Forget about a grand gesture. Don’t get caught up in the idea of how to get the girl. She doesn’t need you to get her. There doesn’t need to be a dramatic fight for her, a ridiculous proclamation of your undying loyalty to this relationship.
She’s not daydreaming about someone who’s going to walk straight out of a Nicholas Sparks novel, fully infatuated with her and ready to build her a house with his bare hands.
What she’s looking for is much simpler than that, in a way.
What she wants is for the two of you to love each other, every day – in quiet, simple, unexceptional ways. Ways that will never be written down in a story because they’re so very ordinary and seemingly insignificant.
She wants to swing her legs over yours when you’re sitting on the couch, with no worry about the fact that she hasn’t shaved them in a few days – she’s just that comfortable around you. She wants to tell you things about her childhood, things she’s never told anyone else. She wants you to know about every weird fear or strange impulse she’s ever had, and she wants you to tell her yours. She wants to have ridiculous inside jokes with you, things that make you two laugh together no matter how stupid and completely unfunny they are.
What she wants is a partner. Someone to take care of her, yes. But by take care of her she means that she wants you to stand by her, support her, challenge her, encourage her, need her just as much as she needs you. She wants to be your equal. Because she is.
She wants to know that, although you’re not the solution to all of her problems, that you’re at least a brief oasis after a long day at work – one who will be her sounding board and best friend, who will just listen to her and tell her she’s not alone in the fact that she frequently feels inadequate in adulthood.
Plenty of men are kind, respectful, loving, and progressive. That’s what she wants from you – she wants you to be one of those men. Because there are too many others out there who are the opposite of that. They are violent, aggressive, entitled. They want to hurt her because she embarrassed them, or rejected them. Or they want to hurt her simply because they can.
And then there are others who, while not physically violent or harmful, are still dismissive, patronizing, controlling. They will never physically abuse her or hurt her, but they will put her in an outdated box, where they expect her to behave in a certain kind of way or take up a certain kind of role that does not match up with who she is.
She wants you to be the kind, respectful, loving, and progressive one. She wants you to remind her that violent or controlling men are the exception, not the rule.
She wants to go on a date with you without feeling that suffocating cloud of expectation hanging over her head. She wants to go to dinner and talk for hours and feel a deep connection and then kiss you good night and go home, without feeling bad about it. She wants to spend time with you without feeling like an exchange is occurring – like she needs to sleep with you at the end of the night if she wants you to spend a Sunday afternoon hanging out with her on the couch. When she decides to be intimate with you, whether that’s after one date or seventeen dates or marriage, she wants it to be because you are both ready and both wanting it, rather than there being a sense of obligation.
She just wants you to treat her like a person. A person who is cared for, respected, heard, safe. Flowers are nice. Jewelry is nice. Vacations are nice. But what she really cares about is that you see her and treat her like your equal, your sounding board, your best friend, your rock, the person you build a life with, with equal contributions from both of you. She wants you to know that she is just as capable of taking care of you as you are of taking care of her – because that’s what partners do for each other. Just love her, and let her love you back.