I saw a funny thing today on Facebook which said, “Men: If you ever wanna know what a woman’s mind feels like, imagine a browser with 2,857 tabs open. All. The. Time.” And while that crazy tendency to think, imagine, create, obsess, worry over a thousand things all at the same time can be true at many times of any given day in my own life, women are, I believe, actually quite simple to please at heart.
Ultimately, each of us are just another human being “wanting to know that I am safe, that I am appreciated and loved for who I am.”
I’ve still got plenty to learn myself on this tricky but magical but challenging but thrilling path of forging and maintaining relationships, but here’s what I’ve treasured most from the times I’ve been so fortunate to love and be loved.
1. Get Naked With Me
Not just in the literal sense (although that would also be fantastic!). I have loved most the men who have dared to be vulnerable—and I say ‘dared’ because I think to show yourself honestly is an act of tremendous courage and strength. We don’t all want or need infallible superheroes. I just want to see you for you and as you—the amazing stuff, bad stuff, silly stuff, strong stuff, embarrassing stuff.
This isn’t about prying into your private inner life, it’s about understanding what makes your heart soar (and helping to give you extra big wings for it) and discovering what it really is that has birthed all those other things in and about you that I’ve fallen in love with.
Talk to me, share with me what you’re excited about, get mad and frustrated if I don’t understand or agree sometimes, don’t be afraid to be excited about something in front of me, let your face spontaneously contort into a million different expressions without trying to mask it into a placid something that you think I’d want to see. Just be you.
2. Tell Me I’m Beautiful
And no, this isn’t about reassuring me that “my bum doesn’t look big in this dress” or telling me my new haircut looks great. I am glad when you tell me that I’m beautiful, but really, I love it more that you appreciate the things that have nothing to do with what I look like—my passion, my weird interests, my friendships, my wounds, my histories, my triumphs.
I feel most loved when you tell me that I’m beautiful when I know I’m at my most unkempt; when I’ve been so deeply engrossed in whatever I’m doing, loving, creating, living that I haven’t even realized that there’s now ink all over my face and my hair needs a wash.
More often than not, I have fallen in love with you for so much more than your beautiful face—your energy, your talent, your humor, your many quirks, the cheeky glint in your eye, your passions, the way you light up when you’re extolling the virtues of deep-fried foods. I hope more than ever that I have captured your heart in the same way.
If I have, please let me know; this is what will make me feel my most beautiful.
3. Let Me Know I’m Part Of Your Life
Us girls love to talk, but this isn’t just about long conversations. Stay in touch with me and let me know that I am a part of your life, not just someone you meet up with for dinner and a sleepover. Remember the things I care about and bring these aspects into the time you do spend with me.
This could be something as simple as knowing that I like nature and taking me for a walk in the woods. Send me a little unexpected text message in the middle of the day to say hello. Pluck me a wildflower just because. Take note of a cool quote from my favorite author that you just stumbled upon and email it to me. Remember that I had an important meeting this morning and ask me about it when you see me.
Let me know that even if we don’t have long conversations, the things that I do tell you stick and are important for you because they’re important to me.
4. Let Me Cry
Because I will panic sometimes. I will cry. I will sink into a dark, depressing, heavy place. Things will upset me more than they should and I may fall apart. Please don’t belittle the hurt or tell me that I’m just being silly or that “it’s not that bad”. I just want someone to hold me, kiss the tears from my eyes, stroke my hair, listen to my anxieties and tell me that I will be okay.
Even if you don’t know how it’s going to be okay, even if you don’t really know what I’m so sad about, just hold me, breathe into the pain with me, tell me that you will love me through this. Sing me a song, make me a sandwich, help me to fall asleep again—let me know that it’s okay to be where I am now but also reassure me that you believe in me and my strength to pull through this.
Please understand that I will be okay and I will get through this. I am not expecting you to fix things for me but it makes a world of difference for me just to know that you understand I’m hurting, that you’re letting me be in this place for a while and that you’ll still be there when I come out.
5. Leave The Door To Your Cave A Little Ajar
I know that sometimes, when the world gets too big and heavy and difficult, you too would like to withdraw and go into a quiet place all alone. I understand that and I respect it and will love you through all the time that you’re there. I ask only that you leave the door to the cave a little ajar, just so I can come in sometimes just to be with you and see your lovely face.
I won’t tread heavily or make a sound. We don’t need to utter a word to each other. Just let me know that you know that I’m there, that you haven’t forgotten and that you know I’m always just outside the cave entrance, not far away, if only for a cuddle or a bowl of ice cream or a big long hearty talk if you want it.
Care for me in turn by not pushing me away. Love me just by knowing and acknowledging—if only by a silent gaze—that I am here for you, I love you, I care for you.
Written by Jamie Khoo and originally appeared on Elephant Journal