Conflicted – Part V: AND YET…

He’s trying.

Bryan may not give me much affection, either verbally or physically, but he’s trying. He may not pursue me well by planning romantic dates or really planning ahead at all, but I’m seeing progress. He may still be emotionally closed off, but I see glimpses of him trying to open up. Does that count for anything?

The last night of our sailing trip, laying together in the quiet darkness of our hotel room – having mutually agreed to honor and protect our purity – he kissed me goodnight and whispered softly, “You looked so beautiful today in your sundress.” He kissed me again. “You looked like a princess. I wanted to pick a hibiscus flower and put it in your hair. You looked so beautiful.”

My heart absolutely lapped up his words. They were so precious to me – rare in their rawness; ardent and heartfelt. The next morning, I hugged him and looked up at him through my eyelashes. I smiled shyly and said, “I think one of the sweetest things you’ve ever said to me was last night when you told me I looked like a princess in my sundress.”

Bryan looked surprised; then embarrassed. “Did I say that last night? Did I say that out loud?” His reaction revealed to me that he is much more shy and private than I had realized. I know he meant his affectionate words, but it took the safety and security of pillow talk time to draw his feelings out into the open.

It’s true that, so far, Bryan has not brought me much joy, largely because he hasn’t been very teachable in loving me in the way I need to be loved. But it has been hard to determine if his lack of affection is because he doesn’t actually care for me or because he is simply afraid of vulnerability and emotional intimacy.

Since we have been back from our trip together, Bryan has either called me or sent me a text message almost every single day. That is new for us. That is progress. And when we went grocery shopping together a few days ago, although it wasn’t the romantic date I was hoping for, he did what he could to make our practical outing into a fun one.

Circling a table displaying blocks of cheese, Bryan came up behind me and pinched my love handles playfully. Next to the yogurt, he surprised me by sweeping my feet out from under me, dipping me with impressive skill, and kissing me right in the middle of the aisle! And near the toy aisle, he picked up and handed me a small wallet that read, “You’re beautiful. Don’t change.”

It’s little gestures like this that remind me why I keep giving Bryan the benefit of the doubt. The goal is progress, not perfection, right?

Authentically Aurora

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