Challenges, disappointments and time spent outwith our comfort zones are truly the best place for growth. And, honestly, I feel like it’s going to take something pretty spectacular to “beat” the trauma that my divorce inflicted. Not that I’m hoping to ever have that happen.

Within it all this year I’ve also seen myself start to harden, something that until now I had never let happen. I was always proud of remaining open, and soft, and hopeful, but I guess after a certain amount of shit you get to the point that it just makes sense to put up some walls – finally! I’ve found myself regressing from new social situations and shutting myself off from hope of new relationships. 

I’m hoping it’s a temporary solution while I find my feet, while I try to get some of my shit together – knowing no one ever fully has their shit together. But in the grand scheme of shits being together or not, I’m definitely on the “absolutely do not have them together” end of the spectrum. 

If you’re just joining my dating stories now, know that I write with a fairly large time gap from when the stories happened to me writing about them. Partly to protect everyone involved and partly to allow me to reflect on them in a less emotional way. Also that gap is now much bigger simply because I took time off from posting them. *the date I write at the top of each post is the date the story / thoughts happened, so most of the stories are in the past, but a lot of the thoughts (like this post) are from the present.

So far what we’ve covered is the “finding my feet” stage – where I was like a deer in headlights, realising online dating was some merry hell that a happily married person must have come up with to punish us for the other freedoms we have. Then we moved into the “oh, these men are kinda hot” stage – where I was surprised at my pulling ability and got a little too carried away with gym bods, after having found my own. And now the stories are moving into the “but none of this is working so let’s change it up” stage – where I tried to move out of my comfort zone, go with the less obvious choices and see if anything there worked. It’s been… fun!

But throughout it all, from those very first stories and right up to where I find myself now, one thought, one mantra, has remained in my head – “nevertheless, she persisted”.

…previous post

Words And Actions, Actions And Words – Part 3 of 4


Having got through the meeting of my friends relatively unscathed (other than a short term dip in my mental health on the night), Filipeen and I continued towards Christmas at full speed. Well, full speed with a couple of speed bumps.

His query about how close, or not, I was with my best straight guy friend he’d met at pie night came up again a couple of times, and with every time I had to defend my platonic relationship I found myself getting more frustrated. He’d also started to ask me more pointed questions about life goals, seemingly following on from the conversation at the steak restaurant, and every time would include him sitting in silence while I felt more and more inclined to fill the silence with justifications for whatever I’d just said. And his initial warmth was now being broken up with more and more cold patches, winter was definitely getting chillier.

We also spent an inordinate amount of time one night sat in his car in a Walmart parking lot discussing – I don’t want to say arguing about – weed. (This sentence makes me feel very North American. LOL.)

The “discussion” wasn’t actually about weed itself, but it stemmed from it. Smoking pot is an incredibly common occurrence in Vancouver, I always say you’re more likely to smell that than cigarette smoke here. He told me early on he smoked it to help with muscle pain he had from a snowboarding accident. My personal take on weed – I don’t smoke it, never have, my ex did, I don’t have good feelings about it. For me, that is. For you, for Filipeen, for anyone else? Carry on, knock yourself out, have fun, I have no judgement about it.

But as we were leaving the house that night, to go to Walmart to pick up another set of lights to decorate his place with, he made a comment about how tired he was and that when we got back I could roll him a joint and he’d make dinner. I laughed and said “um no, we’ll do the other way around” and that started the weirdest / most disproportionately reactive “discussion” I’d ever had with him.

Sat in the car once we reached Walmart he told me I was projecting feelings about my ex onto him, that I was judgemental and he topped off those statements by telling me that I was a hypocrite for not liking weed when I drank so much. Wow. Where the hell had that come from?

I remember being sat in the front passenger seat, him beside me, telling me how unhealthy my life was, as I looked out at the rain bouncing off the windshield, and thinking what the fuck is going on? Am I losing my mind? Why am I having to justify my lifestyle?

It became clear that we weren’t going to get to a consensus so in an effort to get out of the car which by that point felt like it was closing in on me after 20 long ass minutes, we agreed to disagree and instead walked round Walmart pretending everything was fine when in fact I had no clue what had just happened and was questioning my own sanity. Probably much like most people in Walmart.

We moved on from the Walmart car park debacle but it was still very much in the back of my head. Actually, more like the front and by the week before Christmas we both knew there was some underlying tension, given the rise in the number of tense conversations we were having. And we both knew it should be discussed – at least we were both on the same page about that – so we made plans to go out for dinner on the Friday night with the unspoken fact that we would try and work things out. .

