Sunday 13th July

I’m facing tough choices about J. He came around again on Friday: this time we watched a film on the laptop, an old American crime thriller with Mel Gibson which was surprisingly good, before cuddling up and getting naked again. It was even better than last week, if you’d believe that possible. I thought I was having the best sex of my life. When it was over, even more so than the last time, I felt something missing.

We started talking. He said he could understand why I need to know what’s going on. But he isn’t going to allow himself to rush this time. He wouldn’t say much about this recent relationship that hurt him so much, but it’s clear that he gave his heart away the same way I always give mine away, and it got trampled on. Unlike me, having his heart broken seems to have taught him the lessons that needed learning, so that now he knows exactly what you’re supposed to do in this situation. He talks as if his experience gave him the rulebook for relationships he’d been searching for all his life. Christ, if only I could get my hands on that rulebook.

I said that I hope he likes me. He said he does like me – and that’s all he would say. He has no plans to say anything else until at least a few months have passed, and I’m just going to have to accept that. I said but what about the time we’ve spent together? Doesn’t that tell him anything? He said we’ve barely spent any time together, although it’s been nice it’s not exactly a twenty year marriage. He probably didn’t intend it, but his words were like a punch in the stomach. After that I wasn’t so sure if I wanted him here any more.

After I broke up with M I kicked myself for not waiting a few months before telling him I loved him. Yet here I am with someone new, dying to make the same mistake. Am I just crazy?

I keep thinking about all the advice my friends have given me, how much sense it makes and how stupidly impossible it is to follow. I know I need to be in control of this thing and treat it like any other developing friendship or relationship, not try and name it and put it into a box before I even know the person. But I can’t help wanting some reassurances. It drives me mad that I feel like J is the sexiest guy I’ve ever dated and I can’t say it to him because he won’t want to know yet. He’s firmly closed that door and my heart sinks when I think about all the months of keeping it zipped I’m going to have to go through now.

If I try and turn the tables, imagine that I have as much control as he does, I can barely stay in that mindset before I slip naturally back into the passive victim mindset again. I try and think about all the reasons why J wouldn’t be a perfect boyfriend, and I can barely grab hold of one before logic melts away and I’m seeing him as the perfect saviour again.

In six months it’s very likely that the excitement will be over and it will be much clearer to me whether this is the right relationship for me or not. With M after a few months I was able to see what I didn’t like about him and I made an adult decision to end things because it was the right thing to do. It could turn out the same with J, disappointing as that would be, therefore seeking reassurance now and trying to get him to tell me that he loves me is utterly pointless. But that doesn’t stop me from wanting it.

I’ve told pretty much all my friends at work and outside now. I never intended to this soon but it was driving me so crazy I needed all the advice I could get. Now I feel more stuck than ever. I’ve barely heard from him today, which is unusual, and I can’t decide whether to make contact or just leave it. Would it be mature to carry on as normal, make contact with him, ask how he is even though I don’t care how he is, because all I want him to do is tell me how he feels about me? Or would it be really mature just to leave him to it, treat him like I treat all other friends, only contacting him when I want to arrange meeting up? Is that what people in normal relationships do?

Making a decision has been impossible today and I’m in a terrible mood now because of it. My acne has flared up again as well, which really does not help. Right now I could punch a hole in a wall, I’m that annoyed. I think in this mood, I just need to leave him alone. I need to be by myself, let things calm down. This isn’t working.

Tuesday 8th July

12pm

That’s it. It’s time for me to let my guard down with J. I need to know where I stand – where the hell this relationship is going. Does he want a casual fuckbuddy or a serious relationship? I can’t stand the suspense any more. Fuck it, if honesty scares him off then so be it. I need to know the truth.

1pm

It took an hour, but I’ve pressed send on the message. He’s replying quite quickly today. Yes, he wants a serious relationship, not just casual. Phew! But he doesn’t want to rush into anything. He wants to take time and get to know me before committing to anything, because he always rushed before and it led to nothing but pain.

