Falling in love is utterly terrifying

I think I’m falling in love with Andrew, and it’s terrifying.

After our 6th date, which lasted pretty much a whole weekend, I drove off and spent a week visiting my parents.

Andrew and I planned to see each other the Monday after I got back.

However, on my second day away, he sent me a message saying

I loved the fact he wanted to arrange his shifts to bring the date forward!

After previous people I’ve dated, I thought wow, this is what it’s like when someone actually wants to see you!

During the week, we had a lot of late night text chats, sometimes until 2am. I found myself checking my phone a lot, eager to see his replies to my messages.

On the Saturday, I drove the very long drive home from the Lake District, back to London. On the way, I took a detour to see one of my friends who used to live in London, but moved to the East Midlands. It was so great to see her.

It has been unusually hot for England over the last few weeks, and no one quite knows what to do with themselves.

My 17-year-old car doesn’t have air conditioning (or electric windows, or windows that open in the back) so it was quite toasty on the drive home. I managed to get a ‘truckers’ tan’ – just one half of one of my arms got burnt, from being in the sun, by the window.

I was glad I didn’t get stuck in any traffic and got home an hour before Andrew was due to arrive, so I had time for a good shower, as I was very sweaty.

As I did my makeup, I quickly spoke to another friend on speakerphone, about how she was feeling about her divorce papers arriving. Then, my phone battery ran out, just as I saw Andrew had texted a question about what he was bringing for our dinner. My phone charger was in a bag that was still in the car, so I ran out to get that, and shortly after that, he arrived.

I buzzed him into the building and waited for him at the top of the stairs.

We kissed in my doorway, and then a bit more, in my hallway.

As usual, he took a few moments to appraise my outfit (a turquoise and khaki sundress) and express his approval.

And I said, “Wow! I’ve never seen you in a crumpled blue and white striped shirt before!”

He said he’d really been looking forward to seeing me and I said the same.

We went through to my living room and sat on the sofa. He said something about possibly wanting a shower, but he wasn’t sure.

It was really hot and he had tasted a bit salty when we kissed, and I was vaguely pro him having a shower.

He had brought pizza, some wine and beers, and some milk, as I’d requested.

He had also tried to find a gluten free dessert, but accidentally brought something that wasn’t gluten free, despite checking, which he felt unnecessarily bad about. I told him it didn’t matter at all.

After the groceries had been put in the fridge, we sat on the sofa, limbs intertwined, and tried to decide what order to have

  • sex
  • his potential shower
  • dinner

We thought out loud about this, without making any decisions, while doing advanced level kissing.

Every so often, I’d say “oh yeah, and didn’t you say you might want a shower?” while trying to seem like I didn’t have an opinion either way.

He didn’t seem completely at ease, and I was worried it was because of the gluten-unfree dessert.

“Why don’t you seem totally happy?” I asked gently.

He had come straight from work, and it turned out he was not relaxed because of his stressful few days at work, as a police detective. Something had happened that would have been horrible anyway, as it involved a death, but it was worse because of staffing issues and politics.

We talked about that for a while.

When we had exhausted that topic, we kissed more, and ended up lying on the sofa with him on top of me, with a sizeable erection pressed against a very dangerous area.

For some reason, I didn’t feel emotionally ready to have full sex, even though my genitals definitely were, and I felt like we should eat first. I kept saying “we should stop,” but then my actions didn’t quite match that.

Eventually, we did stop, and I put the pizzas in the oven.

We started talking about our friends. I talked about the East Midlands one I had seen that day, and how pleased I was that she was buying a house with her boyfriend, who I strongly approve of.

I love how interested Andrew is in people he’s never met, and he remembers everything I’ve said. We’re both massive gossips and our jobs both lend themselves to being ‘interested in people’ (my mum always says “I’m just interested in people!” when accused of being nosy).

Andrew has two female friends he lived with for several years, who he seems very close to, and on our first date I had flagged up one as a potential love rival, because the affectionate way he talked about her.

He talked about them next. The one who seems less of a love rival has finally split up with her terrible boyfriend.

