She doesn’t care about romance. She’s seen enough and she’s been through enough to know that romance to her means something different than it does to the people who produce romantic comedies. The people who make movies associate romance with huge diamonds and love at first sight and dramatic declarations of the heart.
But romance in her eyes means you bring over a pizza and the two of you excitedly spend a Friday night in your pajamas. Romance means you tell her she looks cute when she’s sleeping, even though she knows she does not. Her version of romance does not involve you proclaiming your love for her in a public place. Instead, the two of you are alone. Probably laying down. Your fingers running up and down her arm absentmindedly, out of habit, unable to stop. And you both stumble over your words, trying to say “I love you” while sounding calm and confident, even though you’re both everything but.
It wasn’t love at first sight for the two of you. Because she knows love at first sight isn’t real. Attraction at first sight is real. Desire at first sight is real. But not love. Love develops out of a series of small and ordinary moments that you don’t even realize are important. You eat cereal together. You drink beer at a pub. You have little conversations throughout the day that reveal more and more about yourselves. And then you’re just in love. Because you know each other for the most genuine, everyday, ordinary versions of yourselves.
The process is not dramatic or noteworthy or interesting to anyone except the two of you. It is not the kind of love that is turned into a reality show watched by millions. But it’s good enough for her. Because it’s steady and patient and it gets a little stronger every day.
She’s got thick skin. She’s tough and she’s secure and she’s developed a careful way of incorporating people into her life. But she likes you enough to bring those defenses down a little bit. You could hurt her. She could hurt you too. These are things she knows because she’s experienced them before. Or she’s watched her friends experience them. Or both.
She’s taking a risk with you. But she’s okay with that. Because she’d rather take a risk and invest herself in something real, rather than sit back and daydream about something that’s one-dimensional and boring and only interesting on the surface.
The movie version of romance used to be enticing. She still watches those movies every once in a while. They’re an easy way to pass two hours. But now she understands them for what they are: movies. Carefully concocted stories where everything falls together seamlessly and enchantingly at the end because they have to be that way, or else people wouldn’t watch them.
Movies take place in under 120 minutes. That means they don’t have time for the kinds of scenes that exist in your everyday relationship, like the comfortable and enjoyable silence you fall into during a 15-minute car ride, or the time you are both awake and laughing at 2 in the morning because you’re tired and punch-drunk. Those types of experiences don’t drive a plot forward. But they do add a little more stability and trust and companionship to your relationship.
Movies are an escape from real life. But she doesn’t need to escape from real life. Because you are real life. She loves you for being real and sincere and normal and genuine. The everyday moments with you give her joy and excitement. Sometimes spectacular things happen, but for the most part, they don’t. And she wouldn’t have it any other way.
She doesn’t need diamonds, as long as she can eat cereal with you every day.