As luck would have it by the end of that week I was sick as a dog with a cold and should have been in bed. Instead I drugged myself up, had a nip of whisky before I went out and steeled myself for what I didn’t think was going to be an all that fun night. When had I started to not look forward to seeing him?

The night didn’t start well with some confusion around the reservation time, I couldn’t get a cab and he was running late but I’d picked a place he’d had always wanted to go and where the food was great so at least we had that in our favour. Unfortunately I knew I probably wouldn’t be able to taste a single bite and in some respects I got to dinner just wanting to have the conversation and then get to bed.

We did the usual “how was your day” chit chat to begin with but as the starters arrived we got round to talking about the massive elephant in the room. We started by both agreeing that doing the couple-y things, like walking the dog or going to get groceries or decorating his house with Christmas lights, can be great but we’re really not there yet or at least not to the point where that had become almost all we did. And we don’t know each other well enough to be with each other when we’re trying to run errands or deal with stress or fit things into a crazy busy day.

I then explained I was having difficulty with his back and forth between hot and cold which had started in the last few weeks and that, ultimately, in those moments when he was being cold I was left feeling rejected. And rejection is my biggest fear. I think it’s likely most people’s, but since my divorce I know that I’ve actively sought to avoid any situation where rejection could arise. While also trying not to become a hermit – not easy.

He admitted that he wasn’t sure how he felt about me/us. He said “sometimes I look at you and think “I am not in the same place as her and I need to tell her””. I questioned why then he wouldn’t have put some distance between us or attempted not to create these ridiculously couple-y scenarios, or declined my offers to do things a girlfriend would do like walk his dog, and all he could say was “because sometimes I think I am in the same place as you but then most of the time I don’t think I am”.

I let the words hang in the air and could feel the tears sting behind my eyes. I wanted to believe it was just the cold but that admission weighed heavily on me and it would prove to haunt me for a long while afterwards. He did follow it up by saying that he hoped he would get to the same place as me but that for now he was feeling like I was “much further down the road”.

My head was already cloudy as shit with the cold but this conversation was really fogging it up and while I had hoped it would bring me clarity I was getting the distinct impression it might do the opposite. There was some other chat along the same lines which lasted for most of dinner, and between the topic of conversation, my inability to taste the difference between gumbo and mac and cheese (we were at a Southern restaurant) and only being able to breathe out of my mouth, it wasn’t the most fun Friday I’ve ever had.

We did however finish the night discussing how we were going to try and resolve things, both acknowledging that we did want to try. We decided to get back to proper dates – dinners and drinks and walks and cinema and other fun stuff. We knew we needed to spend time together getting to know each other doing fun, random stuff, not chores or errands at someone’s house. And no more friend intros, until we’d figured this out.

While I was totally on board for all of that, I knew I needed to be ok with feeling like it was going a little backwards and not take it as a negative. I also knew I had to stop offering to do things out of kindness and set some boundaries for myself. He clearly wasn’t going to say no, why would you when someone’s offering to walk your dog when it’s shitting snow outside and you can stay indoors and cook? I also had to let go of the fact that he argued that meeting my friends had been too soon, yet he was the one who was super keen to come that night. And that he was saying I was too far down the road, yet he hadn’t put up any vocal objections about any of the stuff we’d been doing.

We called it a night after main courses, thankfully he didn’t want dessert and all I wanted was my bed. As I went home alone (he didn’t stay, I was that sick), one of my friends called to ask how the dinner had gone and, after I told her the tale of the night and how confused by it all I was, she completely accurately stated – “it shouldn’t really be feeling this difficult this early on and you really shouldn’t be this confused.”

She was, of course, entirely right. And the confusion she spoke of, that was overwhelming for me, was only compounded the next day when, driven by what I can only think was maybe a sense of guilt after seeing my reaction to some of the things he’d had said to me (he’s Catholic after all), Filipeen messaged me early in the morning to see how I was feeling and to say sorry that last night hadn’t been a tonne of fun. That bit wasn’t confusing, that bit was nice.

What was confusing was that after all the chat we’d had a mere 12 hours prior, when we’d decided we’d stop doing couple-y things until we both felt ready, he insisted that I go over to his house so that he could take care of me while I was sick. He said he would have come to mine to look after me but he had work to do from home so if I could get over there he’d do the rest.

