Heartbreak doesn’t give you the warm and fuzzies does it?
With online dating, there will be heartbreak and it doesn’t hurt any less because it started virtually.
Mr Fumble was my first significant heartbreak. The name wasn’t a product of my experience with him. There was nothing fumble-like about his skills. The name arose when I chatted about him to a particular group of friends. I didn’t want to tell them what we really got up to so I said we fumbled and let them decipher the rest. This is the first time on this blog that I’ve relinquished my tell-all policy but with him some of my experiences will be remaining private.
Mr Fumble wasn’t always the easiest guy to message. Getting information and casual chat from him was akin to getting that last drop of ketchup out of a nearly empty bottle. He was reluctant to share too much and shy with the deeper stuff. Many weeks later, I realised why. Mr Fumble had been badly hurt in the past and to say his fences were up and high would be a massive understatement. The guy was damaged and wasn’t letting anyone in. The messages usually involved me asking questions about his day and what his work involved. The answers were short, surface stuff but he continued to answer, encouraging me to ask and revealing a little each day.
The evening that the messages neared dirty, flirting territory I was so taken aback I thought I was reading them wrong. When he talked about the gooey centres of the cookies I was baking, the moistness of my brownies and how firm my muffins were, it was fiercely against character and anything we’d discussed previously. I genuinely thought he was a massive fan of baking. Eventually the sexual tease behind his words were revealed and flirting continued in earnest.
One evening, I passed on my number but he was reticent to use it, blaming phone signal and a crap phone.
Maybe as you read this a thought has arisen, “Come on Rebecca, there’s clearly something fishy about this guy.” I suspected the same, there seemed to be something crucial about him I didn’t know and couldn’t work out. I hope even now that he wasn’t married or a compulsive liar because I can’t be sure.
One of the problems with internet dating is that there are some things we may never know about the potentials we like. These things may be as significant as their real surname or past/current relationships.
When online dating, we have to trust our instincts and the advice of our wiser friends. We also need to remember to NEVER send money. There are some untrustworthy people out there and if something seems off then it probably is. If someone we’ve never met is declaring their love for us while asking for us to send money then we move on. I know, from experience that when our hearts get that fluttering, glowing feeling and excitement seems to be a daily thrill that we thought we’d never feel again then our judgement can be as useful as a chocolate condom. But having a clear head is a sad necessity.
Players and scoundrels don’t just frequent the online dating scene. I’ve also met some male and female villains in real life too. People who seem less than genuine are everywhere. Maybe you can think of those you know in your work or social circles who’ve cheated on their partners and have secret addictions to gambling, drugs and illicit encounters. It can take years for you to learn these secrets. Just because you meet someone online doesn’t mean you have to be ruthlessly suspicious of them but trusting your instincts is important.
Let’s get back to Mr Fumble. Eventually, he did use my number and we began to text every day; during the day and a lot during the evenings. It wasn’t long before he was the last person I said goodnight to before my head hit the pillow and the first person I hoped for a message from when I woke. He almost always delivered. Messages included anything from cheeky thoughts to our deepest issues and life experiences.
The day he broached the idea of speaking on the phone I freaked out. I was too terrified and adamantly declined. The phone isn’t my ally at the best of times. I’m the kind of person who accidentally says “Kind Regards” at the end of an answer machine message then calls again to apologise for being an arse. But things changed. The decision to speak on the phone needed to be mine. After some days of consideration and no pressure from Mr Fumble we finally spoke. Hearing his voice gave me a smile that rose from my stomach up, eclipsing my entire body with a glow that had no chance of leaving. It was everything I’d been scared of hoping for. Within a couple of hours I was as happy as a teenage boy at a porn star convention.
A meeting after that was inevitable. In his typical closed way, he dropped some hints and in my excitement I welcomed them with open arms.
The day of our meeting started as a normal day for me until I got a text asking if I was still free because he could be there in two and a half hours.
Me: Yeah, sure. That would be great. See you soon.
I did the usual; shower, shave, moisturise, try on about forty different outfits, perfect make-up, sweat all the make-up off with stress and then attempt to apply it again. I was so nervous I thought I might vomit before he arrived. A massive ball of stress that resided in my intestines was growing at alarming rate. God forbid I’d have to speak to him!
