It was only a few months ago that I realized that I was a hopeless romantic, or at least a contemporary hopeless romantic. As a woman who prides herself in being self-sufficient and independent, I don’t believe in chivalry nor do I think romance is the ultimate goal of a relationship – but I do love love. I love a partner who indulges me in sweet, intimate gestures, almost as much as I love being the romancer myself. That being said, despite my fondness of being romantic, actually communicating the feelings behind my actions is absolutely the most nerve wrecking and an anxiety ridden experience for me.
The thought of telling my boyfriend (More commonly known as my mans or Mans of Interest™) that I loved him had loomed over me for weeks, but I didn’t know how to tell him or if it would cause an awkward tension. On occasion I found myself nearly slipping up during our conversations or evening good nights. I didn’t want to tell him as a grand gesture of our relationship, but because it was genuinely how I felt. I knew how I felt for him was beyond any normal kind of admiration or fondness; the way he’s always treated me with such generosity, honesty, respect, and tenderness, has amounted in no other possible feeling but love.
The night before our ‘anniversary’, October 2nd (A debatable date, but that’s another story), I found myself on the verge of telling him again, but my anxiety had stopped me. Frustrated with myself, I decided I had enough. Our anniversary was just as good of a day, if not better, as any other day to tell him. I was going to get it over with first thing tomorrow. Final decision. However when morning came I found myself only capable of writing half-messages and repeatedly erasing them as if I was confessing a high school crush. I felt a physical pull away from my phone*. My breathing was going 100mph, my hands were shaking, sweaty, mom’s spaghetti. These are the typical symptoms of my anxiety, but they were absolutely out of control over this seemingly small message. Luckily, because I’ve dealt with severe anxiety my whole life, I have come up with techniques for overcoming excess anxiety. The technique I employed this particular morning to get over my cold feet involved writing out, as fast as possible, whatever verbal vomit I could muster, hitting send before I could regret anything, throwing my phone in disbelief at what the fuck I just did, and screaming into my pillow. A successful endeavor for this anxious romantic.
Luckily for me he spared me the anxiety of waiting for a reply. He was sweet to me when he responded, but to my surprise he didn’t say it back. This was interesting, and not necessarily because he didn’t respond the way I assumed he would, but because I remarkably didn’t feel any pang of disappointment from it. This is strange because if you had asked me how I’d react if someone didn’t reciprocate an initial ‘I love you’ last week, I would have expected to feel something along the lines of utterly heartbroken and completely foolish. I felt none of that. It was a simple relief that I was able to tell someone who I immensely cared for that I loved them.
It finally dawned on me that I wasn’t upset because it was my anxiety taking things out of perspective. The connection we share and his treatment of me has always conveyed more love than any verbal confirmation ever could. I have a genuine appreciation and thankfulness for him as person who has chosen to be in my life. Consequently, regardless of how I felt, I knew I would always want to have genuinely earned his reciprocated feelings, just like how did he with me. How much I care for him really struck me in this moment.
Fast forward to last night, out of the blue I get a text from him, in the usual Steve fashion:
He made me laugh and filled my heart with love at the same time. Typical.
Thanks for reading this emotional exposé.
* This was via text because I live about an hour and a half away and I only get to see him once every week or two.