One of the personality traits that has attracted me to Leigh, beyond his matter of fact honesty and interest in having actual conversations, is his gentle, laid back demeanour. He is quiet, methodical, reserved and takes his time to process things before making a decision. He never gets angry or worked up. He was incredibly hard to read at our first meeting. He was very considered. Yes, I know it’s the quiet ones you have to watch and certainly there are little hints that he will be a bolder and cheekier individual once he has got used to me.
I don’t cope well with confrontation and I have worked hard to create a life for myself that does not involve daily stress, anxiety or unnecessary pressure. Being a confident single person means only allowing someone into my world who suits that mindset. It means I don’t have to compromise. I have had partners in the past who thrived off tension, bad behaviour and had little regard for the other person in the relationship (ie me). Each experience made me more sensitive and unable to cope when it happened again, which is why prolonged lengths of time single have been so cathartic for me. Essentially I haven’t made the same mistakes over and over again. And in time it has made me more assertive as well.
At no point to date have I had to deal with this kind of behaviour from Leigh. It’s not in his nature, and it is not in mine. We compliment each well in that respect. He reinforces the choices I have made in my life and I never feel on edge or uncomfortable around him. I never feel like I cannot say what’s on my mind which has always been a rare state for me with anyone. He has drawn me out of my protective shell. I express myself better without fear of rejection or being made to feel like an idiot and slowly we are opening up to each other and changing and I like that.
The confrontation issue is, in part, why Leigh has chosen to stay in his current relationship, and it’s also why I haven’t questioned his choice to do so. Neither of us does well in stressful situations and I can understand why he has made that decision. The difference between us is that I have had to deal with those confrontations to get out of bad relationships. He has decided to work within the parameters of what he has because in many ways he is not unhappy where he is and he has other people to consider where I did not.
The last person I had to put up with bad behaviour from was Harry, and I was glad to be able to put an end to him pretty quickly, though perhaps not soon enough. Hint: he’s still alone and still lonely. These days I do not allow for any bad behaviour from people around me. Given how stressful everyone’s lives are at the moment this is a tough call on occasions, but I have learned to walk away when I feel my hackles rise. I will not be reeled in.
One of the questions I had been grappling with for some time before I met Leigh is, if I know that all of the men I am attracted to are toxic, how will I know when I’ve found one that isn’t? Or by default, if I am attracted to him, whoever he may be, is he therefore also toxic?
Do you see my problem?
It’s a lesson I never seem to stop learning and whatever I am doing I am always looking out for potential red flags. This is why singledom has been my safe space for such a long time. It meant I didn’t have to look out for problems. Lockdown ultimately pushed me back into considering a relationship and pretty soon I was off down that rabbit hole once again. Now that I have found myself, relatively quickly, in a situation which, not surprisingly, is complicated, I find myself letting my guard down as familiarity develops. But I feel settled and safe with this one.
Yes, I keep one eye open for potential issues and I am constantly reassessing my own state of mind, but I think this will be good for some time provided I can switch off the overthinking part of my brain. I can’t visualise any surprises. I just need to get used to this new routine and take each day as it comes and that’s all one can hope for right now because this feels a lot better than where I was a month ago.