Oh, you guys.
My first Valentine’s Day as part of a couple was…something.
The following lesson wasn’t fun to learn, but if sharing it here will keep you from telling your boyfriend to fuck off in public, then maybe this weekend wasn’t a total loss.
Now, since this is “The Life & Lessons of Rachel Wilkerson” and not “The Life & Lessons of Rachel Wilkerson’s Boyfriend,” I’m only going to share the lessons I learned this weekend. I’m sure Eric learned a few things too, but that’s not my story to tell, so I’m leaving most of the (very long) back story out of this. He and I are both in agreement that I had every right to be upset (believe me when I say that even though I didn’t want to, I gave him a list that was beyond comprehensive) so I don’t really want to re-hash the why; the real lesson here is about how to handle your feelings, even if they are justified.
Lesson #69: What happens on your first Valentine’s Day together is not a dealbreaker.
It’s OK to make mistakes on the first one.
I try really hard not to be That Girlfriend, which is why I don’t like to fight. So even when I know I’m justified in my feelings, I don’t always do something about it. The problem here is that for me, it’s a fine line between not being That Girlfriend and just being a doormat. In an effort to be open-minded, loving, fair, supportive, and not ridiculous, I sometimes forget that I need to say something when something is bothering me.
This weekend? I forgot that, and instead convinced myself that I could avoid a fight, even though I was getting more and more upset as the weekend went on. So in an effort to not be That Girlfriend, I vacillated between really enjoying spending time with Eric and getting pissed off because I felt like he hadn’t listened to me when I’d told him what was important to me.
But I don’t do very well with hiding my feelings. When I’m hurt and trying to hide it, I look like a little kid who has to pee — they twist and turn in this very clear dance, but keep insisting they don’t have to go.
Which is why I pretty much had an accident during dinner.
Sunday night, we were out to eat and things were sort of awkward and tense, but mostly fine. Trying to make conversation, I brought up the topic of what I should write my Monday blog post about.
“I have pictures of some cupcakes,” I said. “So I just need something to go with the cupcake. I might just do like a romantic excerpt or something sappy like that.”
He nodded. “You should put a picture of a love note with it.”
“A love note?” I said.
“Yeah,” he said. “Girls fucking love that shit.”
He was kidding, of course, but if I was the little kid who had to pee, he had basically just turned on the faucet full blast.
“Right,” I said. “They do. Girls do like romantic things like that.”
Eric and I are sarcastic and/or joking pretty much all the time, making dramatic declarations over the littlest things, but now were were using this weird tone that was somewhere between kidding and not kidding, a hard-to-read blend of being dramatic for effect and and actually being serious.
“Yeah,” he said. “So you can like have the picture of the love note — ”
“What love note? What love note are you talking about? I don’t have a love note!”
” — and have it sort of blurry in the background with a close-up on the words — ”
“No, I get it,” I said. “I understand basic photography. But I don’t have a note to use for this picture. So what, I’m just like, supposed to make up a fake note to use?”
“OK, fine,” he said, rolling his eyes and sighing overdramatically. “I’ll write you a stupid love note –”
Despite my kinda-kidding tone, I had a hard time backpedaling on that one.
Yet somehow, I continued to do my pee-pee dance of “I’m fine” for the rest of the night and the next morning, even when Eric apologized and tried to talk about it. Then, after holding it all day on Monday — which is exhausting, by the way – I wet myself again, this time via e-mail, when Eric asked me how my day was going. Immediately after this very-upset golden shower, I left the meeting I’d been in for the past hour and found the flowers and chocolate at my desk — which Eric assumed (correctly) had been delivered when I sent my e-mail.
So despite the fact that I’d been justified in being upset, I chose not to risk being That Girlfriend, and, as a result, ended up being The Worst Girlfriend on the Planet.
The fact is, there are just certain lessons we have to learn the hard way.
How was your Valentine’s Day? Any terrible disappointments? Amazing surprises? First-timer mishaps? Please share! Good or bad, let’s hear it.