Saturday, 20 August 2011

In which men can do no right

Last week, a colleague of mine went on a first date. They had a lovely time, she said, and she enjoyed herself more than she expected to. The following morning, she received a stunning bouquet of flowers at the office.

The level of debate this bunch of flowers caused was unprecedented. Personally, I thought it was romantic. That's the kind of thing us girls are always moaning that men don't do, right? And we all know how nerve-racking it is waiting for him to text or call after the first date - flowers tell us all we need to know. He likes you, he had a good time, he wants to see you again. However, some of our other colleagues disagreed. The words "too much" were bandied about a fair bit. For her part, the recipient said they were beautiful, but that the date "wasn't that good".

This is the bit problem with men making grand gestures, particularly early on in the relationship. They don't know the girl that well, so they don't know how they'll be received. The thing is, the way you feel about the flowers in a situation like this is completely reflective of the way you feel about the man. If Essex Boy had sent flowers after our first date, I'd have been thrilled, but then I was mad about him from day one. If I hadn't liked him as much, I may have appreciated flowers, but they wouldn't have made me like him more... and if I knew I didn't want to see him again, they would just have made me feel guilty.

What do you think?

Sunday, 7 August 2011

In which I try to unpack my emotional baggage

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a woman in possession of a new boyfriend will suddenly become irresistibly attractive to all the men she liked before, none of whom were interested at the time.

Or maybe it's just me, I don't know. What I do know, however, it's that I'd really like to be enjoying these blissful early days with The Man I Am Seeing (aka. Essex Boy) rather than having a war of words over text  with Future Husband. He seems to have forgotten that I was interested in him, and it was him who stopped texting me; that many of my phone calls went unanswered and unreturned; and that the last time I saw him he told me he "wasn't sure" whether or not he wanted to be with me. He is also failing to understand why refusing to see me or speak to me now, and sending me multiple texts (including the immortal line "I was coming round to the idea"), has really, really wound me up. FH seems to think that the fact that he was "coming round to the idea" of going out with me is something I should be happy about, even grateful for. A few months ago, I was wondering why we weren't together. He's now demonstrated some pretty compelling reasons. I just hope that our friendship can survive.

Meanwhile, Essex Boy is making me very happy. I'm not sure how much I should say about him - it's much easier to disect the confusing and downright weird behaviour of men I don't care so much about, and much harder to talk about someone I like more and more with every passing day. It's now been a month since our first official date, and I've done the journey from Bucks to Essex a couple of consecutive weekends. We've also been to our work summer festival, meaning that our relationship is well and truly "out" amongst our colleagues. I can't overexaggerate how wonderful he is and how lucky I feel to be with him.

It's pretty scary, though. I wasn't planning to meet someone I felt like this about so soon, and as soon as I met him, I knew things were going to change. I'd be lying if I said I was over Former Love of my Life; I know I wouldn't go back to him, but yesterday I was reduced to tears by finding last year's Christmas cards (featuring brief, neatly written messages which masked a lot of pain and confusion - when I wrote mine I wasn't even sure we'd still be together at Christmas). As my feelings for Essex Boy get stronger, I'm finding that the pain of my break up is coming back to the fore. It's like I'm trying to deal with it so that I can put it behind me once and for all, but I'm not sure how long that is going to take.

For the first time in my life, I'm aware of myself carrying some baggage into this new relationship. I'm so, so happy, but I'm all too aware that relationships that start like this can still end in raw, painful ways. That old cliché of "love like you've never been hurt before" is proving difficult, and I'm still holding back a lot of myself. I guess that's normal though, so early on. What I do know for sure is that while I'm lucky enough to have Essex Boy in my life, I'm going to hold onto him.