Figuring out why I'm chill about Tony.

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 thatΒ 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):

1. Gifts
2. Kind words
3. Affection
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.

0 thoughts on “Figuring out why I'm chill about Tony.

  1. Great post. I am going to do the survey. I downloaded the book but haven’t started reading yet. The premise is excellent and simple. We all have our style, whether it is love, friendship, family or business….we have our own internal expectations of what we want. I am beginning to realize that it’s really important to understand what pour partners want/need to, so we can determine if this will work for us. I think this is why you are more accepting, as you mentioned. Although he may not give you the amount communication you like, you are beginning to understand that what he is giving you is far more important to your overall well being. And I believe if you can start there, improvement can come on other fronts, albeit slowly.

    It’s the Virgo in us…we just want answers fast. Let us know where we stand and move on! πŸ™‚

    • I would be interested to know what your rankings are… I found it very helpful when thinking about why I didn’t feel someone liked me. Or why someone didn’t feel I loved them (namely, my ex).

      We Virgos do like answers…and pushing for them sometimes has the opposite effect, unfortunately. Especially when the others don’t even know the right answer yet πŸ™‚

  2. Of course, you know Tony way better than any of us, but are you sure him not showing verbal reassurance is not #3? Maybe just the fact you are first one he’s dating out of his marriage is HUGE for him (I think I’m remembering that’s the situation, if not, sorry). I’d definitely want to take it sloooow if I’d had just gotten out of a marraige.
    I’m not surprised he didn’t respond to your boyfriend comment, it seems too early to me in the relationship…
    Great insight on the way we feel and demonstrate love and YAY for feeling chill about Tony for now! That is definitely a plus! =)

    • I think it’s possible, but generally he’s not big into sharing thoughts / feelings / dreams etcetera. That’s what makes me think it’s just not his style. He’s a talker, so it’s not that we don’t talk – he just doesn’t inquire and doesn’t come forward with a lot of personal things. That’s what has me leaning to my #2.

      However, it is huge that I’m the first person he’s dated since his marriage. It’s absolutely on my mind and it’s one reason why I’m fine to take it slow. However he took 6 months to be alone and sort himself out before he went online, so that makes a difference to me as well.

      My ex started dating right away after we split (as did I) and he’s still with one of the women he met within a month.

      I’m not sure when someone becomes a “boyfriend” (and I’m not particularly concerned with the label). We’ve been dating exclusively since we met and it’s been 2 months. I’m curious, what is it for you that makes you think it’s too early?

      • The thing is, we are handle the end of releationships differently. I have a brother who has been married and divorced 3 times (yes, 3 times!) and he now is living with another woman…he never seems to be able to be alone and always finds a woman quickly (and they are all educated so it just fascinates me). Me, on the other hand, I’ve never been married and after my last long term relationship of 5 years, I have taken time to be by myself and get to know life on my own. So, if I was to meet someone tomorrow, I’d think it would take me at least 6 months to consider the guy my “boyfriend.” But like you, I wouldn’t be really concerned about the label as long as I was happy =)
        It’s definitely different for every person though…

        • I’ve had a few friends suggest that men are quite different from women in this regard – they can’t be alone, etc. I’m not sure I believe such a broad generalization, as I know women that don’t like being alone either.

          But I do know more men who go straight from one woman to another, than I do men. I wonder if there is research out there on that… hmm…

  3. It is perfectly natural. You like him Ann. so of course you want more. The fact that, right now you have to wait to see him, to hear from him, to spend time with him, gives you that anticipation and desire. Something I refer to as “feeling like a 13 year old”. It makes me smile to think of you feeling that way.

    • True. I don’t want him all the time…that would be too much for me.

      But last night, I wrote this post whilst on an airplane and when I hopped in the back seat of the car to go home I simply called him. We talked for an hour and it was quite lovely, actually.

      I think, as a couple others have said, he doesn’t really know how what kind of communication someone might need when they are in the new stages of a relationship.

      • Ok, I took the survey, I’m not terribly surprised at the results, Physical touch, quality time, and words were tied, followed by acts of service and gifts. Interesting ideas.

        • Where I found the results most helpful was realizing that what I valued was also how I often showed love… but when the other person doesn’t value it, there’s a big disconnect. It was an issue in my marriage.

    • I think that’s also why I value time so much – it’s a rare commodity. And I get so much out of interactions with other people. Gifts (like jewellry) just don’t mean as much to me. I know they do to others, but it’s not my preference.

      My ex and I experienced such a disconnect between what we each valued, versus what we showed one another. Neither of bridged that gap to show love the way the other wanted. So I learned a lot about how it can feel when we aren’t aligned.

  4. Maybe what’s missing here is that your primary language is quality time and affection, but when it comes to romance, I think we are all multilingual. While you may need more quality time and affection, you may still need a lot from another romantic language and that’s okay. Normal even haha. I feel like everything in life has to do with stimulation levels. If you are not being stimulated in one way enough for a long period of time, it can really make a big difference! Sounds like you like him a lot, so I have a feeling, with the right signals you will be pretty fulfilled.

    • Yes, it’s a good point. I don’t think the book suggests we can live without any of the five… but that we definitely have our preferences. For example, my ex loved to give gifts – and it’s not what I valued. Now, if he never gave me anything? Sure, that would be weird.

