After the second date’s surprising, but pretty great, turn of events where we ended up in bed, my girlfriends did their usual interrogation. Did he pay for dinner? Will we like him? How was his penis? The usual. I didn’t give up too many details, there was something very private about him and I also think some things should be kept just between the sheets… Or let’s say the four walls if you’re not strictly a bed kind of person… Or let’s just say yourselves if you’re not strictly an indoors kind of person 😉

As a result of there not being too much information shared, his nickname was built out of two things my friends did know: his ethnicity (he was Canadian Filipino); and the fact we’d already slept together and thus I had seen his penis even if I wasn’t giving them a full review. And so he was christened Filipeen.

After those first two dates, Filipeen and I quickly found ourselves seeing each other multiple times a week. We went out for dinners, we went to watch a movie (yes, singular, I’m not a big movie-goer and he was delighted he even got me to one, I was just delighted I didn’t fall asleep), we went for more walks with the dog and cooked together, a lot.

Mostly I’d go over to his place across the water. He worked later than I did and always had to go home for the dog so it made sense. It was the first time I’d “travelled” for dates. Note, after rush hour it was 18 minutes driving door to door so it was hardly a trek but given that my friends used to mock me about not going over bridges for guys, the fact I was doing this on a regular basis was quite something. They realised I must like this guy.

From talking about upcoming Halloween plans on our first date, to being in December and full on Christmas mode, I finally got to realise a dream date I had wanted to be taken on since I started dating again – to go and see the Christmas lights at the city park. Filipeen planned it to perfection. He picked me up, we drove to the park and on a crystal clear winter night enjoyed the display of over three million lights. It was cheesy, and romantic and I loved it. Especially when it was finished off with dinner at a great steak restaurant.

At dinner that night we got into pretty deep conversation about life goals. We had skirted around the topic of conversation before but this was one of those really in-depth convos where the wait staff, seemingly, purposefully avoid your table so as not to interrupt.

During said discussion, he asked how I felt about children. Yeesh… this minefield.

The long story short on my feelings about having kids is this – when I got married we were only mid-twenties and neither of us had decided about kids, it wasn’t top of my priority list and in a lot of ways I could see myself never having kids, but I figured as we grew older together we would likely just slide into feeling that we were ready for it. As it turned out, 6 weeks after we got married I knew I would never have children with my husband. At the same time as trying to repair my marriage, I also made peace with the fact that I might remain childless, and that wasn’t a huge issue for me. Which was handy because when you find yourself single again at 30 you realise that might not be an active choice you get to make.

My feeling on children now is that I can picture my life without them. But I would love nothing more than to meet someone who makes me want to have their babies (and not in a gun to my head kind of a way, but in a “he is an incredible person who I would be lucky to procreate with” kind of a way).

I explained that to Filipeen – in slightly different words – and as I finished talking he sat back in his chair and just looked at me. He didn’t say anything. It was a habit I’d noticed from him previously, and is a technique that I know people use when they want to make people uncomfortable to the point where they fill the silence with information they otherwise weren’t going to offer up. I dutifully fell for it and started falling over my words a bit until he did finally speak and the conversation resumed to normal and he stated, as I well knew, that he absolutely wanted a family.

I never really thought anything else of it but I was aware that it had been a pretty important part in us both setting out our life plans to each other, as far as I was concerned there weren’t any red flags.

Another result of it being the Holiday period was all the social invites that go along with it. I had contemplated inviting him to my company holiday party but he was travelling with work so I didn’t need to make a decision, which I was grateful for. I also had another party the night of his work party so that never came up either. But when one of my girlfriends invited me to her and her husband’s annual Christmas pie night (yup, it’s a night with just a tonne of home baked pies!) and told me that I had to invite Filipeen because he was Filipino and so was she and it was rude otherwise, I dutifully agreed.

He then informed me when I passed on the invite that it’s rude for Filipinos to turn down an invite from another Filipino, especially when it involves food, and so on a Sunday night in December I find myself in the car with Filipeen headed to my friends house where he will meet five of my closest friends. What struck me just before I got in the car was that I had never done “meet the friends” before.

My ex had been a family friend since we were kids and all my friends knew him so all we had to do was actually just tell them we were dating, and prior to him it had just been highschool boyfriends so again, no intros needed. But this? This was a whole different ball game.

And it really stressed me out. More than I could have imagined. And I couldn’t work out why. To the point that over the course of the night, which went incredibly well, a couple of my friends said to me “what’s wrong with you?!” I was definitely out of sorts.

