The Boy – Second Date

Dating – The Boy – 2nd Date – 5th Jan/8th Jan

Does it count as a second date if it’s brunch the morning after a crazy passionate first night?

Surprisingly, the morning after the night before felt totally natural. The Boy is very easy to be around, and a total gentleman. After a lazy morning we decided to head out for brunch. The conversation continued to flow; we like a lot of the same things and have very similar values. He continued to surprise me with little things he would say, all adding to the ticks that were lining up in my head.

Tall
Funny
Gentle
Confident
Thoughtful
Ambitious
Intelligent
Slightly bonkers

Lot’s of ticks…

He dropped me off at home and we arranged our ‘official’ second date. Now I’m pretty well known for getting very over excited about positive things. Rose tinted love spectacles are firmly on at this point, but hey, who doesn’t like to get lost in a romantic idea??

Sunday evening, the date night, came around pretty quickly – the benefit of being a busy mama – and I got myself ready to go, and there they were, those butterflies. And questions…

What happens if he looks different to how I remember?
What if I imagined it all?
What if I’m not like he remembers and he pulls a face?

He came out to meet me and all the fears were dissipated, he was just as I remembered. Phew! We went for a drink, followed by dinner. Given that we had only met a few days ago, some pretty big questions were aired. Namely the ‘would you have any more children?’ clanger. This is a biggie for me. Having a baby is a massive deal for anyone, but for me, the two little darlings that I have came with crazy post natal depression; two years of having my head up my arse both times. Having another would take some serious consideration and stability, but I love babies, so it’s not totally out of the question. Despite this, the conversation felt OK. He sent me nice little text messages as the evening went on, made me smile and laugh and generally feel special. As the night went on he opened up a bit more. Behind the loud, in control, exhibitionist exterior I found a soft, adorable manboy. We were both totally ourselves and it felt amazing.

When I left, I couldn’t wait for the next time. All the heart eyes. 😍 😍 😍

 

 

The Boy – First Date

Dating – The Boy – First Date – 4th Jan

After my lovely time with Andy fizzled out, I had a bit more confidence in the whole dating game. He had been wonderful company, generous, loving and amazing in bed. We just weren’t compatible in the end, I think I was a bit too bonkers for him.

So, after a bit of a melancholy Christmas, I decided to give my nemesis, Plenty of Fish one last go.

And, after swiftly deleting lots of unsuitable suitors (learned that lesson before, time wasters need not apply), I was left with about four interesting, potentially eligible, guys. The one I was least interested in kept messaging me, but I was distant. He didn’t fit my ‘type’ at all, but he was interesting. He gave me his number after messaging a few times, but I ignored it. I kept him at arms length as I wasn’t really ready to date again, I made the excuse to myself that I just didn’t have time. I’m a mother, I have a new work project, I have a house to build, I need to lose 20lbs… I was pretty good at convincing myself.

I’d been chatting to a few other guys, but this one kept my attention. After the other conversations quickly got tired, he was still there, being funny and charming, and normal. He wasn’t risqué, or arrogant, or demanding. It was refreshing! By this time, I had become so bored of “How’s you??” and, “Hey babes, nice lips ;-)” from random guys, that I messaged The Boy and told him I was removing myself from POF as it was slowly driving my crazy, I didn’t have time and was generally disinterested. I gave him my number because, well,  there was just something about him. Logged myself off POF, and that was that.

Then what happened was quite unexpected. I was waiting for him to message me. You know that little frission of anticipation that you feel? I stalked my screen every ten seconds, and then,

Monday 2 Jan – 19:02 “Well good evening. 😊 Xx”

We chatted for hours about Disney, pizza, family, ambition, getting fit & fresh sheets. He was witty and intelligent, and knew the difference between there, their and they’re. We arranged a drink at my own First Dates bar.

As I got ready, I was excited! He’d admitted that he didn’t usually go on dates and was pretty nervous, setting me perfectly at ease. Being at least a stone overweight and pasty as hell wasn’t even getting me down. I threw on my best ‘cover all sins’ reasonable outfit and off I went. It was just a drink, nothing was going to happen, I was taking this one sloooowly.

As I approached the nerves kicked in. That awkward split second when you are looking around for someone you’ve never met before. ‘I’m the dude in the hat’ was all I had to go on. And then I spotted him. Tall, louche, casual, and sexy as hell. Our eyes met and he smiled the best cheeky smile, and that was it…

No awkward conversation, lots of gin and a few hours later and we realised that we were both really hungry. The kitchen had closed so we left to find somewhere that would feed us, we stepped outside giggling like children and then he grabbed me and kissed me, totally out of the blue. He was big and confident and Alpha. That was it, I was hooked. We found somewhere willing to feed us given the late hour, and spent the rest of the night laughing, talking and being silly. Perfect first date.

