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How on earth am I going to manage this relationship, if it is one?

(17 Posts)
wildpoppiesinsummer Thu 21-Jul-16 14:23:31

I'm 35. I've never had a proper relationship, boyfriend or partner. I've lived alone since leaving university.

That all probably makes me sound a bit pathetic. In reality, it's just very much the norm for me so I suppose I never really analysed it or saw it as such. I worked and was fairly successful in my career, had friends, had hobbies.

It's hard to say why I didn't end up with anybody. I lacked confidence at school and found I was a target for the boys. It tended to be teasing, but teasing that shifted into actual bullying. However, 'home time' was really what did it. I can't remember a time my family weren't telling me something negative about myself, mostly related to my physical appearance (my weight was a particular subject.)

It's fair to say I was generally a heavier build than my mum - she was tiny and very proud of the fact she was bird-like. I was always sturdier and more tree like smile She went on and on about it and encouraged my brother and his friends to give me a hard time too. She wasn't always awful - sometimes she was lovely and supportive - but that was definitely an argument we kept returning to. She also controlled my clothes and hair beyond a point where she should have, if you see what I mean, which meant I was crucified at school as her taste was not that of 90s fashion.

Still, I always had friends. As we all grew up at school I found the teasing came to a natural end and in my final two years I had relationships with the boys who had formerly teased me. Meanwhile Mum was drinking very heavily and I was going out in the evenings and I'd come back to her plastered and she'd start laying into me, calling me fat, saying I had no friends, saying I was a huge disappointment and she couldn't believe I was her daughter. On and on and on.

She died when I was sixteen. I know it sounds harsh but I was sad and sorry for HER but not for me, I didn't really miss her.

My dad had a bit of a nervous breakdown and I think that really affected me as his behaviour was very strange. He sold our family home and made it clear if I ever came back to visit him that I wasn't welcome.

I put on weight, until I weighed 14 stone, which at my height isn't a pretty sight! As all my friends were going out in pretty dresses and flirting, I was wearing baggy jeans and men's T shirts. It probably wasn't your average experience of university! Still, I always had friends: that's something that's been fairly consistent with me, that I make friends wherever I go. But no boyfriends.

Then I left university and lost the weight and discovered highlights and yet I still didn't have any boyfriends. I think I just became accustomed to a sexless life. You know how people say if you don't have sex you don't miss it? I was like that, only substitute 'sex' for 'relationships.'

I was so convinced I'd never meet anyone that I even made plans to have a baby solo as I KNOW I want to be a mum hopefully do a better job than mine did! - I really thought there was just something about me people weren't attracted to.

But now I've met someone, or re-met someone.

My friends are delighted and I have been forced (joking, but I was kind of forced!) to message him. and he said he'd love to meet up.

But - how do I know if he just wants to meet up in a friendly sense or in a relationship sense? And I've gained weight again: suppose he thinks I am just too big? And how on earth am I going to approach things like kissing, sex, when I just don't know what I am doing, and neither does he?

I am aware I sound about 14, and honestly I am not! But I am out of my depth ...

HotNatured Thu 21-Jul-16 15:06:33

I would just go with the flow. Meet up and enjoy yourself. Dont have any expectations. Just be yourself, you sound lovely.

And don't worry about the kissing, it's something that comes naturally. Some people have been kissing for years and are still terrible and always will be. It's a primal act and not something you can be taught.

flowers

RatherBeRiding Thu 21-Jul-16 15:09:04

You are massively over-thinking this. He wants to meet up - and until/unless you do you have no idea how it will pan out.

So - meet him for a coffee. Chat, catch up, find out about his life etc and take it from there. You might end up arranging a second meeting. And a third. Or you might realise (or he might realise) that this has no legs.

Worrying about kissing and sex when you've not even had a friendly chat over coffee is a put putting cart before horse!

As for the weight - well, if it puts him off then he's not worth having!

wildpoppiesinsummer Thu 21-Jul-16 17:01:32

Thanks, both.

I know I'm over thinking it, but how can I not? I keep thinking I am just too old and past it! That I should have learned these skills twenty years ago.

