When moving on means standing still

This blog was always supposed to be a record of my suddenly single life and when I started writing, I was indeed single. Caroline and I split up in March 2011 after a shade over 3 years together. It was a decision that caused an ocean of tears and heartache that threatened to engulf me, pinning me under the duvet and refusing to allow any form of hope for the future. This however was temporary and eventually I came out from under the duvet, stopped crying and started behaving like an adult woman again. I tried dating (it didn’t go very far – although I ended up making a friend out of it) but accepted that dating and I were not the best of friends.

After a summer fling, Caroline and I got back together – it wasn’t over. We agreed that this time things would be different…and they were. For a start we weren’t living together and we had no intention of living together again either. We had our own lives, our own friends and we were happy with this. We had also learnt that sleeping alone has its benefits, namely that we could sleep like star fish without the other one gradually losing the will to live and wanting to stab the sleeper with a handy biro. Yes, apart but together was the way forward. I’ll fast forward through the next 10 or so months but ultimately we realised things weren’t right. We had turned into Morecambe and Wise, Bert and Ernie, Father Ted and Father Dougal. In other words, best friends. Don’t get me wrong, I’d sooner be best friends that hating each other but we both knew that this needed addressing. Over (yet more) tears and tea we came to the sensible conclusion that it was really over this time. It was somewhat of a relief that we could discuss it – turns out both of us knew that it was over but neither knew how to address it.

Bert and Ernie – friends who knew the benefits of sleeping alone.

Fast forward again and I am yet again signing up to dating sites and merrily taping away at my laptop, doing my best to sound neither insane nor boring but also not desperate and tragic. Apparently it worked – I had a date. Actually I had 2 dates. The first was breakfast and tea and a wander round Harrogate. Pleasant but no spark. I’d like him (yes, I said him…I’ll explain that at some point) as a friend possibly but nothing more. Date number two however is where I have come unstuck in rather a big way. We exchanged emails, text messages and arranged to meet in Leeds for a drink and dinner and seemingly it was good to go. So I thought. How wrong can one woman be? How on earth could I have got myself so wrong when I apparently know myself so well? Turns out, I was as wrong as anyone could have been.

The date was ok. I’m not going into the whole thing but the outcome was one that I didn’t expect and certainly didn’t want. I had been shaken to my core, everything I thought I knew about myself had disappeared. I was angry and ashamed, upset and confused. Up had become down, nothing made sense. Why was this happening to me? I’m not the sort of person that gets so het up about a date – or so I thought. It was as if someone had taken a sledgehammer to a mirror that had a layer of plastic attached to it. The mirror was broken all right but the plastic was holding all the shards together, glittering and ready to pierce the skin if you held it too hard. Nothing made sense and I was losing control. News flash – I’m a control freak. Really, I hear you gasp (sarcastically)? Yes, really. I have to be in control – whether it’s at work, at home, when I’m out for an evening I like to know that I’m in control. I think it’s because I’ve always been the one in charge – being the eldest of four kids seemed to give me a head start in the “in charge” stakes. The hangover didn’t help things either but it wasn’t the reason for my anguish. It wasn’t a very big hangover either but none the less, it just added to the nausea that was lapping at my ankles.

It was only when I spoke to the one person in the world I needed to speak to, did the reason for my freak out become apparent. I’m not ready to date. Completely and utterly not ready and all I’d done was put myself through the ringer. I thought because my relationship had ended on friendly terms and we had made the decision together that I was ready for something new. I thought because we were best friends that just drifted away from being lovers that it would make a transition to a new “someone” a cinch – if anything it has made it harder. I miss my best friend even though I know she’s not going anywhere far. As we have said to each other on more than one occasion, we have been through so much in the 4 years we had together that is does seem a little short-sighted to think that we could just walk away from the other and when I look carefully I know I’m not over the relationship – not even close to being over.

I pushed myself out the door this morning despite feeling a bit sick and still very tired and went for a run. For the first time since my 5k in Bolton I took some music with me.  I don’t know why I wanted music after training myself to not need music but I’m glad I took it with me. It was only a 5k route, one I’ve run many times now and have never been able to run the whole way without walking some of it but this morning, I was powered by shame and guilt, anger at myself driving me forward. Internally I was screaming obscenities at myself, berating myself for being so stupid and foolish, for being so arrogant that I thought I could just “move on” without any repercussions.  Through the words hurling themselves around my brain a smaller voice was making itself known. It was calmer, less angry but stronger. It was telling the angry words not to be so harsh and judgemental, to allow myself a mistake, that as long as I learnt from my mistakes then I could move on from this place.  It was at that very moment Kelly Clarkson sang out “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”  and I realised she was right.

Nietzsche said it first. Clarkson sang it better

My relationship as a lover and with a lover is over – for now. I may not have a lover but I most certainly have a best friend. I’m deleting my dating profile for now. It will stay deleted for as long as it takes. While it will take a long time to come to terms with the fact that I am single again, it took very little time to realise I’m in no shape to date anyone – and to move on from here, I have to stand still for a bit. Caroline and I will always be there for one another no matter what and I have to thank her for letting me sob my heart out when it was news she didn’t really want to hear. You are my best friend – and I don’t want anyone to ever take that space. That space is always reserved for you.

Turns out I don’t need to find a date – I’m not ready to date. It can find me later…when I’m ready


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