In virtually every relationship I’ve had, I’ve been the emotional one out of the two of us. But the guy I’m dating now has taken on that role. It was a little strange to me at first, but now I can’t get enough of it.
He takes my feelings seriously. Guys I’ve dated in the past have told me that I was “irrational” or “hormonal” when I had emotional reactions to just about anything. Whether I got angry over something they did or just cried over a scene in a Disney movie, a lot of them just rolled their eyes and dismissed how I was feeling because they either couldn’t or wouldn’t understand what it was like to have a lot of emotions. My current partner gets it, and it’s seriously like a breath of fresh air.
He knows how to empathize. My relationship isn’t perfect and my partner and I do get into arguments here and there, but when I’m upset, he’s able to put himself in my shoes and really understand what I’m feeling. I never have to worry that he’s just apologizing to get me to shut up — he’s doing it because he genuinely understands how he hurt me and wants to fix it.
It shows he’s not fixated on gender roles. I consider myself to be pretty progressive, but I’ve always ended up with guys who enjoyed the idea of the man being the protector or provider and the woman being… well, not that. My boyfriend isn’t bothered by my alpha female personality just as I’m not bothered by the fact that he has a lot of feelings, and our relationship feels a lot more equal because of it.
He doesn’t get freaked out when I cry. I get it — it’s hard when your partner bursts into tears and you have no idea what to do to help. But the guys I’ve dated in the past actively avoided me when I cried, telling me that they “just weren’t good with that stuff.” The guy that I’m with now, however, doesn’t bat an eye when I get teary. He’s happy to literally let me cry on his shoulder, and I can do the same for him.
He doesn’t have a weird “macho” complex. My boyfriend has healthy ideas of masculinity and I’m so thankful for that. He understands that talking about what you’re feeling isn’t “girly,” and he doesn’t bottle up his emotions for fear of looking weak. It’s so refreshing to be with someone who understands that being a man and being emotional can (and should) happen at the same time.
I don’t have to guess what he’s feeling. I’ve driven myself crazy in the past wondering what might be going through a partner’s head. Was he quiet because he was mad at me? Was he not responding because he wasn’t into me anymore? With my current boyfriend, that’s not an issue. I can trust that if he’s upset with me, he’ll tell me, and if he’s happy about something, he’ll express it. It’s erased so much unnecessary paranoia on my part, and it’s made our relationship healthier.
We balance each other. I’m usually the more emotional one in relationships, but before, it always felt like I was butting heads with my partners instead of fitting with them like puzzle pieces. But now, things are different. Since I’m less emotional than my boyfriend, but not completely on the other end of the spectrum, we work together really well. I keep him grounded and he helps me get in touch with my softer side and reminds me I don’t have to bottle everything up all the time.
Our communication is amazing. I can’t tell you how nice it is to be able to have actual conversations about our problems instead of huge blow-out arguments. He’s quick to tell me whatever is bothering him and why it’s bothering him, and from there, we can work together to find a solution. Similarly, he can understand why I feel the way I do about certain issues.
He’s still super masculine. There’s a huge misconception that men who are emotional aren’t “manly,” and my partner proves that this idea just isn’t true. He’s as rugged-looking as they get, super strong, and enjoys a lot of activities that are traditionally masculine. There are plenty of guys out there who aren’t very masculine, and that’s great too! But I love my partner even more for being proof that being emotional and retaining your imaginary “man card” aren’t mutually exclusive.
He’s made me realize that what I wanted wasn’t anything crazy. I’ve spent my entire adult life hoping to find a guy who didn’t act like he had the emotional capacity of a brick wall, and after dating so many dudes who didn’t fit that standard, I thought maybe I was just hoping for too much. But the way my partner is shows me that what I’ve wanted for years was out there. Even if things don’t work out with him in the long run, I’ll never settle for an unemotional guy ever again.
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