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When You Realize Your Partner Is Lurking in Your Relationship

·467 words·3 mins

“Do you check me out?” I ask him.

“Oh yeah,” he says. “I definitely do.”

“That’s so weird,” I say. “I never notice you doing it.”

He says that’s because he’s discreet. Does it in a way I don’t notice. I shake my head as he drives me home. He does this sort of thing a lot. Tends to be a quiet person. Feels a lot but doesn’t say much.

I’m always finding days, weeks, months, or even years after the fact about something he’s felt. Like the other day. I painted a ceramic coaster with alcohol inks, colorful abstract art. He had said very little when I brought it home, along with some other works of art.

But the other day, over a year after I first made the piece, I saw he’d set it out. He was displaying it prominently.

“I never knew you liked that,” I said. “It has that one dark spot in it that looks so out of place.”

“I love it,” he said. “The dark spot is a big reason why.” Told me it reminds him of the Horsehead Nebula. He sends me images, and I see it immediately. It really does resemble the Horsehead Nebula.

And now here we are in the car, and it’s the same thing all over again. He’s apparently checking me out all the time and not telling me.

When You Realize Your Partner Is Lurking in Your Relationship

“You know what it reminds me of?” I say.

“What’s that?”

“It reminds me of how you’re lurking online — keeping tabs on friends and forums — and suddenly post, and it completely throws people off guard,” I say. As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, in my personal online life, I mostly lurk. Probably sounds funny to hear something like this coming from me since these days I write in public a lot, but back in the day, I was a consummate lurker. I read voraciously and rarely ever commented.

And indeed, I’m still chiefly a lurker in my personal life. I read hundreds or thousands of posts every day, and I might only interact with a few, if any. Typically, I interact with people I know personally, if I want them to know something — usually volunteering something positive.

It’s funny. This is the first time I’m making the connection. In a lot of ways, he’s doing the same thing — just in our everyday relationship. He lurks in our relationship, paying careful attention, having extremely deep feelings but rarely voicing them.

I’ll admit this taciturnity can be challenging for a person whose top love language is Words of Affirmation (me).

But realizing it’s very similar behavior to the way I lurk online brings it home to me in a way like never before.


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