I think I shall call him Fritz

Chancing ItWell. This feels very odd. Most of the people who read this blog know about this already, so I don’t really know why I feel so odd about it. Anyway, cutting to the chase, I am a girlfriend. I am with boyfriend. That’s not an expression. This is just how awkward I am.

The Confirmation in the summer with the German Catholics? The chap in Lederhosen? He’s the boyfriend.

Scottie has been telling me for months and months that when someone is properly interested in you, they make an effort. And for months, I had been doing what most single girls do when they meet someone – interpret disinterest for interest. He’s busy, he’s artistic, he’s foreign, he’s actually not that bad.

Somewhere along the line, I realised that I wanted someone I wouldn’t have to explain or use the word ACTUALLY about. I know it sounds awful, but ACTUALLY he’s really sweet. Yes, we argue all the time, but ACTUALLY we’re having fun. No, he doesn’t read books, but ACTUALLY he’s quite bright.

And so to F. I haven’t thought of a pseudonym for him yet because his real name is so German and has distracted me. F doesn’t need an actually. He just is. We met, we enjoyed each other’s company and at two consecutive parties we just…held hands under the table whilst we talked with everyone else. When we drove him to the airport, I was struck by how wrong it felt that he should leave. I kissed him goodbye. He texted me. We texted every day, he called on my birthday, we spoke all the time, he sent me postcards from his holiday, he sent me photos of his brother’s wedding, he told his grandfather about me.

He was interested. He made his interest known. I didn’t have to INTERPET anything.

THAT was difficult. I didn’t really know what to do with that. I’m not used to that. All my old gremlins kept popping up to torture me a little bit. My Britishness came out and didn’t want to deal with directness or anyone actually liking me in an obvious way. Where was the friendly banter that was essentially insults in a pleasant tone of voice, easy to brush aside and pretend was nothing?

F is lovely. He’s tall. He’s smart. He lives in Munich. He’s German. He’s a lawyer. He’s very Catholic. Some of these things could be off-putting, but here we are some months later.

I always said I couldn’t be with someone who wasn’t from the same linguistic background as me – it’s too hard. I talk fast, I try to be funny, I have an accent. F went to university here in England, studied in London and is a qualified English lawyer. His English is perfect. He’s lived here enough to have enough of the same references. My German is sufficient that we can talk in German if we prefer (which I do not!).

The language issue is working to my advantage. My advantage, our advantage. I’m being very careful to be clear and transparent when I speak. His English is perfect, but I’m not going to be able to pull those kinds of stunts with words that leaves things open to interpretation. I actually have to say what I feel and what I think and be straightforward, rather than hope he possibly understands the 90s pop culture reference I have just made. If I did that, it would be unfair and mean. I don’t want to do that.

It is so incredibly odd to be so direct and clear. It feels very alien to tell someone that you like them and not couch it in a way that, if they don’t respond favourably, you can deny.

Also, he’s in Munich and I’m in Berlin and most of our interactions are on Whatsapp or phonecalls. There is even LESS room for manoeuvre there. Transparity and clarity are the watchwords.

Whilst I was in Denmark, I was bumbling about looking at postcards and whatnot. I thought about picking him up a souvenir and instantly thought “oh no, you don’t want him to get too comfortable” and stopped dead in a department store.

What a ridiculous, horrible thing to think. This person, who I like very much, I would like to be uncertain of how I feel about him. I do not wish for him to be assured of my affection.

What the actual f*ck.

How broken is my thinking?

This had happened before as well. We’d had a conversation about our first date and how someone would have to book a flight. I took a mad risk and booked a flight. We were both very pleased about this. I, obviously, was inwardly pleased but not brilliant at putting this into words. I went so far as to put a caveat on the trip that if we weren’t still friends in a month’s time, I could visit other friends, it would be totally fine.

It was pointed out to me (by someone who knows us both) that this wasn’t the best behaviour. And so I sent him a message saying that I really was looking forward to the trip and that I liked him very much. He instantly replied with an agreement and plans for when I was there, and when did I want to eat, he had three restaurants in mind and and and and.

He likes me, I like him. I can survive heartbreak. I’ve done it before. I mean, my DAD died and I’m still walking around breathing, so there’s very little a mere boy can do to touch that kind of heartbreak. Protecting myself is bullshit. It looks like indifference and rudeness. That’s unreasonable. I gush over new friends and tell them how excited I am to see them and how great they are, but this lovely chap gets different treatment? Nonsense.

Anyway, I went to Munich and he didn’t murder me. Hurrah! I also brought him liquorice from Denmark (and have you SEEN the exchange rates at the moment?! That says a lot). I’m getting better.

I’ve realised over the last few months that romantic relationships are not a competition. It’s not about who stays least hurt, or most closed off whilst also getting kisses and compliments. It is a co-operation. We both win if we both try. We both win if we work as a team. Your team mates should understand you. You should help your team mate understand you. I knew this before, I just didn’t really understand how it worked before.

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