When we get to our mid-twenties, we think we’re pros at love because of the numerous times we’ve been in and out of relationships. I, for example, have had many experiences (and not necessarily the best ones) with the pretty boy who only cares about the looks, the insecure yet gorgeous model who doesn’t think he’s good enough, the “free spirit” who doesn’t know what we wants, and the child who needs to be told what he wants…
So it’s safe to say that when it comes to the good guys, the really amazing ones who are polite, sensitive, selfless, warm-hearted, honest, and charismatic… I haven’t had much luck… until I met Harold. And let me tell you, I finally understand what people mean by “the right person will make you a better person” and this is why.
By the time you meet your match, you’ve read all the books, you’ve seen all the movies, and gone through the proper training to get in the ring and give it your best shot. But when the other side throws an unforeseen upper-cut, what do you do next? Do you start keeping score, do you throw in the towel, or do you get back in the ring and try harder?
Of course, none of this is to be taken literally as there was no physical violence involved. However, when my concerns were utterly dismissed and what was supposed to be a conversation lead to a fight... Let's just say, it was just as painful to watch.
I felt like I was hit left and right with the memories of my ex boyfriends. I asked myself: “If I can barely get by the first round, does this mean this is what my future holds? Am I just a masochist who always ends up in the same situation over and over again?” I felt defeated. And my defeat turned into doubt and my doubts made a decision - I “ended” things.
I went home, played the situation over and over again in my head, paced back and forth asking my self “how could he?”
Knowing I don’t always make the most rational decisions, I called my sister Paola who's a bit more analytical whereas I’m a bit more emotional (as you can already notice). I broke it down, covered every detail, and explained to her how I felt like he didn’t care enough to listen, to have a conversation with me, and let alone APOLOGIZE. Her response though was the real slap in the face. She said something I really didn’t even consider earlier…. She said, “maybe he is not expressive. Maybe you should understand who he is and allow him to show you that he listens, that he cares, and that he loves you.”
So simple but at the time it was a mind-blowing, life-altering realization.
I had been assuming all along that I was the mature one because of my abilities to have an open conversation and my willingness to accept my flaws…. But what I didn’t realize was that by not accepting who he was and how we loves, I wasn’t actually, not really, truly, loving him. I realized that each of us loves in different ways and expect love in different ways as well - not one way or the other is the right one, they’re just different.
It reminded me of this book I read a few years ago called 5 Languages Of Love about learning to express love in your spouse’s language, in other words, in a way that he/she will understand/receive/appreciate. It interestingly suggests that there are 5 different languages of love that people speak in:
Words of Affirmation
Acts of Service
In my case, I am #1) Words of Affirmation, obviously, and secondly #4) Quality Time. Harold on the other hand is, #2) Acts of Service - when I help him write emails, help him with chores, advise him, etc. He feels supported and loved. He’s also #5) Physical Touch - and of course, what guy doesn’t like to get physical, but it’s a little bit more than that. He loves it when I run my hand through his hair (or beard), when I spontaneously hug him or give him a sweet peck on the lips.
Once I came to this conclusion, that’s when the entire dynamic between him and I changed. Literally both our walls came down immediately and we were able to cross over to each other’s perspective on life. It was not hard at all and guess what... he actually did listen, understood and, ehem, apologized!
This experience taught me how even the most opposite people can easily find a common ground. Harold and I found it and I think we compliment each other pretty well. As you can see, I am quick to act but Harold helps me slow down, appreciate the present, think things through a little bit more, etc. Being blogger, I love to express myself but Harold, being a photographer focuses more on the little details, and that's what's really important when you look at the big picture.
But the real win here was this lesson. When you’re committed to having a relationship, the first and most important thing to keep in mind is that the other person might not love in the same way that you do. Understanding who the person comes from, what their experiences are, and how they receive love is key. If you do that, trust me, your bound to have a sweet, long lasting relationship.
I'd love to know what love means to you. Share in the comment section below how you guys love and receive love! Thanks for reaching and I hope this helps you with your relationships. <3
Photo Credit: @neivy