My boyfriend wants to know how I’m feeling. He doesn’t want me to claim I’m fine and sweep my problems under the rug. He wants to talk things through with me and fix them. He wants to be a part of my thought process.
But after a lifetime of toxic relationships, I accidentally push him away. I assume he secretly wants me to keep my emotions to myself, even though he tells me otherwise. I’ve been conditioned to keep secrets. To leave my complaints locked inside my chest until I explode.
I’m not used to looking someone dead in the eyes and having an adult conversation with them. I’m used to taking the easy way out. To telling half-truths. To giving up when the relationship gets too complicated.
In the past, being honest has gotten me nowhere. Being vulnerable has gotten my heart broken.
Now, I’m with someone who admires those traits. Someone who wants me to be real with him — but it’s hard.
It’s hard to remember our relationship is different than the others I have seen. It’s hard to let my guard down when I have taught myself to keep it up no matter what. It’s hard to accept the fact that he isn’t going to run away when I show him the real me.
When I feel like I’m on the edge of crying, he holds me close and calms me down instead of sitting there in awkward silence. When I have plans with my family, he volunteers to come with me instead of complaining about how he has other things to do. When I have a problem, he helps me brainstorm solutions instead of leaving me to deal with it on my own.
He is the perfect boyfriend — which is why I’m having so much trouble dating him.
It’s hard to trust someone to stay loyal, even someone who would never dream of hurting me, when everyone else has betrayed me in the past. It’s hard to believe someone loves me, even someone who backs his words up with actions, when I have been blindsided before.
This relationship is different than any other I have experienced, so I have a lot of learning to do. I’m not supposed to stop myself from texting him twice in a row, because he wants to hear from me. I’m not supposed to cancel on friends to see him, because he wants me to have a life outside of him. I’m not supposed to watch what I wear in front of other boys, because he wants me to feel beautiful.
This is all new for me, and thankfully, he is understanding of that. He wants me to be honest with him, but he won’t pry answers out of me. He wants me to meet his family, but he won’t make me feel bad if I’m not ready yet. He wants a serious commitment, but he won’t force me to move faster than I am comfortable moving.
With him, I don’t have to pretend. I don’t have to censor my words and tiptoe around his feelings. I can just be myself.