The Older Man, Part 2: Battleships, Bombshells and Baggage

The Older Man, Part 2: Battleships, Bombshells and Baggage Briony Rainer.

15th October 20161Comment
Romantic mini break in Portsmouth

Fellow dating folk, imagine if you will, some dramatic, anticipatory music – Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, or similar. After a whirlwind first three weeks with the older man, the rollercoaster of my dating life was about to plunge towards a terrifying dating milestone…our first weekend away.

And of all the romantic weekend destinations we could have chosen, by mutual consent we decided on…Portsmouth. Why???? A shared love of ships and history had led to previous discussions about a trip to the Historic Dockyard, and logic led to making a weekend of it. So off to Pompey we drove.

Surprisingly, I can wholeheartedly recommend it as a romantic destination. Imagining stoking the cannons and the living conditions on the old battleships was great fun, and later on, a romantic hand-in-hand stroll along Southsea beach was followed by an unexpected choral performance at a little cafe-bar, where we ended up staying for dinner.

Think romance think Portsmouth.
Think romance think Portsmouth.

The next morning was initially windy and misty, but during our post-breakfast seafront stroll the clouds cleared. We stopped off for a pub lunch on the way home, and it had been a perfect weekend. Yes!

I am categorically unromantic and logical, yet suddenly I found myself looking up endless articles about how to tell if you are in love; and not just lust, infatuation, the honeymoon period and other such blissfully happy but purely hormone-driven states.

And the conclusion was clear. I appeared to have fallen into the pit of LURVE. It is rather nice in there ❤

But then came the bombshell. Imagine now some even more dramatic music – perhaps O Fortuna? The day after the trip I had been walking around with an inane grin permanently on my face and a feeling of floating on air, and my work colleagues were deeply concerned that I was on some kind of drugs.

I get home. The phone rings.

“Before this goes any further, there is something I need to tell you”.

Serious voice. GULP.

“I’m still living with my ex. It is definitely over between us…”

I stopped listening and started wanting to be sick. There was only one thought in my mind – FUCK. We agreed to meet and talk the next day, since I had been rendered incapable of actually uttering any words.

To answer your first question dear readers, how had I not already twigged that something was amiss? We had not slept together prior to our weekend away, and although there had been some very late evenings out, we had always returned to our respective homes, so the issue had simply not arisen.

And so, now knowing that this could just be some kind of sordid affair, what I did next was run a mile, tell him exactly what I thought of his philandering ways, and to stick his affections where the sun don’t shine, right?

Um, no. After he had explained the situation in full, I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. On one condition. That if he was really serious about this, he needed to move out as soon as conceivably possible. He had an exit plan already in place, and so we proceeded, with some caution on my part. Love is good, but I was not yet blinded by it.

There followed a few more weeks of fun, and a lot of serious conversations about where this was headed. The L-word was mentioned out loud, from him first and then some days later from me. I have always found it hard to say ‘I love you’, but it was undeniably true. I have never felt this kind of deep connection with anyone. But there were also some nagging doubts, and immense frustration on my part that the moving out process was becoming a long drawn-out saga. All the hallmarks of an affair, right?

After 6 weeks of love and laughter, it was time for my long-planned holiday. We had discussed the possibility of him coming along, but I was stressed out at work and urgently in need of me-time, so a solo week away with a pile of books was just what the doctor ordered.

But my restful week was repeatedly interrupted by my brain pestering me with questions such as “what ARE you doing?“, “is this what you REALLY want?” and “what if this IS just an affair?” My mind filled with doubts, and many long and painful telephone conversations did little to assuage them.

Two hours after I touched down at the airport, this love affair was ended with many tears and a very long hug goodbye. The saddest but most necessary ‘Quit’ this year.

Tis genuinely a tragedy when love is not enough, and there were a lot more tears. But I also felt relieved that all the frustration had come to an end. I had learned a lot about myself during these whirlwind few weeks, not least that I WAS capable of falling in love again, after over a year of half-hearted, indecisive dating. Hurrah!

But a little tiny part of me, and one that I was not yet willing to listen to, knew that this story was not quite over yet. The next day, he asked to meet me in my local park.

And then asked me to marry him…



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