June 6 was the anniversary of my first date with my now-boyfriend and love of my life. Over the past year he’s been a supporter, cheerleader, lover, best friend, and overall inspiration and I never take what he does for me for granted. Every day, I see, hear or do something that makes me think of him and I come to this realization that I am a very, very, very lucky woman to have found love like this.
Sometimes too, thanking your partner is more than thanking them for the beautiful gift or the dinner they treated you too. A good partner will do all these things and more, but a GREAT partner will help you realize your full potential as not just a girlfriend or boyfriend, but as a human being. While I never take the little things for granted, the bigger things are so big, they seem to go unnoticed as if they just happened like clouds moving through the sky – huge and immense, but there they are. I want to take ten minutes out of my evening just before bed to thank him openly for what he’s done for me.
1. He helped me realize my career dreams.
When I finished my teaching practicum, I thought to myself, “I never want to do this again.” And then I started dating a fellow teacher – one who never had the confidence issues, rocky road, and difficult workload that I had, who sailed through his practicum seamlessly and enthusiastically. A pettier version of me in the past would have been envious and bitter at a close friend’s successes in my field. Perhaps that was why I decided to bow out of the competition – to avoid failure.
On our first date, I told him, “I never want to be a teacher.” And he replied, “that makes me very sad to hear that.” As we went on and talked shop, I realized through his eyes that I had more to offer than I thought and more successes than I thought during a very, very stressful and tumultuous time of fear, overwork and uncertainty in myself and my abilities. I changed my mind, now I’m a teacher, and I would never have felt this kind of satisfaction and comfort level with my career choice, had it not been for his encouragement and his own unwavering enthusiasm and passion for education.
2. He makes me feel truly beautiful, inside and outside.
Some argue it’s not important to feel beautiful but the sad reality is, depending on the day, and especially for someone with deep insecurity issues like me, it really is. And before I dated anyone, or when I dated an asshole who treated me poorly I felt un-pretty and un-wanted and un-loved.
Currently, I’m in a place in my life where I have gained quite a bit of weight and it’s only very ever-so-slowly coming off (but not fast enough). And yet, rather than griping about it and feeling the burden of 10 extra pounds, I instead feel like someone who is beautiful and confident and bolstered in other areas of my life. When you’re in love, you feel unstoppable; you feel as though the world has given its favours and luck and rewards and magic spells all to you and you hold all this goodness in your hands and it feels amazing and wonderful and freeing.
If I’m 10lb heavier, or I’m not wearing makeup, or I feel sick and bloaty and on my period, he always makes me feel just as beautiful and just as desirable. This hasn’t demotivated my own weightloss journey (which is ongoing and now in life, ever-present) but it certainly makes it feel like less of a load to carry during rough patches.
3. He doesn’t make me feel like damaged goods.
As someone who’s faced a lot of tragedy in my past that has contributed to a loss of a lot of confidence and self-worth and the ability to really have a voice in many scenarios, almost to the point where I’m crippled, I have always been worried about others finding out the reason(s) why and looking at me as someone who needs to be protected, sheltered or treated like half a human being. It was my biggest fear and continues to be walking into every relationship.
In this one, my fears were very unfounded. Realistically, I know most good, mature responsible adults are not ever going to look at me this way when I tell them what has happened to me, but that doesn’t help ease the difficulty in telling people about who I am and why I am that way. I told my truth to my boyfriend on one of our first dates. It’s become something that’s easy enough to talk about with him but that also stays hidden in the background, easily accessible but only if needed. And if it is needed, that’s okay too.
4. He’s adopted me into his family.
I have a wonderful, albeit really small family without a lot of the love and affection you see from TV families. My boyfriend’s family does seem like a TV family; they are the kindest, most welcoming, most fun and lovely and kindhearted people to spend time with. It’s not something to necessarily ‘thank’ him for, but overall seeing his family members makes me feel like a part of such a loving, welcoming family. I’m developing a comfort level with them and it’s been such an addition to my life. It never goes under-appreciated.