Not All Romantic Gestures Look the Same

two cats in an unmade bed
Image by Eden, Janine and Jim / CC BY

I’m not really a morning person and not really an evening person. I function about equally well all day long (even took a test that confirmed it). Sometimes I refer to myself as an asynchronous person. How I feel is more a function of how much sleep I got the night before than what time of day or night it is at the moment.

I wake up pretty much ready to do just about anything I need to do. I can talk, socialize, etc, really early in the morning.

But my partner is definitely not a morning person. He needs a bit of time to warm up before he’s ready to people. This tendency is particularly marked (at least from my point of view) because he’s also an introvert.

Normally on the weekdays, he’ll set an alarm and head out to the office bright and early. About half of the time, I’ll sleep in later than him (since I work at home and have a pretty flexible schedule). The other half of the time, I pretend I’m sleeping.

Yup. There are times where he’s walking around, showering, getting dressed, packing his lunch, making himself tea, and I am lying in bed pretending I’m still asleep. If my brain is particularly active, I’ll surreptitiously read a book or mess around on my phone or something.

I do this so he’ll still have his alone time in the morning. Time to warm up before he has to socialize. I figure if he thinks I’m asleep that he’ll feel zero pressure to talk to me or “be polite.”

And I won’t have to sit there mutely feeling like I’m in his way.

On the weekend, I’ll often do the same thing, linger behind in the bed after he leaves the bedroom, reading.

Giving him a head start.

Romance Is About Doing Something That’ll Make the Other Person Happy (Even If It’s Weird)

He didn’t realize I do this until quite recently, when I told him I was doing it because I was going to write about it.

I’m hoping that it still works even though he knows I’m not always asleep. That it still lets him have his morning private time with no guilt attached. Something I’m sure he desperately needs.

Anyway, I came up with this idea on my own after popping up one too many times to have tea with him in the morning and noting my unintentional morning intensity seemed obnoxious to him. And then finding that sitting silently around him also was pretty awkward for me.

I posted about it on social media and was amused to find that many people found it utterly romantic. I guess when I stop and think about it, it kind of is. It comes from a loving place anyway. And it’s literally something I’ve never done for another human being before him, pretended I was asleep so that I wouldn’t interrupt his precious morning warm-up time.

That’s what romance has always been about for me, incidentally: It’s about treating someone like an individual, in a way that’s unique to them. Something caring designed to make them happy, even if it’s weird and/or slightly (moderately, or even majorly) inconvenient to you.

There’s No One Way to Be Romantic; It All Depends on the Person You’re Dating

I spent about a decade with an ex who never got that. He’d say that romance was something fake, something that Hallmark made up to sell more greeting cards. A demand put on people in relationships (usually the male half of a straight pairing) that they had to buy something for their partner or they were an awful inconsiderate person who didn’t care about them.

I thought then and still think that that’s nonsense.

I think that not all romantic gestures look the same. Yes, it can be about whipping out a piece of expensive jewelry. But it can also be about cooking someone soup when they’re sick. Writing them a letter about how much they mean to you. Taking them out to a hole in the wall restaurant that you know they’re gonna love because you’ve been paying attention to them and know what they like.

And sometimes, it can be about pretending you’re asleep so that they can start their day out with less stress.

There’s no one way to be romantic. It all depends on the person you’re trying to be romantic with. And part of the fun of falling in love is figuring out exactly what their one-of-a-kind picture of romantic looks like.

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Books by Page Turner:

Dealing with Difficult Metamours

A Geek’s Guide to Unicorn Ranching

Poly Land: My Brutally Honest Adventures in Polyamory 

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