I would love to introduce you all to the number one man (scrap that, the number one person) in my life. My Boyfriend and best friend, F.
We met the modern way, through a dating app called Tinder. Yes, I resorted to finding love on a dating app, an app with a flame as their logo! I was desperate to be loved and well, like they say, desperate times call for desperate measures.
It all began one day in April, a sunny day I’m sure, like all romantic fairy tales start. I must’ve swiped right on him and it came up as a match straight away, so he clearly liked the looks of me and gave a swipe to the right too 😉 Being very old fashioned, despite using modern dating methods, I always believed the boy should message first.
I was bad on Tinder, I barely swiped right on anyone, not because I didn’t like the look of them just because I thought I couldn’t envisage anything with them despite how ‘perfect‘ they looked.
F, an older gentleman by four years, had a picture of him stood in front of a London landscape and another with him in the distance with a pint in front of him. I’m not going to lie, yes the pictures were good, but also the fact that he was older than me was one of the deals for me swiping right. I’ve always had this delusional idea that I wanted to date an older man because he would be more mature and more ‘manly‘. Haha, what a misapprehensive thought, no matter the age, I don’t think a man ever truly grows up, and in some ways that’s a good thing, it helps to keep you young and grounded as a woman too.
I’d only ever dated guys my age, maybe a year older but they all failed. They were toxic. They weren’t what relationships should be. I got cheated on, led on and heartbroken. There were maybe one or two times I thought I could have been in love but looking back, and since being with F, it wasn’t love that I felt with the others, I think it was infatuation, obsession with wanting a relationship, wanting someone to want me, to love me, to need me. I never got those things, I was easy to discard, to boss around, easy to forget.
The reason I turned to Tinder was because these past relationships, I had met in bars and nightclubs and I was fed up of doing things that way. Also, it didn’t help that around the time I turned to Tinder, I had become such a recluse, with few friends and little plans. Even when I did have plans to go out, my anxiety would get the better of me and I would cancel plans last minute, which soon became an annoyance to my friends who stopped trying.
So yes, I turned to Tinder (I keep getting side tracked, every flaming blog goes on a tangent!). It was a way of me not leaving the house yet hopefully building a connection with someone online who then eventually I would have the confidence and trust to meet.
In all honesty I didn’t expect to hear from F and I forgot about him. A few days later I woke up to a new message on Tinder and it was from, go on guess who, no, not Ed Sheeran or Joel Dommett, but F, yes my F! (Ah damn I’ve now given away the ending. Just pretend you have no idea who F is, humour me!)
So we got chatting, the odd message here and there, him attempting to impress me by saying a word in French because he read in my about me that I studied French at university, me eagerly relying with questions about him. This went back and forth a while before we eventually met up. I felt myself gaining confidence just by speaking to him. I was coming out of my shell that I had hibernated under for so long.
He went on holiday to America a couple of weeks after we’d been speaking. I expected our conversation to die out and that be the end of that. To my surprise I did still receive the odd message here and there and he still seemed keen. *jump for joy* he even sent me a picture of him at Times Square!
Fast forward a few more weeks. He is back from America. And we’re arranging to finally meet. It was difficult to find a day where we both were free. I started to think that maybe he didn’t want to actually meet and I got the courage to confront him. I said if he didn’t want to get a drink then that was fine. I’d rather he just told me. I was starting to worry that I could fall for this boy and it wouldn’t be reciprocated, so I thought it was best to get out now rather than later.
However, he surprised me again. He found a day and we were set to meet. We decided on going for a walk at the local park. The day arrived. It was odd. I didn’t feel that nervous. And for the first time in a long time, I didn’t feel like I wanted to cancel beforehand. I actually wanted to go out. I wanted to meet him, F. Unfortunately it rained all day before we met, and the walk was off. Thankfully we changed location to a local bar instead. I was 10 minutes late, which I was mortified about but I walked in there and there he was. Stood casually by the bar in jeans and a white t-shirt with Homiès written on it. He oozed confidence as he was lent against the bar casually on his phone. He was exactly what I imagined. He was tall. Very blonde and fair. Not my usual type at all. But I was in awe. I couldn’t wait to sit down and get to know more about him. I had not a single ounce of nervousness. He bought me a diet coke (What a gentleman) and we went and sat down. The hours passed. The conversation flowed. I got to learn so much about him, his hobbies, his likes, what he did for a living, his situation. Who he was. I wasn’t disappointed, if anything I was hoping he would want a second date. We walked back to our cars and said goodbye.
