The waiting game

I haven’t posted in a while because emotionally, things have been complicated. It’s always strange how things work out in life. After my last post on connection turning into love, I went on dates with three different women. I had a pleasant conversation with the first, but despite similar backgrounds things didn’t “click”. I can’t really articulate why. The second date, I did feel a bit of a connection l but it would be a semi-long distance relationship (she lived in Ottawa but travels every weekend to Montreal). I didn’t have much expectations though as it requires a lot of effort, more so in the early stages when you barely know each other.

The third was quite the revelation. We matched on Tinder on a Sunday night. She was gorgeous: feminine and athletic. As soon as I read her profile, I “super-liked” her. Instant match. She had swiped right on my profile in the past. What sealed the deal for me was a concise but witty description of herself and her intent for a serious relationship. She was also cosplaying as Chun Li in her last picture.

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Without the exaggerated proportions.

I wasted no time in messaging her. The response was almost immediate. We chatted for the rest of the evening before I asked her out. We agreed to a Wednesday night date at L’Auberge du Dragon Rouge (The Red Dragon Inn for English only readers). She had never been and was looking forward to trying it out. Over the next two days we kept in contact, moving mediums to Facebook messenger as she was constantly getting messages from other guys on Tinder and didn’t want to lose track of our conversation. Our online discussion centered almost entirely on exploring the depth of our geekdom (pretty deep on both ends to be fair 🙂 ). By Wednesday, I was thoroughly excited to meet her. It had been quite a long time since I felt that way about a first date. I had long settled into not having any expectations to avoid disappointment.

While nervous, I decided to try to keep the conversation light on our “nerdy” interests based on my previous experience. We both had a fantastic time talking about ourselves and sharing stories. The conversation moved along nicely and we had good chemistry while avoiding the “job interview questions”. We shared a moment when taking up the “dragon’s blood” challenge (a spicy alcoholic beverage where the staff required us to stand on your table and recite an oath before downing it). Once the restaurant closed, I moved in for the kiss as soon as we were alone; she reciprocated. The walk to the metro was more casual as I was looser and I think she was as well. A second date was planned, and a more passionate kiss sent us on our way. The conversation continued for another two hours over messenger when she got home.

Over the next three days we remained in touch, chatting well until the late night alternating between casual topics to deep discussions about ourselves and our experiences. We both express ourselves better through writing than verbally. It was fascinating but also exhilarating to build a rapport and delve into deep topics and mutual feelings for one another in that format. The last time I experienced something similar was the first time I fell for someone.

We went skating on our second date. As a recent immigrant to Canada, she had little experience but did own her own pair of skates. We were at the rink for about an hour, with me showing her how to skate backwards, and properly skate forwards. She only slipped once but I was able to catch her. She teasingly claimed she did so on purpose so we could get close. I was definitely not going to argue with her. Over the course of the date, I came onto the realization that I felt I was falling for her. During the date, there were times we would finish each other’s sentences. It was surreal to be on the same wavelength. A part of me still wanted to keep the brakes on, but I did tell her for the first time in my life I felt like both aspects of my personality. A third date was scheduled for a few days later.

We kept in touch regularly via messenger and would continue to chat late into the night. It even delved into light sexting, something new for me. We began making plans for future dates, even one where she invited me to go with her to a concert in December. I am someone who enjoys planning and once that invitation was made, I was enthusiastic to reciprocate other future activities together. Luckily, she also enjoyed planning activities and bonding over that brought us closer.

We met for our third date a full week after we first met. I invited her over to my place for a candlelit romantic dinner. I drove her back home late that night as we both had to work the next day but it didn’t stop us from chatting for about another half hour once I got back home.

We remained in touch on Thursday without missing a beat from the night before and planned to see one another on Sunday to watch Ghost in the Shell. Friday, she had a girls night out and a regularly scheduled call with her mother and my own plans kept our conversation short. The tone of her correspondence changed on the Saturday though. She was worried about her taxes as her accountant had mismanaged her account the last few years. I offered her my support if she needed but such a subject can be touchy, especially so early in a relationship. It was difficult because I wanted to be able to help but I didn’t want to overwhelm her either. On Sunday morning, I messaged her to both express I was looking forward to seeing her later that day after my improv class and also to check up on how things were going with her taxes. She informed me the new accountant she found has helped put her mind at ease but she had to cancel our date and would tell me about it later. I was obviously disappointed but under the circumstances, I could definitely understand the stress she would be under.

