Friday, February 14, 2014

What a Girl Wants

Or, more specifically, what this girl wants, and not so much wants, as needs.  I'd like to think I'm reasonable, easy going and low-maintenance, but I know I'm demanding with my boyfriends.  I have known this.  I have come to accept it, I think because when I try to give too much of it up, I end up hurting more than if I just stood up for what I want.  I'm tired of giving up too much, and I'm wary of doing it again.  Even still, I don't think my demands are unreasonable.  

I need to feel loved.  That must be the most important thing, because so much boils down to that.  I'm not a very jealous person:  my boyfriend can dance with whomever he wants and he can be friends with girls, I have no problem with either, as long as at the end of the day, I know he's mine.  But I only know he's mine when I feel loved.  I want there to be "us" time.  He can have his "me" time and he can have his friend time.  He has time for school and time for work and time for homework.  But I need some time to be for me.  And I prefer a lot of it, but I don't demand a lot of it, especially when his time is absorbed with school and homework.  Feeling loved I think is both an ongoing thing and an incremental thing.  Saying "I love you," and hugging and kissing and cuddling are all good for the ongoing thing, but I still need to feel extra special sometimes.  This means that I need to be taken out to dinner or treated to a surprise, something above and beyond routine, every now and then.

I need to know the plan.  His time and his friend time and his homework time and his work time and his family time are all okay, as long as I am given enough information to manage my expectations.  If I know he won't be around, then I can make my own plan to do what I want.  I think I communicate my plans very clearly, maybe to the point of giving too much information, but that's how my mind works.  I would rather overcommunicate than let someone think I have ditched them.  Even if the plan is to "wing it" or be spontaneous, that's okay, as long as I know when it will start and stop.  We can spend a whole weekend doing whatever, but I know on Monday morning I have to go back to work, and I can't be somewhere that prohibits that from happening.  I don't need to know every detail, but timing is important.  If the plan is, "I have a surprise for you," or "I want to take you somewhere," just tell me when to be ready and make sure I'm home in time to get some sleep if I have work in the morning.  As long as it doesn't conflict with what I've already established as part of my plan, I don't need to know any more.  And if my boyfriend is going out with friends, I don't need him to have a curfew, I just need to know that he may not be home when I come home from work, or that he will be out late and I should do dinner on my own.  I just need to know enough to decide whether or not I should make plans for myself.

I need to feel appreciated.  I go out of my way to do nice things for my boyfriend, and I want to know that he noticed.  I am sure I can also show more appreciation as well, so I'm not going to pretend its a one-way street. This is just a fundamental need.  

I need to be allowed to breakdown.  Life is hard, and I get stressed.  I am generally a very strong person, but I can't always be the strong one.  I need someone that I can lean on when life overwhelms me.  I need to feel taken care of when I'm sick or vulnerable or frustrated.  

I need to feel included.  Some research shows that men separate the parts of their lives into buckets, and they don't like mixing the buckets.  If that's the case, and the girlfriend bucket is separate from the family, friends, and work buckets, then I guess I'd ask my boyfriend to consciously make an effort to bring me in, especially when it impacts me and also when it is obvious I am available.  For example, holiday planning should be done together; it is not acceptable for my boyfriend to commit to his family without first talking with me about it.  That puts me in an awkward ultimatum; I either go with him or have to be separated from him for the holiday. Holidays can be a sensitive topic, and I think planning should be treated as a negotiation, not an ultimatum.  As another example, if I want to get together with some friends for drinks, I always ask my boyfriend if he wants to go before setting the plans in stone.  If he doesn't want to go, then I tend to choose a time when he is working or planning to do something else.  That way, that leaves time open for when we both might be available so that we can do something together.  If he does want to go, then I of course try to accommodate his schedule in planning.  This is my inclusive mindset; I like having everyone around me, the more the merrier with me.  All I ask is that I am likewise included in social plans that my boyfriend is involved in.  If his friends want to meet at a time that I am not available, so be it.  But I'd still like to know in case my plans are flexible, so I am given the option of attending.  If he makes plans for when he knows or thinks I may be available and doesn't invite me, I don't generally understand that at all, but if its a boy's night out or something explainable, I can live with it.  If it becomes a habit, though, I may have a problem again.  

I need to get my way sometimes.  Some relationships don't work this way, I guess, but I insist on it.  I will not be shut out completely and told what to do by the person I claim to love.  We can't always go to the restaurants he's in the mood for, or watch the movies he wants to watch, or do the things that he wants to do.  We need to go to a restaurant of my choice, watch the movie I want to watch, and do the things I want to do some times.  Certainly not all the time, and I think I tend to be very giving in this area, because my priority is spending time together, and I care less about what it is we're doing as long as I have that quality time.  But I can't give in every time, period.  

I need to see progress.  This might be the thing that, more than anything else, makes me hard to love or come off as demanding.  But it's a part of me, it's how I've come as far as I have and it's why I'll go even farther.  I push people, and I push myself.  If my boyfriend says he wants to do something, I will push him to accomplish the steps that will get him there.  I guess I hate lipservice and dreaming that are not supported by action.  If he says he wants something, I assume that he really wants it, and I want to help him get it, and I expect him to hold up his end, or tell me he no longer wants it.  So if my boyfriend wants to buy a house, he should go get pre-approved for a loan and then find a realtor.  If my boyfriend says he wants to go to England, then he better get a Passport.  One thing that endears my boyfriend to me is when he helps me accomplish my goals, because I like to see progress on my desires too, not just on his.  When my boyfriend helps me with a home improvement project, that becomes one of my fondest memories, even if it was brief and the help was minimal.  Progress with relationships is generally important to me, too, but I am perfectly happy with the state of our relationship and do not feel like we need to move forward anymore right now.  Early on, I wanted my boyfriend to move in pretty darn quickly, and I knew I was asking him to move faster than he was used to, but we talked about it honestly and he did move in pretty quickly.  If he hadn't, I may have pushed more for progress, but where we are now is great.  I imagine in the future I will want to get engaged and get married, and once I feel that itch I will want to see progress towards that or I will get frustrated, but that is for the future.  

I need to have fun.  Work is tough, chores suck, exercise is hard to get excited for, and paying bills can be depressing, but these are things in life we must do.  If that is all we did, though, I think I'd kill myself.  I work hard and stay healthy so I can have fun, and I do chores and pay bills so I can enjoy my house and let others enjoy it.  I'm simultaneously easy to please and difficult to please in this matter, because just about anything sounds like fun at least one time, but I like variety.  Watching TV every night will not suffice, I will want to get out and dance.  Dancing every night might drain me, and I would want to stay in and watch TV.

The good news for my current boyfriend is that he is pretty damn good at all of these things.  My only reservation all along was that he is maybe too good at the having fun thing, and not so good on the making progress thing.  But, he lets me push him and he responds as best anyone could when I get upset.  I know he loves me by his words and his actions, and, at my request, he has worked on communicating his plans to me.  He handles the relationship stuff with maturity, and I love him.  

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