As the night drew to a close it became abundantly clear that neither of us wanted to leave, and I woke up the next day wrapped up in his arms. Damn. That was not supposed to happen…

The Day The Game Changed

Since our very amicable and relatively easy separation, RB and I have come to blows only once or twice. There have been heated words and many compromises, but great big dirty rows I can count on one hand. Compared to the last 18 months of our marriage, this is pretty incredible. And, I’d have to say I’m pretty proud of us for that. Give us each a gold flippin’ medal. If you could put a picture on our journey so far, it would look a bit like this…

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However, last week things changed. Forgive me, this post is a bit wordy, but it kinda needs to be…

The Background

If you have been following me over on Instagram and Twitter you’ll know that I am in the process of doing up my first house as a singleton. I’ve done a few projects before, so this is not new to me. It is, however, very stressful. Managing a team of self employed tradesmen who appear and disappear at will, while trying to maintain a schedule of works so the girls and I can move in, can get a little tricky. They are all working on top of each other one day, then the next two of them don’t show up, so the other three can’t do what they’re supposed to as they need the absentees to have completed various tasks in the timeline. Fairly standard stuff when you are managing your own build. However, it saves ££££’s so it’s worth it.

Now, I have been quite used to relying on RB, as we have remained close since our split. This all seemed to change last week though. Here’s the rub. We have a family calendar planner so the girls will always know where they are meant to be on any given night. We share our parenting roles 50/50, three nights with him, three nights with me. Simple!

It’s organised, the structure of the week remains the same, everyone is happy. We occasionally make changes to accommodate each others separate lives, but generally we try to stick to it. Yay us.

The Row

On this particular week RB asked me if I would mind switching things up a bit as he had a function to attend (It was a funeral, nobody he knew personally, but someone close to his new GF and he wanted to support her). Fine, no problemo. I am a generous easy-going zen-like flexible co-parent. It’s all part of the ‘amicable separation’/’conscious uncoupling’ game, right?

Fast forward to the next day when I required a similar favour in return. Going back to the building site timeline, I had some jobs to do so that next tasks in the schedule of works could happen the following day. I was hoping to work into the night to get the task completed. So, I asked RB if he would mind returning the favour of the previous day. A perfectly reasonable request I thought?

He said no.

 

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I was a little annoyed, but then he said it was because he wanted to work late, to make up the hours that he had missed the day previous. He had a deadline to meet before the weekend. Cue mini argument and a bit of mudslinging both ways.

During the back and forth of whatsapp arguing, I suspected that he wasn’t intending to work late at all. Why else would he be so difficult? Especially after me helping him out without any issue at all the day before. This was not the usual run of things, one does a favour for the other, and that favour is returned at some other point. It’s just The Rules!

Then it hit me, maybe he was actually going to spend the evening with his new GF. Duh! He continued to maintain that he was working late and that I was a crazy super bitch for accusing him of not putting the children first. I felt bad. Maybe I was wrong and blowing the whole thing out of proportion, in a slightly crazed jealous ex style? Was I?? Did I make the whole thing up??

N.B. I’m not the crazy jealous ex type – at all. Could not give less of a shit. But, when it upsets the balance of how we are managing our lives as co-parents. That gets on my nerves. A large part of maintaining an amicable separation is having respect for one another, along with a fair dollop of give and take. I felt strongly that this was not being reciprocated, whatever the reason.

The truth is he was flatly refusing to help me out.

Whatever the actual truth of the matter isn’t important, really. What the whole drama DID mark was the start of a sea change in our relationship. So that was it. I knew that things had changed forever. Gone was my reliable, if not slightly harassed, baby daddy. He had been replaced by an ex-husband. There was now someone else in his life and our journey was about take a totally different direction.

 

 

Top Image Credit Mark Williamson – www.mrandmrsw.com

 

 

 

The Beginning, the Middle, the End. In Short.

For me to write about my experience of divorce and co-parenting, I guess I should give you some history?

It all began way back in January 2004. I was 24 and had been happily single for two years but had come to the decision that it was time to think about meeting someone to share the fun with. Nothing serious. I was heading out with K and casually joked to The Mothership that I was off to find a husband. Little did I know…

Later on that very evening I slipped over on the dance floor and landed right in front of him! He was out with a couple of mates and we spent the next few hours chatting, dancing, laughing and drinking, then all went back to K’s house in the wee small hours. The party carried on and we had secret sex on the sofa.