The moment the doorbell rang I swept open the door and saw the coolest, dark haired epitome of sexiness standing in front of me.
I was disarmed too. A date with Mr Fumble was something I should have prepared myself for mentally as well as physically.
After getting this far into the post you may have an image of me in your head. There may be some pre-conceptions about my personality and my behaviour. I shall leave you to them, I’m not keen to find them out. But my date with Mr Fumble will remain between me and him and the couple of people we may have told since.
All I shall let you know is that Mr Fumble arrived at midday on one day and left at midday the next. Over the course of that 24hour period, we had coffee, chatted, laughed, went for a walk, had dinner, chatted some more and spent the rest of the time…fumbling.
For those twenty-four hours, I was beaming with joy. I felt like I was at the start of something special.
But twenty minutes before he left I watched his fences go up. The Mr Fumble I’d spent the last day with disappeared and was replaced with a closed off, unrecognisable man. Walking out my house he politely said goodbye and promised to text when he got home. Just like that he was gone.
You may think I was the most gullible, naive idiot that ever walked the earth. I have thought that often enough myself. You may be certain that the contact was over, while secretly hoping for a happy ending. But H is for Heartbreak after all…
Locking the front door with a shaky hand and a heavy heart I thought I would never hear from him again. Mr Fumble was out of my life and would never be a part of it. I was wrong, to some extent. The messages flooded my phone as soon as he got home. We texted non-stop for the next two days.
Sadly, over the next five months his texts got more sporadic but never stopped until I told him to leave me alone. I was struggling to move on and he clearly didn’t want a relationship. On occasion, for about a year after, I continued to hear from him, until I decided to block him for a couple of weeks. I have no idea why he stayed in contact. It could have been a keenness for more fumbling or because he was bored. Whatever the true reason I never learnt it because I wouldn’t agree to see him again.
However much he annoyed and upset me, I will always have a fondness for Mr Fumble. In his defence, he never promised anything he wasn’t willing to give. Everything he gave me was incredible and life-changing. If I could do our initial texting, call and meet-up again, and I was still single, would I? Possibly. Being full of regrets is a fruitless experience.
I shed a lot of tears over him when he started distancing himself and then several more over the next months. Maybe my instincts and lack of experience did betray me. I guess only Mr Fumble knows the answer to that.
There has been heartbreak and many tears shed since him.
Friends wondered in the past, “How can you stay hopeful that you’ll find what you’re looking for?”
After my heart was broken my hope seemed to die for a while too. I have been left wondering what’s the point, how can I find what I’m looking for? Is there something wrong with me? After heartbreak, I used to stop dating and reassess because I don’t do rebound dating. But that’s a personal choice I made. I was told once, by a colleague, that rebound is the best time to date. I’ve seen people get hurt when we date on the rebound. It may give us validation and help us move on in the short term but it usually comes back to bite us on the arse.
After Mr Fumble made it clear that a relationship wasn’t going to happen I went straight back online. As a result I made some reckless and nearly dangerous decisions.
People jump back on to the apps and sites for many reasons, sometimes because it’s a simple need to get their end away. Sexual need is difficult to ignore especially when you’ve been getting it regularly. But if you just want to get your end away then be honest about it. Don’t deceive people into thinking you’re looking for more.
When I started writing this a while back my hope took a beating. It was inevitable after recalling and revisiting these experiences but then I met up with some friends who had met through online dating. They told me of their experience. There were familiar situations, for example one didn’t reply initially and distance caused a couple of issues. But a relationship slowly developed over chatting, meeting up and dating.
So, when I asked them, “How can I still have hope when I have heartbreak inside me?” I was told that you have to prepare for heartbreak when you date but then sometimes you get lucky and it does work out. At this point, they gave each other such a grin of nauseating joy that had I not been sticking my fingers down my throat I would have got caught up in it. It was a smile that only genuine, caring love lives in and was the display of encouragement I needed.
So, heartbreak does happen and it can temporarily destroy us. But H is for Hope too because online dating does work out, people keep trying and they enjoy themselves in the process. And one positive from Mr Fumble is that it gave me my love of men in military uniform, which helped inspire my erotic romance short story Fight For Me, which is available to download.
I’d love to know how you’ve dealt with heartbreak in dating. You can share your thoughts or experiences by commenting below or visiting my Facebook page.