Somerville Thu 21-Jul-16 17:38:33

Reframe this in your mind. Rather than focussing on your inexperience with romance 'skills', think about what you are good at. You have a consistent pattern of being able to make good friends. That's a skill that not everyone has, and is totally transferable to making a romantic relationship.
You want to work out if he's a good 'un. And if he wants the same kind of relationship that you want. And to have interesting conversations and a fun time. You've done all those things when getting to know a potential friend. This will be just the same, but with potential butterflies-in-stomach/hand holding/kissing. (And all that comes naturally, as PP's have said. smile)

Do your friends who made you contact him also know him?

wildpoppiesinsummer Thu 21-Jul-16 17:40:10

No, they don't smile Thanks for replying. I just don't know if he is wanting to meet just as a friend and even if he doesn't how to make the transition from friend to potential love interest.

One friend has suggested shoving him in a hedge grin I won't do that!

Somerville Thu 21-Jul-16 17:52:29

Hard to know how to work it out. He said he'd 'love to' meet up, though? That's sounds promising.
It's something about lingering eye contact that generally hints at whether someone views you romantically.
If you really can't work it out after seeing him, then invite him along to something you're doing with your friends and get them to see whether he's flirting with you.

I'm a great believer in trustworthy friends helping in situations like this.

wildpoppiesinsummer Thu 21-Jul-16 17:54:31

He didn't say he'd love to - just said it would be good to catch up? hmm

Roussette Thu 21-Jul-16 18:12:40

I will say poppies... despite how difficult your childhood was (so difficult to rise above how your Mother treated you), you sound lovely. You sound balanced and sensible and you must be a great friend to have because it sounds like you have something special. Lots of people go through life with barely a friend to their name and that's not you.

Let that specialness come out. Take it very slowly with this guy - perhaps he just does want to meet as mates, perhaps it's something more but letting it take its course without overthinking it will pay dividends. At worse you could end up with another friend, at best it could be something romantic.

wildpoppiesinsummer Thu 21-Jul-16 18:16:31

Thanks, Roussette, what a lovely thing to say smile

Roussette Thu 21-Jul-16 18:18:30

'Tis true! but think I just invented a word called 'specialness'!

Good luck poppies hope he's a great guy to spend time with, whatever the outcome. smile

wildpoppiesinsummer Thu 21-Jul-16 19:31:09

I really hope so smile

KatsutheClockworkOctopus Thu 21-Jul-16 20:10:02

wildpoppies I just wanted to let you know my story, in case it helps. I was in a very similar situation to you. My dad was emotionally abusive. I had very little relationship experience until my mid thirties. I was genuinely clueless about it all. But as others suggested I took things slowly, and made sure I was comfortable with what was going on. It wasn't always easy, but I am now married with small DS.

You sound great wildpoppies and I wish you all the best. My best advice is to not worry so much about whether he likes you that you forget to check if you like him. That's a mistake I made a couple of times.

wildpoppiesinsummer Fri 22-Jul-16 20:34:30

Thank you for sharing flowers

My life has been a little bit bonkers of late and I want to start regaining some control.

MonicaLewinskisFlange Fri 22-Jul-16 20:58:58

Good luck OP. You do indeed sound lovely, and I'm sorry to hear you had such a bad teenagehood.

My advice would be to meet as friends, catch up and have no expectations for anything more. If you stay as friends, great, you have another friend. If it develops into something more, and you like him, then great too. Don't put pressure in yourself or him, just have a nice time and relax. That way you'll find it easier to just be yourself and leave any nervousness at home.

wildpoppiesinsummer Fri 22-Jul-16 21:05:22

I wish I could take that advice, but in some ways the problem is the opposite one and I don't know how to move away from the default friendship.

Shizzlestix Fri 22-Jul-16 21:31:18

You sound like you have excellent friends, poppies, which means you must be very loved and wanted in the group. Just go and meet this guy, do casual coffee, see how you feel, see if it progresses. I can't imagine how horrifically scary this is, but try to go and be calm, friendly and don't drool!! Ha, you know what I mean, just treat it as a casual date. If he wants to see you again, then come back to us!

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