10th December, 2017 @ 09:47
Well, dear diary, I have pretty much lost the past two days. Newcastle on Thursday didn’t happen which was a huge disappointment as I had been looking forward to it. Instead, my girlfriend and I headed off into town for a few drinks. My protestations that I wasn’t going to have too much went out the window; one sip of the gorgeousness that is the Margarita cocktail at Macy’s was enough to tip me over into – well, I’m not quite sure what but I have no idea why I hammered it so much that night.
The evening was pleasant enough, as it always is with my friend – we had a bit of a deep and meaningful (as much as you can when fuelled by alcohol) about something that is going on in our lives, and then it was to home – after Cheesy Chips from the not-so-dodgy-kebab-shop nearby.
Well that, my dear diary, was a HUGE mistake. I won’t gross you out with the details, but suffice to say I was regretting the decision to have quite so many cocktails for two days
Yes, you read that right – TWO WHOLE DAYS lost to the queasiness and hungoverness that was me for the next 48 hours. I had to kiss goodbye to my coffee date in a nearby city and I pretty much spent the next two days recovering in bed.
Never again, I lamented – we’ve heard that before, responded the rather cute guy that was the only joy amongst the detritus that was me over those few days. Of course, the joy was at a safe text-only-distance. I could banter to my heart’s content with him without having to get out of bed to clean off the remnants of Thurday night’s makeup. Yes, dear diary – I was THAT bad.
Is there a reason for my over the top drunkeness?
Hmmm …. good question. I reflected on what went wrong. After all, I have always enjoyed a good drink but it has been many years since I got into the kind of state that I was in Thursday. I clearly can’t be trusted around Margarita’s anymore – so they are well and truly off the menu!
Ok, so the past few weeks have actually been a lot of fun in as much as I have enjoyed writing, and I have enjoyed being focused on a project – the #FakeProfileFightback campaign. I have played to the humour of my woes of dating as a middle aged woman, and I have continued to report fake profiles when I have come across them – yesterday, I reported no less than FIVE fake profiles on Match.com. I also came across a fake profile on Tinder – but simply unmatched as the only proof I had was the fact that he was 3.5k miles away, and the rather inane message. It went like this:
What a beautiful smile you have on your face no doubt, if someone can see through the heart your heart must be as beautiful as the smile on your face.
Uggh. I guess one of the saddest things that has come out of my dupee-status is that it is now near impossible for anyone to say anything nice to me. Yes sure, I believe I am a good soul, and what you see is what you get. That said, this guy does not know me from Adam, and that is not the typical first message one would receive.
Indeed, first messages are a really good indicator of whether the profile is fake. Too much detail. Poor English. Good English but the misuse of s on the end of words – essentially rendering the word plural where it does not make sense to use a plural word. I could go on; let’s leave that one there for now and get back to my original question.
What is going on with me?
The answer to that is I am not really sure. Now that the frantic writing and posting has slowed down, I guess I am actually feeling quite disappointed that, despite spending a considerable amount of money on paid memberships to dating sites, I have yet to have one date. Ok – so I did have a date Friday that I had to cancel – that though, was not from a paid for site.
I also had the opportunity to meet up with cute guy, but to be honest, although I like him and I enjoy the banter between us – it is clear we want different things. I protest that I am happy just to have a little fun meeting people without any expectations – but to be honest my heart is not really in it if at the outset the object of my interest is not looking for at least the potential of a relationship.
Ok, so I do believe that cute guy is actually much nicer than he lets on and is hiding behind his stated objective. He is though, 15 years younger than me – and whereas he has made absolutely no mention of my age, and professes to really like my pictures (which are all very recent), I don’t want to set myself up for disappointment.
There is another side to how I feel, though, one that I am a little reluctant to share. I miss the Captain. Crazy isn’t it? I’m not really sure whether I miss Fake-Thomas or the small interaction I had with Real-Thomas. Whatever pragmatism that came over me when I finally found out that Thomas Falconer was a dupe, it can’t be denied that for nearly 3 weeks I had developed a bond with this guy.
I always knew that I was determined to enjoy the journey no matter how things ended up. Sure, none of it was real – but the emotions and the feelings were, triggered as they were by my over active amygdala.
Where did it all go wrong?
My whole adult life, I have only had THREE serious relationships. Two of those were with the same man. You can read about that one and the resultant fallout here: Lost love.
