I’m not one to have casual relationships. I’ve been in a long term relationship, and I had a couple of short-term ones. But never casual, I don’t seem to know how to do it.

Casual implies no commitment, and that is not suitable for my personality. When I like someone, I wish to spend time with him, I make time for him, and I appreciate him making time for me. I don’t mean we live in each other’s pocket; I love my independence and personal space too much for that. What I mean is that I like commitment; I like building intimacy, partnership, connection.

Some months ago, I went back to dating, and I met Mr.  P. Our (dark) humour was the first thing we realized we had in common; then came the sarcastic personalities, the relation we both have with people — none of us is a “people’s person”. Conversation after conversation, we kept finding similarities between us.

After weeks of texting and phone calls, we had our first date: walking my dog in a forest. Due to quarantine, our choices were very limited (still are), but it didn’t make a difference, we both love nature and are addicted to spending time outdoors.

That date had a replica the following week, and again the following one; always maintaining a daily contact, either via text, phone or video calls. We were enjoying getting to know each other, and we were investing our time doing it. As we still are.

Mr. P. and I met online, and neither of us wanted to do casual, the “going out for a while, have fun and bye-bye” thing is not for us. We talked about it and, again, our thoughts on the matter matched: we want a relationship, but one real, not fantasised or idealised — a real one. We both wish to fall in love again (he’s also divorced) and find someone to share our lives.

If you wish to fall in love again, and finding a potential partner is your goal, it’s not hard to project your expectations in someone you meet and like. You fancy the person, s/he makes you laugh, takes an interest in you, the sex is good, the companionship delicious. It can be tricky not to start daydreaming that that person might be the one.

Having this in mind, and knowing exactly what we don’t want (the not-real), Mr. P. and I agreed since day one, to take things “light and slow”. Actually, his exact words were “very slow”. Which is fine by me, I have no rush, and time is of the essence when you are getting to know someone.

The difference between Mr. P. and I is that I am entirely free. I have emotional baggage, as everybody does, but mine is very well accommodated in draws and wardrobes inside my mind. Unlike him, I have all my things sorted out. He’s still dealing with personal stuff. Which put us in two distinctive levels: I am ready to live whatever life has to offer me, while he wants to live whatever life has to offer him, but needs time to fully embrace it.

Our emotional ground was something we discussed earlier when we met. It’s fundamental, for both of us, that we are honest and clear about everything. So, day by day, we are taking it slow and fun. We talk daily; we make time to see each other; we spend time together, laughing, having amazing sex, speaking, and connecting.

I am very comfortable in our relationship. He has shown himself to be a caring, kind person; a sarcastic good fucker, and someone who, just like me, can’t live without laughs, leisure activities and relaxing moods. We have something great going on between us.

I stopped being a worrier long time ago, it’s a source of anxiety, an unnecessary one. You never know what can happen tomorrow, so why worry in advance? I have not yet perfected this technique, but I am so much better at it than before. So, I have no worries about my relationship with Mr. P. I live for the present, and I try not to have expectations. I’m not anxious about us, at all.

I’ve been in love before, one of the times, a truly deep love. In several occasions, I saw it coming. Maybe because I had a bit of “I want to love you” on me, perhaps because of the butterflies on the stomach and the warmth in my soul, I knew that that person was growing on me and conquering a unique space in my heart.

The better I know Mr. P., the more confident I am that I genuinely like him. I also like to spend time with him, either going for a walk, being snuggled on the sofa watching TV or having sex. And I know he feels the same about me. We say it to each other and, most importantly, we show it, in our actions, every day. We are tuned, and that feels special and very, very good.

Today, however, I woke up with this question: can I be falling in love and not realizing it?

As a person that always needs to have certainties and answers to her questions, I find it confusing not being able to define my feelings. For me, not having answers is like walking in quicksand. I need a firm ground to walk; otherwise, I’m afraid I will trip and fall.

Thinking about it, it won’t make a difference if I’m falling in love for Mr. P. or not — it won’t change our dynamic in anything. If I am, I won’t tell him, I feel it could be a weight between us, a pressure. When it wouldn’t be, at all. If you love someone, the feeling is yours, you are responsible for it, you can’t expect to receive anything in return. Even so, I would keep those words for myself.

Being in love is a risky act. You become emotionally vulnerable, you’re more exposed to get hurt. But, on the other hand, you feel love, and that’s marvelous. So, I don’t either rush into falling for someone or avoid loving someone. I let my heart pursuit its own things.

But my actual situation is that I can’t tell if I’m falling in love or not, and that is kind of pushing my buttons. I want to know! Wouldn’t you?

To be honest, I don’t want to be, it’s way too early in the relationship to fall for him, I barely know the guy! So, I guess I am not falling for him. On the other hand, I genuinely like to be with him, I feel safe and accepted. With him, I am myself, and I have the fantastic sensation of being liked for who I am. We laugh so much together (which is the fastest way to reach my heart), and his warmth is very comforting.

I’ve been in love before, I’m an avid reader of novels, I’ve been writing about relationships for years; my friends come to me for romantic advice. I’m supposed to know better about these things, right? Right!?

How can one not know if they are falling in love or not? Is there any checklist available? Can I sign up for a course or something?

For you, it might not make any sense my urge in knowing the answer, but for me, it’s important. It wouldn’t change anything, I’d still take it “slow and fun”, I’d still live the moment and not daydream about anything. With him, I am fully present in the moment. In what we have, and not in what I’d like us to have.

I would feel safer if I wasn’t falling in love with Mr. P. — I have time for that. For now, I just want to enjoy what we have and what we are building together. And I am sure about the “together”.

Being in love for someone seems to carry some sort of responsibility, a commitment. And, although we are exclusive — we won’t date or see anyone else — , we are not emotionally committed. Or are we? This is so confusing.

For the first time in my life, I’m living a relationship in blind.

I’m not rushing feelings, I’m not hung on emotions and on the thrill of our encounters. I’m savouring each bit of us, as we truly are. We are getting to know each other, and we both are enjoying immensely what we learn. And, let me tell you, for the first time in my life, I’m living a fun and fulfilling relationship with no anxiety, fears or doubts. I have all that I need.

Time will tell if any of us will fall in love with the other. I, for sure, have no idea how my heart goes these days. But what I know, is enough to keep me going. With an open mind and a receptive heart.

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