Last weekend Alexander’s girls visited on Saturday and we went out for pizza with one of my children. I went home with them later that evening and came back home on Sunday morning. It was probably just the right amount of time to spend together. This coming weekend A’s mum is having the girls and we arranged to have a short weekend break on our own, without children. Our first!
The fact that A is now a full time parent is gradually sinking in. He says he does the domestic routine on autopilot. His employers are family friendly and he works from home a couple of days in the week. He might have a short afternoon nap before making tea for them and then getting them ready for bed – they are amazingly docile and biddable to his 8pm cut off time when they may keep themselves quietly occupied until sleep takes over. In this way he manages to have the rest of the evening to himself.
The schools haven’t quite got used to him having full parental responsibility quite yet. Having been used to dealing with the ex, the crazy and unreasonable woman, they’d become accustomed to issuing diktats it seems and did the same to A recently. But these minor blips should resolve themselves over time. And all the organisations involved in the girls’ welfare should come to respect his parenting abilities.
Last night I went round to spend the evening with him and his girls. The older one indicated an interest in making stress balls and I suggested a method and we made a couple together. Tonight he told me she started making more and he had to dissuade her from making one for each person in her class.
Meanwhile I keep busy with that lazy bread making method requiring no kneading. We chat on WhatsApp while apart and plan the future. It may mean he moves closer to me, whilst still keeping his own separate household. At the moment, that sounds ideal for I’m still gradually getting used to the idea of living together when there are such young children involved.
The relationship has intensified. I have met A’s children more often and there had been a plan last week when A arranged that I’d spend some of the school half term holidays with them. Unfortunately his ex had become unreasonable and threatened to take her life, resulting in the police being called and A having to step in and parent full time.
Of course the emotional well-being of young blameless lives takes precedence. I am no needy jealous girlfriend and fully appreciate that this may be a permanent scenario. He had been reluctant in the past to take on the children full time because of course they would have been devastated at losing contact with their mother. But it has become clear that said mother is in no fit state to healthily parent and after the emotional rollercoaster the children had been through it is now important that A provides them with the stability they sorely need. It doesn’t mean that A feels less for me or I him, even if in reality we might see less of each other.
He is conscious that when we first set out to date each other he had been a part-time father – having his children one weekday and every other weekend, something like 10-12 days a month. We had become drawn to each other resulting in tentative discussions of sharing a fuller relationship. We began to date each other exclusively a month into the beginning and by December last year were spending every free evening with each other – that is, at least 20 evenings and two whole weekends a month. We are aware that the change in his circumstances means that we will have to revise what we had previously thought was possible.
Do I want to live with a man and his young under 10s? My own children are practically grown up now, the youngest approaching adulthood this year. This is a question I cannot fully answer yet. Do I want to continue to date Alexander? This is an easy one. I had not appreciated until the whole thing with his ex came to a head how generous, kind and patient and strong he had been – no matter how unreasonable her behaviour had been, he had never played the blame game. That may be the reason why she had continued behaving in even more extreme ways each time.
There’s nothing like fellow bloggers asking nicely how things are after a short hiatus to bring one back to blogging and I return briefly to report that Amy and Alexander are the happiest of stoats in their garden oasis. Some of the firsts Ellenbest was curious about have already happened and been chronicled here without much fanfare as I hadn’t been conscious of their significance, for example, our first date had occurred not long after our messaging howd’yedos. I hadn’t accorded it much importance because then we had yet to know how strongly our affections for each other would develop. A mere drink at a pub in town had gone on to become dinner at a Chinese followed by more drinks at another pub that same evening until the witching hour arrived and we still wanted more of each other. Feeling quite bold after so many drinks and having shared fairly intimate details of ourselves with each other as people like us tend to do, I invited him back to mine and he accepted with pleasing alacrity.
After that we spent all the free evenings we had with each other, discovering much commonality and enjoying the new each introduced to the other. He met my family first and eventually I his.
There was the weekend when his mother visited and I was treated to lunch and a walk around the area she’d lived when Alexander was a wee thing. It was lovely to observe the warm and easy relationship mother and son shared. She seemed really happy for her son to have me in his life and being single herself too, we exchanged notes on dating.
There was another weekend when it was his turn to have his young children and the meeting with them too had been equally pleasant.
Until now we have yet to experience any tension in the relationship. One day in the future we might live nearer each other or even possibly together, but that is still a long way away.
It’s been just over eight weeks since we first met but we’re already incredibly and unbelievably in love with each other. Neither of us can quite believe our sheer fortune at sharing the same intensity of emotion.
We are so mad about each other that anyone else eavesdropping on our WhatsApp conversations would be treated to a sugar overload. He tells me I am lovely, amazing and beautiful. In unoriginal fashion I tell him that he too is lovely, amazing and wonderful, in all his six foot five gorgeousness. We make an incongruous pair – he is long-limbed and fair with dreamy, grey eyes whereas I am a short (five foot), dark Asian woman. On escalators, he is still taller than me despite my being a step up. In bed, the height difference is inconsequential. When we’re not together there is not a single moment we’re not thinking of the other. I wonder how long this phase will last. I told him that I love everything about him. I am truly smitten.
We have both stopped seeing anyone else and so perhaps it’s time I took a break from this dating blog and consider a life of joyful monogamy.
Last weekend we’d gone to an art fair in Chelsea followed by a film – the hard-hitting Ken Loach offering which had wrung its inevitable emotional response from us both so that when we emerged we felt as though we’d been pummelled. The irony of where we’d come out onto was not lost on us either – we were in one of the richest boroughs of the country. Alexander had been telling me that at some provincial cinemas the film wasn’t showing this week despite it being its opening week because of the school half-term break. Not even in Ken Loach’s own town – what a cock up!
As we headed towards South Kensington station we walked past housing originally meant for those with modest means now very obviously housing a different stratum of society – the air of gentrification evident in the neat shrubbery, well-kept facades and expensive modes of transport ready to whisk the occupants to places of leisure and pleasure. Two American tourists stop to ask for directions and after we’d sent them along the right direction walked hand in comfortable hand homewards.
So it was only yesterday at nearly midday we kissed each other goodbye. And last night we texted goodnight. And this morning hello as well as looking forward to seeing you later. We can’t have enough of each other it seems. There’s so much to discover and we boldly-ishly reveal some of our secrets – the ones that make us seem cool but not too off-puttingly shocking. We have judged it about right so far. During my most recent crisis when my youngest showed animosity at my inviting Alexander back home, he, ie Alexander took the opportunity to tell me the worst of his own domestic circs. It doesn’t put me off in the slightest that he is still married or that he has children under the age of ten or that his wife still harbours an unhealthy amount of fury and vitriol against him which may be apt to erupt in the foreseeable future. For my own self-preservation I begged him never to reveal my existence to said termagant. Of course it is only his side I’m hearing of their breakup but I do recognise that degree of maleficence, lodged in my very own bosom nearly a decade and a half ago now.
All this, far from causing me pause or to flee, in fact offers the assurance that Alexander and I have nearly all the time in the world to conduct our love affair – all that time being the same lenthy time it takes for such complex relations as his to untangle. My current accord and goodwill shared with the ex seems to offer some hope to Alexander that at some point in the future, he too will enjoy a similar degree of cooperation with his ex.
For a change from our outings I invited him round for dinner this evening. A few others will also be at home but not the young rebel and I have high hopes for a peaceable meal.
How I feel, at what stage we’re at, it all feels like this:
not rushing – stopping,
sink down on a verdant bank
sip the moss-decked burn.