If you’ve been following the story of Tony and me, you know that it is different with him. Most of the time, I feel good about how he feels about me and the pace we are taking in building our relationship.
I have no idea what is going to happen, yet I’m okay with that.
This is a significant departure from my prior “engagements”. The most recent that comes to mind is Andrew, whom I should have felt pretty good about – yet I didn’t. I was constantly worrying about how he felt and what he wanted and it was the source of much anxiety.
Yet with Andrew, I saw him in person with roughly the same frequency and we talked almost every day, often with video chat. So there was way more contact than with Tony.
This past week, perhaps driven by my pre-menstrual state, I was feeling rather vulnerable and sucky about how much I was hearing from Tony. His volume and pace of contact bothered me more, and I have become hyper sensitive that he doesn’t seem to say a lot about missing me, liking me, or any other romantic kinds of communications.
Case in point? When I told him the story of my son calling him my “boyfriend”, he could have said something like “of course I’m your boyfriend”, or something romantic. But nope, he said nothing of the sort.
So I’ve been thinking a lot about this. Why, in the face of little if any verbal reassurance, am I still relatively comfortable with how he feels about me?
Two days ago I had a brainwave.
There is a book called “The Five Love Languages” which I think I have mentioned previously on this blog. Faraway Lover had it recommended to him by his therapist, and a few other people in my life found it useful as well. If you don’t have time to read the book, you can go online to do the survey.
This is one of the few books about relationships that really resonated with me. It is such a simple premise, and it makes sense. When I hear people complain about what someone does, or doesn’t, do for them, and when I think about the conflicts in my marriage, the notion of Love Languages helps explain it.
The basic idea is that there are five ways that we feel and demonstrate love. They are (my paraphrasing):
2. Kind words
4. Acts of service
5. Quality Time
My most important (meaning what I need to receive to feel loved)? Quality Time and Affection.
My least? Gifts and words.
What did I get from my ex? Gifts and words.
What do I get from Tony? Quality Time and Affection.
You see where I’m going with this?
This is what hit me earlier this week. While I would like more quality time with Tony, which would also translate into affection, those things are what I get with him.
While I want more words from him, it’s not what I need most. I think that’s how I’m able to be comfortable with how he feels, even when I’m not getting everything I want.
I figure there are three possibilities for his lack of verbal reassurance. One option is he doesn’t feel that way. I don’t really think this is the case. Two is he just doesn’t show love that way (and I’m not suggesting he loves me). Three is he may show love that way, but he’s just not ready to do so.
My guess is Two, but time will tell.
My Mom made the point to me last night that what I got with Will was tons of words, but not what I actually needed. She was so right. For the last five years of my marriage, my Mom had my son one night a week overnight. Did we use it for date night with all kinds of activities? Nope. There are so many examples of events I bought tickets for that he didn’t attend.
I just wanted us to do those kinds of things together.
Tony is the opposite. Despite two failed attempts to go bowling, he wants us to try again this Friday. He’s got other ideas too, but I guess we are on a mission. I suggested perhaps the universe is trying to tell us not to bowl, but he was hearing none of it. So if I write that I broke a toe bowling, don’t be surprised.
Part of my journey with Tony is determining what I really need. I don’t want to be in a position where I’m not taking care of my needs. I need some words. Not tons of words, and not at the expense of the things I’m getting, but I need a bit more. I have to decide I choose to ask for them, and recognize I may not get them.
I think I would freak him out if I asked him to take that Love Languages survey. But it’s pretty damn insightful. He knows my questions are because I want to get to know him better and understand what makes him tick. But something that speaks of love? Gah. Not so sure about that one.
No matter. For now, I understand why I feel okay with him. And understanding these things feels very good indeed.