Someone asked me on a date this week. My reaction surprised me: although I like the person, and had been thinking lately that it would be nice to have some romantic attention, I was petrified. I literally froze; I had no idea what to say.
This person seems lovely; I could never imagine him being at all unpleasant, from what little I know of him… but then, it took a while for me to believe that of the ex as well! We have some friends in common; I thought perhaps I could ask for their opinion on him… but then I remembered that all of the ex’s friends think he is fabulous. My experience with S’s father has taught me not just that my judgement on these matters is not to be trusted, but that the judgement of others is not so fantastic either. The very nature of the problems in our relationship was that he was such a charmer, and nobody around him would ever have believed the truth of him; many still don’t.
I have historically poor taste, not just in men but in situations and relationships. I am generally quite reckless, running headlong into situations I know are probably not ideal, but hell, just go with it and see what happens… What happens is that people usually end up getting hurt, and not speaking to each other, and maybe even hating each other, and it’s messy. Whilst being ill-advised, it was fine when it was just me. I could walk into situations I knew deep down were a bad idea, and when the inevitable carnage happened, it was just me who had to deal with it. The minute I had S, that stopped. It was like a switch was flipped in my head, and I suddenly started thinking, “no, this is not an ok situation; you can’t do this to us.”
It’s taken me several months, and a lot of hard work, to slowly and painfully extricate myself from the situation I was in and to feel strong enough to be doing this on my own. The idea of spending time with a man had not even crossed my mind, and I would balk at the idea whenever friends told me “you’ll meet someone nice and forget all about this.” In some ways it is still a daily struggle not to allow myself to be dragged back into the mucky nastiness I was embroiled in for so long; I still count my days like an addict. I still miss the children I left behind terribly, and am reminded of them constantly, by the slightest little thing. But I’m not afraid any more; I don’t care what is said about me, and I do feel a lot stronger than I was.
A couple of people have shown what could probably be classed as “an interest” in the last few months, but I couldn’t even entertain the idea. This time, I entertained the idea, and then decided I couldn’t possibly leave S to go out on a date. We kept chatting though, and agreed to meet for coffee one afternoon instead. I am petrified. I don’t trust myself to know… anything! The problem is that before, I did know deep down that there was a problem; that I shouldn’t be in this relationship; but it was very deep down, and I just pushed it down further because I didn’t want to deal with the situation. I’m scared that I will do the same thing again. But then, as a friend commented on Facebook, am I just not going to date again until S leaves home? I suppose I have to just listen out for that little voice in my head a bit more, and pay attention when it speaks.
Let me be clear here: I am in no way expecting that this person is some sort of monster, or anything like my ex. So far he seems to be the polar opposite in every way. I am just worried and paranoid and extremely wary of putting myself in a vulnerable position again.
A mutual friend told him off for asking me out, because she knows some of what went on with the ex. She is a good judge of character, and I trust that she would tell me to steer clear if she thought there was any chance of anything untoward. As it was, she sent me a text saying to go careful with him, because he’s had a rough time of it lately too. In the end, I spoke to him. He’d already been told some things about the trouble I’d had; months ago our friend told him: If you ever see anyone banging on that door, you go up and see what’s going on. I explained the situation I am in, and that if we ended up seeing each other I would most probably end up making use of the Clare’s Law pilot
that’s currently running in my area. His response was that yes, I absolutely should call; he had nothing to hide. He also told me that I should feel free to ask our mutual friend anything I wanted to about him.
And so, I suppose we just wait and see what happens on the date, and afterwards…
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