We carried on talking. It was a while before we saw each other again, a month to be precise but a second date was arranged. The first was a success and he actually wanted to see me again. He actually enjoyed my company. I couldn’t believe my luck. The second date came and went. We went for another drink but this time to a different bar and at the end, he kissed me as he said goodbye to me next to my car. Our first kiss! What a good kiss it was. He just went for it. He tells me now that was all he thought about during the date and he thought he should just go for it, and boy am I glad he did.
We got to know each other more and more. Met up a few more times at the same pub. I was up in London on a Saturday seeing my Best Friend and I was meant to be seeing F on the Sunday. I told myself not to get too drunk. But I did. I even drunk texted *cringe*. I hadn’t told anyone about F up until then. I let it slip to BeeBee because nothing stays a secret for long after a few cocktails and you’re on your phone half the night. I told her I liked him and I couldn’t wait to take the next step up from kissing with him. I couldn’t wait to see him the next day but I was so hungover. I managed to leave the Bestie’s and get the train home but I was in such a bad way I had to postpone seeing F until that evening instead. I almost cancelled but I really wanted to see him. I couldn’t drive that night as I was still so hungover, so F picked me up. We went round his and watched Ferris Bueller’s Day off. Things did get heated but I wasn’t that kind of girl to go all the way straight away. We were just leaving his to take me home when his family walked in. I was mortified. My hair was all over the place and it was so obvious what we had just been up to! We said a quick hello and he took me home.
We got more and more serious but yet I still refused to tell anyone about him. In my head it made sense why I didn’t want to tell people. It wasn’t because I was embarrassed or ashamed, quite the contrary. I was so proud of him, I couldn’t believe he liked me. I didn’t want to tell people because I believed if I did it would jinx me and him and the possibility of a relationship.
We went on several more dates to various places and the date which F now tells me what he believes was when we became official was on the 7th August 2016. This was a good few months after we first started speaking and seeing each other. But it felt right and I agree with him. That was the date I really met his parents when we were at a little local music festival at a local pub. The sun was shining, and we just sat there and talked and enjoyed the music all afternoon. We danced and I had never felt so comfortable around someone. I was myself. There wasn’t a single aspect of me that I hid. I danced how I wanted and so did he and we had fun. His parents were lovely and I couldn’t wait to get to know them more and more.
Our relationship finally reached full level a week later and then there was nothing left unknown between us. This is a bit personal and I apologise in advance. It felt so right with F. I had never felt that with previous relationships but with F it came so naturally without embarrassment, awkwardness or uneasiness. It was fun, exciting and enjoyable. And it has stayed that way since. Even all these months down the line it is still just as entertaining as back then.
Poor F even up to the point where we were officially an item was still not known amongst everyone I knew. Not even my parents knew about him. I just said I was meeting a friend all the time and refused to bring him around the house. It took me months to finally disclose to my parents who I was seeing and finally introduce them to him. It sounds bad but I was so anxious about F meeting my parents. My parents aren’t exactly normal. They argue in front of everyone and I didn’t want F to witness that and be freaked and run. Our house isn’t the nicest house, it is full of clutter and rubbish and half decorated. F lived in a beautiful converted bungalow with his family who were normal, happy and friendly. Nothing like mine.
I needn’t have worried. The day came where they finally met and F stayed. He wasn’t freaked out by them and he still wanted to be with me.
F at the beginning was keen and often suggested plans for us to do. I remember he asked me to go see his sister sing and I just freaked out. I don’t know why. I stopped messaging him and tried to sabotage what I had with him. In my eyes I was doing us both a favour by me not getting hurt in the long run and him not having to put up with me any longer. I woke up the next morning, feeling awful and stupid and couldn’t believe my actions. Luckily F accepted my apology. However, looking back I feel I caused him to no longer be as open about what he wants to do and his wants from our relationship because I’ve always reacted so distant and cold despite that being the opposite of what I was really feeling inside. When I read the text asking me to go see his sister sing I was flattered. He wanted me to spend an evening with his family out in public. He trusted me and wanted to show me to his family. However, I reacted in the opposite way and showed no interest. My anxiety got the better of me. If I could go back I would not have reacted the way I did but I can’t and I hate that. I hope that isn’t why F sometimes holds back on his emotions and feelings with me, because I couldn’t forgive myself if it was. I want him to know I’m so sorry and I wouldn’t behave that way now. I am not that cold person anymore thanks to his help.
