I have a truly awesome boyfriend. Above and beyond awesome. He takes out the garbage. He shovels the driveway … and walkway … and deck … and outdoor fire pit. And, I’m sure you can appreciate how gargantuan a task that has been this winter. He moves furniture whenever I ask, brings me coffee in bed and walks my dog happily.
He even thumps me every night. I know, I know – you’re suddenly all a-titter. But I mean this literally. I have a very bad back and a thumper. An electronic massage device that is an absolute Godsend as long as you have someone willing to thump you. Because self-thumping kind of defeats the purpose. I mean you’d have to contort like a Russian gymnast. Anyway yes indeed he thumps me every night, much to the consternation of my chiropractor who has not seen me in months.
And you know what else he does?
He reads to me. Out loud. Before we fall asleep.
Honestly, I have mentioned this to a few girlfriends and they all just sigh. Hell, I just sigh. A man who will read to you and thump you? In the same night?
Yep. He’s a keeper.
Except for last week when, no word of a lie, I found his very breath – the inhale, the exhale, repeat ad infinitum – to be annoying. I found his hair to be annoying. I love his hair. It is dark and thick and fabulous and last week when just one stray strand graced the sink or tub or pillowcase I was fully and completely annoyed. His laugh annoyed me. His silence annoyed me. When he spoke it annoyed me and when he ignored me hell yeah I WAS ANNOYED!
Why, you might ask?
Well … as happens with most couples … we had a miscommunication. And when it became apparent that we were speaking two different languages we opted to let it go. All in an effort to maintain equilibrium.
Stupid, stupid, stupid.
See, here’s the thing: if you don’t address a problem full-on, get to the root, sort through it and RESOLVE it, it festers like some blistering ulcer and seeps into every aspect of your relationship. You know, things like hair and silence and breathing.
How do I know this?
In all honesty (as compared to all the other times of lied to you) – I heard it on the radio. Funniest darn thing but last week while driving, and channel-flipping, I happened upon a chat show where the “expert” said just that. Relationships don’t thrive when problems are not addressed and resolved, said he. They fester. Until eventually you don’t even know what you’re fighting about anymore. You just know that you are fighting. And annoyed.
Makes sense to me. Because the truth is we live in a very moment-to-moment world. Sure we try to keep big-pictures in mind, but when we are hurt, when our feelings are hurt, when we are misunderstood and feeling unheard … well even George Clooney doesn’t stand a chance.
So … my guy and I? We dove back in. We hashed it out every which way but Sunday until we finally achieved some resolution. It wasn’t fun. But it was necessary. It brought us back to a clean slate. No old issues, no unresolved anger, no silent sulking or passive-aggressive bullshit.
And tonight I will cook dinner, he will take out the garbage, I will get thumped and then he will read to me.
And tomorrow, when a few of those fabulous dark hairs grace the bathroom sink, I shall simply smile and say Damn, I have a good-looking boyfriend …