I do recall proclaiming at 16 that I would never marry. It was not that I did not want to marry, I just hadn’t had the best example of a happy marriage growing up – and it put me off. I’m not going to turn this post into a debate about childhood angst, although that is something I will return to later with my professional hat on.
I recall my father saying to me in my 30s that my best years were behind me – and I really should think about settling down. Sure, I had flings and crushes, but nothing ever lasted very long. I did fall very much in love – or so I thought – with Paul, in the year that my father died.
I had been single for quite a while, having ended my relationship with the second serious guy (after ending my first serious relationship to have the chance to go out with him.)
We met on a night out, and it was one of those connections, that for me, was instant. Initially we spent a lot of time together, and although I was a bit closed off from sharing my emotions, I felt exceptionally happy that I had found this guy, and believed he was THE ONE. Then he dropped a bombshell.
Life can be so cruel
Here was a guy that I was madly in love with, albeit I had not shared with him how I felt. One weekend, when he was staying with me, we were lazing around when he suddenly seemed quiet and serious. I joked:
“It feels as though you are about to say you can’t see me anymore”.
Instinctive though I am, I really did not believe what I was saying – or maybe I just didn’t want to. When he confirmed to me that was indeed what he was saying, the bottom fell out of my heart.
He asked that he could stay for the remainder of the weekend, so that we could enjoy our last time together. Really? I mean really? He had just broken my heart – and yet he wanted me to play nice. In somewhat of a daze, I agreed to go to a park with him. There he tried to entice me to play some kind of bizarre game – I don’t quite recall it, but I remember it reflected how different he was from other guys I had met.
So, to the evening, when it was time for him to leave.
I was so upset I could hardly speak. He went upstairs to gather his things, and when he returned, he found me on the telephone (no mobile phones in those days, dear diary), confirming an arrangement to meet. He asked me who I was arranging to meet, and I lied to him. I made out that I was meeting another man – I wanted to prick through to his heart in the hopes that he would come to his senses and take back what he had told me earlier in the day.
Instead, he simply closed his eyes, and I saw the tears roll down his cheeks.
Why? Why are you doing this when you so clearly care for me as much as I do you?
Of course, these words, screeching though they were, were in my head, and not a sound passed my lips.
I could not look at him, let alone speak to him as he left. As soon as the door was closed, I dissolved into tears. Life, at this point, dear diary, felt so unfair.
I had thought to follow him, but I didn’t see the point, as his mind was made up. Although in a subsequent telephone conversation he had said to me he kept turning around on his way to the train station, hoping that I had come after him.
The bravest thing anyone of us can do when life is tough is – LIVE
I know that he thought he was doing the right thing, and I know that life had felt very tough for him over the last year. What he hadn’t shared with me in the short time I had known him was that he had applied to join the army. He did not want what was happening with me to derail that – as he believed that joining the army was the only way to salvage what he believed to be the remnants of his disintegrated life.
Of course, it didn’t end there. There were telephone conversations, and tears and tantrums. Ok, so I admit, the tantrum was from me not him.
On one particular evening, I was screaming like a banshee down the phone at him. So concerned was he that he asked a friend (the guy he was with when we met) to drive him over from his town to mine. Knowing that he would come, I put on a great show of hauling a case downstairs and filling it with clothes.
When he arrived, he checked I was okay, took in the case, and asked me where I was going. I rather haughtily informed him that I was moving to London (I had lived in the south previously for 7 years, so it wasn’t that ridiculous a statement, dear diary).
I don’t recall what he said to me, but I do remember that he left. My little ploy had not worked. He hadn’t changed his mind, and we were still broken up.
Oh well (I thought), I’m already packed – so I might as well move to London after all!
And that, dear diary, is how I came to move back down south!
Second time round was not so good
I might have lived in the south for 7 years quite happily three years previously, but when I returned – living and working in London – I hated it.
I hated that it took me so long to get to work, I hated my job, I hated sharing a house with people I didn’t know, and I hated being away from him. Of course, even if I had stayed in my home town, I would have still been away from him.
Within six months, I was so depressed that I just had to come home. One morning, as I sat drying my very long hair, I just could not face the commute into Victoria Street where I worked. Instead, I gathered my belongings together and booked a cab. As the driver took me to Kings Cross we chatted. He said to me, wisely, there are other jobs and other places to live. My mind was made up – I was going home.
