1. You keep their repeated gift wrapping (and flower petals).
Let’s assume that either your partner masters the art of gift-giving or your affection has successfully fooled you into loving just about every gift they give you, you still cherish the familiar wrapping papers a tiny bit more and you actually get excited sneaking a peek inside the bag to see which wrapping paper’s re-used. Often times this is a good sign they wrap the presents themselves although you can also tell by the level of expertise.
Okay, now, why? Isn’t that the present that matters? I know, in some cultures, it’s a social norm to brutally tear off the wrapping as fast as you can to show excitement (although sometimes you just hate it), but between you and another human being with whom you’ve revealed enough of your weirdness, the detail is worth attention. It is important because you’re aware that the time it took them to wrap the present is also the time they spent thinking about you, about your possible response to it, and about what the present might mean to you. It’s the process that you really care about, which tells you distinctly that, this person matters to you. I added flower petals in the brackets because my man always finds a way to attach them or sometimes flowers to his gift, as if to tell me that he spared all the time in the world needed to make this perfect so I’d better like it.
2. You are surprised by some mundane thing you say to them.
This recently happened to me for the first time and I must say it was frightening and comforting at the same time. It’s the moment when you casually and habitually say something you always do to them but for the first time you actually hear yourself. It can be anything. It can be ‘Take your time, I can wait’ on a busy day but you figure they’re not in their best and need to slow down so although it normally might be urgent and time doesn’t wait, you decide you will. It can be ‘Is the bad dream the other night still bothering you?’ Oh, come on, a bad dream? The other night? You mean something unreal that’s a bit unpleasant that they mentioned to you in a fleeting moment, in the past? I mean, yes. And you don’t know why, but it sticks to your mind.
Here is why. You develop eidetic memory when you find your true love. Just kidding. The thing is, whether it’s against your will or not, you’ve made them your priority. So it might sound odd to you when you actually sit down and think about it, but it’s just some automatic wiring your brain does after familiarizing itself with the information that you care about that person. The sweet thing is, in fact, you are not so aware of that, which means it happens naturally. You’ve heard so much about how the right person gains your trust and takes down your guard; now think about your guard tries to protect them as well. It’s comforting to know that your feelings are so gentle towards another being but to realize it all of a sudden, it might be so frightening that it can wake up that cynical and critical ass sleeping inside of you. But it’s gonna be alright.
3. You try to make their day better on your bad day.
Sounds so much like a saint or some supreme being that is willing to sacrifice for others no matter what? Nah. You can be all selfish you want and still do this. Picture a rainy and blustery day where your umbrella broke (twice), water gets into your shoes and makes your feet grossly itchy, you think there’s mud on your pants but can’t check because of having so much to carry, you haven’t had breakfast nor lunch and there is a line longer than a river of people waiting for the bus home. In the middle of all that, you find yourself wonder how s/he is spending the day.
You know they hate this difficult weather (seriously who doesn’t?), you know they have lots of things to take care of today, you know they tend to skip meals to get things done quicker, you remember they recently complain about the aching back or headaches. You want to fix that, or at least make it slightly less unbearable. It’s all in your head; they may be having a dry and warm nap somewhere after a hearty meal but irrelevant to the point. All the things you know about them that can be the reason why you are concerned about them are not really there in the point, either. The point is, you want to comfort them even when you are uncomfortable. And perhaps because you know the care is mutual.
4. You intentionally do embarrassing things in front of them.
Despite “Familiarity breeds contempt,” a relatively new trait of love has been advertised quite often lately about being comfortable enough with one another to give less than a damn about mannerism. What they say is that you can do embarrassing things like picking your nose, keeping the toilet door open, having them buy sanitary pads when “the friend” visits, sniffing your smelly feet or cuddling after going for days without showering. But it seems to me that being able to be at your low with your partner is an end in itself. Do you habitually do it out of convenience or do you intend to find proof for something else?
I’d say being conscious about whether you’re being attractive and elegant in front of your partner or not does not always mean you’re uncomfortable with them. We’re missing something here. What is their reaction? Surely their reaction matters the most in your performing those ‘uncivilized’ acts. They can pretend they do not see it, or make a joke about it, or simply laugh it off, or console you that it’s no big deal, or kiss you on the cheek to show that they still adore you all the same. Whatever it is, admit it, you must be more than fine with it to repeat the acts again. If a behavior elicits a favorable response we would naturally do it again to seek that pleasure (it’s science). Another point is, you buy their reaction. You think it’s sincere for them to act in a certain way to your ‘ugly’ behaviors. So when you attempt to embarrass yourself in front of them, you actually like what you are to them, through their eyes, which is a pretty nice feeling.
5. You decide to act a little more weird so they know you’re turned on.
Now we’re moving to the bedroom, aren’t we? This is fairly simple. You have unconventional ways of your own to let your partner know you’re in the mood. Making the move is not always smooth, especially in a more mature and serious relationships where the love birds naturally take sex to another level of meaning. It’s a bond and not merely a need. A bond that is strong enough to make the physical spiritual, but also fragile that demands respect and attention to maintain. So, among thousands of ways to seduce your partner, if you choose to be more weird than you already are, it can be interpreted that you’re choosing to be more you, that you’re ready for that bond. What’s even more precious is how your partner recognizes the W sign and reciprocates.
6. You calculate date and time differently.
Ever noticed you’re saying to yourself things like “It’s been 3 days since we last took a walk by the beach, tonight must the deadline for my statistics report” or “The fish laid eggs one day before our travel, the babies must be 2 weeks old now”? Yah, like that.
7. You feel joy re-visiting the text messages about your fights.
OK, now this is weird. How often does recalling a bad memory make you feel good? Eeerh, wrong. So maybe it was not a bad memory about the fights you had with them. You’re still with them and there’s a reason for that. Do not say your love is stronger that the conflicts or you love the person and the relationships more than being right. Because your love and your relationship need the conflicts. It’s about how you handle your expectations in contrast to reality, how you compromise and learn humility, how you grow up after the hard times, how you treat the other when you’re feeling down, and how again and again you choose the person you’re with. It’s different from ‘love is blind’ logic, mind you, because this is all conscious and sane, appreciating the rose with all its thorns.
There is something special about text messages as well. The typed words are not as fleeting as the words you say, it’s there, stark on the screen, ready to be interpreted and re-interpreted time and time again. But it’s not quite the same every time you read them because through time, you experience things you did not, you learn things about your partner you did not know, you change. The fights, the arguments, the anger, the apologies will also grow with you two though they’re the same words. The joy, then, comes from reminding yourself that the relationship is built, not just found.
8. You have fear of never seeing them again when you two part.
I myself do not quite comprehend this yet but a little birdy told me it’s important. It does not happen every time we say goodbye but often and intriguing enough. When it does happen, it’s overwhelming and powerful that sometimes can bring tears to the eyes. What you do, then, is to look deep into their eyes trying to memorize every detail of their face, their smile. You calm yourself down quickly afterwards, even feel silly, reading their text “I’m home safe.” It’s awkward sometimes because your partner might not know what to do about it, either, but it’s not foolish. No sincere feeling you have is foolish and you feel it for a reason. You know a popular poetic line describing how every time you look at someone it always feels like the first time? Perhaps it’s just realistic as it is poetic, because if every time is the first time, it’s always too short for this love to ever end.