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The first Valentine’s Day with my husband was extremely special—in my mind, at least.
We had been dating for almost nine months, and as our first Valentine’s together, my mind ran wild on my way to his place.
I imagined walking into the bedroom with candles on both sides of the hallway, a bed full of roses (it’s all Jon Bon Jovi’s fault), and soft music playing in the background.
Thinking back to that night, I can’t blame myself; I’ve seen lots of rom-coms and grew up watching music clips like “Crazy” (Aerosmith), “November Rain” (Guns N’ Roses), and “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” (Celine Dion). And it goes without saying that I was only eight when I watched “Titanic” and forever dreamt about meeting my “Jack.”
Walking into his place, there were no candles, the bed was messy, and a movie on Netflix was running in the background. I had never felt that disappointed in my entire life. Five minutes later, he approached me with a 20×30 canvas. I flipped the canvas, and to my surprise, I saw a painting of me and him hiking in my favorite place in Nepal.
His eyes were locked on me as he told me, “I just don’t know how to be ‘romantic,’ and I obviously don’t know how to paint, but I hope you like it.” Folks, that was the most unromantic romantic thing someone had ever done for me, and I made sure to let him know that.
I wanted to have the same date I had when I was 19 and 21 and 25. One guy did prepare the perfect bed of roses for me; he broke up with me seven months later. Another one flooded me with gifts; he ended up cheating on me. The thought of my husband (who was still my boyfriend back then) buying paint and a canvas and sitting for hours to paint us was absolutely sweet; we ended up marrying each other.
When I come to think about it, my husband is the least romantic person I know—by today’s romantic standards. However, by my own standards, he is the most romantic man I have ever met.
We rarely hold hands when walking, but he does make sure to always roll the shopping cart. He’s never given me flowers, but he makes me a cup of coffee every day when I need it the most. He has never invited me to a candlelit dinner, but he asks me every single night if I would like to go out and to choose the place. These things might not be romantic according to Hollywood, but for me, they are.
Here are seven (unromantic) things that prove your partner truly loves you:
1. Unconditionally supporting you. The most romantic thing for me is when someone unconditionally supports you and accepts you as you are. No rules, no controlling behaviors, no jealousy, and no unnecessary quarrels. We were once going out for lunch, and I was worried whether or not my dress was too short. My husband asked me, “Are you feeling comfortable?” “I absolutely am!” I exclaimed. He continued, “Wear whatever makes you happy, and if someone has a problem with it, I’ll make sure to tell them to look away.” That, for me, was the sweetest thing ever.
2. Doing meaningful things. Like letting you walk in a doorway first, walking on the street-side to shield you from passing cars, or asking you if you need any help.
3. Observing your needs. They observe how you feel and provide you with what you need. A few months ago, on a rainy day, I was struggling to leave the bed, and when my husband came to wake me up, I told him I was extremely hungry and too tired to get up. A few minutes later, he came in with a tray table with coffee and breakfast. During the day, whenever he feels I’m getting tired or struggling to finish work, he surprises me with Turkish coffee.
4. Holding space. When someone sees you, feels you, hears you with no judgements, and lets you be present with your emotions as they are in this very moment, know that it’s romantic, and it’s the best thing they can offer you. When I had an emotional breakdown a few weeks ago, the only thing that brought me back to my senses was my husband’s arms around me as I sobbed. He didn’t say any words; he just held me until I calmed down.
5. Doing things you like with you. If they hate something but do it for you without any pressure from your side, know that it’s a big romantic gesture. Someone who loves you is willing to share every moment with you—even if they don’t fancy it.
6. Respecting your personal choices. For me, it’s absolutely sexy when my partner respects my choices, even if he doesn’t agree with them. My husband makes sure to always guide me and provide me with advice when I need it, but when I make my own choices, he also makes sure to respect them and support me.
7. Giving you nicknames. I’m not referring to bae, honey, cupcake, or sweety. I’m talking about nicknames that might be funny or cute and that are obviously reserved for you. They identify you and tell who you are. My husband has a long list of nicknames for me, and I absolutely love it. Hearing them makes me laugh, and I kind of appreciate the effort he makes on a daily basis to come out with a new one.
What is the most unromantic romantic thing that your partner does for you? And what do you do for them?