Growing up you think everyone learns the same things you do — say please and thank you, be nice to people most of the time, and how to express themselves to others.
But then you find yourself in a relationship with a guy who learned a whole other set of things — at the expense of knowing how normal people operate. He doesn’t understand why you need to hear him say how he feels about you or that he missed you while you were gone or that he even enjoys your presence to begin with. It’s the harsh reality waiting for you when you’re with a “strong, silent type.”
It’s not that he doesn’t feel things or that he isn’t loving, it’s just that expressing any of that stuff doesn’t come naturally for him. His first language is practicality. Emotions and expression will always be secondary for him.
The guy who needs to take Emotions as a Second Language makes you feel needy and crazy for wanting normal things. Really thought, it’s not too much to ask for him to tell you what he wants, it’s not too much to ask to be able to compliment him without him getting uncomfortable, and no, it’s not too much to ask that the person you love be able to say as much.
What you understand about him is that this doesn’t make him a bad person, he isn’t willfully neglecting your needs. It’s more like a cultural difference. You need to work together to find a middle ground, a language that fuses your natural ones together. One that works for both of you.
The guy who needs Emotions as a Second Language isn’t the easy guy to be with. He’s more challenging than that, more foreign. But you know you love him because you’re willing to do the extra work. It doesn’t matter that you didn’t fall out of the sky as a perfect couple who does everything easily. It matters that you complement each other, and that you both view each other as worth the challenge.