So I arrived back at my house, which fortunately I had not rented out this time, and dumped my belongings. I then walked the short distance to my parents house and let myself in. As I greeted my father, he said:
Hello, what are you doing here?
I got depressed so I came home.
Fair enough, put the kettle on will you?
And that, dear diary, was the extent of that conversation.
Over the next few weeks I did the round of the employment agencies, and secured myself a temping PA role at a major pharmaceutical company about 20 miles away. I was due to start work on the Monday, and I was just keeping my head low. I had not washed my hair or bathed for some days, and I certainly wasn’t expecting any visitors.
Life can throw up the most amazing surprises
I recall it was 10pm when I heard a knock at the door. Who on earth could that be? I wasn’t expecting anyone, and I certainly wasn’t going to open the door with greasy hair and clothes that could do with being in the wash pile rather than on me.
I resolutely ignored the knocking – but it continued, and continued – whoever this was had no intention of leaving without seeing me. So, I dragged myself up from where I lay on the settee – and as I approached the door – I quite simply stopped in my tracks.
Even through the frosted glass windows of the door, I recognised that frame. I would know it anywhere. Why? Because, dear diary, I had been in love with him since the day I met him!
For a few seconds I was frozen. What!?? How could I open the door to him looking (and probably smelling) as though I hadn’t washed in weeks??
Of course, I did. And there he stood – that stupid cheeky grin on his face, and holding a bottle of red wine. I think I said something along the lines of “what are you doing here”. I don’t remember the response, but of course, I let him through the door.
That he turned up at my doorstep was simply bewildering. After all – how did he know that I had returned from London? Ok, so he may not have quite believed me when I proclaimed I was moving to London – but we had spoken on the telephone and he knew that I was actually living there. To this day, I still do not know how he knew I was back home. After all, it had only been a few weeks since I returned. Of course, he could have telephoned my aunt (where I was first staying) as that is where I called him from. Or perhaps he didn’t really believe that I had moved to London! Who knows. As I say, I never did find out.
The twitching of the eye and the stumbling words
Yes, dear diary, that was me. As I sat on one settee, and he on the other – I quite simply was twitching of the eye, and stumbling over my words. I was also repeating myself, which he teased me about. I was also throwing cushions at him.
Somehow, we ended up on the same settee. I tried to push him away from me as I was soooo embarrassed about my greasy hair. It was very long at the time, and although it definitely needed a good wash, it did hang rather nicely! So, it may have looked nice, but it certainly did not smell nice and I did not want him getting too close to me.
He laughed at this, as he recalled how I had always had a thing about how clean my hair was. It wasn’t long though, dear diary, before I was in his arms and tasting the sweet kisses of the man I had not stopped loving in the time we had been apart.
I pushed him out of the door, ignoring his pleadings to be allowed to stay the night. No – I will see you in the morning as arranged, I told him resolutely.
That night I hardly slept, and the next morning I took special care to make sure my hair was squeaky clean and I looked as good as I could. The frizzon of excitement as he drove up the next morning made me dizzy with anticipation. As he fussed around me in the car, making sure I was comfortable, I really didn’t know what to think.
He drove us to the lake district and we had a lovely day. We ate a nice lunch, we played some pool, and then later still he teased me for proclaiming what a wonderful view the mountains made. He had a prior arrangement with friends, and so had to get back to meet with them in the early evening.
When we arrived back, and as I gathered my things – he asked if he could come over after he had met with his friends. I hurriedly told him that I didn’t think that was a good idea as I flounced out of the car. I telephoned my girlfriends and arranged to go out with them that evening. I had half expected him to turn up (as he had done on other occasions), but he did not.
As I lay alone in my bed, I reflected on why I had given him the cold shoulder. Why I hadn’t encouraged him to come over once he had met with his friends. I suppose the answer to that one is that I couldn’t cope with him turning up like that. I had been in a very low mood – and I guess I simply pushed him away. Did I want to get back with him? Hell yes! I had since the day he broke it off with me.
So as the day progressed … I hovered anxiously near the phone. Wanting to call him (as I knew he would be staying with his mother and step-father) but not daring to. It took me THREE hours to pluck up the courage to call.
His mother answered the phone, and although we had never met, she knew enough about me to know who I was. I had just missed him – he had quite simply just left a few minutes before to return to his army base. Hang on, she beseeched – and she hightailed after him and brought him back to the house to speak to me.
To say he was surprised to hear from me was an understatement. The best I could do was mumble:
Don’t be a stranger.
