Why I cried when my boyfriend bought me Ben & Jerry’s ice cream

It’s all the small actions that show the love . . .

Credit: Picture provided by author

During the early days of my relationship with J, I was still in this haze of ‘pinch-me-I’m-dreaming’ because being treated with so much love, acceptance and wholesome kindness felt so unreal to me. I didn’t know what to do with all the love, all the happiness unfurling inside of me like the petals of a blossoming flower, finally in bloom. I’d been so used to being treated like dirt, maybe because I sought after it, that it made me feel hesitant when I no longer had to deal with it anymore.

I didn’t feel anxious when a couple hours passed by with no message from him because I knew he was busy and we needed our space. I didn’t have to question his faithfulness. I just knew he could be trusted.

From the very first day, I could feel this becoming something more, and when, a month into our relationship, I’d been on my period and a bit of an emotional wreck, crying over trivial and insignificant matters, J bought me Ben & Jerry’s Birthday Cake ice cream and then some chocolates, I couldn’t help but cry. I fought back the tears in front of him, and then when I was home, I let myself cry.

For the second time in early 2020, I let myself cry from happiness. (The first time was when my dad was given the okay to come home again from the hospital.)

What this showed me, albeit it being a very small thing (after all, it was just ice cream, right?) was that relationships, whilst not always smooth sailing all of the time, aren’t meant to be difficult. They aren’t meant to make you question your self worth, your sanity, your happiness, your peace of mind. You’re meant to feel cherished, adored, loved and wanted.

How do you know they’re right for you?

So there are a lot of ways you can tell if a person is right for you, from how you feel around them and how they make you (or should) feel.

  • They make you feel like they are right for you.
  • They treat you good.
  • They make you laugh and smile and just be full of light and happiness.
  • You know they’re right for you when they push you to be a better version of yourself, when they make you take accountability for any bs or mistakes you make.
  • When they don’t lie to you ever and revel in your company.
  • They’re right for you when they defend you to the ends of the earth, when they stand up for you in public and correct you in private.
  • When they take the time to learn your body and what feels good for you.
  • When they try to understand your thoughts and your feelings, and listen without judgement, and help you through the dark days.

They communicate with you like an adult should

Even at our big ages, some of us are still guilty of being unable to properly communicate our feelings and how certain things affect us. I’ll be the first to put my hand up and say it’s something I need to work on. Being able to communicate in a relationship is so, so vital for its flourishing and survival; it helps to prevent any miscommunication and mistakes being made, and helps to understand where the other person is coming from.

It’s definitely hard and sometimes it feels like it’s easier to avoid the hard conversations, to run away from the problems that may arise. But that only drags it on. It’s better to sit and talk about it, maybe when you’re both cooler and in a calmer state of mind. But definitely communicate — work on it. Even if you can’t say the thoughts or how you feel out loud, try to just throw words at them and put them together into sentences, together.

Or even write down what you think/feel on whatever the issue is and show them. Small steps.

Relationships should be balanced and equal, with an even power dynamic. (But in the bedroom, it’s totally up to you who’s in charge. If you know, you know. You know?)

Understanding they’re not your ex

Thing is, my ex really, really hurt me. It was a doomed relationship from the start, and when I got together with J, I was scared I’d have to go through another heartbreak. I didn’t know how to . . . act, I guess. I was just so unused to feeling like a priority and when J treated me the way I deserve to be, it was amazing.

You should never make the person you’re worth pay for the mistakes of your ex, or treat them as they’re the same person. Never compare. If that does happen, then, well . . . are you really ready for a new relationship?

Being with them should be easy

With J, it’s easy. It’s light, it’s fun, it’s everything. I can trust him to come through for the small things and the big things, to follow through on whatever plans we make, unless something really important comes up.

Of course, our relationship has been— and is — during a global pandemic, and it was so hard at first, being apart from one another, whilst everything was still so new. But the anxiousness I felt was never because of him, but because of the situation we were all in. He helped to ease my fears and I did the same for him — being there for one another is so vital, doing small things to let them know you’re thinking of them.

For example, J was complaining of headaches once and I got him some bath salts which I read helped with them, as well as some essential oils. They didn’t completely get rid of the headaches but they helped to somewhat alleviate it. Small things like cooking can make a world of a difference.

Does the relationship serve you in any way, make you feel loved and wanted?

It’s so important to know how you feel in the relationship. Being in love with them and being happy whilst in love with them are two vastly different things. If you feel a veritable chasm of anxiety when it comes to the relationship and thinking of the future, then it’s the time to rethink whether you should stay in it. Knowing when it’s time to close a chapter is essential.

Being happy, with someone, is key to not just the relationship itself, but for your own mental and emotional wellbeing.

Look at the small stuff, that’s where most of the love and respect is shown. After all, it’s the small things that add up to the bigger picture.

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Aiming to break down the boundaries of cultural stigma and shame attached to mental health and sexuality within the South Asian culture and bring marginalised topics to light.

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Sumaiya Ahmed

Sumaiya Ahmed

Sumaiya Ahmed is a freelance journalist, specialising in sex & relationships, PCOS, and mental health. ko-fi.com/sumaiyaahmed

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