{Note to Children – If you read this when you are older, don’t ever sleep with someone on the first night that you meet them. It’s very bad behaviour.}

The morning after we swapped numbers and arranged to meet up a couple of weeks later. Now, despite being a sensible girl, we didn’t use a condom. I was on the pill, it didn’t matter, right? Well, I thought to be doubly sure I’d get myself the morning after pill, Just In Case. Life went on, we met up a few times, things were going well! Until a few weeks later. Yep, you guessed it, no period. Shit. What??? Oh. My. God!!! I was so careful!

I told RB and he was a dream. From that moment on we were thick as thieves and quickly fell in love. We had made the decision to terminate the pregnancy very early on, but then that decision was taken out of our hands anyway. The foetus wasn’t growing properly and I had a lot of pain. I had a miscarriage at about the 6 weeks mark.

Had we not had this massive emotional journey at the very beginning of our relationship, who knows what would’ve happened. Maybe we would’ve stayed together, maybe not. It may sound odd, but I’m glad I had that very early pregnancy and subsequent miscarriage, as it meant that we stayed together and now have two beautiful children who we both adore.

Skip forward a few years…

2007 – Marriage

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2008 – Baby Emilia

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2012 – Baby Ella

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And that’s how it all began.

About a year after Ella was born, the cracks began to appear. If were are honest with ourselves they were probably always there, but life moved so quickly that we didn’t notice the flaws in our relationship. Small nuances in each others characters that were previously accepted, gradually became very clear differences in our personalities. We ignored it, we didn’t really discuss it, just hoped it would go away. But it didn’t.

Over time it became glaringly obvious that we just weren’t compatible. I feel pretty emotional writing this down, as I’m really proud of how great our relationship now is, compared what it would’ve undoubtedly descended into had we stayed together.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll share a more in-depth explanation of the process that we went through. I call it a process because thats what it was like. Once I had made the final decision to end our marriage, things just happened. It was devastating, emotional, terrifying, and guilt ridden. However, we both made it to the other side of our personal Armageddon. And, although we both sometimes have to bite our tongues, and there are usually a few incidences a month where either one of us will quietly tolerate a gripe, things are good.

I am not an expert on ‘how to leave your husband’, nor am I a psychologist. I appreciate that everyone’s relationships are different, so I hope my stories don’t come across in any way other than the way that they are intended – as honest tales of my personal experience of marriage breakdown, and how we make co-parenting work.

What’s the story?

So, what is That Girl Thing all about? And why now?

It has taken me a very long time to pluck up the courage to write this blog, but now that the dust is settling on my total life reset, I’m ready to share.

When my babies were born, I was well aware that I might be affected by the thing that many pregnant women dread, post natal depression. And, just as my own Mama predicted, I was. It happened differently with both children, and wiped me out for two years both times. I won’t lie,  it was horrendous. I’ll go into more detail in the posts to follow, find them under Wellbeing.

Yep, that.
Yep, that.

So why now? My youngest is 4! Well, after the initial PND induced fog had cleared, I also lost my business and livelihood during the recession, and then decided to leave my husband. It’s a long story, and one I will be sharing, but yes, I’ve been a busy girl!

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I am also a very lucky girl. My ex (RB) and I have a fantastic relationship now, and we are one of success stories of amicable separation. This is my second reason for writing. I am very proud of my decision to call time on our marriage, and doubly proud of how we have both dealt with it – but it hasn’t been easy. There have been lots of compromises, bitten tongues and tolerance on both parts. We are now at the stage where we are both open to meeting new partners, this is the next step in our journey as co-parents, and one that I hope will continue to be easy and open. If nothing else, it’ll be interesting.

And then there is the horror of realising that I am now a 36 year old single woman, who might need to get naked in front of a new man at some point. RB and I got together early 2004 – twelve years of easy street! You get lazy, I’m sure you know what I mean. It scary! I have now idea of The Rules?? Well, I’m about to find out about the new world of dating, sex and love. It is both exciting and terrifying in equal measure…

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That Girl Thing is about loving the girl/woman within. Putting her first (sometimes) and respecting her for all her awesomeness. After all, a happy mama equals happy babas. So, today is the day. Today is the day that I took my last antidepressant. And I like the date, 1.11. It feels like a good day for day 1.