A few minutes before my class, she broke up with me over text because she felt things were going too fast. It was like a sucker punch right to the chest. I responded asking if we could talk about it after my class as I was already there. She agreed. Suffice it to say, I was not in a proper state of mind to want to practice comedy. I didn’t volunteer for any scenes and simply sat in the corner quietly torturing myself with questions. As is my nature, I began to internalize and analyze every single moment we shared, read all our past exchanges searching for any signs.  Had I come on too strong? Did I do or say anything that offended her? Was I trying too hard? If so, is it because I went too far on the other extreme due to my previous failures?

Once class was over, I asked if I could call but she wanted to keep it to text only. We conversed for some time, my heart feeling twisted and tight in my chest. She explained she felt a lot of pressure but wrote it was nothing I had said or done. She continued to say every moment together was amazing and she appreciated my candor and honesty; a sentiment she had told me previously during our nightly chats. However, she couldn’t explain or describe the source of her feelings of pressure. The only hint left to me is she had been hurt before. I asked gently about it as I did not want to put in her in a position to relive bad experiences. I felt powerless when all I could write was I couldn’t promise I wouldn’t hurt her but I would do my best not to. Eventually, she agreed for us to go on a break. She had an upcoming trip to Cuba and wanted to use that time to re-evaluate her life.

I know time apart is more often than not doomed for failure, but I had strong feelings for her and I could not help but hope time apart might be the best. We did plan to meet just before she would leave to see Ghost in the Shell and for her to return a tupper ware container (I had given her leftovers from our romantic dinner). We remained in contact despite my promise I would not initiate any messages to her in the interim to give her the space she needed. A promise I did not quite keep. I was worried about her, but I also had somewhat selfish reasons as I worried about our relationship going forward. “Out of sight, out of mind” as the expression goes. Over that time, she had planned to do some of the activities we planned together except with her friends. Upon the news, I couldn’t help but feel the painful tightening in my chest again. My mind knows it’s her own life and she can and should do whatever she wants. Nevertheless, it still stung. I tried to keep busy as well, but with mixed results. The activities served more as distractions.

We met two days before her flight. A few hours before, she messaged me to say she couldn’t make the movie because she hadn’t finished packing. We would still meet over dinner though. I winced at the news but acquiesced. I picked her up at the gym. When I leaned in to greet her, we kissed on the cheek. Part of me hoped for warmer embrace. I had baked her a heart-shaped chocolate chip cookie; the hopeless romantic that I am. I had tried a Triforce shaped one but it fell apart.

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I didn’t have a cookie cutter.

 

I joked that at worst, she could break it in two in front of me if she didn’t like it in a bit of self-deprecating humour. The evening went well but I felt awkward. In our last two encounters and part of our first date, I felt the conversation was very natural. Now, I was second-guessing myself even more than usual because I didn’t want to make her feel pressured. I drove her back home and told her I still had strong feelings for her and she was someone worth waiting for. However, I would not wait forever. She nodded and said she would get back to me once she returned. We kissed on the cheeks again and that was that. I didn’t sleep that night. Instead, I stared up at the ceiling, lost in my own mind.

In the intervening time, we’ve kept in touch but the topic of romance has not come up. The few occasions she initiated communication, I felt butterflies in my stomach. It’s been two months now and while my feelings have diminished, they remain a lot stronger than I had thought they would be over this much time. While I don’t know if she has moved on or feel any romantic feelings at all for me, I can’t help but want to kick myself profusely. Sometimes I think I lied down too easily and didn’t “fight” for the relationship, as short as it was. At other times, I circle back to having come on too strong. Then there are a few occasions I just want to kick something as hard as I can due to a feeling of powerlessness. On one hand, I want to help. Other times, the powerlessness comes that there is nothing I can do and that knowledge is infuriating. I am compelled to “fix” things but here I can’t. And then there are a few rarer occasions when insecurities rear their ugly heads.

Recently, we planned to go to the Zelda themed escape room (which I will review later this week) with some of her friends. However, her friends cancelled due to scheduling conflicts. I was the only one who bought my ticket and went alone (non-refundable). I was still able to have fun but it would have been nice to see her again in person.

The few people who I’ve spoken to on the topic have tried to put me at ease by placing the blame elsewhere (usually on her) or suggest I meet someone new. I did try to go on a date but I found myself unable to fully let go of my emotions. It also didn’t help that my date had more than a passing resemblance to my mother which was not apparent in her photos. Something I only noticed after the date.

For now, all I can do is focus on myself and stay occupied until I receive a definitive answer or I am ready to move on. I know it’s best to let her come to her own conclusion and lead her own life no matter how much I want our lives to intertwine. “If you truly love someone, let her go”.

 

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