As soon as I realised I was falling for F, I hit all panic buttons as I normally do. I started sabotaging my happiness. I kept doubting he wanted me and I kept finding little things to argue about and get uptight about. I was pushing him away because I was so scared at how close I was getting with him and that I could lose it at any moment. My thinking was if I lose it now then I don’t have that fear of losing it further down the line. We had a few rough patches through the months including a time when I stopped messaging him and he thought that he would never hear from me again and a bad one in September where we almost broke up but I promised him I would work on my anger and moods even though I isn’t sure what caused them.
Things got pretty serious and long term orientated when we booked a gig together to see Jamie T for that October and I asked him to accompany me to a You Me At Six gig the same month and Bastille the following month. This was pretty big for me. I have only ever had short term relationships. But this, I could see this lasting and being long term.
We made it to those gigs and so much more. He introduced me to his friends at a party, we dressed in a couple’s Zombie Cheerleader and Footballer costume for Halloween, we went to see movies, visited London attractions and so much more. I had never done so much with someone and enjoyed someone’s presence so much. I was falling in love with F.
Finally on the 7th October 2016, F said he loved me. I remember writing a blog post on my old blog about this day called L.O.V.E and I just went and had a look. I have reposted it on here (Go check it out by clicking L.O.V.E if you want to have a nose!) because I think it really gets across how I feel about F. Plus it saves me writing it all out again 😛. It was such a simple setting of watching Netflix and just laying there with each other and he just came out with how much I made him happy and that he loved me. I couldn’t wait to say the words back. I realised I really liked him a while back but I was too scared to think it was love because I never wanted to lose F. But as soon as he said those three words, I was so relieved to admit that it was love. I believed that meant we stood a really good chance of being long term. Of lasting.
We then hit a really rocky patch in mid November. I started having really bad low days and F couldn’t understand why. Looking back I know why but at the time I didn’t think anything was wrong. I didn’t think I was acting any differently. In F’s words I became cold, distant and unapproachable. I was miserable and making F miserable as well. On the 24th November our relationship hit a cross roads. I noticed he was distant and I panicked. He wasn’t keen to meet up the following day or for me to stay over, he only suggested drinks. This was the first panic attack that I had had in a few months. The swelling lump in my throat restricting the oxygen from entering my lungs, the tears burning my cheeks and the thoughts racing through my mind: I’ve lost him, we’re over, he’s breaking up with me, he doesn’t like me anymore, I f*cked up again, I’m a screw up, I ruin everything that is good for me. I couldn’t think straight. I rang him up in tears. Begging him. He was convinced that this moody miserable person was who I really was. But it wasn’t. I knew that impostor in my body wasn’t me. I took desperate measures to prove this to F. I begged and begged on the phone to see him. To speak to him. To explain everything. I finally managed to convince him when I said it was time that I told him a bit about my past and convinced him to let me come see him. He was home alone which was perfect, I don’t think I could have faced his parents in the state I was in. I got there and he just opened his arms to me and I stood there in them. Crying. We stood like that for ages. I never wanted to move from that. But I needed to be open with him. It was time to be honest about my past and the struggles I had to make me the way I am. He listened to everything without judging me. He opened up and told me about his past. And in that moment I realised we were more alike then we could have imagined. We both had some similar struggles yet dealt with them in such different ways. We both realised we could get through this. It wouldn’t be easy but we didn’t want to end it over this blip. We now knew each other so much better and I remember the text that I got from him that night when I got home:
We got through it. It wouldn’t be the last time but we got through it and that was all that mattered at the time. We went on to have more fun times and making memories together. We reached the month of December and I was excited to finally be in love with someone over the Christmas period. I had his Christmas presents all planned weeks, even a month in advance. I had a lovey dovey card all lined up alongside a funny one. I created a little stocking for his presents and got him some novelty gifts which summed up our relationship like a snoring book, a mini golf game and a Terry’s Chocolate Orange amongst other stuff. His main gift was tickets to see his favourite comedian Jimmy Carr. But you know what? As pleased as I was with these presents, his present to me trumped all of it. He got me the most beautiful necklace. It is inspired by the New York Skyline which is one of my favourite places in the world. He didn’t know that. I never told him that yet he got me jewellery which was inspired by my favourite place. It was perfect. The perfect length. The perfect fit. The most perfect gift anyone has got me. I never wear necklaces as I am so fussy about the length yet this one was perfect and goes with everything. Safe to say it hasn’t really left my neck since Boxing Day.
