My attention span is currently quite limited, so I’ll have to admit Facebook neatly fits my entertainment requirements. I can dip in and out for 5-10 minutes here and there it requires no effort, the headlines are brief. Whilst doing this today one story caught my attention.
I’ve been divorced now for 11 or maybe 12 years – I think it’s good that I don’t know exactly how long, apart from for the odd financial issue why does it matter what I once was?
During this time of being the unmarried / divorced me (and overall happy with that) I have had a couple of flings and relationships – I am not sure where the official cut off point is between these two. Probably another way of looking at it is, how many of these potential suitors (what a great word) did I introduce to one or both kids / my family / best friends and the answer is 3. So, these 3 are definitely significant, then there’s the one that got away (and I still lament over this) and the one that was lust at first sight who will also be worth a mention at some point.
However out of the 3 there is one who stands out, one who whenever I think of or talk about still makes me smile – let’s call him Sam.
I remember my first date with Sam. We’d met on Bumble and after a couple of good phone calls we’d agreed to meet for a drink and possible meal. He was further away than I would have liked and he was not my usual type, for starters he had hair – I actually prefer the follicle(ly) challenged man (this is incredibly helpful now I’m dating in my 50s)!
I remember my first impression he was a real man, a man of presence and gravitas. The meal went well, but I wasn’t quite sure, then during the after-meal drink, he tried to sneak a kiss on my cheek, I advised him this could be considered sexual assault, but I was beginning to fall for his charm. We left the evening arm in arm…. The next morning, I woke up to lovely text messages. It was odd I’d never had such overt compliments, within a week I had flowers, the first of many bunches. I initially found it hard to relax into this type of relationship, my over cynical mind at play – what does he want? Why’s he doing all this? As a good friend said – perhaps he just really likes you and is being nice……….
The relationship lasted 8 months followed by a further almost 12 months of re-trying, finishing, stalking, crying, you know the usual end of relationship antics….. . The first 5 months of our proper relationship were simply amazing and included one of the best holidays of my life touring the south of France in the heat of the summer in an MG sports car. As we travelled around Provence we danced, we ate, we swam, we played scrabble, sadly there was not much love making (that was one of the problems) but it was a summer of love. I was glowing, he said he loved me, and I think this was the first of three times that he asked me to marry him – each time I said no, I’ve never regretted this.
Over time the reality of the real Sam was revealed. Some of the truth he volunteered and some I stumbled across. The apparent confidence was a huge (and very successful) mask – underneath he was shy, lacking in confidence and incredibly lonely and much more (but that’s another story). Bullied terribly as a child, and with parents who did not know how to show emotion. There were parts of him that had never grown up – he was a great dreamer and a huge fan of Disney. Whilst sometimes endearing and inspiring this love of escapism translated into a childlike lack of responsibility, and a complete inability to accept his part in the many issues which eventually drove us apart.
One of the dreams he shared was to sail across the world. He’d been on one sailing holiday around the Greek Isles years ago which he’d loved and his plan was to buy a boat and sail. I remember the many hours he sat poised over great shipping manuals. In the earlier days he tried to persuade me to join him. It had never been a dream of mine and I get seasick quite easily, but I loved him, so I seriously considered it. I tried to work out how it could work, how and when I would see my children. But to be honest I doubted he’d ever do it. He was not actually a qualified skipper, he had no boat, and he had limited money, but he had huge unfaltering dreams.
After the initial 8 months we broke up, and then during our on-off time his obsession became greater, it was all he’d talk about, we watched videos of round the world sailors and this obsession continued until we finally completely and utterly parted, and metaphorically sailed off in opposite directions.
Of course, with Facebook you never completely let go unless you consciously choose the ‘unfriend’ option. I thought about it many times, would seeing less of him help me move on, but as a wise friend said, ‘once you unfriend there’s no going back’. So, we stayed virtually in touch.
Time passed, I realized I really was so much better off without him, Covid struck, both his parents sadly died and clearly with the money he bought a boat. Not a boat that would be allowed anywhere near to Monaco but a boat still.
And yes, you can see where this post is going… The Facebook post today ‘and we’re off – currently crossing the Channel’. I’m smiling again as I write this. I never believed he would or could … its amazing that he has… it shows where there’s a dream there’s a way. Bon Voyage Sam x