I write a lot about how I eat, what I eat, what works for me in the idea of wellness and nutrition…but tomorrow marks a really special day for someone I love very much, so I thought it to be appropriate to reflect on that person today and all the ways he has affected and changed my life.
I have always been a bit of a hopeless romantic. I fell for lots of the wrong guys and stuck around in relationships I thought were going to be long-term because I believed in love and I believed in people. I also believed in myself and my ability to “pick” people with admirable qualities and I think that my sticking around too long had a lot to do with this idea that I didn’t want to be wrong about the guys that I chose. I spent a lot of time after failed relationships wondering “what is wrong with me?”. I never blamed whatever jerky guy did whatever jerky thing to me because I felt that I should have seen the signs and I should have stopped giving and working for something that wasn’t working for me in return. I always thought that when I found the right person for me I would know it the second I met them and this person would check all these boxes on my list of expectations of love.
That was what immature love taught me: the right person comes in a perfect package.
When I met Andres I was so distracted with my life that I wasn’t even looking for him. I was busy with my job, working hard to get into my graduate program, enjoying spending all my waking moments (literally) with my girlfriends. I liked positive attention from guys, but I took it at surface value and didn’t put expectations on things. I developed this mentality of “everyone gets a first date” because I knew that every person I met had something to teach me. When my expectations left, so did my disappointments.
I’m sure you’re expecting me to say that all of these habits of me trying to save relationships were dead and my relationship with Andres was different and easy, but I won’t say that because none of that is true. I pushed through some really hard and confusing times with him in the beginning. Times that I am grateful for because it taught me a lot about our connection. Because I had lost expectations, I was able to be ballsy enough to ask for what I needed from him. I needed us to have better communication. I needed to know if/when he wasn’t happy and why. I needed him to be my partner and fight for our relationship as much as I did. I needed him to not shut me out. I needed him to be okay with the fact that I’m sensitive and I talk about things and that’s who I am. Not only did I need him to be okay with it, I needed him to love that about me. And something amazing happened when I asked for those things: he listened….and even more than that, he heard me. We grew into this couple that I had never known I wanted to be. He didn’t check off specific boxes on my list of expectations. We checked boxes off together on our list of goals and aspirations as a couple. I never even knew I needed that. Being in a healthy, effective relationship didn’t mean we needed to change who we are, it meant that we needed to find someone who wanted to grow with us.
I don’t know the person who told our 16-year-old selves that being in love would be effortless, but I wish I had told them to shut up. (I think that person is the same one that told me something was wrong with me in every failed relationship.) Being with Andres is a daily check of each others’ feelings about things. It’s constant communication about what’s going on with us and if there are needs that are not being met. It’s problem solving. It’s planning and having goals together. It’s actually telling him when he’s hurt my feelings instead of giving him the silent treatment. It’s being non-judgmental of him always and he of me. I just don’t know if that kind of partnership comes around often and I can’t help but feel so completely and unbelievably blessed that I have this person who believes I can do anything. Sometimes I think about my life and all the ways he has added to my list of blessings and I have to pinch myself.
Tomorrow is Andres’ birthday and my heart feels so warm and eager to make him feel as special as he makes me feel: not just for tomorrow, but for every day that we are together.
Babe, thank you for being by my side in our crazy life and never being too busy to make me feel like the most special person on the planet. Thank you for being such a hard worker in every way and a person I am so very proud to call my partner. I love you very much.