That makes sense. I guess I don’t want to rush either. Well, I know it’s best not to rush. I know it doesn’t serve anyone when you decide to fall in love after a few weeks, only to find yourself single and lonely again a month later. I did that with M and it would be so boring and pointless to have it happen again.

That said, I can’t help feeling as if I’ve already made my mind up about J, and I don’t want to wait any longer for this to become something more than just sex. I mean, we’ve been to bed together now so I’m not exactly sure what it is J is waiting for.

I was a bit surprised just now when A said that going to bed with someone doesn’t tell you anything about whether that person is right for you in a relationship. Surprised not by the idea, but surprised by the fact I’d forgotten. I should’ve learnt that lesson twelve years ago when I lost my virginity to G - as soon as we’d done the deed I thought we were boyfriends. A week later I was rudely brought back to earth when he said “what relationship?” in a text message. Clearly I’ve become so complacent in the intervening years, so confident in how much I’d grown up I forgot the basics.

I don’t know what to do. I can’t let this ruin another day and stop me from functioning properly again. I guess I need to decide whether I’m happy waiting for J to make his mind up. I’m disappointed that I had to pluck up the courage to ask today, only to get a vague answer that doesn’t mean anything. But I don’t regret asking – I think I have a right to ask.

No, three or six or twelve months isn’t a long time. Technically I know I could wait and let this develop naturally. Let’s face it, not waiting never worked for me in the past. If I look at the common denominator in all past relationships, rushing into things was the standout winner. This is supposed to be the new me in 2014 – I should be embracing a refreshing new way of doing things now.

I keep thinking about Mad Men, the series I’ve been enjoying on Netflix all year – in that, the characters seem to rush into everything, and it seems to work for them. If Mad Men is to be believed, it was the norm for people to propose marriage within weeks in the 60’s. Just because it was 50 years ago was the norm necessarily wrong? Were people really unhappy when it was more acceptable for them to make their feelings known straight away?

Jesus, I know how my feelings change and I know it’s impossible for me to say right now whether I’ll still be as keen on J in a year’s time as I am now. But why does that automatically mean I have to keep it zipped now, pretend like I’m fine with just the odd encounter, keeping our lives entirely separate until one day he wakes up and decides it’s the right time?

*****

Swimming tonight was great. I managed 45 minutes in the pool this time, which of course I’m pleased with because it’s more than I’ve ever done. Afterwards we went out for dinner and P’s friend M came along for the company. The sad fact is I’ve confided in pretty much everyone I know about J, and today M got to hear all about it too. His advice was surprisingly relevant: basically, I ought to just chill out, be my usual independent self, act normal at all times in spite of my feelings, and let things happen. He thinks I definitely need to take back some control, only seeing and chatting to J when I’m free and not making extra time for him in my schedule, because that’s giving control away.

God, it will be hard. But I have to do it. I need to break this lifelong pattern of let down and disappointment. I need to experience a real relationship. The only way I’m going to do it is by changing my thinking. I can’t change anyone else.

Monday 7th July

We had a team day out yesterday to a theme park, my first ever day out with the team. It was undeniably good fun. I avoided most of the scary rides; the ones I didn’t find too scary I jumped on with everyone else with great enthusiasm. There was no awkward social isolation or embarrassing silences for me – I know everyone in the team too well for that now. Of course there are people in the team I don’t get on with as well as I do with others, but there are enough people in the department for me to have a comfortable group that I can stick with on days like that.

I wasn’t particularly taken with the early morning rise, the long noisy train journey where fellow commuters gave us dirty looks for how rowdy we were being. I felt exactly like one of those kids on school trips that unrelated adults look down on, because I’m disturbing their peaceful journey. I was glad when it was over.

Throughout the day I was getting whatsapp messages from J. We’d spent a lovely Saturday evening here in my room, kissing and cuddling in complete privacy for the first time. I’d made sure we weren’t going to park in a car park somewhere again. Left up to him, we could have continued doing that forever. I wanted to take the reins and bring him here because sitting in a car park giving someone fellatio is not romantic to me. The first time we parked out on the heath I loved it, but there was the excitement of the first time back then. All through that date I’d been dying to get his top off and I didn’t care where we went to have our fun.

