She: We need to talk.
He: Uh-oh! What did I do?
She: Nothing really. It’s just that we’ve been seeing each other for a while, and if we’re going to continue, there are a couple of little things we should discuss.
He: Communication is good! What’s on your mind?
She: You know how whenever I text, you always reply in a timely manner? Even if it’s just to let me know it’s not a good time?
She: I need you to stop that.
He: You don’t want me to text you back?
She: I do want you to text me back, just not right away. If you could wait several hours, so I have time to wonder if I said something wrong, I’d really appreciate it. Even better, wait until the next day so I can go to bed assuming you don’t want to see me anymore. And then I’ll be super relieved when you finally reply.
He: Okaaay….what else?
She: Sometimes you call me just to talk.
He: You don’t like that?
She: It’s unsettling. Most guys don’t care if they hear my voice between dates, and they often don’t know how to carry on phone conversations, so I’m not used to it. It feels very mature and grownup, and that’s a little weird.
He: At our age, shouldn’t things feel mature and grown up?
She: Yes, but it’s just that you do so many grown-up things, and I don’t really know how to handle it.
He: Like what?
She: Well, you always listen to what I’m saying, and ask intelligent questions. You never talk over me. You give serious consideration to my opinions. Oh! And every time I ask if you’d like to attend an event, or go somewhere,
you give me a definitive answer right away. I never feel like you’re waiting for a better offer, and I don’t have to ask 2-3 times before you check your calendar.
He: That’s because I know your time is valuable, and I respect you too much to leave you wondering. I have no problem saying no if it’s something I don’t want to do. And my calendar is easily accessible, so it’s not a big deal to check it quickly.
Why are you staring at me like that?
She: I’m just trying to figure out if you’re real or a figment of my imagination.
He (laughs): I’m definitely real. Is there anything else?
She: No, that’s pretty much it. Oh wait. There is one other little thing.
You have no problem introducing me to people.
He: Why would I have a problem with that?
She: I’m accustomed to being stashed.
She: Yeah, that’s when the person you’re dating fails to introduce you to anyone in their life, and basically hides you from family and friends. That’s why I’m careful not to tag you in anything on social media.
He: There are men who do that?
She: It’s pretty common.
He: It might be common, but it’s not normal or healthy. Why would I want to hide you?
She: Perhaps because I’m not really the caliber of woman you want to be seen with.
Or you don’t want to imply that I am significant in your life.
Or because I’m simply not important enough to be included in your inner circle.
He: Hmmmm. You’re an intelligent woman. I don’t think you are going to make assumptions when I introduce you to people. And if I don’t want to be seen with a woman, I’m certainly not going to sleep with her. Anyone I sleep with IS in my inner circle. I won’t hide her from the rest of my world.
She: Speaking of sleeping together…
He: Let me guess. You don’t like it when I make sure you are completely sated, and have multiple orgasms?
She: It took some getting used to, but I’ve adjusted to that little quirk of yours. You don’t have to stop.
He: Fair enough. Since we’re having this honest and open dialogue, there is something I need from you.
He: You know how you don’t value yourself, and you let men treat you like shit?
He: I need you to stop doing that.
She: That’s asking a lot.
He: I know, but it’s very important that you recognize your worth,
and that you don’t settle for being treated as insignificant, second-rate, or simply an option.
She: I don’t know how to do that.
He: Let’s start with a rapid-fire text conversation. It’s time for you to accept that I will always reply in a timely manner. I will always call when I want to talk. I will always respond to your invitations promptly. And I won’t hide you from anyone. You are a valuable human being, and human beings should not be “stashed.”
She: And you’ll keep doing that quirky thing in bed where you leave me satisfied?
She: It means a lot that you value me.
He (pulling her close): And it will mean even more when you begin to value yourself.