The tale of two sweet men and not practising what you preach.
Let me preface this by saying if you have never seen ‘Two Guys and a Girl’, 1. Sorry for using a reference you won’t understand and 2. What the hell were you watching between the years of 1998-2001? Because it was the SHIT! Baby Ryan Reynolds. *sigh*
Unlike the late 90s sitcom, this isn’t a story about three friends named Sharon, Berg and Pete. It’s about me and two different guys…and there’s no pizza place. See recently, I met (and it’s important to stress that this was on two separate occasions) two men. For the sake of keeping in theme with the title of this blog, let’s call one of them “Berg” (who funnily enough, their first name is the same as *cough* Reynolds’) and the other “Pete.” Because truthfully, the TV show characters are kinda the same as the real-life version I’m about to tell you all about. Funny that.
When my last relationship ended, I was very lucky to not go through the torturous, relentless, suffocating feeling that is heartbreak. And frankly, I never want to ever again. I remember how that feels. The nights spent crying so hard you exhaust yourself enough to sleep until you have enough energy to cry some more. The constant lump in your throat and tight chest, on the verge of being sent spiralling into a breakdown that could be triggered by the smallest of things with absolutely no idea when you’ll start to see light at the end of the tunnel or if you’ll ever get over it. Thankfully this time, it ended amicably, we separated and went on our merry way. I had grown into this kick-ass woman if I do say so myself, and I’ve carried on living my best life since. But I had promised myself that from then on, I wasn’t going to give a man a second look unless I saw pure husband potential. Now, to clarify so I don’t sound crazy to the men reading this, that doesn’t mean every date I’ve been on I was looking for a husband right away. What it means is this: if I didn’t see that future husband-like potential… that’s how I was deciding who I invested time into. I have absolutely no need to date for sport. For the sake of it. Not even for the thrill of it. I mean, get a hobby. Not even for sex. I can give you my friend’s number and she’ll hook you up with the battery operated Make You Scream 3000. Ok? At this age, I have absolutely no desire to get involved with anyone who is a “filler” (No sexual pun intended) and if I do, the boundaries are clearly stated early on that his only purpose is for physical interactions. I’ve gotten very good at confidently yet politely rejecting everything from coffee dates to DM slides because I. JUST. KNOW. I don’t know how I know, maybe one day I’ll figure it out and I’ll do a Matthew Hussey-esque web seminar – but I just know, within minutes, who’s got that potential. At the very least, who deserves a little more of my time. My freedom is so important to me. I enjoy being single and getting to do what I want, when I want to and the way I want it done. So in the time I’ve spent being alone, I have filled my life with so much that gives me purpose and gives me a reason to look forward to each day. At no point in my day does a man play a part in that. I have a good job, great girlfriends, I love my mixed martial arts training, I love writing, planning my next trips, having dinner parties – all of it. I have effectively filled all of my time with things that bring me so much joy, that I have mastered the art of being single. Too well.
So believe me when I say I was doing just FINE. Just. Fucking. Fine. Living a boy free and therefore, a drama free life until I met Berg. I have conditioned myself into not giving a flying fuck whenever I see a man. I can be out at a bar, see my girlfriends nod in the direction of a very attractive human and feel nothing. Because I can tell with a glance he doesn’t have it. This isn’t cocky or standoffish behaviour, by the way, I don’t want this to come across as me being up myself. It’s simply intuitive and I’m always right. People more often then not prove me right if given the chance. I met Berg and how dare he have the audacity? Out of the blue, he just walked right into my life with a simple message and he was perfect and it was just rude. Handsome but not in an obvious way. He had that ruggedly handsome look. Covered in tattoos (which isn’t usually my cup of coffee but it works so well for him). Just that 32 years old, fresh out of the British military looking to live a simple life, real man’s man vibe. A sense of humour that made him a little dorky and a kind heart that seemingly had experienced more in life than his years would have you guess. The kind of man who is always up for an adventure and had somewhat of a plan for how he wanted his future to look. He was landing smoothly into his grown-up years and was ready to settle down a bit. Every girl’s dream. He had it. That presence. The self-assured, masculine energy that women go crazy