Today I saw a couple walking into work side by side. Their faces were lit up with delight as they laughed together. Bryan rarely laughs, and I certainly don’t feel that he delights in me. As far as I can tell, I am a companion to him; nothing more and nothing less.
Relationships are supposed to bring joy. They require work, yes, and there will be seasons of more sowing than reaping, but healthy relationships result in joy, and Bryan doesn’t bring me much joy. Mostly he causes me stress, anxiety and increased insecurity. Words have power for me, and Bryan is a challenger, not an encourager. He also doesn’t seem to be teachable. I have communicated to him multiple times that I need words of affirmation to feel cared for – words are one of the top ways I receive affection – but I haven’t seen much of a change.
Nick the Strict – who I’m not even interested in – makes me smile on an almost daily basis with his persistent texts, like today’s: “Good morning, young lady. Be blessed today!” Nick tells me all the time that I am a smart, beautiful, talented, godly woman. I rarely receive that kind of affirmation from Bryan.
Even Kevin – a guy I haven’t been on a date with yet – has sent me 49 texts in the past week, including comments like, “Wish you were here!” and “I am intrigued by you.”
Bryan constantly misses opportunities to build me up. Two days ago, he looked me up and down and commented that I looked really tan. “You look Mediterranean,” he said. I asked him if my tan looked nice. Instead of responding with, “Yes, you look lovely,” and taking me in his arms and nuzzling my neck, he shrugged – shrugged! – and said, “You tell me if it looks nice.” And he wonders why I roll my eyes at him all the time. This man exasperates me.
Is this normal man behavior? Was I spoiled by my ex-fiance, who doted on me all the time? Is Bryan just not an affectionate person? Or is he simply not speaking my love language?
I know his lack of affection is not specific to me, because his best friend has told me that he’s never seen Bryan head-over-heels in love or really invested in anyone. I wonder if part of the issue is his fear of emotional intimacy, which leads to Part III…