I’ve been called a lot of things: weird, eccentric, looney, Barry… so it was important for me at the beginning of my relationship to release the crazy s-l-o-w-l-y. From talking to my friends, I’ve realised that I’m not alone. Many of us keep certain things hidden from our partners for years. YEARS.
1. Our true musical taste
I like a lot of ‘cool’ bands: The Smiths, The Beatles, Creedence, The White Stripes, The Rolling Stones… but I also like a lot of not-so-cool bands: The Backstreet Boys, Abba, The Spice Girls to name a few. He knows now but it took a while to fess up. Him finding my stash of Backstreet Boys merchandise in my bedroom didn’t help my efforts at being discreet.
2. Our bad habits
Sometime we humans are just plain disgusting. It wasn’t until I began living with a boy that I realised just how disgusting. I’m not completely innocent either. I sometimes chew my nails a little and I play with my hair a ridiculous amount (it’s very long and quite curly so it’s more of an attempt to keep it from blinding me). My bad habits are more grounded in my personality. I’m lazy, so when I can, I sleep. A lot. This is in stark contrast to Jack, who gets up at ridiculous o’ clock. That was pretty awkward when we first moved in together as Jack often though I had gone into hibernation. (That would be AMAZING!)
While over-sleeping isn’t so bad, there are a few things that I do that drive him insane. I leave tea bags just lying around. I’m very, very clumsy so I break something around three times a week. The frequency of my breakages means we actually spend well above average on dinner ware and have considered using paper plates. I cry at EVERYTHING. An advert with a dog? Tears. A picture of a kitten? Tears. A love poem? Oh you better believe there’ll be tears.
Also, I often day dream so by the time Jack has finished telling me a long intricate tale, I reply with something like ‘no thanks, I just had a coffee.’ I also often begin stories and then decide I’m too lazy to finish, like the time….
So why am I telling you all this? Because we all have elements of our personalities that are off-putting. It’s hard to know what exactly will irritate our partners when we don’t really know them. Some people get angry over seemingly trivial habits. My friend once refused a second date with a guy because he blew his nose at the cinema. She thought it was disgusting. (I argued that it would have been worse if he hasn’t blown his nose and it resembled Niagara Falls…when I wrote that first it autocorrected to ‘Viagra’ and now I’m giggling. Add ‘gross immaturity’ to my list of annoying traits.)
3. Our jealous side
There’s a little green monster living inside all of us. No, not literally (put down the scalpel). We all have the capacity to be jealous. There is a fine line between healthy jealousy and murdering his friend Karen cause she laughed at his joke. Or something.
Sometimes jealousy can be kind of cute. It lets us know that the person cares about us. Most of the time though, it creates arguments and strife in a relationship. I know plenty of girls who pretend that they’re totally cool with their boyfriend checking out other girls. They get serious brownie points from their boyfriend and his friends because ‘that is literally the COOLEST girlfriend EVER!’ but you must also live with your boyfriend openly checking out other girls, and I KNOW that would bother any girl.
There are some girls who are the other extreme; possessive, not trusting and paranoid. A relationship like that is doomed to fail. So what’s the right balance? Realised some jealousy is healthy, but if you have his rabbit in a saucepan right now, then you may have a problem.
4. Our crazy families
I love my family. Because I’m in it. But introducing Jack to them was difficult. Of course your partner will form an opinion of your family and sometimes people find it hard to distinguish between the family as a whole and a collection of often very different individuals.
Some people spend a long time cultivating a particular image or sophistication or success only to have it obliterated in seconds by tacky decor and yelling at Ma and Pa’s house. I was pretty upfront about my family so there weren’t any major surprises. Jack even lived with us for a while but the court case is still pending so I can’t talk about that yet.*
5. Our tempers/moodswings
Much like a cat gif on their phone, everyone has a temper. What I mean is, everyone has the capacity to lose their cool. I’m not talking Christian Bale on the set of Terminator here. That’s a whole other kind of problem. I’m referring to days when you’re pissed off or moments where something annoys you to point where you have to express it.
Everyone who knows me knows that I’m very laid back. Possibly too much. I don’t really get irritated often. I hardly ever argue. My students frequently tell me that I’m the calmest teacher they’ve ever had. I do have my mad moments though. I have has screaming matches with parents/friends/ahem.. pedestrians… See, when I’m pushed, and I mean, really pushed, I can be a little like the Incredible Hulk (it is beyond cool that my phone recognised that and auto-capitalised it, winning!). Now I’ve had difficult students, parents, friends, customers etc and I have usually been able to maintain a really calm demeanour. Honestly, most people would probably use the word ‘relaxed’ to sum me up in a word. (Or ‘certifiable’ but who cares about them and their big college words.) The people who do know me really well though, well they know about the temper. I knew it would only be a matter of time before I would get mad at/in front of Jack. What I wasn’t expecting is that he finds it absolutely HILARIOUS when I’m mad. I’m guessing because my voice raises about three octaves and there’s lots of swearing and wild gesturing.
6. Our ‘comfortable’ side
Lets make a comparison shall we? This day ten years ago I would’ve been dating Jack for about three months. If we were meeting up, I’d have worn a full face of makeup and my nicest outfit (which circa 2003 was probably flared jeans and hooped earring, crrrringe).
Right now, I’m wearing Jack’s check shirt, baggy pants and for some reason, his over-sized flip-flops so I resemble a clown. I have no make-up on. I think I wore some last week. My point is I never thought I would’ve let Jack see me like this. But the effort it was taking to straighten my hair, apply make-up, buy new clothes etc was just not worth it. Jack never seemed to care. In fact, he prefers me sans make-up. And now at least when I do doll myself up, he notices. I always pin-point the moment you can frequently and comfortably go without makeup and all the frills as the moment where a relationship progresses from casual to serious. That, and when the judge lifts the restraining order.
*This is one of them joke things what Bill Cosby tell.