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28 May, 2017

I hate talking on the phone. I do anything I can to avoid it. All of my friends and family understand this and they will always text or email me, because they know I won’t answer. Unfortunately when I am at work I have to appear professional and hide this fear, so I have no option but to make and receive calls and they usually make me stress and sweat.

But several times in the last couple of weeks I have willingly made actual calls. Because over the last few weeks my re-found friendship with the blogger I shall call Caroline has been growing. And when it was suggested we talk instead of just messaging, I did so without a second thought. Because it felt right.

My other big phobia is having my picture taken. I despise it, avoid it at all costs. Which made it all the more surprising to me when I videocalled her last week.

And again, it felt absolutely right and natural. Those normal terrors I experience just weren’t there. She relaxes me, and that just isn’t something I am used to. In fact the last time we spoke, after we hung up I wondered if this is how using the phone feels for everyone else.

Some of you (and I use the word “you” in a way that suggests anyone is actually reading this) may be thinking that it’s pretty obvious what’s going on – TRG has fallen for a girl and as usual is struggling to order his own thoughts and emotions.

Well, no. I mean yes its true that I like her a lot and she is everything I would be looking for if I was actually looking. But I’m not falling and I’m pretty sure I know what my emotions are doing at the moment. And aside from a physical attraction, the underlying feeling for us both is of friendship and knowing we have found someone else with whom we click, who is a very good fit.

Normally of course, this is the point where I fail to work out whether these feelings are mutual, but in this case I know they are because – see earlier – it has been easy and natural to tell each other so.

The other thing that usually happens when any sort of relationship begins for me, I put enormous pressure on myself – and therefore indirectly on her – to make it work, to make this one be The One, which means when it doesn’t work out it destroys me and puts me off ever trying again. Until the next time. But I know that as much as we have shared, we have in common, there is simply no option for there to be anything lasting, we will not be riding off, hands held and fingers intertwined, into the sunset of Happy Ever After. Yes we will meet in October, yes we will have a lovely day together, yes there is every probability that we will have a lovely night together too. And a wonderful morning waking up together.  And yes I am sure we will be friends for a long time to come, and share more texts and calls and gossips and laughs. Maybe we will meet again further into the future and maybe we will spend days and nights together again. But as well as the geographical distance keeping us apart, there are commitments that cannot be uncommitted and that means that lasting, in a romantic sense, is simply not an option, And because I know this, I am not putting far-reaching expectations and hopes on me or her or us as I usually would.

One more thing – my failure to understand people manifests itself as paranoia (especially in the early stages of a relationship) that if I don’t hear anything for a while (and for me “a while” in this context can be as little as a couple of minutes) she is changing her mind and trying to back away, so I shouldn’t text. Or waiting for me to be the one to text, so I should text. An impossible conflict for a head as constantly confused as mine, when usually the other party is just busy.

Whether due to understanding I have this paranoia or due to just caring enough to warn me, Caroline has already rid me of this confusion. Sometimes she will text just to tell me she is thinking of me. And she has told me that there will be times she is so swamped with work or life that she may go off the radar for a few days. That’s exactly what I needed to hear.

So in some ways, the (ongoing) story of Caroline is much like the story of many other failed/nonstarted relationships. But in more, and more crucial ways, it is also completely different.  And for these reasons I know that it will be ongoing for a long time to come.

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