This weekend, I learned a huge lesson in the language of love.
I should start by saying I’d been in a little funk leading up to the weekend. Something felt ‘off’ in my relationship with Erik, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. I was debating not even going to see him; despite having an empty house to ourselves, I wasn’t completely sold on entertaining his friends for a party Saturday night. Then he suggested a stay-in date night on Friday and I was a little more willing to go.
He was a bit ambitious from the get-go, saying he could cook up dinner or set up a cute ‘romantic’ dinner with take out food. I knew not to expect too much (it’s a new thing I’m trying because I am the Queen of Unrealistic Expectations), but I did let myself get a little excited.
As I assumed, there was no romantic set-up when I arrived, but I was happy enough to have Chinese food waiting for me. Usually I don’t get to Erik’s until 7pm and by the time we figure out what to get or where to go for dinner, we’re not eating until 7:30 or even 8. He also bought a large bottle of my favorite wine and served it in plastic cups meant more for non-alcoholic beverages.
My memory gets a bit fuzzy after that. He had queued up a few episodes of Modern Family since we have some catching up to do, so we watched those while drinking quite a lot of the wine and cuddling. We ended up staying up pretty late, talking a lot since – let’s be honest – the alcohol makes us both chatty and more open. I’m pretty sure we were up until at least 1am before finally crashing.
Saturday was quiet for most of the day. We lounged in bed and watched TV, eventually got up and showered, then prepared to have some people over. That was actually a ton of fun and I laughed so much at Erik’s friends’ antics. We were up until 4am, which is just crazy.
On Sunday, people were planning to go out for lunch. The idea of waking up before noon after an evening of drinking – especially after being up until 4am – sounded completely unappealing to me. Without talking to me, Erik excused us, saying we’d be hanging out with Natalie at some point and didn’t know when. In retrospect, I think he really said no because he knew I wouldn’t want to get up and go out (and maybe a little bit because he didn’t want to do that, either). Instead, we spent the day being lazy until Natalie came home and we went out to dinner.
I tend to take things for granted and, like I mentioned earlier, develop ridiculous expectations that would be hard for anyone to fulfill. To expect Erik to cook a meal or even prepare a romantic setting for a take-out dinner was unrealistic; I knew that it’s not in his personality to do things like that. I was hopeful that he’d surprise me, but I didn’t depend on it.
Maybe that sounds like I’m compromising because I deserve candlelit dinners and love letters if I want them. It’s not. It’s learning to pay attention to the other things Erik does that are clearly rooted in how much he loves me. For the longest time, I was struggling because he wasn’t speaking in my language, so I assumed that meant he didn’t love me. But I was ignoring all the ways he was communicating his love to me, ways that don’t translate one-hundred percent but still have the right feeling behind them.
The biggest ‘ah-ha’ moment, though, was that he picked up on my funk, realized I needed quality time with him, and arranged for that to happen. Aside from the party, we spent our entire weekend together and alone, which was all I needed in the first place and all the proof I need that he does really love me.