With Valentine’s Day looming tomorrow, I wanted to take a moment to think about what love really means to me. There is so much on social media at this time of year about relationships – what makes them work, or not.
I write a blog that has spanned my life from being suddenly and unceremoniously single (on the wrong side of blood forty I might add) to now suddenly being not single, engaged and living with the Inner City Producer.
I’m sure he thinks I’m a deeply complicated human being, fraught with all kinds of emotions, this woman before him. In truth, that might be true! While women love to communicate with words and men are probably more comfortable with non spoken communication, I think what I need and desire for a happy life is pretty basic.
At 45, I understand that fairy tales don’t exist and nor do I want to exist in a world of make believe. While the Producer can be thoughtful, he’s not one for sweeping romantic gestures. He will not be hiring planes to write my name across blue skies, and I’m more than okay with that!
So what does a chick need to feel safe and happy in a relationship? Though of course it’s different for everyone, for me It’s pretty simple! Here’s the 5 things I need and want to make me happy!
1. Love. Ah, l’amore!
There is nothing like it. Being in love, or being loved is one of life’s greatest gifts that the universe can bestow on us. It’s beautiful. Loving another human being is an amazing feeling.
Love binds people together. It gives us a sense of unity and belonging. We love many people in our lives – our children, friends, parents, and of course our lover. The love we share with a partner is different than that shared with others.
Love brings with it a promise of hope and of great things ahead. Love isn’t always easy. Sometimes it’s messy and sometimes it hurts. Maintaining love requires work and effort, but it’s so worth it. I want to be loved whole heartedly and unashamedly. That’s the only way to love.
Love is the starting point for all things. It grows and deepens with time and shared experiences. Love can bring happiness and joy to our life. This is of course a given for me but can love alone and in itself be enough? I’ve realised that love is the most important factor in a relationship for me – but it is certainly not the only important factor.
Showing a woman you love her isn’t difficult. Touch her. Talk to her. Listen to her. Hug her. Help her with the housework and the groceries. Rub her feet or give her a massage. Make her laugh. Give her your undivided attention…put the phone down when she’s talking.
Women love quality time and it’s important. This isn’t the same as cohabitation, guys! It’s date nights. It’s weekends away. It’s cuddling her on the couch. It’s telling her you love her – in words and in actions. It’s letting her know that while you can both have your own space, and interests (and you should), you actually like spending time with her and look forward to doing so.
What’s interesting about us chicks is we operate on a feelings level. If you make us feel wanted and loved, we will reciprocate ten fold. Let your woman know she’s a priority in your life, as she should in kind.
2. R.E.S.P.E.C.T…ooh, just a little bit.
Aretha was onto something when she wrote that song. If a woman feels respected, great things are possible. It’s vital that all humans feel respected for who they are. If you respect and honour your woman, there is nothing she won’t do for you.
When a woman feels disrespected by a partner, however, it’s a major ouch. It can be inherently damaging to a relationship. Don’t talk down to me. Don’t roll your eyes at me. Don’t pretend I’m invisible. Don’t treat me as less than you. Don’t cheat on me or lie to me.
Don’t withhold love.
It’s easy to show a woman you respect her. Listen when she speaks. Acknowledge her views and her opinions. Introduce her proudly to people.
Respect that her body is her own, and she has limitations.
Allow her to be who she really is. Respect that her needs and wants may be different from yours but they are equally as important.
Respect the effort She puts into the relationship and all she does for you.
3, Trust. I’m there for you.
This is a biggy. Trust is vital to any long lasting relationship. Trust that he’s faithful, sure, but more than that – trust that your partner has your back when you need it. Trust that he’ll be careful with your heart, honour your feelings and your opinions (even if he doesn’t agree with all of them).
Trust that he will follow through with things he says he will do. Trust that he will be as considerate of you as you are of him. Trust that you will be a partner in this journey, an equal.
Trust that your partner will be honest and kind, and a decent human being. Trust that you will both honour your relationship. Trust that you won’t jump ship if the going gets tough (and let’s face it – at this age, people do come with baggage!).
Trust enough to open up and share yourself with me. Trust that what we share is real and we’re in this together.
4. Lust and intimacy. Take me, I’m yours!
This is a huge one for me, and a lot of women I know. You can’t underestimate how important intimacy is to longevity in a relationship. Women need to feel desired and wanted. We want to feel like you want (and need) to touch our skin, kiss us, hug us, hold our hand in public. Spoon us in bed. Intimacy on all levels is important – not just sex.
We want to feel like you can’t get enough of us, like you want to make wild passionate love to us.
Sex is important to me, as it is to most women. Through sex, you connect with your partner on the most intimate level possible. Your bodies communicate in ways that words cannot equal. It can be a spiritual experience shared together.
Sexual contact makes a woman feel sexy, attractive and desirable. This is why when sex is taken off the table it can be brutal to a woman’s self esteem. No one wants to feel undesirable or rejected. Doubt can creep in and can really hurt. It’s easy to feel invisible and less-than when your man’s not into it. (On a side note, the same is true for men).
Scheduling sex is vital for intimacy. All kinds of research suggests the more sexual contact you have with your partner, the closer your relationship is likely to be. Waiting for it to just happen organically might not work in this fast paced life. We are all working hard. We’re all busy and tired, but a little effort goes a long way.
Want her to sizzle? Shake things up. Be spontaneous. Break the normal routine. Send her text messages. Remind her you’re thinking of her. (Or maybe what you’d like to be doing with her!). Be as proactive as you were when you were dating.
Women need to feel they are worth the effort. Worth your time and energy. No amount of porn (which is now literally accessible everywhere) or masturbation (as nice as that can be) can, or should, impact your sex life or replace the real deal.
5. Communication. Dude, talk to me!
There is nothing better than communication in a relationship. When a man openly shares his thoughts, feelings, hopes and fears with you it creates emotional intimacy, and a deeper trust. Hiding parts of yourself or not sharing your life with your partner leaves them vulnerable. How can anyone understand you if you won’t share of yourself?
Tell me about your day. Share important things with me before you share them on Facebook.
If I’ve learnt nothing else in life, I’ve learnt that men and women communicate differently. We just do! Learning to communicate with your partner is of course vitally important to making a relationship work. Given we are the sum total of our life experiences, how we communicate is influenced by so much. Our upbringing, our backgrounds, our previous relationships, etc.
And it’s always a work in progress. Communicating the important stuff isn’t always easy, but it’s worth the effort to find the middle ground. Shutting down or hiding feelings from a lover isn’t the healthy way to go.
So there you have it! On the big V day, huge sweeping gestures of flowers and chocolate aren’t my priority! This Valentine’s Day all this Good Girl needs is to feel loved and respected…oh and to get balls deep into some skin on skin action with the guy I love.
Remember to love yourself. You’re pretty amazing! What are the most important things to you in a relationship?