While I was away, he had texted me about this and said she was getting back into online dating. When she’d asked for advice about creating a profile, he’d apparently shown her mine as a good example of the genre. He said “obviously she wouldn’t look as good as you.”

This made me feel quite pleased with myself.

He gave me more of the details of their breakup and then got onto a previous breakup she’d had, with a guy who took it very badly. He had threatened to kill himself, and kept phoning Andrew, and the other female housemate (my pontential Love Rival).

Andrew said, “I didn’t know what to do! I didn’t know whether to answer it, but I talked about it to [the Love Rival] and she said we had to pick to a side and I shouldn’t answer it.”

“I probably would’ve answered it,” I said.

“Oh, really? That makes me feel bad. Maybe I should have!” He said, contemplatively.

“Actually, maybe I wouldn’t have! I don’t know!”

A bit later on, we had finished eating and were hugging. It was bugging me, the thing I’d said about how I probably would’ve answered it.

I realised I was probably being contrary, and only saying that because it was the opposite of what the Love Rival said.

In the back of my mind, after saying it, I’d been thinking about how I’m currently ignoring messages from a friend with whom things have got very complicated, and it made me think I’m nowhere near as mature, diplomatic and caring as I think I am. 

But on the other hand, I know that I instantly took against the statement “you have to pick a side”, because I’m currently in a family situation where I’ve chosen not to pick a side. I’m a little bit caught between two brothers, friends of my family, who have dramatically fallen out, and I’ve gone to great lengths not to pick a side. The night before, I had spent a while crafting a very difficult text message to one of the brothers, trying to express support but also that I don’t agree with what he’s saying, as diplomatically as I could.

But that’s a completely different situation, because I’ve known them both since I was baby. I think when a friend breaks up with someone, you don’t even pick a side, you’re just automatically allocated the side that you’re friend is on. But, depending on how close you got to the ex, you might try to show kindness to them, where appropriate. I have contacted friends’ exes, in the past, when appropriate, usually with the friend’s permission, saying I hoped they were OK.

All of this was ticking away in the back of my mind, as the conversation had moved on and we’d talked about other things.

Eventually, I said “I’m sorry I said that before, maybe I actually wouldn’t have answered it! I think I was being judgemental and contrary.”

Andrew said, “oh no, it’s fine! You weren’t. And I’m contrary sometimes!”

I tried to explain about the two brothers but also the friend whose calls I’m not answering.

We hugged, and then I said, “I think I’m a tiny bit intimidated by your female friends.”

“Oh, really?” he replied. “Why?”

“Because they’re hot women you’re obviously really close to,” I replied. (Actually I don’t know what they look like, but I assume they’re hot.)

He said, “On OkCupid, there was a question about having friends of the opposite sex, and you said you were OK with it.” (The way he said this, it was just like he was really interested in the nuances, rather than being like “you’ve mis-sold yourself!”)

I said “oh, yeah, definitely. I mean, I have loads of male friends. If I could choose, I’d want you to have female friends because I think it’s a really good thing. But I am human. I mean, I’m just like 5% intimidated. It’s not a big deal.”

He said he thought maybe an ex-girlfriend had been intimidated by them as well, but that I didn’t have anything to worry about.

We sat on the sofa and chatted and kissed a bit more. He accidentally broke my necklace, which he seemed to feel bad about, even though I said I could fix it easily.

When the kissing got more heated, I realised I didn’t feel comfortable. I think these are the reasons

  • I had spent about 9 hours on the journey home, most of it driving, on my own, in the blistering heat, against the clock, which doesn’t really lead to a sense of perfect relaxation
  • when Andrew was telling me about his stressful day at work, he seemed quite annoyed and tense. It was completely clear he was annoyed about the situation, and it wasn’t directed at me at all, and I found it really interesting hearing about his work. However, as he was talking, he was gesticulating quite energetically and kept hitting his hand against the sofa, sort of to emphasise his point. My slightly abusive ex-boyfriend used to hit his hand against the same sofa, when he actually was angry with me and aggression was escalating, and it really reminded me of that, and almost made me flinch, each time
  • I had been looking forward to seeing him all week, and he had said the same. Suddenly I felt self-conscious and worried I wasn’t being good enough company after he’d apparently looked forward to it all week
  • the thing about feeling intimidated by his female friends. Although, he was reassuring about it, and to be honest, I think it’s a non-event. He’s described the Potential Love Rival as being “like a sister” more than once.

