With the year I’ve just had and Valentine’s Day having just been and gone, it’s only natural that I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about love and relationships lately. Not in a sad, melancholic kind of way. Oh ok, a little bit in a sad, melancholic kind of way. Actually though, rather than drag me into a pit of insecurity and despair about my still childless existence like it normally would have, it’s helped me come to some rather positive conclusions.
I guess as much as I hate to admit it, I’ve always been a bit of a romantic at heart. Not like the kind you find in an 80’s power ballad or Nicholas Sparks novel – I don’t believe in love at first sight or soul mates or star crossed lovers. I’m not into poetry and extravagant gifts or public declarations of undying love. Nope, I see myself as a realist, and all of that just sounds too impractical to me – I’m under no illusions that love is a fairy tale. Quite the opposite in fact. I’m more than prepared to take the rough with the smooth. But I’ve held a perception of how love and marriage should be since a very young age and I’m pretty sure you’ll think it’s a little old fashioned. What I believe about love appears to be quite controversial, and perhaps that’s why the future I always planned for myself has eluded me so far. You see, I’m looking for someone to take care of me. I know, gasp. Everytime I admit that I’m made to feel like I’ve taken a giant step back for feminism or something, but I don’t think that’s fair, and here is why…
I am not a delicate little butterfly who needs protecting. I don’t expect to marry a rich man and immediately give up work. I have no intention of being a kept woman – I’ve been there already, and it isn’t fun. Having to rely 100% on another person is scary when you’re used to your independence. Simply trusting that the bills are being paid, having to ask permission to do anything that costs money, having to justify every penny you spend to another person – no thanks, it sucks. It takes an incredibly strong bond and an amazing amount to trust to make that situation work, and even then, it’s hard. So when I say I want to be taken care of, that isn’t what I mean.
It just so happens that I naturally lean towards the more stereotypical feminine traits – I love clothes and shoes, I like to bake cakes, I like my home to be clean and pretty. I tend to end up doing the classic ‘girl’ jobs like shopping and cooking and cleaning and laundry because they’re all things I care about (please note: that isn’t necessarily the same as enjoying them. I don’t scrub the toilet because I enjoy it). It’s not a role I’m particularly uncomfortable with to be honest, it’s not on purpose or because the evil male agenda has scrambled my brain, it’s just the way I’m wired. But here’s the thing – I can also fix the washing machine (in fairness that was probably a fluke – thanks Google!). I’m normally the one that has to remember to put the bins out or test the batteries in the smoke detector. I was the only one that knew where the fuse box was in my last home, or how the boiler worked, and the one who got stressed about the bills being paid on time instead of on the day the final reminder dropped through the letterbox. I am entirely capable of taking care of myself. You know what though? I don’t want to! I spend all day at work organising people and making the hard decisions – I want someone else to do some of that for me when I get home. I don’t want to have to be in charge all the time. Is that really so bad?
For quite some time I’d started to believe that there was something unreasonable about what I was looking for. I let that realistic voice creep in and tell me that the reason I wasn’t getting it was because it didn’t exist. I thought that maybe I had unrealistic expectations, and for a long time I allowed myself to give up on what I’d always imagined I’d one day find. I didn’t even like telling people that this was how I felt because I thought they’d think I was some sort of egotistical diva. But lately I’ve realised that that just isn’t the case – I don’t want this because I’m selfish, it’s actually a mutually beneficial situation. When I give myself to someone, I give myself fully. I’ve always worn my heart on my sleeve and I’m not afraid to talk about my feelings. Nothing makes me more fulfilled than making someone I love happy. I don’t mind cooking for you, cleaning for you or doing your washing – I like feeling needed. I will literally do all it takes to make you smile. But in return I want you to care just as much about making me happy. I want you to help with the house work – not because I’m not willing to do it but because you know I’ll feel happy and relaxed when it’s done. When I come home from work so frazzled that having to decide what to cook for tea brings me to tears, I just want you to take the decision out of my hands. Maybe run me a bath and pour me a glass of wine, or just give me a cuddle and tell me it will be ok. I want you to remember to buy more milk when you finish it because you know I like a cup of coffee on a Saturday morning, the way I stock the fridge up when you’ve been away because I know you’ll be hungry. I’m not talking huge romantic gestures like scaling a fire exit when you’re scared of heights a la Richard Gere or building a house with your bare hands like Ryan Gosling in The Notebook. I just want you to love me like I love you.
So yes, I’ll admit it, I want to be spoiled and treated like a princess. I want someone to cherish me and be proud to call me theirs. I want to feel appreciated and loved. Not because I think I’m something special or the world owes me something, but because everyone deserves to feel like that, and I’m not ashamed to admit that that’s what I want anymore. I want someone to take care of me, not because they should, or because I need taking care of, but because I want to take care of someone too, and I deserve to get back what I put in.
And believe me, I’m going to take care of that someone so freaking good! I promise, I will make sure I’m worth it!