N.B. // A parenting blog, this ain’t. I’ll happily admit that I’m not the best parent in the world, but I’m not the worst. My kids think I’m OK so that’s fine with me, although I feel that I could be a lot better at it. There is always room for improvement, so I suspect there will be the occasional ‘imperfect parent’ post along the way…

Dating – The Story So Far: Part 4

After my reckless night with Anthony, and somewhat disappointing experience with Paul, I binned Plenty of Fish and decided to try another ‘grown-up’ dating site. Eharmony.

The sign up was pretty simple, as it is for all the dating sites. Within about three hours of me signing up, I get a message from a sweet looking guy. Eharmony makes you go through various compatibility tests before you are allowed to directly message someone. This is great because you get to figure out very quickly if a guy is a knob or not. Or indeed if you have anything in common.

We started chatting after the initial filters had been deemed acceptable and we got on really well. He wasn’t like the others. Not cocky, not remotely shallow, a genuinely lovely bloke. After several days of messaging we arranged to go on a date, I’ll never forget that moment when our eyes first met, it was raw and intense. I think that because he had been so gentle, and genuine, I was half expecting not to fancy him. This, thankfully, was not the case…

We drank and ate, and drank some more. It felt like we’d known each other for years. We went for dinner at a local Italian and the staff totally forgot about us, but it didn’t matter. He was just as laid back as me, and we were having such a great time, neither of us cared. Then we went to a bar, then another bar. As the night went on it became clear that neither of us wanted to leave, so we went back to mine and watched a couple of films. Well, we didn’t ACTUALLY watch them, we were too busy chatting, and kissing and generally having a very nice time. All Night Long.

I’d already expressly told him that there was a ‘no sex on the first date’ rule. In any case, he wasn’t really that kind of guy, much more of a gentleman. However, I can categorically say that he was THE BEST KISSER EVER.

Andy, I salute you.

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Dating – The Story So Far: Part 3

 

Dating, the story so far : Part 3

So after The Beast, I started to feel a little bit more positive about meeting someone. He had been funny, smart and a total gentleman, well, most of the time…

After some wine, one summer evening, I was chatting with a friend and we decided to set me up a Plenty of Fish account.

Plenty of Fish is a bit like the Tesco of online dating. One site fits all.

I was apprehensive at first, after my first attempt at this internet dating game went so badly, but thought, what the hell…

POF is a minefield of tattooed biceps, ripped torsos, cyber dweebs and guys who have zero idea of what a good photograph looks like, bless ’em. They lie about their age, occupation, marital status; the works. Or so I have learned.

But I digress. I thought, I’ll take this with pinch of salt, let’s just see what happens. I had loads of messages – I was the obvious newbie.

After what felt like hours of reading though messages, and studiously getting back to prospective suitors (you do not need to do this, just delete them, no one will be offended so I found out), I whittled them down to a couple of potential beaus.

There was the wayward business owner, Paul, and the investment entrepreneur, Anthony.

Paul looked like a fun-loving guy. He had two kids, tick.  His profile showed lots of larking around and general mayhem, tick. He could spell, tick. Why wouldn’t I go out with a guy like that? He loved to talk about his many weird and wonderful experiences of digital dating, it was interesting to hear the other side of the story. When we met, he was charming and interesting. Less handsome in real life if I’m being brutally honest, but he was kind and funny which is far more important in my book. Anyway, we had a couple of drinks and parted ways with date two arranged for a few days later. And thats when it changed. The jovial banter was replaced by some serious sex chat, I mean eye-watering stuff. I went along with it for a bit as it was quite entertaining, and I was a bit bored. Then he recorded himself having a wank and sent me the audio. And that was the end of that.

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And then there was Anthony. My date with Anthony is what I suspect most people use Tinder for. We had been chatting for a few days and he seemed like a very intelligent chap. He was fit, really beyond buff fit. Think Adonis. And he had money, a self made millionaire. Now I’ve never been out with anyone like that before, I’d feel way too self conscious and under-achieving. However, I’d had a pretty rough day at work and we were chatting away on whatsapp when he suggested I come and meet him for a drink to cheer me up. It was about 10pm and I had had some wine at this point. That’s no excuse for what I did, but it did help. God, I hope my parents don’t read this…

He said, “I’m calling you a cab, get in it and we’ll go for dinner”.

{Safety Tip: This is what you definitely do not do}

I still can’t believe I actually trusted him enough to drag myself off the sofa, get ready, get in his cab, drive to Manchester and meet a total stranger. As it happens it was fine. We had a lovely time drinking champagne and nibbling on canapés. The staff were closing up around us, it was actually quite romantic. I’ll spare you the details of what happened next, but it involved a very expensive hotel room and the most outrageous walk of shame the next day…