for but it was a quiet strength. Not a cocky overcompensation. He had a very disciplined feel about him and I suppose he would have given his career history. That was enough to have me wondering what his last name was. Potential. He had my attention. A Northern Irish accent that I’m certain is a frightening magnetic force for foreign women like me and the way… the way he talks about being an Uncle and how doting he is towards those kids. Ovary explosion. Despite my desire to one day adopt my children, I could actually hear my uterus screaming at me don’t fuck this up. But that is exactly what I did. I fucked it up. I let it get bigger in my head then what it was and before I knew it, I was living out a situation with him that we hadn’t even got around to creating. From the bottom of my heart to my sisterhood of single women around the world, I’m sorry I let you down. Oh! How the mighty have fallen. I let my crown topple off my Disney Princess Pocahontas mane and I let a man dictate my feelings so much it’s actually embarrassing. Because I had initially played it so cool. He had no idea I thought he was that handsome. He had no idea that every time he spoke in that deep Irish voice, I melted. He had no idea I looked forward to him every day. I had him hook, line and sinker by being totally authentic and true to exactly who I am. Adventurous, laid back, easy going and fun. Until I wasn’t and boys and girls, I still can’t work out how we got here. I can’t decide if it’s my fault for jumping ahead and expecting too much too soon, or his fault for leading me there with the way he spoke to me and how quickly we progressed from the day we started talking. When a man tells you “Everything about you is what I am looking for” I think I can probably be forgiven for taking that to heart and expecting that this was going to end up being something serious. I mean, our conversations were not “Hey, How was your day.” No…our conversations were “I braid my niece’s hair all the time. Our girls are definitely palming off Mum to go to Dad to have their hair done.” Our girls. What were we thinking? But I could feel it deep in my gut, this felt different. Two people clicked so effortlessly and quickly, he told his brother he “felt like I’ve known her for years.” And it did feel that way. I got way too ahead of myself and giddily talked about him to all my girlfriends. This was the guy. I (far too soon) felt like I had found him. Berg even joked about what kind of ring I would like because this all just seemed too good. Too easy. And then it wasn’t. Then, it was waiting around for 8 hours for him to send a text. It was “Sorry, I’ve just been really busy.” Shoutout to the guys who will send you a message and then, oh I don’t know, immediately throw their phone into a fucking lake?! To be fair, he’d started a new job so I guess that very well could have been the truth. But I could have 12 meetings in a day, two sparring sessions, food poisoning and two broken thumbs… and still, manage to find 5 seconds to text the man I’m really happy with and into. So, before I even gave him the chance to prove whether or not he was full of shit, I just decided he was. I had to go all female hero on him and shut it down before I could even let him come up for air to tell me it wasn’t like that. Which, I’m now beginning to think he was right. I had followed all of his signs to the wrong destination. He was caught up in a new job and he was sorry. And it had gotten too intense too fast. I had no right to treat him like a guilty husband when we were just starting out. I’m not making any excuses for him, I legitimately jumped the gun. Because I promise you, in any other situation, I would tell my girlfriends to run for the hills. I am the one they come to for advice about men because I am so cut and dried. I am a protect yourself at all costs kind of girl. A burn him before he burns you, practitioner. If my girls came to me and said they got the “Sorry, I’m busy” speech, I would have said “Delete his number. Block him.” But sometimes, ladies, sometimes… he is busy. You have to remember most men can’t multitask, they’re not particularly cluey, and they’ve got no idea about female emotions. So instead of getting on my high horse and galloping back to my single Queendom like some kind of warrior princess, I should have taken a deep breath. Been more understanding, kept my cool and been a little more supportive. I was so terrified of getting hurt, I hurt him first. And that ladies, is not brave. It’s not heroic. It’s pathetic… and also how you end up with cats. Now some homegrown British girl with bad lashes and lip injections is going to win his heart. And that is a tragedy. All jokes aside… I think about what might have been every day. Don’t make the same mistakes. Put your swords down and if you feel the way I felt, try not to assume the worst. Unless he does actually hurt you, then by all means – cut off his dick.