Yesterday I was intent on privacy and we got it. I didn’t have to work hard to persuade him to come back here, which was good. I thought he might come up with some excuse again about not wanting to “rush” things – luckily he didn’t.

Despite getting fully naked and going nearly all the way, I still managed to feel like there was something missing. Afterwards I wanted to ask him where he thought all this was going. I couldn’t come out and ask him – I needed him to broach the subject. As much as I want to take some control in this thing, I still don’t know how to. So I left it, and when he went home after midnight I was none the wiser as to how he actually feels about me.

You’d think that getting naked with someone would prove that there is something there – but with J I keep getting the impression that he is not in this for the long run. He never talks about his feelings or what type of relationship he wants. I’m yet to discover anything meaningful about his history. I know his surname, where he lives, what he does for a living, and what his ambitions are. I don’t know whether he really likes me and considers me a potential boyfriend, or if this is just a casual thing that he’s wearing out til he gets bored.

I don’t know why I need the security of knowing how he feels about me, I just do. It’s clear to me that this need in me isn’t going to change, so I’m going to have to ask him at some point. Problem is I don’t have a clue how long I’m supposed to wait. The last thing I want is to put pressure on him and scare him off. As time goes on I get more and more desperate for answers. A said in passing to me the other day that for most people it can take months or years for them to figure out how they feel about each other. For fuck’s sake, I don’t want to wait years. I may still be young, but I feel like I’ve already waited long enough. I’ve dated hundreds of guys in the last twelve years. When you’ve been through the same crap hundreds of times, you don’t want to have to go through it any more.

I don’t think I’m asking for an awful lot. I just want to know when the “relationship” stuff is going to start happening, that’s all. Stuff like holding hands on the tube, watching TV on the sofa, going to the movies, that sort of thing. If J’s obvious contentment the other night is anything to go by, it will be years before we change what we’re currently doing.

Thursday 3rd July

I really want to ask J when we’re going to meet again, but everyone’s telling me I should leave it and wait, so I am. It’s driving me mad. I need to know where this is going – I need to know exactly what’s round the corner, whether he is really interested in me or not. I can’t stand this letting go business. I’ve never been good at waiting and seeing. Friends tell me it’ll do me no good chasing him, and I trust them because that logical part of me can’t hide from the fact that I need to trust them. If I chase him I’ll be doing exactly what I did with all boyfriends in the past. I’ll be giving him even more power. They’re right, I’m wrong – I have to let this play out without interfering – not interfering is killing me today, though.

Wednesday 2nd July

I’m fed up of the relationships I’m in always being controlled by the other person. At the moment all the choices in this new fledgling relationship are being made by J. When we meet, how much time we spend together, where we go: J’s deciding everything. Now and then I may try and pretend to make a decision for us but really that department is being dominated by him. He’s the one that has the busy life, pulling him in all directions; my fate has seemingly consigned me to a life of waiting around for the phone to buzz. No matter how busy my own life may seem sometimes, it’s never as busy as the guy I’m seeing, who is forever just that bit too unobtainable, time and time again.

Even if I could take back some control in dating, the kind of relationships I have will never be the same as “normal” heterosexual relationships, where man meets woman and it all comes to them so easily. Perhaps I’m a bit blinkered by my own jaded mind, but when I see men and women kissing and holding hands in the street, I still feel this great disappointment inside. Disappointment that I’ll always have to look behind my back when I want to kiss a guy or hold his hand in public.

I’ve got into the wonderful habit of swimming twice a week and I’m hoping this new healthy regime will expel some of my demons. I feel better every time I come out of the swimming pool, mentally and physically. This week I manned up and got myself a membership, which means I’m properly committed to it now. I will no longer just be a casual swimmer; I’ll need to go twice a week to make the monthly payment worth it. At the moment I have every intention of making it worth it, I just hope this intention lasts.

