Dear Auntie Alfa,

I’m seeing this boy and he’s a good boy. A genuine, good person who makes me laugh, brings the good wine when he comes over, cooks me good food from scratch, hugs me when we sleep, and kisses me in the morning type of good boy. What’s more, an adult, who even owns his apartment, cleans it regularly, has a good job, and is generally happy with his life. 

But…we started going out right before the pandemic hit, and I’m not sure where he stands about all this (all this being me, or us, this thing, whatever). I know he likes me, but I’m not sure if he likes me likes me or if it’s just these weird times and not wanting to be alone or not knowing what to do, as he’s not very communicative and hasn’t been vocal one way or another (even though I have).

Sincerely, 

Annoyingly Anxious


Dear Anxious,

What a pleasant surprise. People don’t usually contact me when they’re in a grown, healthy relationship with an actual… adult? This is a nice change of pace. It’s also lovely to see that even when we’re mostly fine, we still find things to question–us humans, we are quite lovely, aren’t we?

I’m just teasing you. I understand what you’re saying, as communication can be tricky and the pandemic has only made it harder. But communication is much more than just saying a few words. In fact, that sums up most of the problems between people in general–people saying one thing and then doing another. I am of the belief that if you pay close attention, most people will tell you (with or without words) exactly who they are. And you should let them. So what is he saying to you?

When you see him, he either brings good wine or cooks for you from scratch. These are beautiful things, for sure, and enough reason for anyone to feel warm and fuzzy–but not just because of the food or the wine. When he brings a nice bottle of wine, he’s telling you he thought about you. He spent time (and while we’re at it, money) to choose a nice bottle of wine to enjoy with you. He thought about you when you weren’t there. He understood (and acted upon this knowledge) that he had a role to play when visiting you (instead of just coming to be served). His role was to facilitate a nice evening of good wine, and wine isn’t just wine–it’s conversation, right? Nobody drinks wine in silence. He thought about meeting up with you and was excited about it. Otherwise, why bother going to your house or buying the good wine? 

The same goes for cooking. Planning a meal and then actively creating said meal for someone: that’s the very definition of caring. Sure, you can argue that between drinking bad wine and good wine, or eating bad food or good food, he’s just choosing what he’d enjoy the most, and that’s probably true. But if that was the only reason, he’d buy or cook it for himself. So I’m sorry, dear, but I have terrible news: it seems this boy… actually wants to spend time with you.

What I’m more interested in here is where exactly this is coming from. You say you’re afraid that this boy doesn’t actually “like you like you” (excuse me, what?) and he’s just essentially killing time ‘til the pandemic is over. I’d love to say it’s completely impossible, but I don’t know this dude and thus, I don’t know.  Let’s propose another take on this situation. 

You are dating this person, who from what you’re telling me, is an actual adult. You said so yourself: cooks, cleans, owns his apartment, has a job (the bar for adulthood is both despairingly low and ridiculously high). You’re dating this adult, and have been doing so for 10 months. On the other hand, we have you: a smart, caring person who’s trying to understand their own feelings before throwing them at someone else. So far, so good. Adult, smart person, 10-month-long relationship.

My question is: don’t you think that if he was just killing time, he would have left? Moreso: don’t you think that if you truly believed down to your core that he was killing time, you would have just left? Most importantly: why would you consider him an adult, and someone who you trust is doing okay in his life, yet not trust his decision-making process when he chooses to spend time with you?

Nobody really knows when the pandemic will be over. Are you really saying that this dude is thinking “Well, I’ll just be with this girl for the foreseeable future even though I don’t really like her. I’m just going to cook for her and kiss her good night and hug her in my sleep and buy her fancy wine because fuck it, I have nothing better to do,”?

Really? Really. Really.

Babe, I gotta say, that sounds deeply unlikely. No, I don’t have the ultimate truth here, but honestly, this seems more like you’re letting your own insecurities take over than anything else. My recommendation, then, is this:

Accept the fact that there’s someone who cares for you. Accept the fact that this makes you insecure. Try to come to terms with the fact that love is quite the fickle creature, and while there’s much one can do to ‘keep the passion alive,’ there’s also a nice amount of sheer dumb luck.

Once you’re done with that (so, after 5-7 years of therapy give or take–lol kidding, but also seriously therapy helps), on comes the next step. Do you feel like you still need to hear him put his feelings into words? What is your ideal scenario here, or what do you expect will happen if he says what you want him to say? Understanding what triggers this need (and what your desired outcome is) will help you be honest with yourself about this situation and what you need to feel more secure. So with that understanding, go ahead and start a dialogue. Share how you feel and (lovingly) tell him what you need. And remember: we don’t all communicate our love in the same ways. Learning to read how the other person expresses their love is equally as important as trying to explain to them your communication needs. 

Now get out there and let yourself be pampered with wine and food, boo.

Love,

Auntie Alfa