Now, ordinarily, in the cold light of a good health day, I wouldn’t have thought twice about saying no. Not least because a) I’ve found myself to be fiercely independent when it comes to taking care of myself since I got divorced, and also because b) it was the exact opposite of what we said we were going to do! However, I was feeling like such a bag of shit, so ridiculously sorry for myself and clearly having a weak moment that I took him up on it.

I packed a bag, and my self pity, and went over to his place. Cue the confusion rising…

He’d changed the sheets on his bed so they were fresh for me. He was making chicken soup to make me feel better. He had the air purifier on in his bedroom to help clear my head. The kettle was boiled to make me a honey and lemon drink. There had been a table moved next to the bed for me to put all my tissues, drinks, phone etc on. And there was a bath running with lavender epsom salts in it to relax me before I got into bed.

Don’t get me wrong, you can be kind to someone you’re dating when they’re sick – take them some soup or pick them up some meds. But all of that? And while I felt like I’d died and gone to heaven, there was a voice somewhere, really far back in my head, almost silently screaming “what in the actual fuck happened to what we talked about last night?!” At another time I would have tried to make sense of it but for then I took a long hot soak in the bath followed by an afternoon spent watching Netflix while he periodically checked on me, got me fresh water, made me more hot drinks and then made us dinner as well.

The next day as he drove me home on Sunday morning before he went to church, when thankfully I was feeling much better, we mused on the fact that in a week it was Christmas. Knowing we both had pretty busy weeks coming up we agreed that we’d see each other the following Friday, when we’d both have finished work for Christmas and could do something fun.

That felt a little better, a little more “normal”, a little more like what we’d talked about at dinner two nights previous.

That week passed by in a blur, work was so busy and seeing friends before they left for their Christmas trips kept me occupied but I was aware that there was definitely a shift in things. We didn’t text as much and when we did it was generally at night and him saying he was tired and going to bed. I tried to put it out of my mind as much as I could until I saw him on the Friday.

When the end of the week rolled around, he suggested he cook dinner and we stay in seeing as we’d both had such busy weeks. And while that did sound like bliss, I couldn’t help but feel like again, that wasn’t quite what we’d agreed on at the Friday night dinner previous. I also know I’m a stickler for the rules and need to loosen up at times so I just went with it. We had a super chilled, super relaxed evening and a lot of really great sex.

Have I mentioned the sex? I don’t think I have. Or at least not enough. We had incredible sex. Throughout it all, even when that underlying tension was bubbling to the surface, the sex was always amazing. And there was always a lot of it. I’m pretty sure his shower had been designed specifically for it. Maybe that was why I always went to stay there…

But I digress, back to the weekend of Christmas. The Saturday morning rolled around and it was Christmas Eve. We started the day off with a run with the dog and then went to buy food and drink for a dinner he was hosting for friends on Boxing Day. And I know what you’re thinking – if that doesn’t sound like a couple-y Christmas Eve I don’t know what does. Yah, you and me both.

As he dropped me off home early that afternoon after all of our errands he made mention of the Boxing Day dinner we’d been doing all the shopping for. We’d previously discussed it and he’d hinted at me going, but that was before all the confusion and the weirdness and saying we weren’t going to do friends again until things were a little better. So when he brought it up in a way that presumed I was going to be there I couldn’t just let it slide.

I told him I presumed I wasn’t going to be there and I was absolutely ok with that. It was his best friends he was having round and I didn’t want to add a layer of complication to that, I also was trying to be respectful of the fact that just over a week ago he’d said he didn’t totally know how he felt about me and that we shouldn’t “do the friends thing”, so was it really wise for me to go?

He said he would love for me to be there but it was up to me. Way to put on the pressure. I told him I’d think about it but in the back of my head I knew I should sit this one out. Which would have been made easier if it hadn’t been for the fact that seeing as I was going to Filipeen’s on Christmas Night, I was obviously going to wake up there on Boxing Day.

Christmas night itself was… difficult. When he picked me up from my dinner (side story – I ended up going for Christmas dinner to a friend’s house, the friend who’d known Welsh Rugby Playing Lawyer, and it turned out he was coming for dinner too, so the four of us sat and ate turkey together all the while I wanted to ask what the fuck had happened and why the fuck he’d ghosted me, alas I did not – wow actually this story deserves it’s entire own blog post now I think about it…) his demeanour was not that of someone who had spent all Christmas Day with his family. Or maybe it was, I mean families can be stressful.

