He doesn’t have to turn your lips into a love song or your smile into poetry. He doesn’t have to be a romantic that sets the table with lavender candles and caviar.
He doesn’t have to be poetic — he just has to be authentic.
He has to put in effort. But effort doesn’t always involve pouring white wine and scattering rose petals across the bed. Sometimes, effort involves picking up your favorite flavor of ice cream from the grocery store. Sometimes, it involves giving you a shoulder massage for an hour straight. Sometimes, it means thanking you for doing the dishes or volunteering to take out the trash when it’s your turn.
Sometimes, effort is mundane. But those mundane things matter — way more than the big things do.
What does it matter if your friend’s boyfriend flies her to Italy on their anniversary if he ignores her for the remaining months of the year? What does it matter if he makes a few grand gestures that can be shown off in photographs, and then neglects the relationship the rest of the time?
It’s better to have a man that cares 100% of the time instead of someone that only cares during special occasions.
Your boyfriend isn’t a prince. He isn’t rich. He isn’t capable of whisking you away to Italy on a whim, because he knows it would cure your sadness.
He can’t do everything he wants to do for you, because if he could, he would give you the world.
But he can do the things that matter. He can treat you with respect. He can ask you for details about your day and hold you tight when you slip into your pajamas, without expecting anything in return.
He can be the boyfriend that you’ve always wanted. The boyfriend that you deserve.
It’s important to level your expectations. But don’t drop them. Being realistic and expecting to be treated like shit aren’t the same thing.
There’s no excuse for your boyfriend forgetting your birthday. Or for getting wasted every night instead of spending time with you. Or for snapping at you when you make a small mistake.
Don’t let it slide when he treats you poorly. Don’t justify his actions when he hurts you. Because there’s no excuse for that. None.
You should expect him to tell you that he loves you and that you’re beautiful. You should expect him to hold your hand in public and kiss you before he leaves for work. And if he doesn’t do those tiny things that mean everything, then you should find someone new.
But don’t fault him for not having a full head of hair. Or for being too broke to fly you to Hawaii. Or for failing to reach your six foot tall height requirement.
Judge him on the aspects he can control. On how well he treats you. On how happy he makes you feel.
And remember to appreciate the small, mundane things. Because all that matters is how hard he tries, how much effort he puts in. All that matters is that he treats you the way you deserve.