Overall, as well as flinching when he reminded of my ex-boyfriend, I was also starting to feel the fear of really fucking liking someone. I thought I had the upper hand at the start, when I was taking the piss for bullshit reasons, but during the week away, I’d realised I really like him and really care what happens.

At this stage of getting to know someone, when you’re getting closer, anatomically and emotionally, it’s scary. Your guard isn’t up anymore.

It’s like having a fragile, precious egg that I usually keep in a hard, plastic case, but I’m putting it in the palm of his hand, with no idea what he’ll do next.

Will he incubate it or crack it?

Last time I felt like this about someone, it was the Whippersnapper. He promised me he’d look after the egg but he crushed it into smithereens when I wasn’t looking.

Before that, it was Matthew, who always looked after the egg, but held it a bit too hard and told me the egg wasn’t good enough.

Before that, it was Balthazar, who died with my egg in his hand.

Around that time, I gave the Glamorous Adulterer the egg and he kicked it under the fridge.

I feel like my track record with eggs is terrible.

Anyway, Andrew and I were kissing on my sofa, and I recognised I wasn’t feeling comfortable. Then, we went through to my bedroom.

The problem is, the way we both like sex, so far, it’s often with him in control, being a bit bossy and authoritative. I find it really hot, but not being in control is only hot if you feel 100% comfortable and safe, otherwise it could quite easily tip into being horrible.

We got onto the bed, and after a couple of minutes, I said, “Sorry, I’m not really feeling comfortable. Can we stop for a bit?”

“Sure,” he said. I think he asked if I was OK, or what was wrong.

“I’m just feeling a bit…” I paused for ages, while I thought about how I did feel. “… scared.” I said, surprising myself. “At first I felt scared because of not feeling good enough. Then I felt scared because of not feeling safe.”

He seemed a bit horrified when I said I don’t feel safe. “Have you felt like that before with me?”

“No, never! That’s one thing I like about you, that you make me feel safe.”

We hugged a bit.

“You haven’t done anything wrong. You haven’t even done the most minute thing wrong. It’s just something in my head.” I said. “It’s just like… you know a few times when we’ve been doing stuff and you’ve said you felt overwhelmed? It’s just that, but a different kind of overwhelmed.”

We hugged and chatted about other stuff, and soon I felt fine again.

We had really good sex.

He is so generous and really sees giving me pleasure as a priority, and he’s bloody good at it. The intensity of the orgasms just gets stronger and stronger. I really feel like he should teach other boys about vaginas.

Then we had penetration, and that was brilliant. It didn’t last that long, which I didn’t care about, but he said “I feel a fool” afterwards.

I gave him lots of reassurance. “Honestly, I know I’m never going to come from penetration, so after a few minutes, I’m like ‘can we wrap this up soon?'”

We went to sleep.

He had to get up for work at about 9:30am in the morning, but I woke at 8am. I lay and drank tea and quietly read and I felt like I was really looking forward to him waking up.

Eventually, his alarm went off and we hugged.

It worked out quite well. When he first wakes up, he seems to have the most spectacular erections and is a bit of a sex zombie (any other time he says “just punch me in the face when I’m being like that.”)

First thing in the morning, before I’ve had a cup of tea, I’m like “urgh, don’t touch me.”

However, that morning, because I’d been awake for ages, we were both on the same page and his spectacular erection got put to good use.

Very good use.

Then, after he’d got ready for work, he left.

I felt a bit insecure, over the next few days.

Fuck, I’m not sure I have the upper hand anymore. I really fucking care what happens next.

I felt a bit vulnerable, partly because I think getting close to someone just can feel a bit raw, like a layer of dead skin has been exfoliated off, and also because I’d been really honest with him about things like feeling intimidated by his friends, and feeling briefly scared.