To this he responded that he thought I didn’t want to have anything to do with him. I don’t really recall what I said to him, but the next thing out of his mouth was this:
Do you love me?
I had never once told him how I felt about him – and I wasn’t about to now. All I could utter was some profanity which had him roaring with laughter (he knew I wasn’t really one for using bad language).
So, dear diary, we said our goodbyes. Again!
Some months later, we discovered that my father had terminal cancer. This had come as quite a shock, as he had not complained of feeling ill. He had though, returned early from Portugal where he was looking for a suitable place for he and my mother to winter.
Although I was in shock at this news, I went into some kind of “sensible” automaton mode. The one person I did want to share this news with though, was Paul. So I rang his barracks and asked them to pass a message on. When he called me later, it turned out that soldiers with guns had pulled him off an exercise so that he could return to barracks and call me. Oh, that was a tad embarrassing.
As time went on, the surgeons stabilised my father enough for him to return home. He lasted only three weeks.
He died at 3am with his family around him. Not I though, I was in the next room – I couldn’t bring myself to be there as his breathing was so laboured, and the stark contrast with the silences as his breathing gradually slowed was too much to bare.
At 9am, I called the barracks, and asked that they could let Paul know that my father had passed away; I also asked them not to interrupt if he was in the middle of something.
Within a very short time, the phone rang and it was him. His CO had offered him the use of the phone in his office, but he had said that he wanted to take the call in private.
We talked, and he asked me to visit him. I responded that it really wasn’t possible for me to do that as I needed to be with my family, and so he arranged to get leave and came up that weekend to stay with me.
My father knew about Paul, and now and then he would ask me about him. In his hospital bed, he asked me if I had spoken with him, and I told him that I had. He replied “everything will turn out ok then”. My brother said to me later, he just wanted to know that you would be alright.
So, dear diary, it was a very strange weekend for me. My father had just died, but I felt a sense of happiness at having the man I loved beside me.
Rather trepidatiously, I asked him what this meant for us. I will never, to this day, understand why he told me that we were together again.
My happiness was short lived. He did call me a couple of times although unfortunately I was out with friends. I will never know why he did this – but he quite simply stopped calling. No explanation – nothing.
The pain I felt was indescribable. Here I was, recently bereaved, and the focus should have been on my father. Instead, I was hurting over a man who had quite simply dumped me again.
That dear diary, was not the last time I heard from him again. But it was the last time I ever saw him.
A few months later I collapsed at work with stress. I took some time off, and my sister and her husband took me to a nearby camping ground with their caravan and their dog. I spent a few days there but cut it short when the weather turned bad.
What I could not know, dear diary, as I reflected on how weird it would be if Paul was nearby – was that – he actually was.
I had dialled into my voicemail at home – and there was this bizarre beagle howl. This could only be one person. The beagle thing and the howl was a joke between us. When I returned home the phone rang. It was him. We spoke for a while – and then he said something to me that made me see red.
I left him in no uncertain terms what I thought of him – and I never heard from him again. Oh, except that one Christmas there was again a frantic knock at the door at 10pm. In those days, there wasn’t really anyone that I knew who would call at that hour.
This time, dear diary, I did not answer it.
I think it took about 10 years for me to get over what had happened, and to stop secretly hoping that our paths would cross again. Now, as a woman in her mature years – I can see it for what it was. At the time, it felt as though I had lost THE ONE.
Sadly, and I am not entirely sure why – I’ve kept men at arms length Okay well, maybe I do know why.
You will see, if you read my lost love post, that I did have another chance of happiness that came in October 2011. I reunited with my first serious boyfriend. We had been engaged, but grew apart. Or at least, I grew apart from him. The second time around, I ended it again three months after he moved to South Africa.
So, to get back to my original question – what is wrong with me?
I think there is a small amount of sadness that I thought I had found someone special in Fake-Thomas. I mean, if I hadn’t been affected by what happened then I wouldn’t be human, right?
I won’t dwell on it though – I have experienced much worse in my life. After all, it is not what goes wrong that counts – it is how you deal with it.
I am dear diary, proud of the lemonade that I made from life’s lemons on this occasion.
As ever, images of Captain Thomas Lindegaard are used with his kind permission. Copyright remains with him and these should not be used for any reason without his explicit consent.
If you are approached on any site from a profile using images of this man (Captain Thomas Lindegaard), please be aware that there is a Tsunami of fake profiles out there using his images.