We spent Boxing Day together and he introduced me to football matches. Yes Ladies and Gentlemen I went to my first football match on Boxing Day. I loved it! We were virtually on the pitch with our seats. I loved watching F reacting to the game going on in front of us. His explanations of what was going on. Who each player was. Who he favoured over who. He taught me to love football because I saw how happy it made him and the passion he had for the game. I wanted to join in with that and it was great to experience this with him. I have gone on to go to many more games with him and I am now an avid supporter of the O’s so that worked out well for F! As he said on Saturday ‘his moulding on me is almost complete’.
It is key to note F has never forced me to like any of the things he is interested in. He has simply spoken about them and I have gained interest just from his sheer knowledge and like for them. I feel honoured that he shares his interests with me and wants me to get involved and interested with them. He has opened me to so many new things.
We got through Christmas and we got to New Year! I was so thankful for finding F in 2016 but I couldn’t wait to see what the new year would hold for me and F. As much as I didn’t want the good memories of 2016 to end, I knew there would be many more to come in 2017. It came not long after the start of the year when F suggested we go on holiday. I was shocked. It had come so out of the blue, but I was ecstatic. He actually liked me enough to want to go on holiday together. Admittedly it was originally going to be skiing with his friends but that was a big step in itself. He wanted me on holiday with his friends which he did every year. He wanted me there with him.
Unfortunately skiing never happened. F made it clear he still wanted to go on holiday with me. I didn’t really think he wanted to and was only saying it because he couldn’t take it back. But he meant it. He meant every word. He suggested a variety of little islands to go to for some winter sun. I googled and found a few hotels and flights which were possibilities. We had a few disputes along the road to booking this holiday but I think every couple does when it comes to something like that. F as ever was so laid back about it all, but my old habit of getting uptight about things started creeping back in and making things difficult. Despite this, F persevered with me and booked the holiday. That following Sunday we were off to Lanzarote!
What a Holiday it was! My mother very unhelpfully said before we left that the ‘Holiday would make us or break us‘. I couldn’t believe she said that but you know what, I had the last laugh because it made us. It really did. I had never spent five days straight with F, nor had we been in each other’s space for that long. For the first time ever, I didn’t get annoyed with spending too much time with someone. Normally I become irritated and short tempered if I spend longer than a couple of days with someone but with F I didn’t. I couldn’t get enough of the time we were spending together. We got into our own routine out there. Had our local bar we went to every night before our meal. We went on excursions, bike rides, sat by the pool, stayed in the room, watched TV and read our books. I felt like a real adult in a real adult relationship. It was everything I wanted. We had one night where we spoke about a lot of deep things. I told him so much. So much that I have told no one before. He seemed worried at parts but he still had that look of love and care in his eyes as I told him.
The holiday flew by and it was time to get back on that plane to go back to a snowy home! And that’s where you guys started my journey with me. The plane journey and the panic attack I had was the catalyst of my eventual breakdown.
I am not going to lie. My relationship with F hasn’t been easy. There have been so many ups but there have also been a fair few downs. Being in a relationship with someone who was suffering from an undiagnosed mental illness and that individual not aware when their moods change must have been so tough on F. I can’t admire him or thank him enough for his understanding, his help, his support and his love through the past six or seven months. I know he has had points where he has wanted to run away from our relationship and knock it on the head before it got worse but he didn’t. He has sat there and put up with me telling him that I know he wants to end it with me, sat there and listened to the far fetched worries that come out of my mouth when my anxiety is bad, the moods, the coldness, the distance, the arguing but he has also got to experience the real me. The happy, colourful me as he puts it. He wants that girl back and he wants to help me get her back. I can’t thank my lucky stars enough for sending F into my life. He has been amazing. No words could ever put into how much I appreciate his help and his support and his love. His encouragement the past few weeks has been all that I need to get myself through this rough patch and his claims of how proud of me he is and how I am coping are all I can ask for and are what get me through my lows.