This evening on my way back from the shops I was unlucky enough to bump into the neighbour we don’t get on with – the one who accused me of theft a few months ago and who inadvertently forced these changes in my life. Had it not been for her I wouldn’t have suffered my worst panic attacks in years, which led me to seek help for the first time in years. I wouldn’t have looked for new ways of growing up and improving my life, such as swimming twice a week. I probably have a few things to thank her for – that doesn’t mean I’ll ever like seeing her. She tried to hide the dirty look that she automatically gave me when she saw me. The thought of someone in the world actively disliking me for no reason still gets to me. Doesn’t matter how healthy I become, it will always hurt a bit.

Tuesday 1st July

I’m back from Paris now, and I wish I wasn’t. It was a brilliant holiday, in spite of the temperamental weather. When we got there I didn’t feel like I was abroad. I was listening in to conversations in the street and on the metro, and I thought I was picking up on more than before. Even though I’ve only been there a handful of times, Paris is like a home from home, or at least, it is in my dreams.

We were there for gay pride, normally not my sort of thing but P loves it, and I’ll admit the atmosphere at Pride in Paris is better than in London. There were lots and lots of sexy men filling the streets there this weekend. I almost forgot about J on Saturday, as I fixed my eyes on every hot specimen that walked and danced past. The march itself was a washout thanks to heavy rain, but in the evening, in the Marais we had a ball. We visited the same little club that we’d been to last year near the Pompidou Centre, where they played all the cheesy French hits that I’ve come to love. I sang along to the words that I knew and I started to feel like I was one of the crowd, a proper Francophone.

My phone hardly stopped buzzing with messages from J all weekend. When we got back to the hotel at about 4am on Sunday I had ten whatsapp messages come through all at once. Without wifi in the Marais I hadn’t had a chance to read or respond to any of them. Hours of no contact seemed to have annoyed J, who’d written “boo” several times.

The attention was nice and I played along, telling him how much I missed him and looked forward to holding him again. He offered to pick me up from St Pancras on my return yesterday night which I thought was really sweet. Secretly I hoped he’d come to my place or invite me back to his this time, rather than driving out to the heath again for the same clandestine fumbling as before.

Yesterday before returning to London P and I did a boat tour of the Paris canals. The sun had come out for the first time all weekend and it was a lovely way to kill the time before our train. We saw parts of Paris we’d never seen before, parts we’d never expected to see. I felt I knew the city a good bit better by the time we were disembarking from the boat by the Bastille.

Some hours later, back in London I said goodbye to P and found J waiting for me outside St Pancras station in his car. I was immediately overcome with the urge to jump on him, though in amongst the hormones and the electricity I felt a slither of doubt clouding my happiness. I tried to ignore it as I threw my suitcase into the trunk and got into the front seat beside him.

Traffic was good last night and we were back here within half an hour. Conversation was as lively as it ever was, though the doubts wouldn’t leave my mind. I tried to tell myself I was just sad at being back in London, facing a return to work and normality. I’ve never been good at lying to myself and underneath the excuses I knew there was something wrong about me and J. When we got to my flat he suggested dinner, after I’d dumped my bags inside. As I climbed the stairs I just wanted to shut the door and stay in – I don’t know why I agreed to dinner and several more hours of the charade.

Over dinner J did his usual thing of complaining about all the corporate companies who’ve pissed him off recently. He’s obsessed with becoming a major player in the food industry so that he can take over his enemies and control them. I listened, nodded and smiled, too tired to try and steer the conversation elsewhere.

After dinner he asked if I wanted to stay with him, and my heart instantly leapt. Was this the invitation to his place that I’d been waiting for? For fifteen minutes I was alive again, participating fully in the conversation whilst stroking J’s knee seductively in the car. Knowing the area where he lives, I wasn’t expecting it to take long to get there. After half an hour I had to give up and accept that whatever his invitation had meant, it wasn’t involving his home. Soon we were back on the heath again, and it became clear that he only meant “stay” in the sense that he always meant it: stay for a few hours with me in the car while we do things that could get us arrested if spotted.

