“She held out hope, no doubt, but I do wonder deep down if she had started to give up too…”

“Oh my god, imagine if this guy ends up becoming your boyfriend!” I adored my Mum’s lingering optimism when it came to my love life, she really held out hope for love after all the tsunamis of shit that had landed on me over the years. She was there through all of them – that constant little voice reminding me about miracles anytime I was straightening my hair to head out on a new date or crying my eyes out at the end of dead-end date four.

She held out hope, no doubt, but I do wonder deep down if she had started to give up too. She struggled to find the logic, as we all do, about why no relationship I formed ever fully clicked to make the finish line. I could see the sadness for me in her eyes anytime I’d check when they were last active, or if they’d opened my texts. Nevertheless, on this particular day, we sipped Cappuccinos under a West Cork September sun and she continued to dream about the potential awaiting me with this new guy.

Two days later, we were home from our staycation. Refreshed and ready, I went on the date, wary but open to the miracle at the same time. I had my entire dating history weighing on one shoulder, and the bottled hope of my mother on the other. In between these shoulders, I had a head that had to make the decisions and conclusions about this man. Is he genuine? Is he kind? Is he looking for something real?

There were so many boxes I needed him to tick in my mind, and the funny thing was, I looked at him across the table as we browsed menus, and my head was spinning. My head had lost its say, because something deeper was making the decisions for me – my gut, my soul, my heart, whatever you want to call it. This date felt different to those that had come before – he was genuine, he was kind, he was totally different to the broken loves I had chased before.

He was completely new and refreshing, yet somehow I could relax in his presence as if I had known him for lifetimes. And a year into this real thing that we’ve built together, he feels like home. And I guess on some level, that’s why my mum knew that this was the date I needed to be on.

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