      Does that align with what you are thinking?

    • Hi Miss Evelyn and welcome πŸ™‚

      Yes, that’s exactly what the “gifts category is meant to include… and the home cooked meal would fall under “acts of service”.

      Are you familiar with the book? I find it interesting to see how people rank the five.

  5. Hi Ann. Thank you for welcoming me in πŸ™‚ No, I’m not familiar with the book. But I will be looking into it soon. It makes sense that people show affection differently or think that they do in “special” ways since we are all “individuals.”

  6. DH and I both read this book and figured ourselves out years ago when we were having a terrible marriage. I’m an affection/kind words girl and he’s an quality time/acts of service guy. It truly helped a lot with understanding and then bridging the gap with some of our issues.

  7. Everyone I know who has read the book and taken the survey has found it at least somewhat helpful. We joke that if knowledge is power, understanding is a superpower.

  8. So I got:

    11 Quality Time
    9 Physical Touch
    7 Words of Affirmation
    3 Acts of Service
    0 Recieving Gifts

    I was always more happy to just sit back and watch TV with her, or do things together. While I did do things like buy her little thoughtful things and a bag or two, I always gave her a hug and a kiss and told her how much she means to me or how im really proud of her.

    Come to think of it…..I dont think I ever heard her say she was proud of me or any of my accomplishments except maybe a handful of times. And she never said I love you first or how much she appreciated having me….

    • I’m sorry to hear that, believe me, I know how it feels when you aren’t getting what you need. In my marriage, it went both ways – I didn’t do what he needed either.

      I find this such an interesting way to easily break down common behaviours and things we do for people – and how misalignment can occur.

  9. Ann I’m totally with you! My top two were Affection (I’m a snuggle monster) and Quality Time (long distance relationship with a bf who works 6 days a week arrgghh!!).

    Hugs? πŸ˜€

    Funnily enough words was last for me. But its true, seeing the glint in your partner’s eye, or feeling their hand resting on your butt is way more important to me than words used. At this point I know exactly how he feels about me, he doesn’t need to say a single word about it.

    So maybe as time goes on, you won’t need words from Tony as much?

    • Hey Goaty… I’ve missed you!!

      So you and I would be good partners, then? Good to know πŸ˜€

      I think I will always need a few words here and there, but yes, I agree that for me, the affection and someone making time for me says more to me than words. Words can be empty.

  10. Why do women do this?!
    “I have no idea what is going to happen, yet I’m okay with that.”

    FFS, of course you should be okay with that. You’re a grown, capable, intelligent woman – you can survive or deal with most things.

    Is this a degree of control-freakery showing? Or is there a trust issue?

    When you’re with the right person, the future is not feared because you know, deep down, that together you can deal with whatever Life shows your way.

    In life we get what we focus on. If a person puts their energy into looking for what’s wrong ina relationship, guess what happens? It unravels. The positive things need help too and they’re worth more; focus on those rather.

    As for his silence…he’s thinking about something. When he’s ready, he’ll talk.

    Don’t go creating problems where there aren’t any. Get your inner-saboteur under control, it’s misplaced fear. Aren’t you tired of that yet?

    • Well I can’t speak for most women, but for me, I like answers. I like clarity and strive to seek it. I’ve written about my lifelong habit of pressing for answers and knowledge. In relationships, it has manifested itself as me wanting to make decisions quickly, and ask for quick decisions with others.

      With my ex, we basically moved in together after 3 dates. Got very intense very quickly. Of course, while I don’t deny our chemistry, it didn’t give me a chance to really get to know what he was like. By the time I started to see things that had me concerned, we had exchanged the “I love you”‘s and I was living with him and I didn’t know how to extricate myself.

      So I genuinely am taking my time with him, and I’m okay with that. It’s not just about not asking him what he wants / feels etc., it’s more importantly also about my not rushing to a conclusion.

      I am not focusing on just the bad things – I am observing everything. Enjoying what is great and processing the things that I like less. I completely recognize that nobody is perfect and I am looking for someone who has the core qualities I need… the rest is all negotiable. My inner-saboteur is nowhere to be found right now and I actually don’t feel afraid. I feel calm and happy.

          • Nothing wrong with that, but how a person goes about that is important because not everybody is like that and it might come across as interrogation or pressure despite the innocent intention. Just saying.

          • Oh yes, you are quite right. I am also capable of being sensitive to the situation and person. There are times when I listen and times when I speak…lead or let myself be led (although that’s sometimes a tough one), etc etc. But a search for knowledge is absolutely core to me… And I have had to build coping mechanisms to deal with it sometimes.

            Like right now. I’m working through the fact that I don’t really need to know what kind of sex life Tony had before me. I’m curious about it but I also know sometimes I shouldn’t ask questions if I don’t want to hear all possible answers.

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  12. Exactly! You get what you need from Tony. Maybe not in the volume you’d love just yet but what he gives is what you need and he’s already filled parts of that deficit that you weren’t getting from Will. And you have changed and you are much more self aware, even when you feel all vulnerable and “sucky”, which leads you to think before you act. All goodness if you ask me. In baby steps…

What do you think?