So after the first date, I was excited but disappointed at the lack of a goodbye kiss. Not even a peck on the cheek. Just a hug. I wrote it off as yet another example of my usual pattern – too much banter + not enough flirting = friend zone.
But hurray, the next day a second date was arranged for a couple of days later, at a local pub. Keen? Check. Then on the day, he sent me a message: “It’s supposed to pour down later. If you want to stay dry, do you want to come over to mine?”
SIGH. Claxons, alarm bells, red flags.
I sent a slightly stroppy response that I absolutely would NOT be doing that, and he was mildly horrified that I had thought about ‘that’ as he was just trying to be thoughtful about not making me go out in the grim weather. After date 1 I actually trusted him enough that this was genuine, and Plan A was reinstated. The predicted torrential rain began…and got worse. Giant frizzy hair alert!! Awesome.
For date two, we had drinks, then dinner, and by the time we were walking back to the taxi rank we were both dripping wet despite our umbrellas. Runny mascara, soaked hair and water droplets on the end of your nose – oh so sexy. And so it came to pass that we had our first kiss in the pouring rain, observed by a long queue of very bored taxi drivers. Nobody else was stupid enough to have left their warm, cosy homes that night. And the kiss was…electrifying. I laughed, skipped and squelched all the way home.
A whole week later (because I was really busy), date 3 was midweek at another pub, during which he offered to cook me dinner at his on a Friday night…which this time I accepted, knowing what was likely to be on the cards. I was curious. And when it came to ‘that’, I wasn’t anxious. It was calm, relaxed, fun…and surprisingly very, very good. Or maybe not surprisingly, because it just felt totally right.
Several shags later, sometime mid-afternoon the next day and with large grins on our faces, we decided we should probably venture out into the world and went to a local town. As we were wandering around, talking about how well it was going, he turned to me and said: worst case “I know this sounds weird, but I don’t see this being a short-term thing”. And funnily enough, neither did I. But I would not have dared to say it on date 4 – even if date 4 had lasted for over 48 hours!!
Dating continued in the same vein, of calm, relaxed, easy fun, and the incredibly strong feeling that this was totally right. We started to make plans and buy tickets to go to events weeks and months in the future. At some point, we had a version of the DTR (define the relationship) conversation after he told me he had referred to me as his girlfriend to a work colleague and was that ok? After about 4 weeks, the L-word was uttered whilst slightly drunk, with a sober follow-up the next day. We met and liked each other’s families and friends. He gave me a key to his house on my birthday. All totally normal here 😨
And then came the post-Christmas meltdown. I was in a hugely stressful situation, having been trying to sell a flat for months with constant obstacles, and rapidly running out of savings. I had a few weeks left on my rental contract in my new town but was facing the serious possibility of having to move back to my old town until it was sold. I had tuition fees due that I couldn’t afford to pay. There was a lot of snotty crying and stress. He was an absolute rock. But it felt like all take and no give. I had nothing to give. I was exhausted. It seemed unfair to him and I said so, repeatedly. That if he wanted out it was fine. I was depressed and no fun to be around. We had only been together a few months.
Instead, he formulated a plan and presented it a worst-case scenario. If it came to it, I could use his spare bedroom rent-free and move out again once I sold my flat, or his parents also had a spare room if I preferred, and he could lend me a little bit of money to tide me over. I refused all of this. After less than 4 months together? No way!! It was still my responsibility to stand on my own two feet. Except…I couldn’t. I was literally down to my last few pounds, with a very limited income.
We did lots of talking (in between more bouts of snotty ugly crying on his shoulder). And at some point, the vague plan to move in temporarily became a solid offer to move in permanently, when we realised that actually, cohabiting was something that we both wanted.
And so I gave notice on my rented flat, and a moving-in date was arranged. On the day, despite the stress of moving, everything still felt totally right. Calm and settled. And by coincidence, the sale of my flat finally went through on that day too. It seemed like a good omen.
And yet. I had been living alone for nearly 4 years. I was going to have to remember how to share space with another human. A man!! I had given up hope that this day would ever come. I would have to try to be nice about wet towels and dirty socks on the floor, crumbs in the butter, watching bad horror films and other, as yet undiscovered, foibles. We had only met 5 months and 3 days previously. Was this just being stupid and impulsive in love? Was this, in fact cohabiting, going to turn out to be the worst idea we had ever had? Only one way to find out….
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