I’d asked my friends to play nice, which they indeed did with Filipeen and instead took the piss out of me, which he joined in with. But it was all fun and everyone seemed to get along, which I was very grateful for. He asked them which one had given him his nickname, which I had somehow ended up telling him about a few weeks earlier, and they all had a good laugh about that.

Amongst nine pies (sweet and savoury) and a whole lot of chatting I finally started to ease into it. He was still very tactile with me in front of my friends as he was in public , which is something I love in a partner, but it definitely felt a little strange in front of my friends. They have never seen me with a guy. They’ve maybe seen me chatting to a guy at a bar, or have walked passed me on a date, but actually with a guy, spending time with us? This was the first time. And I was relieved that they all were getting along.

After the end of what seemed like a super successful night, Filipeen was going to drop me off but instead we decided I’d go over to his and stay. I was finding myself spending almost as much time over on the North shore as I was downtown. So we stopped by mine for me to pack a bag and then headed for the bridge

Almost as soon as we started on the road for his, out of nowhere he asked “have you ever slept with any of your guy friends?” Without even hesitating I said “my guy friends here? No”. Then when I thought about it I realised I hadn’t slept with any of my guy friends back home either. Arms was probably the only one who would fall into that category but I don’t think that was what he was getting at. It seemed like there was something underlying.

I asked him the same in return, I knew he had a lot of female friends, in fact it seemed like his best friends were mostly female and to be honest, as soon as the question was out of my mouth I kind of wished I hadn’t asked. I didn’t know that I actually needed the information. He said no also, but that people normally presume he would have.

He then asked me if one of my friends, essentially my closest straight guy friend who had been at pie night, was single. I said yes but his ex was kind of on the scene and I wasn’t sure where that was at. And with that I knew that we may have a problem. With those two questions – have you ever slept with one of your guy friends and is your guy friend single – I knew there was a mind racing with other questions he wasn’t going to ask me.

I tried to pre-empt it by repeating what he’d said about people presuming you’ve slept with your friends of the opposite sex but it was actually possible to have platonic relationships. Exactly what he’d just said to me.

He then commented on a point earlier in the night when said friend had been furiously shaking his leg at the table – a super annoying habit he has – and after a couple of us asking him to stop doing it and it falling on deaf ears a couple of times, as I was sat beside him I just grabbed hold of his thigh and held it down. Filipeen was beside me but I never thought anything of it. It was obvious why I’d done it, and I was hardly fondling or groping his leg as I did it. But apparently this had been noted and put in the memory bank for later,

I laughed his comment off, while also trying to reassure him. I would never want to make anyone feel uneasy or disrespected, I’ve been there myself way too many times, and I made sure to be aware of any situation like that again. But it didn’t totally sit well with me that from the first time of Filipeen meeting one of my best friends that he’d already created, what I could only imagine, was a warped backstory in his head about him and I.

We eventually got back to his after what felt like an eternity in the car having this awkward conversation but once we were home it all seemed fine. And the following morning being one of Vancouver’s snowiest days of the year meant we had other things to talk and think about (how the hell was I going to get back downtown when the bridges were gridlocked) than the discussion from the night before.

When I saw him again two nights later it seemed that everything had gotten back to normal. We were also only a few weeks from Christmas at that point and so Christmas Day plans came up in conversation. Him being a devout Catholic (as he put it when we first started dating “I go to church every Sunday I hope you don’t have a problem with that” to which I replied “I don’t have a problem with you going as long as you don’t have a problem with me staying in bed while you do” and we were both happy) I presumed Christmas was a pretty big family deal and so never even expected it to come up.

When he suggested that we could maybe see each other on Christmas Night I was surprised to say the least. Because A) like I said, I just thought it would be a family day for him and nothing else and B) it felt like that was kind of a big step, seeing each other on Christmas Day?

But I’m also of the mind that days with names are still just days and for me, with no family here, that was definitely the case. I did have plans with friends during the day but I wasn’t planning to go to a dinner so seeing him would work out perfectly. He’d pick me up after his Christmas Day with his family and we’d go to his place for our own Christmas date night.

He then also said about doing something around Christmas Eve too – the Friday was the 23rd and we’d finish up work that night so we should do dinner and then I could stay over and we’d start Christmas Eve together.

At that point I realised, for the first time in quite a few years, I was going to be dating someone over Christmas, someone who was making me part of their Christmas plans. There was a spring in my step, and more than just a flutter of snow in the air and excitement in my heart.

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