Day Seventeen: Quiet
I don’t like confrontation, so it’s been hard for me over the years to speak up when I have a different opinion from someone else, particularly a boyfriend. Allow me to clarify: if the discussion regards something I’m passionate about (in politics, religion, etc.) and I know I can voice my opinion to said individual politely and maturely, I will. What I never liked speaking up about was what restaurant I actually wanted to eat at, or what movie on Netflix I’d actually like to watch, or what time I’d actually like to go out.
There’s some baggage from previous relationships that caused this. My first “long-term” boyfriend (about six months) and I had a lot of fun together, until one night I asserted the necessity for us to decide what we wanted to do for a date that evening since one of our options was about to expire given the time frame. It was the first time I had ever tried to take charge of a situation with a boyfriend, and it was scary because I didn’t know how he would react.
Not good is how he reacted.
Without boring you with all the details, let’s just say he got huffy because I “pressured” him, and pretended to be grounded for the next eight weeks so he wouldn’t have to go on another date with me. The good news: I lost the 20 pounds I’d been trying to lose since eighth grade. But the fear had set in. Like Pavlov’s dog, I learned that my stimulus of asserting myself resulted in the action of my boyfriend leaving me.
Another boyfriend didn’t quite go that far, but he had ways of making it clear that he didn’t always have the best time doing things I wanted to do. The two almost-boyfriends after that had issues with “pressure” I put on them to be honest with me if they wanted to be in a relationship or not. That was when I finally decided I’d had enough.
It took me four guys and five years to finally realize that my thoughts, opinions, wants and needs are valid, and that in a truly loving relationship, one person shouldn’t come second every single time.
It was about that time that I met Cory. As early as our second date, I’ve spoken up about my feelings, thoughts, etc. Not that I’m saying I dominate. We both have things we’re in the mood for on which the other one compromises (I’ve eaten a lot of greasy Pizza Hut stuffed-crust pizzas that I didn’t want, and he has missed some basketball games on TV to watch a movie instead). What makes it even better is that he always makes this face like he’s flabbergasted at my request, and it cracks me up. I know a lot of you reading this don’t know him, and his personality is difficult to explain in words. Just trust me. He’s a hoot even when he’s pretending to disagree with me.
Sure, I still shy away from speaking up about my opinions sometimes, but I’m trying to get away from that. I don’t want to start my marriage scared to tell Cory that I don’t like it when he doesn’t cover his mouth to cough or that his toilet seat is starting to look suspect.
Yes, there have already been a couple times when I’ve asserted myself and legitimately made Cory angry or hurt, and I don’t want to do that either. It’s obviously a balance – just like anything else. At the very least, it’s nice not to feel that he’ll hit the road the minute I tell him I want to go to Olive Garden instead of Red Lobster.