It’s with a heavy heart that I write this letter. Because the guy I spent many years with has recently given his heart to you. The day I found out he had given his heart to you was a nightmare. My throat swelled up, my face flushed beat red, my stomach in knots tighter than those ones that get stuck in your jewelry. As I was drenched in remorse and self-pity I tried to remind myself it wasn’t my fault he left me. I tried to remind myself it wasn’t me I should be upset with. Or him. Or you. In fact I shouldn’t be upset at all. It all happened this way for a reason, right?
I came to know and love this guy – I learned about all of his flaws, everything that made him tick, every one of his passions, everything that brought him joy. At one time I brought him joy. I loved him the way very few people love. I was all in. The entirety of my love gave him the tools to crush me. And he used a hammer. But that doesn’t have to happen to you. Maybe you’re it. Even if you’re not, maybe I can help you love him the way he needs you to love him while he’s yours.
When his song comes on the radio and he starts tapping his fingers on the steering wheel, embrace every second. Because that tap will turn into a head nod, and maybe even a sing-along. Moments like that don’t come often so join in with him and sing with him to the song he loves.
When he seems a bit overwhelmed in a big crowd, give him space, and don’t pester him constantly asking him what’s wrong. There’s likely nothing wrong – he’s just taking it all in. And when you return from your outing let him retreat to his corner of the room for a bit. He gets his energy from regrouping on his own.
Pull him a bit out of his comfort zone, but not all at once. He likes to have a plan – even for date nights. Let him take you out and show you a great evening, but then on your walk or drive home, pull his arm into that dive bar or the cute little cupcake shop on the corner. Explore new places. Take him on adventures. Break the plan.
When he shares his poetry with you, plays a song on the piano, or shows you the progress he’s made in learning the guitar, take it all in. He’s letting you into his world, and showing you his vulnerable side. He’s modest about his talents. Compliment him and tell him how wonderful he is.
On special days like birthdays or anniversaries be prepared to be flooded with thoughtful gestures. He’ll wait for you with roses and then as you walk toward him he’ll smirk like a goofball the moment he sees you because he knows he’s doing it right. He’ll hold your hand and kiss your forehead. On days when you’re feeling down, he’ll lift your chin, look into your eyes and tell you to keep your chin up, because it’s easier to kiss you that way. Let him buy you roses, let him lift your chin.
But it’s not always going to be easy.
He’ll shoot himself down. He’s his own biggest critic. He’ll make a joke about the color of his hair. Or say something silly to dismiss the compliment you give him. He’ll give you unnecessary apologies for his introversion on nights when he’d rather just stay in. Don’t let him apologize. He’s done nothing wrong. Encourage him to love himself as much as you do. Give him compliments over and over again until he believes they are true.
Your friends might tell you the two of you are extraordinarily different. They might say he’s unlike anyone else you’ve dated. Ignore them. Give new and different a chance. He’ll surprise you every single day.
He’s going to over analyze everything. He’s a thinker. He reflects on every decision he makes, and everything he learns. Sometimes it will drive you crazy when he asks about your plan. It might drive you crazy when he won’t take your side on something because he’s so damn reasonable or stubborn. But eventually the driving will turn into a nice, steady cruise and you’ll come to expect the questions he’ll ask and assume the reactions he’ll have.
When he says he loves you he means it. When he tells you you’re beautiful he means it. But when he makes you a promise – challenge him. Look him in the eyes and ask him if he really means it. Take “for always” with a grain of salt. Choose the promises you decide to believe wisely… especially the ones he tells you about your future…because from my experience, some promises…he just can’t keep.