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Rusty When It Comes To Romance(6 Posts)
So I'd like to pick your brains if I may. I'm a 45 year old man and I've not had a relationship for quite some time during which time I've not even had a whiff of romantic interest. I'm not repulsive or anything, this is what happened:
Back in 2009 I caught a virus and ended up at death's door with heart failure. It took me 7-8 years to fully recover. During that time I was going to hospital 3-4 times a week and my mind was just not in the right place for romance.
Pretty much as soon as I recovered my Nan got cancer and as I was running an online business from home, to give me the flexibility for all the hospital appointments, my family suggested I looked after my Nan.
I didn't mind as I loved my Nan to bits and she was my rock, but it meant taking her back and forth to hospital! Just can't escape hospitals! My Nan passed away and I then become the de facto carer for her partner who was very frail and had no family. My Nan looked after him, they lived together, and I didn't mind as it seemed the right thing to do for my Nan.
Anyway, he got diagnosed with terminal leukemia and once again I ended up taking him back and forth to hospital! When he passed away I remember wondering where the last ten years have gone. All my friends had partners and were having babies. What have I got? My online business went down the pan during this time as well.
I dusted myself down, got a menial job in a shop although in a decent place so doable, got fit, started studying towards a new career, bought a new wardrobe and started to have a spring in my step again. When it came to women I found myself in a strange place, I had changed, the world had changed and I really struggled to find a potential partner.
So I'm working away and at lunch times I'd go off and get something to eat. And that's when I noticed her, "the girl next door", well, I think it was her who noticed me as she kept waving at me.
I hadn't really noticed her waving at first, every time I walked pass I could see someone flapping their arm around out the corner of my eye. It wasn't until one day that I looked directly through the shop window to see what was going on. It was her with a big smile and she was waving at me.
I gave her a smile and wave back! So this went on every time I'd walk pass her shop, smiling and waving! I'd often go outside my shop for a breather as it gets quite hot in my shop. I would often see (lets call her Jane) and there'd be more smiling and waving.
This status quo went on for a couple of months! Then the flirting started! Suggestive poses, exaggerated double takes, long lingering eye contact, smiles... A couple of times she would stand at the window of my shop, seek me out and wave at me!
Oh wow, I thought, I started feeling attracted to her and was flattered someone seemed to be taking an interest in me. I started to wonder if her behaviour was what she's like with everyone, but no, it seemed to be reserved just for me! I had to speak to her, but both the businesses we work for are very busy places which made things awkward.
Once a month I volunteer for a charity and drive one of their vans around moving stuff for fundraising events and one time I was offered some items for free which would be helpful to the business I work for.
I graciously accepted the offer and after I had finished for the day I dropped the van off and took the box of items on the train home with me.
It just so happened that the train station I get off at is right near my work. It occurred to me that I might be able to leave the box somewhere, as it was the weekend and my shop was closed, so I didn't have to take the box home on the bus and then bring it back on Monday morning.
Jane's shop was open! Wow, I thought this might be an opportunity to talk to Jane. I went in Jane's shop but she wasn't there. I explained who I was to the woman in the shop and asked to leave the box there until Monday.
Monday rolled around and it was time to collect the box from next door! Nerves set in and I was hopeful of getting to talk to Jane. I gritted my teeth, told my boss I had got him something and needed to collect it.
Off I toddled! I walked in next door and Jane was there! Fook! Nervously I explained why I was there and we went to find the box and made general chit chat. We got on well, but a colleague of hers interrupted and started talking to me about getting her partner a job at my shop. All the while I kept looking into Jane's eyes, her pupils seemed dilated! I had, at least, broken the ice!
Over the next couple of months I kept finding excuses to go and talk to Jane, we clearly got on and I felt a connection that's rare to find. One day a colleague and I were sitting outside on a break and Jane had finished her shift and walked by. We smiled and said hello.
My colleague said that he thought she might like me! I hadn't even mentioned Jane to anyone and my colleague had clearly picked up on something. I told him, "I'm gonna ask her out."