Either way, he wasn’t what I’d describe as “cheery”. So on what had been a really lovely day I’d spent with friends and had been looking forward to finishing it off with him, I found myself going through a car wash at 9pm on Christmas night on our way back to his place because his car needed a clean. That’s not a Christmas Day activity! I thought he was a Catholic!! He did also admit, mid soap suds, that he had found Christmas hard because he wasn’t where he wanted to be in his life, that he was with his brother and his family but he’d thought by his age (38) he would have a family of his own to have Christmas with.

Now I heard him, loud and clear. As I think I said in my very first blog post, did I really expect to be where I am? FUCK NO. But here I am. And yes, there are times it gets me down and there are times I wonder why, but they’re fairly few and far between now and as long as I know I’m doing what I can to get myself where I want to be and as long as I’m spending time with good people while I’m doing that then I feel like I’m able to manage my mood a little better than he apparently could.

After the very solemn Christmas Night car wash (honestly, this story, wtf) the rest of the night wasn’t a night of cosying up on the sofa and enjoying each others company. It ended up being spent starting prep for the feast the next day. There were about 15 people invited and he’d decided he wanted to do 3 main courses, 4 side dishes, 2 desserts and a tonne of appetisers to begin with – there was a lot to do.

However, he insisted I didn’t do anything apart from enjoy a gin from the bottle of Botanist I’d bought for us for Christmas. We decided we weren’t doing presents for each other, we agreed it was too early for that but apparently not for domesticated bliss on Christmas Night. Confused much?

So instead I got drunk (I’d started my Christmas Day at a bottomless mimosa brunch with one of my closest friends) and maybe a little belligerent, told him he was boring and took myself to bed. Yup! Merry Christmas folks!!

The next morning brought with it no mention of the night before, apart from the horrific hangover I had, more food prep and me playing sous chef and runner. There was a laundry list of things he’d forgotten from the supermarket so he asked me to drive his car to Safeway and pick them up. So now I’m driving his car, which is his pride and joy, to go grocery shopping for a dinner party for his friends that I wasn’t even planning on attending.

My girlfriends were getting a running commentary of it all over text and by this point they were all just like “GO HOME!”. I, of course, did not go home. I couldn’t find the opportune time to leave him to finish the prep himself, because I knew it would leave him in the shit. There was no way he’d get everything done by himself. And I couldn’t leave him, I’m not that person, I’m too nice.

As the time rolled around, and the day had passed to the point where people were due to be arriving in 20 minutes I resigned myself to the fact I was obviously staying and about to meet his closest friends. I should probably change out of my sweatpants.

The night was good, if a little awkward when I was introduced and no one even knew he was dating someone. Not helped by the fact that when guests were arriving he had disappeared into the kitchen so I ended up greeting people. You know, like a good girlfriend does. Oh that’s right, I’m not his girlfriend, he introduced me a couple of times as his “friend”. Right, got it.

Fuck. My. Life.

I desperately wanted to go home, but I couldn’t drive because my coping mechanism had been to get stuck into the wine. The wine he and I had chosen on Christmas Eve when we’d been doing the shopping together, LIKE A COUPLE. I got drunk again, and that night after everyone had left and he took himself to bed almost instantly, a little more belligerent. After helping him all day, being the perfect hostess for a dinner I wasn’t even hosting with people I didn’t even know (they were all lovely though thankfully), clearing up the kitchen afterwards, he barely thanked me and instead got into bed after “such a tiring day”.

I was angry. I was hurt. I was confused. I was drunk. And the way drunk me acts is always a great indicator of what else is going on in my life. If drunk me is a nutcase, I’m dealing with unresolved issues. If drunk me is laughing and having a great time, my life is all roses. Let’s just say drunk me wasn’t laughing and having a great time.

Luckily he was asleep, or at least trying to, so was entirely unresponsive when I told him I didn’t want to be a housewife and he’d treated me like a slave all day. It was maybe a little over dramatic but it was obviously my underlying feeling. I eventually joined him in bed and went to sleep in a drunken stupor of misery and confusion.

How had my first Christmas dating someone since my ex turned into such a shit show? Why was I so confused and on edge all the time now? How had he made me feel like I needed to prove to him that I was worthy of him wanting to date me and introduce me to his friends by playing hostess with the mostess? And why the hell wasn’t I calling him out on the fact that his actions and his words could not be more mismatched if they tried?

