What We Are Not

 You know the jitters you get when you go on a first date? The nerve-wrecking anxiousness of what to wear, what to say, how to behave? Every girl is familiar with it. My experience with Gerald was nothing like that… It was one of those rare occasions where you feel that for some inexplicable reason, the person that you met an hour ago and who’s now halfway through their second drink, is someone you’ve known for years. I met Gerald online and was talking to him for quite a while before arranging our first date – and it was clear we’d hit it off really well even before we met. So when we finally met, it came as no surprise that I got ahead of myself and even after the first couple of times of seeing him I managed to picture myself in a proper relationship with him. Afterall, we never ran out of things to say, he was smart, charming, he made me laugh and the sex was out of this world – what could go wrong right?
 With everything going great a month into dating Gerald, I was in no hurry to call it a relationship. I was going with the flow and enjoying it. I didn’t feel the need to rush into anything, if it was meant to be it would eventually be. But that was until I found out I was running out of time – a few weeks later Gerald dropped a bomb. I woke up one morning to an unsettling text saying that he was moving to America in 3 weeks’ time, for a few months, and he had no interest in having a long distance relationship, so it would be better to keep it casual until he leaves.  And I was suddenly confronted with one of the biggest controversies that’s all too familiar to the female species – I couldn’t have Gerald the way I wanted to… so I suddenly wanted him more.  I tried to reason with him – I said we weren’t yet in a relationship and it wasn’t really long distance, it was just 2-3 months. I said we can forget about calling it exclusive for now but stay in touch when he’s away and see how it goes. But he wouldn’t listen – he said that he knew himself too well and it wouldn’t work. He didn’t give me any options so with the danger of getting attached, and eventually hurt, I agreed to keep seeing him for the next few weeks until he leaves. I knew I ultimately wanted more from him but just like my fellow hopeless romantics before me I dove into something that had absolutely no hope to turn into anything real.
 The three weeks came and passed and soon it was the night before the big day. I was feeling awkward – expiration dating was something I’d done in the past, but I didn’t know how to end it. So when he called me that night, somewhere over a long conversation and a bittersweet taste in my mouth, I said “so I guess this is goodbye then?” And then something amazing happened – he changed his mind. He said to me, “Let’s just keep in touch and see how it goes”. That was all I wanted – now I had a chance to give it a shot and I was determined to make it work. But despite my best intentions and hopes, this was the last time we ever spoke as anything more than mere acquaintances.
 From the next day onwards, the ocean in between us drove us apart faster than his flight to Washington. I did my best to stay in touch with him but he just wasn’t bothered. He would hardly reply to my texts and would never text first. I barely knew what was going on in his life and he had no interest in what was going on in mine. Ignoring all better judgement and reason, I was still holding on. I didn’t know what we were anymore, but I knew what we weren’t – we definitely weren’t anywhere close to making it work. I liked him enough to hold on for about 5-6 weeks. I kept saying to myself that if I do happen to meet someone else then I would give that a shot, but in the meantime I wasn’t ready to let go of a guy I really liked. I tried to keep Gerald in the background and move on with my dating life, but I realised I liked him way too much to move on – and he couldn’t care less.
 After losing it one night and making myself seem like a needy, clingy teenage girl, driving him even further away, I decided it was time let it go. I didn’t do it to clear up things between us – it was crystal clear on his side of the planet. I did it so that I could move on. I decided to write a long text and tell him the truth – I didn’t mind waiting another month for him to come back, but we weren’t on the same page, and he was holding me back. He completely agreed of course. I eventually realised I did the right thing – a little bit too late. I knew I held onto too many things in my life for way longer than I should have – things that meant a lot to me and things that hurt me. There was no point in holding onto someone I barely knew, just to get hurt in the end. Admittedly, it did upset me a bit more than I thought it would have – but that’s what happens when a crush doesn’t work out.
 A couple of weeks after it all ended, I can’t help but wonder: did I really like Gerald that much or did I find comfort in the fact that it was so easy with him when he was here? Was I too scared to enter the dating world again after taking a break that I held onto the first guy I dated after Serge, so much, that I was willing to fight for him even when I knew there was no hope? I may never be able to answer that, but one thing is certain – whether I like it or not, it’s about time I get out of my comfort zone and start dating again!