I was in two minds about whether to approach Freddie about this piece of writing.
I suppose on the face of things, this is a story about me not getting the result I wanted with a woman, nothing more – ‘big deal’ you might say. However, the story goes much deeper than that.
I haven’t suffered clinical depression in my life. I haven’t had horrible treatment from any counsellor I’ve seen and I won’t pretend to ever fully understand what others in the world have gone through – though I will try to understand and help.
I’m really lucky to have the life I do in lots of ways and trust me, there is much that I’m thankful for.
And yet, perhaps it’s partly because my circumstances aren’t life-threatening that there isn’t much advice or content available on the internet for people who have been in my situation.
Lots of advice is chucked about on the internet about how to deal with unrequited love… but I wouldn’t categorically define my situation as that because, as I’ll come onto, my feelings were/are secret.
There is lots of advice about dealing with regret… but often in a context in which one has hurt others which, again, isn’t true for me.
I don’t pretend to be alone in my relative suffering, or to be in greatest need of support but I do hope what I have to say helps and strikes a chord with those who are in a similar situation.
Whatever your story, remember you are always loved.
The story begins with me developing a massive crush on my former housemate. I suppose to a reduced extent, I still do.
She’s a vegan who makes the most delicious dairy-free brownies, she was a producer at the local theatre, she has eco, left-wing values that align with mine – but with perhaps a more spontaneous outlook on the world than my own more analytical lens.
I’m more into football than she is, but we found common ground in that both our working worlds held gender and racial imbalances whilst being increasingly dominated by corporatisation.
I loved listening to her. She is a glowingly positive force for kindness, justice and love, with the most beautiful eyes and a voice I find really sexy.
She could glam up and look absolutely stunning, yet appeared equally if not more beautiful in a more authentic, morning look with freshly dried hair.
Whenever I looked at her, my heart fluttered, my hands went numb and a warm, fuzzy feeling came over me.
That, though, routinely subsided to be replaced by the cold, sobering reality that she may never be with me in the way that I wished.
I may never spend my days looking after her, cuddling her at night and bringing her morning cups of tea with almond milk. We may never make love.
This girl liked me significantly on a basic human level… but then again, she has a generous baseline of warmth for anyone who shares her values and perhaps in that warmth part of me saw what I wanted to see rather than what was actually there.
I invested a lot of time watching YouTube videos about the psychology of attraction.
In one video, a woman called Marni Kinrys said that telling a girl your feelings isn’t going to influence her feelings.
I felt as though telling her straight would put too much pressure on her and make things awkward, so I was hoping to convey my attraction in a smooth, silky and subtle way. Perhaps I thought it would increase my chances.
That way of doing it though, never came to fruition.
Playful gestures seemed too bold.
Flirtatious lines occurred too late.
My eye contact I thought was decent and through that we did make a connection of some kind, but my tendency to over-analyse everything meant that I lacked the courage and decisiveness to take things to the next level.
I only spoke to her either in the mornings when she was in work mode – typically a little brisk before eating her oaty breakfast – or in the evening when surrounded by inconveniently talkative housemates.
The timing just never felt right but looking back I wish I’d made more moves to convey how I felt.
Before I knew it, this girl announced she was going traveling for several months after seeing her family at Christmas.
She would therefore be moving out, likely to another city.
The Christmas party was horrible. I felt a constant sense of agony.
I spent the whole time desperately trying not to look at her, because I knew it would be a prompt for my heartbreak. I rushed into my room what felt like every 20 minutes breathing heavily, scribbling down frantic diary updates but I kept getting called down because certain songs were playing.
About a week later, she left.
I passed up the chance to say goodbye to her in a group setting the night before and instead got up very early the next morning, hoping to do so alone and give myself at least some semblance of closure.
Instead, she took longer than I expected to get ready and ended up leaving while I was napping – only putting a message on the house Facebook group once she’d left.
The house emptied as others went to visit their families and, seeing my own a few days later, I was alone.
I don’t know if this was the ethically correct thing to do but in despair I found myself walking semi-consciously across the landing into her old room, still with some of her stuff in it, sat down on her chair and cried. Bucket loads. It was over. I believed it was all my fault.
There might have been a realistically sustainable version of myself – slightly sexier and a touch more masculine – that this girl could have found attractive. Alas, now I’ll never know.
I haven’t even granted myself the humble respectability of being rejected. I’d denied myself the chance to be rejected in the first place. I suppose on some level I’d rejected myself.
Still to this day I don’t know how to forgive myself for that. On a logical level I absolutely want to move forward but on an emotional level it’s really hard. Building the core confidence to do so may take time and I’m still very much a work in progress.
The situation I’ve had with this girl is made worse by the frequent rejection I’ve since experienced on dating apps.
I don’t feel like I’m coming across as needy or doing anything particularly wrong yet there seems to be little alternative interest – perhaps if I’d found someone else, my perspective on my ex-housemate might be slightly different.
I’m not at a stage where I’m proven to be attractive to women generally, so my dreams of finding a particularly special woman like her – who will want me in return – feels a very long way away.
My life has been roundly successful so far, I’m happy with lots of other areas of it and I’ve been very fortunate in lots of respects, so perhaps my mind tells me the lack of romantic success to date is a reasonable price to pay. On reflection, I think I deserve better than that though.
Part of me still yearns for that area of life to change. I don’t want to be solely reliant on a woman for my own happiness but I do at some stage want to feel optimistic about my love life and I don’t at the moment.
For all the regret and pain I feel, which I may continue to feel for some time, I still hope this girl finds the love I wish I could give her elsewhere.
Just one thing to finish off: why did I call this piece “The Algorithm for Spontaneity”?
It was the title of a diary I wrote while I was going through this situation – and this article is a condensed review of that diary.
The truth is, during my time living with this girl I did try to create romantic situations that would have appealed to her zest for spontaneity but would have in fact been precision engineered by me behind the scenes.
The grimly philosophical positive, therefore, can be found in what I’ve learnt: that there’s no such thing as an Algorithm for Spontaneity.
There is no formula for love, you can only feel it.
There is no plan for life, you can only live it…
Read more articles like this in our Experiences section.