Next post…

…previous post

All The (Christmas) Feels – Part 2 of 4


After the second date’s surprising, but pretty great, turn of events where we ended up in bed, my girlfriends did their usual interrogation. Did he pay for dinner? Will we like him? How was his penis? The usual. I didn’t give up too many details, there was something very private about him and I also think some things should be kept just between the sheets… Or let’s say the four walls if you’re not strictly a bed kind of person… Or let’s just say yourselves if you’re not strictly an indoors kind of person 😉

As a result of there not being too much information shared, his nickname was built out of two things my friends did know: his ethnicity (he was Canadian Filipino); and the fact we’d already slept together and thus I had seen his penis even if I wasn’t giving them a full review. And so he was christened Filipeen.

After those first two dates, Filipeen and I quickly found ourselves seeing each other multiple times a week. We went out for dinners, we went to watch a movie (yes, singular, I’m not a big movie-goer and he was delighted he even got me to one, I was just delighted I didn’t fall asleep), we went for more walks with the dog and cooked together, a lot.

Mostly I’d go over to his place across the water. He worked later than I did and always had to go home for the dog so it made sense. It was the first time I’d “travelled” for dates. Note, after rush hour it was 18 minutes driving door to door so it was hardly a trek but given that my friends used to mock me about not going over bridges for guys, the fact I was doing this on a regular basis was quite something. They realised I must like this guy.

From talking about upcoming Halloween plans on our first date, to being in December and full on Christmas mode, I finally got to realise a dream date I had wanted to be taken on since I started dating again – to go and see the Christmas lights at the city park. Filipeen planned it to perfection. He picked me up, we drove to the park and on a crystal clear winter night enjoyed the display of over three million lights. It was cheesy, and romantic and I loved it. Especially when it was finished off with dinner at a great steak restaurant.

At dinner that night we got into pretty deep conversation about life goals. We had skirted around the topic of conversation before but this was one of those really in-depth convos where the wait staff, seemingly, purposefully avoid your table so as not to interrupt.

During said discussion, he asked how I felt about children. Yeesh… this minefield.

The long story short on my feelings about having kids is this – when I got married we were only mid-twenties and neither of us had decided about kids, it wasn’t top of my priority list and in a lot of ways I could see myself never having kids, but I figured as we grew older together we would likely just slide into feeling that we were ready for it. As it turned out, 6 weeks after we got married I knew I would never have children with my husband. At the same time as trying to repair my marriage, I also made peace with the fact that I might remain childless, and that wasn’t a huge issue for me. Which was handy because when you find yourself single again at 30 you realise that might not be an active choice you get to make.

My feeling on children now is that I can picture my life without them. But I would love nothing more than to meet someone who makes me want to have their babies (and not in a gun to my head kind of a way, but in a “he is an incredible person who I would be lucky to procreate with” kind of a way).

I explained that to Filipeen – in slightly different words – and as I finished talking he sat back in his chair and just looked at me. He didn’t say anything. It was a habit I’d noticed from him previously, and is a technique that I know people use when they want to make people uncomfortable to the point where they fill the silence with information they otherwise weren’t going to offer up. I dutifully fell for it and started falling over my words a bit until he did finally speak and the conversation resumed to normal and he stated, as I well knew, that he absolutely wanted a family.

I never really thought anything else of it but I was aware that it had been a pretty important part in us both setting out our life plans to each other, as far as I was concerned there weren’t any red flags.

Another result of it being the Holiday period was all the social invites that go along with it. I had contemplated inviting him to my company holiday party but he was travelling with work so I didn’t need to make a decision, which I was grateful for. I also had another party the night of his work party so that never came up either. But when one of my girlfriends invited me to her and her husband’s annual Christmas pie night (yup, it’s a night with just a tonne of home baked pies!) and told me that I had to invite Filipeen because he was Filipino and so was she and it was rude otherwise, I dutifully agreed.

He then informed me when I passed on the invite that it’s rude for Filipinos to turn down an invite from another Filipino, especially when it involves food, and so on a Sunday night in December I find myself in the car with Filipeen headed to my friends house where he will meet five of my closest friends. What struck me just before I got in the car was that I had never done “meet the friends” before.

My ex had been a family friend since we were kids and all my friends knew him so all we had to do was actually just tell them we were dating, and prior to him it had just been highschool boyfriends so again, no intros needed. But this? This was a whole different ball game.

And it really stressed me out. More than I could have imagined. And I couldn’t work out why. To the point that over the course of the night, which went incredibly well, a couple of my friends said to me “what’s wrong with you?!” I was definitely out of sorts.