I was intent on asking Jane out and felt that it needed to be when there wasn't anyone else around to avoid any awkwardness. A tall order given the circumstances. One day, just before lockdown, Jane and I arrived at our respective work places at the same time. This is it, I thought!
I struck up a conversation with Jane and built up to asking her out:
"So... errr... so... erm...!" I started stuttering!
"So... do you fancy doing something together? Can I have your number?"
Jane gave me the most dirty of looks, said nothing and opened up her shop as she was the first to arrive that morning. Perhaps it was my desire for her, I don't know, but I followed her into the shop and stayed quiet to let her speak. There was a silence for what seemed a lifetime, I think she was contemplating her reply.
"You do know I have a family, don't you?"
"No, I didn't know that." I was quite taken aback.
"Yes, I have two children." Okay, I thought, at my age a large percentage of women who I'd be interested in will have children. It's something I've thought about and if I'm in a rock solid relationship with the mum and the kid(s) accept me then I'm open to it.
"You probably think I'm younger than what I actually am," she explained. I did wonder if she was actually a bit on the young side for me and was glad she might be older than I thought"
"We can be friends, we can go for coffee," with that she walked away a few metres and looked out the window, like she was thinking. My brain started processing what she had said and thought that I very much doubt that she had got a 1UP on the Virgin Mary and had two immaculate conceptions! Where's the father in all this, I pondered?
"Do you have a boyfriend?
"NO!" She raised her voice, with that she turned and walked towards me, fist outstretched.
"I live with the father of my children," she walked away. I was stunned. She came back and said she had work to do. I respectfully left.
What went on here? Her reaction to being asked out was quite intense. Why did she reel me in knowing she was unavailable? Perhaps she was just seeking attention? Why when I asked her out did she not mention the father, only her two kids?
It's almost like she got angry when I asked her directly about a man in her life, like I'd caught her out. I keep flip-flopping between her seeking attention and her being genuinely interested.
She could be living with the father of her children but that doesn't say anything about the nature of their relationship, the father of her children will always be that whether together or separated. Confused!
Please help me to read between the lines here! I've no intention of pursuing her as that would be disrespectful to her and her family. Neither can I be her friend as I would always be wondering if something may happen and that would be manipulative.
One positive I do take from it is that it's the first time I've asked a woman out in years. The confidence boost I got from the flirting got me to that stage, so actually, I'm quite thankful to her in a way.
You hung around her business for months without actually asking her out, she was friendly to you. She didn't owe you anything, and you can't be annoyed that she didn't tell you about her private life.
In future be direct sooner. Find out if someone is single. By asking them directly. Or use dating apps where most people are single and looking for love.
It wasn't like I hung around like a creep, we work next door to each other! Yes, the whole interaction was somewhat elongated. It was like a two hour interaction stretched over months. Bit here and a bit there. And yes, I should really have asked her status early doors. Point taken. However, she instigated the flirting and when I started talking to her she didn't mention her status. What's a man to think?!
I'm really fond of animal attraction, so to speak. Perhaps a little old fashioned in that regard! Have tried online dating but it seems all the women get inundated by loads of messages from men and the women end up getting pissed off with it all. It's hard to make your mark in online dating as a man.
I'm not annoyed at her, in fact, I did say that I was thankful to her for giving me the confidence boost, through flirting with me, to ask her out. It's something I'm grateful for. I can understand how some men would get annoyed. Perhaps women in general would hold the man in higher esteem if they was asked out face-to-face in this day and age rather than the anonymity of the internet?
I'm still fathoming it all out, though! She reeled me in, mutual flirting between what are essentially strangers with no dialogue, when dialogue happened there was no mention of being unavailable, a date was suggested, and there was an offer of friendship and coffee with a man who clearly had ulterior motives! As I said before, I now have no intention of pursuing her.
I dunno whether to grab my pipe and slippers or sport my chest hair and medallion in the nearest meat-market, to be honest!
A total attention seeking nut job.
Wtf? Is there a TL:DR version of all that?
A total attention seeking nut job.
The thought of her behaviour while having a partner did make me think "Would I want to be with a woman like that?" Spot on!
@funnylittlefloozie : See Crystalspiders's post!
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