Going on an Island for the 3rd Date
I have done quite a few crazy things in my life, but going on an island with someone I only had two dates prior must come right after being a nude performer at a Drag Gala.
It all started in early December. I had just found out I wasn’t gonna have my job at Streetwork Graz (~social work for the youth) in 2023 anymore and was facing the decision of whether or not I should look for a new job right away or travel first. I reached out to a couple of people and thankfully two of my best friends were excited about going to Cyprus for New Year’s. One day before my flight, however, Dino told me he had just booked an apartment for January in Fuerteventura. “Come, it’s going to be nice and warm” is what he wrote back then. And being in a warm place at a cold time of the year was pretty much everything I wanted. Plus, he looked so fricking cute in the video call and had not a single worry that this wasn’t gonna work out. Worst case scenario, we were gonna live and work together while chasing the sun. I liked these chances and booked a flight to Fuerteventura, went to bed and left for Cyprus early the next day.
Welcome to your Island
The day of arrival in Fuerteventura was pretty crazy as I had to get up at 4 AM to catch the flight from Vienna. Almost 12 hours later I was waiting for Dino to come get me from the bus stop. I instantly lit up when I saw him, his cute disheveled hair, trashy stylish clothes and 80s porn star mustache. And then in between his masculinity, he sometimes shows the innocence and naivety of a child whose never been hurt. The moment I hugged him, I thought that everything was gonna be alright. I was getting excited about this time-out experiment and eager to actually get to know the person I was gonna live with for the next weeks.
We spent our days working (I edited my book, designed Ravenbogen and had some smaller projects) and explored the island in the evenings and weekends. I was instantly taken by the astounding beauty of Fuerteventura. As an Austrian, I am rarely impressed with European nature as it doesn’t get much prettier than our crystal-clear lakes and sky-high mountains. Fuerteventura, however, had so much more to offer, not just the ocean but scarce deserts, long sandy beaches, windy dunes and a beach with stones in the shape of popcorn kernels. We even climbed a volcano and on top of its peak, a wind so strong it could carry you away at any moment blew all my thoughts and worries away.
All in all, it was a harmonious and low-key magical time. Considering we spent almost all day every day together, I am surprised there wasn’t more drama between us. It felt good to fall asleep next to someone and wake up next to that someone every day. I hadn’t had that in a long time, after all. In our more quiet moments, however, it showed that Dino and I are pretty different people and some of these differences turned out to be bigger roadblocks than I first expected.
We talked a lot about what it was that was happening between us and if it was just a vacation fling or something we wanted to look into more. In the end, whatever differences you find amongst another, you can always choose to say Yes anyway, work on dividing differences, and… try? Right?
Besides this unclarity, time wasn’t on our side and every morning I woke up I counted how many days I would have left to spend in Fuerteventura. By the end of our time together, we hadn’t come to a conclusion but we didn’t necessarily need to have one. We were gonna see each other again, we said. And even though this was a promise I’d had broken in the past, I had a good feeling this time around.
3 Weeks of Dating
In the style of Jessica Walsh’ and Timothy Goodman’s 40 Days of Dating, we kept a diary of our time together which we shared with one another a couple of days after I had booked a flight to Malta where Dino was gonna live next. Reading his honest thoughts was tough though as I had expected the diaries to be more positive and optimistic. There were lots of sweet thoughts there as well but the cold-hearted negatives overpowered them.
I felt stupid. I felt like I had put hopes and expectations somewhere where they didn’t belong. We fought. And discussed. I regretted having already booked a flight. I regretted we ever started writing these diaries. I noticed Dino’s reactions were changing. At a certain point, he didn’t want to talk about these diaries anymore. And yet, there was something intriguing between us. Maybe it was just the digital communication we were struggling with. I was curious about what could be and if our connection could again be as it was in Fuerte. And so, I boarded another plane and flew to another island.
Seeing Dino again in person in Malta was certainly nice. Holding him in my arms and being held in his almost felt as it had in Fuerteventura. I was hopeful it could be the way it was before again. But overall Dino seemed emotionally more distant from the start. While Fuerteventura was more about living in the moment and seeing where things could take us, Malta seemed to be more about evaluating each other to find out if we’re potentially compatible. I thought about how I could learn to distance myself from an unclear situation. However, when I get into the mindset of what I could potentially learn from something, I am usually rationalizing something inherently bad.
Dino didn’t seek closeness as he did in Fuerteventura and wasn’t showing interest in me or the ideas I had of what we could do together. But then there also were moments he acted very sweet or wanted to cuddle endlessly. This play of hot and cold continued throughout our first week and I tried my best to simply enjoy what was there and ignore what wasn’t but eventually decided to ask Dino what was going on. He acknowledged that he was keeping a bigger distance between us. Living together didn’t work out well enough for him to open up again. In the end, however, I don’t believe he ever gave this a real chance. I think he couldn’t.
I was hurt and struggled to handle my own emotions properly. I wasn’t ready to let the idea of us go. I suddenly found myself in a painful limbo between something and nothing. I wanted to prove to him and me that we could be good together, that I could be less dramatic, emotional and needy. But I was also confused and frustrated with the situation and our communication and got mad at unnecessary small things I would normally overlook.
Eventually, Dino is a fundamentally different person than I am. I long for someone who is openly vulnerable and is interested in me, what I am doing and what excites me. I need someone who doesn’t lock me out when I sometimes become a flawed and irrational idiot. Dino has many good qualities and there are no hard feelings though. He has given me the biggest gift you can give another person and that’s the gift of time. I am thankful he invited me to these islands and gave me new perspectives as well as a nice break from the cold Austrian winter.
I wish things were different but there’s no point to continue hoping that something will turn into something it isn’t. I enjoyed both of these workations and maybe we can co-habitat again sometime in the future, no matter what exactly lies between us. Not everything has to work out perfectly in life but seeing that something isn’t is also painful. I’m learning to be OK with what I can’t control anyway. I just wish that one day my short-term dating fun would turn into something real.
By the way…