I have been coupled now for the last fourteen months. My boyfriend is everything I want in a man; in fact, he’s much better than I dared hope for. It has been interesting and surprising for me to see the world through a different lens. Being with Don means I consider things in a different light. He and I are incredibly different people. We’re highly compatible and we have much in common but we’re also very, very different. I’m more of an optimist and he’s more of a pessimist (he’d probably say he’s simply a realist). I tend to look for the best in people and he tends to expect the worst. However, I tend to take things to heart and get upset far more easily (Highly Sensitive lady here) and he rolls with the punches far better.
One thing that took Don by surprise in our relationship was my willingness to go new places and have new experiences with him. It was a novel idea that we could go on a date of his choosing and not only did I do so willingly, I didn’t complain. I actually enjoyed myself. Go to a brewery and hear some band play? Sure! Go hang out with his friends at a restaurant after I got off work? Okay! Spend all day together at a Blues festival then go for Italian? Sounds great!
There were two components to my flexibility with the plans. The first part was—I really didn’t care too much what we were doing because I always ended up having fun with him. Listening to music, eating, walking the mall, talking on the phone for hours, going to a friend’s cookout, bowling, it didn’t really matter as long as I was spending time with him. Did I like everything he was into? No, but that just meant he was free to keep some time for himself as well.
The second part to my willingness to go with the flow and do “whatever you want to do” is, quite honestly, probably burnout. Allow me to elaborate. I spent the first 28 years of my life living in a household with at least one other adult. I went straight from living with my parents at 20 to living with my husband the next day. I always, always, had another adult to bounce ideas or major decisions off of. Then suddenly one day the rug was pulled out from under me and I had no equal partner in decision-making, nor did I need to defer a parent. It was strange and uncomfortable. I came into my own, obviously—what other choice was there?
I was sick and tired of choosing everything, even the trivial stuff. From June 2014 on, it was pretty much all up to me to choose things. I had to pick Aurora’s middle name all by myself, because Chris and I hadn’t decided on that yet when he died. I resented people who were not the child’s father giving me their opinions. My car got totaled in early 2016 and I had to buy a newer one—so I had to find a reliable person to help me with that so I wouldn’t get swindled. I purchased a house in Aug 2016 and while I felt bitter about having this astronomical choice to make alone—I also didn’t want anyone taking that autonomy from me. Then all the parenting decisions—from daily discipline issues, to choice of daycares, to what outfit to put them in for family photos or what fun activity to do today… And choices about which church to attend or which restaurant to order in from tonight or what to watch on Netflix or which university to get my undergrad from…
I’m a self-declared control freak. I’m anal. I’m independent to a pathologic degree. Yet even I have grown sick of it. When you get to a point that you cannot give up any control because there’s no other person to share it with… when you can’t just vent to your best friend and lover anymore because, hey! He died! you realize very quickly how exhausting it is to choose all the things.
Don is a godly man who loves me. He loves me and bonus points, he’s a lot of fun. It has been beautifully refreshing being able to relinquish some control/choices this last fourteen months since he’s been in my life. I’m not an easy woman to love. I’m stubborn. I’m feisty. I get under his skin sometimes and make him crazy. I require patience (lots). But I’m also someone who loves more deeply, faithfully, more completely, than most.
Thank you, Babe, for taking a chance on this even though neither one of us wanted to at the start. I think we’d both agree this is the best choice we ever begrudgingly made.