It had felt easy, as he’d already been honest. On earlier dates, he has said things like, “sorry, I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed,” and “I had a bit of a freak out then,” and “I’m feeling a bit vulnerable.”

Earlier that night, I had said, “you told me you’re not good at communicating, but you really are!”

He said, “honestly, usually I’m really not. I think it’s just easy with you.”

We had been texting each other every day, but he didn’t text me on that Sunday.

I knew he’d be finishing work very late. It seems like he usually can’t text when he’s at work. Last time he texted me very late, after work, I didn’t reply as I was asleep. So, I wasn’t too worried.

Then, he didn’t text me on Monday either.

Oh god, this is it. I’ve fucked it up.

During the day, every time I checked my phone, at work, and just saw my lock screen photo, but no messages, my heart sank.

When I got home, in the evening, I had a micronap, and then lay on my bed, feeling miserable.

I was trying to reassure myself, about the fact he hadn’t texted me. I thought about how

  • last time I saw him, he still seemed just as keen and, at times, as insecure as I did
  • he usually texts me more than I text him. There was another time when he didn’t text me, and the next time we saw each other, it turned out he hadn’t texted because he was worried he was texting too much
  • it would be stupid if he was put off by me telling him I felt insecure, when he’d done exactly that, a few times, when we knew each other less well

However, it was hard to feel completely reassured.

When I went to India, I had two weeks, wondering the Whippersnapper’s reaction to my letter would be, and every way I looked at it logically, it seemed like it would be fine; I liked him so much and he liked me so much, and what I was asking for was completely reasonable.

But it wasn’t fine, when I got back. It was fucked.

I decided to go back on OkCupid, just to see the lay of the land, in case things didn’t work out with Andrew.

And then, I froze, when I saw on my phone that Andrew was phoning me.

“Hello?” I answered it, cautiously.

Why was he phoning me?

“Hi, is this a good time? I just thought I’d phone as I haven’t had a chance to text, I’ve been working so much. I had a good time yesterday and on Saturday!” he said.

“It is a good time! I had a good time, too!” I said.

We ended up speaking for about 45 minutes, and then we got cut off because the signal went. He was on his way home from work. When he got home, he called me back, and we spoke for another 50 minutes.

Since then, he has been texting me a bit less, but phoning me a lot instead. Sometimes we’re on the phone for hours!

So far, my egg is OK!

17 thoughts on “Falling in love is utterly terrifying

  1. Aww honey, I hear ya! Falling in love is so scary, because it involves taking risks, and being vulnerable- offering up your little egg- we all feel the same when it happens to us. Try and take a deep breath when you feel anxious, and not buy into the ‘negative drama’, or remember past hurts- that just wires up your fearful brain- focus on how sweet, thoughtful, kind, safe, and considerate he is… take it slow… keep listening to your body and honouring yourself and how you feel- you’re doing a great job of this, and we are all cheering you on. Thank you for blogging your vulnerability, it helps us all xx G

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am thrilled for you! I agree with both G and dkg. Go slow and don’t bring past hurts into the present. It’s tough, I know – falling in love is scary. The good part is that it seems like he feels the same way about you. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I really love your blog, your writings are so precious and insightful. And I like Andrew because he is good to you ❤ You really deserve it and I cross my fingers that it stays that way and only gets better and better.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Also genuinely excited to see how this develops! Also admire that you have got yourself back “out there” after previous disappointments. I tend to retreat (for too long) when things don’t work out and it’s made me realise that really it is just cowardly! I think one of the best signs was when he was enthusiastic about your book. I love the idea of a couple whose world gets bigger and not smaller as a result of being together….

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think the potential of something good is definitely there. You two are talking about the important things. Good for you for trying again. I am not sure if/when I ever will again. I am tired of being hurt.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow Dater, this just gets better and better. I enjoyed so much about this post, the journey you took us on and all the nuances and ups and downs – the vulnerability and the self-awareness. You two are such a good match. I really feel as if you are meant to be together 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Minor bumps, new sexual positions and unhealed injuries | Dater Analysis

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