Part I here. Part II here. Part III here. Part IV here.
I said what I had to say, and then sat there in silence. The ball was now in his court. He turned to look at me and said “Okay, well I think you’re really great and cute too..” I held my breath waiting for a BIG ‘but’. “And,” he continued, “I’d like to see where this goes too”. I nearly jumped with joy! In fact, my initial response was that of disbelief. I responded with “Really??”
The next day, we agreed to go for a bite after our class. There weren’t many places opened at that hour, so we settled for McDonald’s. I was more nervous than usual, and I knew it was because I really liked Mr. V and wanted it to work.
I made a joke about how when our mutual friend offered to set him up on a date, I was almost tempted to blow off the whole thing and not say anything to him. His response was that while he was glad I didn’t do that, he was still interested in exploring the world of dating. He asked if I would be okay with that, and I’ll admit it stung a little, but I played it cool and responded with “Yeah, sure”. He asked if I wanted him to tell me when he went on dates. I said I did. Then he asked if I would do the same. I told him he didn’t need to worry about that because I wasn’t interested in dating anyone else.
Eventually we moved on to other topics, and all in all we had a good time, but when I came home that night, I knew I wasn’t okay.
The next day, what he said still weighed heavily on me and I couldn’t let it go. I asked him to call me when he could, and when he did, I told him I wasn’t okay with this arrangement. I gave him two choices: Either be all in, or we stay friends. There was a moment of silence, and I could tell he was caught off guard by this ultimatum. He said he liked me a lot and really wanted to explore where things could go with me, but that he also needed to be true to himself. With that said, he chose being friends.
I was extremely disappointed, but again pretended to be cool. For the rest of the day, I kept wondering whether I did the right thing. I had broken up with men before, and each time I had been sad and hurt, but I was not familiar with such sense of loss and disappointment. It didn’t make any sense for me to be this upset – we hadn’t even started dating yet!
Later that night, we both realized there were things left unsaid, so we spoke on the phone again.
He asked me what I was afraid of, and I told him I didn’t want to re-live my past of being with men who dated different girls at the same time. I said I was done with all that, and I wanted to be in a committed relationship now.
He said he didn’t want to have multiple partners, and that he was looking for a committed relationship too. He also said he wasn’t dating anyone at the moment and reassured me that the connection he had with me exceeded what he’s had so far with other girls. And that I could be the one. But I was asking him to sign an exclusivity contract and we haven’t even started dating yet. That wasn’t something he was comfortable doing at this stage.
When he put it that way, it got me thinking. He was absolutely right. Why was I forcing him into an exclusive relationship when we haven’t even been on a first date? And why was I already approaching this from a relationship context? We were just starting to date. The whole point of dating is to get to know one another and see if we want to take things forward. Why did I want to skip all that?
I realized it was all to do with my fears and insecurities. I was afraid of losing him, and so the only thing I could think to do was to ‘lock’ him into a relationship. When I understood what I was doing, I wanted to laugh because I’ve dated guys who had tried to get me to commit from the very start, and I had pushed them away saying they were too clingy and desperate. Now I was doing the exact same thing.
Once I came to this realization, I immediately felt lighter. I told him I understood where he was coming from and that he was right. I took back my ultimatum and asked that we revisit this conversation again – perhaps in a month’s time – to which he agreed.
And so he took me out on our first official date.
He met me at the train station and held my hand as we walked towards the bar he picked. I usually try to keep physical contact to the minimum on first dates, but it felt natural and comfortable to hold his hand, so I didn’t object.
We got a table in a more quiet and private corner of the bar. It was perfect because we could talk without having to shout over the music, but still could hear the music and had direct view of the live band. We talked about all sorts of things, danced a bit, and every now and then he would place his hand on my knee. It was by far the best date I’ve had.
At one point when we were both quiet, I turned and asked him “What are you thinking about?” To which he responded with “Why don’t I show you?” and proceeded to kiss me.
Now, I was never one to believe in magical, fairy tale-like kisses. In fact, I found first kisses to be awkward and sloppy. But… that kiss… I kid you not – it was the best kiss I’ve had in my entire life.
I used to ask couples how they knew they were right for each other, and always heard the same response: “You just know”. I never understood what they meant by that.
That night, I finally understood. As my head rested on his shoulders after that fairy tale-like kiss, I just knew. It was weird and crazy and surreal – at the same time exhilarating and magical.
Our second date was a week later and equally wonderful – he took me on a motorcycle ride and a stroll along the beach, followed by food and ice-cream
While I was over the moon, I couldn’t help but wonder if he was dating other girls. He said he would be honest with me, and he hasn’t said anything up until then, so I guess there was nothing to worry about. But there was a part of me that was scared. I was falling hard for this man and a part of me wanted to hold back because there was a possibility that he’d hit it off with someone else.
A couple of days after our second date, he said he needed to talk to me and pulled me aside after class. He looked me straight in the eyes, and said in a serious tone “I’m in”. I didn’t get what he meant, so I gave him a confused look and asked “In what?”. He repeated again “I’m in”. I still didn’t get what he was talking about. Finally, he said “This relationship. I’m in. I don’t want to be in it half-way anymore, I want to be in it fully”. I was so excited and I couldn’t contain myself! “Reaallllllllllllllyyyy??” I squealed. “Yes, really” he said with a reassuring smile. He then took out his phone and deleted the Tinder app. In that moment, he made me the happiest girl alive.
And here we are, five months later, I’m still the happiest girl alive
I hope you guys enjoyed reading my story, and rest assured there are more stories to follow.
In the next blog post, I’ll be sharing lessons I learned on how to be in the relationship of your dreams. Stay tuned!