My Christmas list now only asks for cats.
I might as well start collecting them because I’m heading towards cat lady spinster town.
My mind replays Brian’s betrayal and his treatment of me over and over, questioning what I did wrong. It also replays my time with Richard. Did I not deserve real love from him?
When I think about the men who have had the biggest impact on my life these two make up half. The other half consists of the man who assaulted me and my Father. The others were me crawling around in the dark trying to make sense of dating and falling in love.
Then I met Jamie*.
I’d met Jamie before through a friend from work but when I really met him, I had shut down. Jamie was the best friend of my friend’s boyfriend (keep up with me here). I’d met him months earlier at her birthday drinks and he’d been into the pub I worked at a few times. My friend Jo* messaged me one night telling me that Jamie had asked for my number because he thought I was hot. I gave her permission to pass it on but never heard anything more.
Months have passed by and I am closed for business in terms of dating. I’m spending my time working two jobs (one full time and one part time) so I’m busy. I don’t have time to even think about men right now. Then one night Jamie comes into the pub I work in. We catch up although his friend is much more outgoing than he is. We do the small talk and eventually he asks me to join them when I finish my shift. The next few nights follow the same pattern. Jamie comes in while I’m working and we chat. Our chatting makes the natural progression into texting (ooh saucy).
Before I go further into Jamie I should point out that my heart has been placed into a metal cage. I have been hurt more times than I ever thought I would be (This sentence makes me laugh now because little does my naive self know that there is more to come). It’s not easy for me to rip my heart out and pin it to my sleeve but Jamie changed that; and not in a good way I must add.
So Jamie and I organise dates.
I reluctantly go on the first few and find that actually we have a lot in common and I like his charm. But my guard is still up! I’m not breaking down that easy. Jamie was funny and appeared to be honest (hindsight is a bitch because he was never honest). One night I end up staying at his parents with him and he tells me he really likes me.
I’m not there.
I didn’t say it back.
I had that awkward ‘what the hell do I say back?’ and settled with a thank you. My heart is staying firmly inside my chest thank you very much. I’m not falling for this and getting hurt yet again! Jamie asks to spend time with me whenever possible. I tell him I’m busy with two jobs but he insists and so we fit in dates here and there whenever we can and we have fun together. Jamie makes me laugh and I feel like I can be myself with him.
Oh I forgot to tell you that Jamie has moved to Sheffield since I first met him and so we both know our time together is limited (seems to be a theme for me). I’m enjoying our time together a lot, but I’m not getting attached because the goodbye is coming. Jamie has told me again he really likes me but the metal bars still imprison my little beating heart.
I’m not making this mistake again!
Jamie has to go back to Sheffield and on our last night together he asks me to come and stay with him for a weekend. Sorry I’ll rephrase that; he practically begged me to stay with him. He tells me he likes me and it would be nice to have me visit. He tells me we’ll have a night out and we can go for a walk. We can laugh more and be ourselves more together. Surely if he’s saying these things and asking me to visit he really does like me? This means what he’s saying is true right?
He has an out. He’s going back to Sheffield yet he’s not walking away instantly with his get out of jail free card: jail being some kind of relationship with me. OK. I’ll go and stay in Sheffield with him for a weekend.
At work I book my weekend off and let Jamie know. He says he’s excited.
The next few weeks he sends me messages about how excited he is to see me. He’s counting down the days. Then the counting stops because the day has arrived. Jamie decided to come see his parents the night before so we can drive up to Sheffield together. I’m driving because he doesn’t have a car. The weekend was perfect! I don’t need to go through details of dinners, walks in the Peak District or by the lake, of mornings laughing in bed together.
It was a weekend I’ll never forget.
Jamie still tells me he likes me. I still can’t say it back. I still can’t trust that I won’t get hurt. On the Sunday night I drive home alone. Jamie and I continue messaging over the next week or so and then I realise that I do like him back. I message him to tell him. Of course I don’t tell him I love him because I don’t. I simply let him know that I finally reciprocate the feelings he’s been repeatedly telling me he has for me.
I hear nothing back that night.
The next day I receive a message from Jamie telling me that he’s not in the same place as me and wants to end things.
Not in the same place as me?? I was never in the same place. He continuously tried to drag me into that place because that’s where he repeatedly told me he was.
I was safe. I was guarded and caged up with my heart firmly inside of my chest. He forced me out of my safety zone and into the same place that he kept telling me he was. He made me vulnerable by lying to me about his feelings until I felt the same.