If that wasn’t enough for one girl to handle, waiting in the wings like the patient Saint he is, was Pete. Pete is the softest, kindest, most reliable man I’ve ever met. He’s just always there. Whether I’ve ghosted him for a week or I’ve given him the time of day (I know, I’m going to make me sound like the villain and him like the hero – and rightfully so.) Pete adores me. He is so concerned about my happiness and well being. How am I feeling? How was training? Has that cut on my cheek healed? No more Jiu-Jitsu injuries I hope! Has your Dad reached out to you? I’m so proud of you. You’re the most beautiful girl in the world. On and on, Pete has never left me wondering where I stand. I know Pete would have me in a heartbeat and he would take good care of me. He’s sweet, kind, sensitive and there isn’t a bad bone in his body. And if my friends came to me and told me about a Pete, I would tell them they are the luckiest girls in the world. Choose Pete. That’s every woman’s dream. A man who is that smitten by you and obsessed with you. I have tried and tried to talk myself into Pete because I know he’s a good option. He’s a safe option. But I just can’t. I know this sounds like one of those high school movies where the girl crushes over the jock instead of the sensitive musician guy but it’s just not like that. Berg allowed me to see a sensitive and vulnerable side to him as well and while he doesn’t wear his heart on his sleeve quite like Pete, it’s there when the time calls for it. He’s just as good of a guy, in different ways. Pete has no trouble communicating. I know what’s happening with him all the time and I never ask. That’s something we as women really need in a relationship, that level of reassurance, and yet it’s where Pete turns me off. He doesn’t have that same self-assured, quiet strength about him that Berg has. He’s equally as attractive, physically, as Berg but he seems quite insecure. So yes, here is where it has all come to a head and bit me in the ass. I tore down whatever was potentially forming between Berg and I because of a lack of communication on his behalf. I can’t bring myself to want to be with Pete because he communicates too much! Pete thinks I need to know when he’s awake. When he’s home from work. Pete thinks spending 30 minutes on the phone talking about why meal prepping before bed so he doesn’t have to do it before he goes to work in the morning is a good idea. I AM BORED.
“OH BABY, WHY DON’T YOU JUST MEET ME IN THE MIDDLE?!”
I have come to earth-shattering realisation that during my masterful performance as a 20-something single woman, I became numb to developing romantic connections. All the skills I once possessed in knowing how much to give and when; knowing how much to text; knowing when to be serious and knowing when to be funny; knowing how to keep someone interested while pretending you are super cool about it. It has all gone out the window and I am now a 26-year-old professional single completely incapable of forming these new age, digitally based relationships. I have an old soul and I just want the boy I like to like me equally as much and there be a balanced reciprocation. Is that too much to ask? I just want someone to not talk to me about meaningless shit all day long but also not wait around for 10 hours to text back. I want someone to go travelling with. To talk about all the big things like getting married and having kids with. Someone who is all in and not afraid to get serious. I don’t need to dance around for months on end, doing the ‘are we or aren’t we’ game. Someone who isn’t weirdly turned off after being sucked in by this sweet girly girl, only to find out she religiously trains and watches fighting like an angelic little monster *halo emoji.* On a serious note, I am so good at the girlfriend thing. I know I am. I have so much confidence in my ability to be empathetic, uplifting, loving, nurturing, sexy, adventurous, fun… all of it. On the flip side, I’ve mastered being single. I’m booked, busy, kicking ass, a social butterfly, world traveller… but in-between? This long, uncertain, shaky bridge you have no choice but to walk over to get to the green grass of committed happiness and not even know if it’s poison? No good at it.
Your assumptions are not always right. Up until now, I was certain a woman’s intuition is as good as hard, scientific evidence. Except my intuition told me I’d potentially found the man I would be with and he left me feeling uncertain. I made the assumption about Pete that he’s boring and I’m not attracted to him but given a chance he could be the slow burn that turns into the best thing for me. Will I do that? Probably not. There’s a level of excitement I need to feel about a man that I just don’t feel about Pete. Would I tell all of you to stop being a bitch and give Pete a go? Yes. Would I tell you to get over Berg and move on with your life because if you truly had something he would have reached out to you by now? Yes. Am I going to do either of those things? Absolutely not. But that doesn’t mean I’m not still right. To my friends reading this and women around the world, continue to do as I say and not as I do. I’m intelligent and I know what I’m talking about. I just don’t always act like it. If you have a Pete and Berg in your life, you know what to do…
Obviously, the answer is staring at your phone hoping Berg’s name pops up. Pete who?