We’ve had so many happy memories. The photos I have got of just the last six months of us together brings such a smile to my face. I have made him happy and I want to continue to do so. At one point he thought I could be his one. He sent me a text after we had an argument in the September and although the beginning of the message was heart wrenching, when I read the second bit I knew I had a reason to fight for us and so did he.
I hope he still thinks that. I hope he still sees that future with me. I never wanted kids or marriage or any of that. I thought I didn’t deserve it. I would never make a good wife or a good mother. But with F, I can picture it. I can see that kind of future down the line. I still to this day tell him I don’t want kids because I don’t want him to know I have changed my mind as a result of being with him because it could freak him out and I don’t want to do that.
Yes things do change when you’ve past the newness of a relationship but I think it gets even better once your past that stage. You have that one person who you can share your world with. You have different kinds of excitement and things to look forward to. You have that one person you know you can call and just hearing their voice makes you forget the world. You still get those butterflies after all these months when you are getting ready to see them. You argue and bicker and get annoyed with one another but it never lasts long. You now have your own jokes amongst the two of you, your own habits and routine that you both share. You have the memories you have made and you also have the excitement of making new ones. You have milestones to reach. There’s always something to look forward to. You’ve finally found that person that feels like the other half of you. You respect each other’s space but you also get comfort from being with each other.
I have all this and so much more with F. The amount of good memories we have. My room is filled with photos and mementos from all the memories we have made together. As much as F has supported me, he has also had my support. I have tried my best to there for him when he was feeling low over work or when he’s had a worry or two. I love being able to be there for him and that he feels and knows he can turn to me. I may not have all the answers that he needs but as long as I can be there to listen, to try my best to help and simply ease his worries then that’s all I can hope for.
F knows me better than anyone. He knows me better than I know myself sometimes. He has introduced me to so many new things and interests; Strictly Come Dancing, Supporting the O’s, going to football matches, watching the Cricket, Tennis and Golf on the TV. He has taught me to change how I look at life: instead of being so uptight about everything, I have learned that just being relaxed and easy going about things often gets things done a lot quicker and simpler. He has taught me not to worry, not to lose my temper at the little things. He has shown me just what true love is: he has stuck by my side when I’ve been at my lowest, he has continued to support me despite him not knowing what the problem initially was. He still, after everything, looks at me with such love and affection. He isn’t ashamed of me and my troubles. He isn’t embarrassed. He often tells me how beautiful and gorgeous I am, how lucky he is to have me, how I am all his and how things he does is for me. He makes me a cup of tea every morning when I stay at his, he constantly kisses my forehead reassuring me that everything is okay, that he loves me. He isn’t as open about his feelings and his wants from his life and our relationship as I would like him to be. Nor is he overly romantic or soppy, but I don’t care. I don’t want him to change. I love his calm approach to life, his honesty especially when I’ve stepped out of line in a situation. I love his little quirks, his jokes – his very very bad Dad jokes 🙈. His snoring, his nail biting, his dancing, his singing. His fashion, his smile, his hair, his body. His personality. How proud he is of me. How he calls me gorgeous and beautiful. His love for his family. His enthusiasm for all things sports. His passion in life. His confidence and his beliefs. His walk, his driving, his voice. His quirky mannerisms. His texts, how he calls me baby. The way he rests his head on my shoulder or on my lap. The way he scrunches his nose against the pillow. The way he lent me his hoodie and insisted I keep it so we have matching hoodies. The way he puts up with my family even though I know he isn’t a fan of them. Our nights in together, watching him play the guitar and guitar hero, cooking dinner together, watching films and TV series. The honesty and openness we have when talking about our most personal wants, how there’s no awkwardness or embarrassment between us. The way he cuddles me in his sleep, the comfort I feel in his arms, the reassurance of his forehead kisses, the way his hand always searches for my hand, but most of all I love him. All of him. The good, the bad and the ugly as the saying goes. I’d happily take it all on for the rest of my life. The highs, the lows, the laughs, the tears, the memories, the memories yet to be made. I want it all and I want it all with him. I love him with every part of me and I don’t see that changing. In my eyes, he is my one.
Not Quite Made Girl
P.S. Thank you Tinder for introducing me to this fine specimen of a man!