I have never thought too much about how I express love to people in my life. I have always assumed it is the typical way most people do.
I never thought how I show I care to a partner may need to be explained to said partner. But the other day I had a huge epiphany: I am not using the typical human ways of love and affection. This all hit me when I called my ex-boyfriend driving home from traffic (it’s complicated).
I was feeling annoyed because he never responded to a video I sent him of a dancing shark. While I let his phone ring and immediately exclaimed to his “hello?” – “DID YOU GET THE SHARK VIDEO???!!!” and there was silence. I felt in that moment that he was not being a jerk or being insensitive but he really did not understand what I was talking about. He said “yeah, I saw it but I didn’t turn on the volume.” And I just held my phone with anger growing inside of me.
That is when I had the epiphany: he does not care. He does not care about the person in the shark costume dancing to Katy Perry. He does not mean to hurt my feelings by not caring. It is not about me; he means me no ill will. He is just not the sort of man who gives a shit about such things. And that is ok! But what the hell am I doing with a partner that does not care about these little things? This is an impossible situation unless I want to remain let down and depressed and maybe that’s what I have unconsciously wanted over the years.
I have realized at the ripe age of thirty-four that either I find a partner who also likes the details of life or I explain to my next partner the way I am.
This summer I have been learning that I have to accept myself. This is just me – issues and craziness and nightmares and all – I am getting better each day but I will never not be me. I am doing the best I can. I have done the best I can. I used to look back at my relationship history and see a trail of where I had screwed up along the way. I do not believe that it was all my fault anymore. I did not screw anything up because of who I am as a human and the men who try to make me think that way are way more fucked up than I am. It all happened as it should have happened because that is how it happened. I was using French to speak to the Spanish speaking people. I was expecting to be understood intuitively. I do not think that happens that often.
I am the sort of person who cares about everything. I care “too much” one could say. I “feel too much” as a highly sensitive person.
I put thought into everything I do. I research songs and videos and lines of poetry that describe how I feel about the man I love. I put thought and love into encouraging text messages. I want to make him food and bring him soup when he is sick, to take care of him. Yes, part of that is very codependent of me. Also, there is part of this that is just who I am as a partner in love.
I do this with my girlfriends. I will read a passage in a book that makes me cry and send text messages to everyone that I thought about in that moment (this happened recently). I often do not get birthday gifts for my girlfriends; I used to make them personalized cd’s. I find myself nowadays sending a gift at a random time of the year. I like to do for people when the mood strikes me. I do not want to depend on holidays or events to show affection. I may feel affection on a Tuesday evening at 11:00 PM reading a book or watching a Bravo show. I may think about the man I love and my heart swells while I watch a YouTube video of a dancing shark. This is just who I am.
Maybe I do not express love in the more typical ways that people do.
When I have really cared about someone I have taken the online version of the Meyers Briggs personality test for them and sent them their probable results. (As I type this, for the first time, I am realizing that sounds creepy.) Also I will take time to delve into their astrological sign. The most loving thing I ever say will be in a written email because I cannot do it any other way. This is just who I am. I am not a person who gives verbal complements. I have never said to a man to his face: “I am in love with you” and I can’t imagine how weird it would be to do so. I don’t like a lot of PDA (public displays of affection) or longing looks into my partner’s eyes. That freaks me the fuck out. It really is creepy.
In fact, I am not a big hugger. I am not a big “touch” person to begin with.
I would rather be left alone. If we have a sexual connection, then that is cool, it really has nothing to do with my level of love for you. Also, I don’t have a filter. I don’t wait until a perfect moment to reveal a sad, sad secret that only YOU know about and YOU can help me. I usually blurt out whatever I feel in the moment. Often I throw insane stories out on the first date to see if that scares him off. I won’t introduce you to my family.
I may introduce you to my friends but I have done that with a parade of men who meant nothing or everything to me. I will not dress up for our date. I am not going to go shopping for an outfit. I am not going to get my hair done. It is not going to happen. I am a granola-girl at the heart of it all and I will not wear heels more than once a week.
I am so glad I had this thunderous moment of realization. I have to explain to people that this is how I am. If my next love partner wants to get in deep then he will have to understand that I probably will not tell him he is handsome or smart but I may send him a weird cat singing video. The cat video or the “what does your sign mean at the office” link are how I show my love. I am not going to change this about myself.
My Grandmother used to send me clippings from the newspaper about things that were important to her. I believe that I have that same trait. I am sending the clippings that I see in life that make me think of the person I love and sending it to them. It may be weird and it may be something I have to explain in the future but I am learning to love this part of myself, too.