We drove around the heath for ages looking for a relatively unlit spot, but there were none. I prayed he would realise that we were better off going to his place where we could have some real privacy: but it didn’t occur to him. Soon we were back on the main road and speeding out of the city, to a more secluded area that J apparently knew quite well. I guessed he’d brought previous acquaintances there.

Finally we found an empty car park in the middle of a wood with poor lighting, and there we settled into each other’s arms with a romantic sigh. I let things happen, because I was horny and I still wanted him physically, even if I wasn’t sure about him personality wise. Every five minutes or so there were weird noises outside the car; we could see nothing because we were surrounded by trees and darkness. It was a disconcerting experience. I managed to satisfy J’s needs with my body nonetheless. When it was over I didn’t tell him that I would have preferred to make love to him in a bed; I didn’t tell him I was doubting everything because he wouldn’t commit to anything. I went quiet, wanting just to get home and be alone.

We drove back in near silence. J shouted out the window at passing drivers whose driving skills he didn’t like. I felt a way I didn’t think I would ever feel with him: exactly the same way I felt with every pointless sexual encounter I was unlucky enough to have. A part of me died as I realised I’d used and been used, once again. This was it: the end of another waste of time.

Today I had one more day off work, and I haven’t used it wisely. I managed to stay in bed until 1pm, then I spent the rest of it trying to decide what to do. I haven’t had a moment’s break from the stinking thinking: J won’t leave my mind. I’m stuck in the dilemma of what to do. Should I forget him and move on, or should I give him another chance? Should I be honest and say what I want, or is it actually way too soon for that? Perhaps what’s been going on between us so far is perfectly normal; perhaps getting into bed and experiencing full nakedness together is something that should only come later.

I really, really need to know if it’s going anywhere, and I can’t bloody ask him because I’m terrified of finding out. There’ve been a few meaningless messages today, asking how my day is and what I’m doing. No suggestion of when or if we’ll meet again. I’ve decided to leave that up to him. I haven’t the energy to do any more chasing.

Monday 23rd June

It’s stupid, but I’m mad about the boy. I didn’t intend to tell everyone all the details of my weekend as soon as I got into work this morning, but once I’d told the most gossipy person in the office, I may as well have told everyone. Thanks to our resident loud mouth I got some good advice from my colleagues, the most interesting of which was that after three dates, you can usually tell how something’s going to go. If the other person doesn’t seem interested at that point, then it’s probably going nowhere.

What I really wanted to know, and why I secretly wanted to tell as many people as I could, was whether I should ask J where I stand. Last night I got barely any texts from him and this morning there was nothing. If I were to put my logical head on I’d know he’s probably distracted by his work situation – and what claim do I have on his time, anyway? Just because he goes quiet sometimes doesn’t necessarily mean he’s losing interest, right? I shouldn’t be looking for hidden meanings in everything, though I can’t help it.

I keep inwardly justifying this behaviour by saying that I only want to know where I stand. The real truth of the matter is, as I said yesterday, that I want to be able to put a name on whatever is going on between us. I really would like to call him my boyfriend. Sadly I can’t because life doesn’t work like that, it’s only been two weeks and he’s got so much other stuff going on.

A friend suggested a good compromise: if I can’t ask him about the status of our relationship just yet, I can ask him if he’s free later in the week before I go on my holiday. That way I should be able to tell how interested he is at this point. It seems a reasonable thing to ask: he may be worried about his job and whatnot, but if he really likes me, why wouldn’t he make time to see me?

Desperate not to sound desperate, I politely asked if he had any free evenings this week before Friday. He replied fairly quickly, saying he’ll have to see what’s going on with work first and then he’ll definitely let me know.

So there we are. You don’t need to tell me I’m crazy, I know. Maybe it’s too much for me expect someone normal to want to date me, when I’m like this. Who can say?