Someone recently asked me the question “What makes you feel beautiful?” I smiled and I thought about this new guy I’d met named Jay*. A few days ago we were talking before bed and he texted me “Good night, beautiful.” It wasn’t the first time he’d said it and there had been other men who said it to me recently–that I was beautiful, or sexy–but when he said it, it made me feel beautiful. It made me blush. I got that warm feeling in my stomach that all crushes start with. I liked hearing it from him. I knew he meant it and it wasn’t about sex or trying to get on my good side. It was sincere.
Just last night, though, I had one final talk-turned-argument (for closure’s sake) with the person I’d spent the past three plus years in love with. I’d told Jay about him and Jay asked me what it would take for me to get over him. It made me think for the first time that maybe there was someone out there that would be worth getting over him. Someone who made me feel the same way. I thought the answer would be that when I lost weight and got (what I considered) hot again, but the more Jay asked me certain questions, the more I realized I could-and should-get over him now. Why wait for someone who didn’t even tell me I was beautiful when there was someone who had no hangups about telling me now?
When I was talking to the now ex-love last night, I started thinking about the fact that he never once called me beautiful. When I would ask him if he liked my hair or something I was wearing, he wouldn’t even answer. One time he said he liked brunettes and later I died my hair brown and he said it didn’t look good. I wasn’t used to this. Usually men had no problem complimenting me or finding me attractive, and although I didn’t expect it (nor did I always believe they were sincere), I appreciated it.
It really bothered me–this inability for the ex-love to compliment how I looked. Of course there were many other amazing traits that made me fall in love with him in the first place, but this was something that hurt me. And it wasn’t something I’d read on Cosmo’s “Ten Signs Your Man Isn’t The One.” (Just kidding, maybe I do read Cosmo.) It was something I started realizing hurt me even deeper than I thought as the result of receiving compliments from someone else I started caring about. It wasn’t about the compliments. It was the ability Jay had to actually verbalize how I made him feel and how he saw me. Communication is key and if you feel that someone is amazing or attractive, shouldn’t you be able to say it?
I think that’s why it made it much more meaningful when Jay said it. He told me I was beautiful in a moment where I least expected it. I had just finished saying “I can’t date you. You’re too young and you live far away. I can’t do long distance anymore.” He said he understood about the distance and we discussed why his age would be problematic and then before we got offline, he said “Good night, beautiful.” I blushed. I felt butterflies. Magic. All of it. The problem wasn’t that I didn’t like Jay. It was that I did like him but I’d tried a few long distance relationships and they just didn’t work.
But still, his compliments continued, despite that we started meeting other people and my feelings for him grew the more we talked and the more I felt understood deeply by him. And as his compliments continued, I realized what I loved about them was the fact that he said how he felt and if I was going to “get away” then he was going to make sure I knew how he felt about me.
What woman doesn’t want that?
*Not his real name.