I’d asked my friends to play nice, which they indeed did with Filipeen and instead took the piss out of me, which he joined in with. But it was all fun and everyone seemed to get along, which I was very grateful for. He asked them which one had given him his nickname, which I had somehow ended up telling him about a few weeks earlier, and they all had a good laugh about that.

Amongst nine pies (sweet and savoury) and a whole lot of chatting I finally started to ease into it. He was still very tactile with me in front of my friends as he was in public , which is something I love in a partner, but it definitely felt a little strange in front of my friends. They have never seen me with a guy. They’ve maybe seen me chatting to a guy at a bar, or have walked passed me on a date, but actually with a guy, spending time with us? This was the first time. And I was relieved that they all were getting along.

After the end of what seemed like a super successful night, Filipeen was going to drop me off but instead we decided I’d go over to his and stay. I was finding myself spending almost as much time over on the North shore as I was downtown. So we stopped by mine for me to pack a bag and then headed for the bridge

Almost as soon as we started on the road for his, out of nowhere he asked “have you ever slept with any of your guy friends?” Without even hesitating I said “my guy friends here? No”. Then when I thought about it I realised I hadn’t slept with any of my guy friends back home either. Arms was probably the only one who would fall into that category but I don’t think that was what he was getting at. It seemed like there was something underlying.

I asked him the same in return, I knew he had a lot of female friends, in fact it seemed like his best friends were mostly female and to be honest, as soon as the question was out of my mouth I kind of wished I hadn’t asked. I didn’t know that I actually needed the information. He said no also, but that people normally presume he would have.

He then asked me if one of my friends, essentially my closest straight guy friend who had been at pie night, was single. I said yes but his ex was kind of on the scene and I wasn’t sure where that was at. And with that I knew that we may have a problem. With those two questions – have you ever slept with one of your guy friends and is your guy friend single – I knew there was a mind racing with other questions he wasn’t going to ask me.

I tried to pre-empt it by repeating what he’d said about people presuming you’ve slept with your friends of the opposite sex but it was actually possible to have platonic relationships. Exactly what he’d just said to me.

He then commented on a point earlier in the night when said friend had been furiously shaking his leg at the table – a super annoying habit he has – and after a couple of us asking him to stop doing it and it falling on deaf ears a couple of times, as I was sat beside him I just grabbed hold of his thigh and held it down. Filipeen was beside me but I never thought anything of it. It was obvious why I’d done it, and I was hardly fondling or groping his leg as I did it. But apparently this had been noted and put in the memory bank for later,

I laughed his comment off, while also trying to reassure him. I would never want to make anyone feel uneasy or disrespected, I’ve been there myself way too many times, and I made sure to be aware of any situation like that again. But it didn’t totally sit well with me that from the first time of Filipeen meeting one of my best friends that he’d already created, what I could only imagine, was a warped backstory in his head about him and I.

We eventually got back to his after what felt like an eternity in the car having this awkward conversation but once we were home it all seemed fine. And the following morning being one of Vancouver’s snowiest days of the year meant we had other things to talk and think about (how the hell was I going to get back downtown when the bridges were gridlocked) than the discussion from the night before.

When I saw him again two nights later it seemed that everything had gotten back to normal. We were also only a few weeks from Christmas at that point and so Christmas Day plans came up in conversation. Him being a devout Catholic (as he put it when we first started dating “I go to church every Sunday I hope you don’t have a problem with that” to which I replied “I don’t have a problem with you going as long as you don’t have a problem with me staying in bed while you do” and we were both happy) I presumed Christmas was a pretty big family deal and so never even expected it to come up.

When he suggested that we could maybe see each other on Christmas Night I was surprised to say the least. Because A) like I said, I just thought it would be a family day for him and nothing else and B) it felt like that was kind of a big step, seeing each other on Christmas Day?

But I’m also of the mind that days with names are still just days and for me, with no family here, that was definitely the case. I did have plans with friends during the day but I wasn’t planning to go to a dinner so seeing him would work out perfectly. He’d pick me up after his Christmas Day with his family and we’d go to his place for our own Christmas date night.

He then also said about doing something around Christmas Eve too – the Friday was the 23rd and we’d finish up work that night so we should do dinner and then I could stay over and we’d start Christmas Eve together.

At that point I realised, for the first time in quite a few years, I was going to be dating someone over Christmas, someone who was making me part of their Christmas plans. There was a spring in my step, and more than just a flutter of snow in the air and excitement in my heart.

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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.

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