I have something to tell you. In fact, what I want to do is brag, but that's terribly bad manners. So, as I am telling you this, please remember that I am doing my best to draw in my more exuberant claims and speak with a controlled and understated tone. Just colour it in a bit brighter, is what I'm trying to say.
I love Ande. There. I've said it. He is the finest, most caring, sweetest, supportive and loveliest human being I know. He is wonderful! And, amazingly, he finds qualities in me which means he loves me back. It blows my mind every time I think about it!
You have all read how he scooped me up and brought me home in a non-stop 800 mile mercy dash. It really was a mercy dash, as neither of us could bear the idea of being without the other a moment longer! Now, as I describe his nature and personality, it will become clear to you why I didn't want to spend another day away from him. I haven't worked out why it was the same for him. It may turn out to be the window into his only flaw! Whatever – let's talk about Ande.
I came back home with him with no job and no income. We were both aware that we would have to live on one income until I secured a post, but now we live with the reality of that. Does he complain that I don't bring anything into the home? No. Does he ask what I have been doing with my time? No. Does he demand a structured job seeking system and an explanation of same? No. He trusts me, one adult to another, to do what I need to do and what I say I will do, to get a job. He trusts that I am as committed to 'one goal, one partnership' as he is. He trusts that I am savvy enough to understand that me getting a job is a good thing for us.
Having said all that, he never lets me feel like I have failed, in any way, by wanting to be with him without being able to bring financial attributes to the partnership. When I start getting fed up with the lack of opportunities or interest in my (strange) CV, he tells me that we shall cope and that being together is important. He reminds me that we knew that we would have to wait to have two wages coming into our fold and that 'it will happen'. Just not today, maybe! He understands that it is important to me to work, to be part of the bread-winning team, to have financial equality in both responsibility and spending power. He does not put me down, or allow me to put myself down. Rather, he reminds me to look forward to the job I should like and to work towards gaining that in a positive and cheerful manner.
Somehow, Ande has tapped into that part of my personality which is my most positive. He relieves me of the pressures and offers up the rewards. He is cheerful in one-wage-osity and excited for me in finding a job which will stretch and engage me. He tells me not to sell myself short and encourages me to reach for the stars. Where I would have been certain I faced only humiliation and public stockades for applying for a post, Ande asks me what the worst is that can happen? Why not put in the cheeky application? They can only say 'No' and that isn't going to hurt. And I just might get it! And when someone notices me in a positive light – when I get an invitation for interview – he is supportive and positive about the fact that my skills and brilliance have brought this to me, if I choose to take it up. He refuses to allow me to take the first wage paying post in order to bring an income in. He'd rather I look for the best I can want.
I have never had a relationship where my partner has supported me and believed in me as I do in my brighter and stronger moments before. To be able to take on a task, like job seeking, which can be dreary and disappointing, and know that the most important person in my life is only going to reflect back positive ideas (or truths offered in a non-judgemental way) is so liberating. I cannot begin to tell you! To be seen as someone who deserves something more than the mundane, is a wonderful feeling. Not to have the 'lack of money' discussion leak into other areas and left for me to beat myself up with is just so refreshing.
There's this theory that you cannot know joy until you have experienced despair. Something like that, anyway. I don't know how true that is. Little children seem to cope well with happiness in families which work hard to provide the brightest, shiniest times for them. Families in which they are protected from (and, so, have not yet experienced) unhappiness. It has to be said, though, that when you have faced negative and damaging relationships you are far more aware of the joys of a healthy relationship. It almost doubles the joys, in reality. Not only do I not have to face the exhaustion of trying to keep myself positive whilst under attack, but I have more support and encouragement to be positive and happy. I feel like a ship, released from a sandbank, now floating freely on the high seas. It's an incredible experience!
So – and you shall hear more about this man, I have no doubt – I love Ande. I love him for his sweet kindnesses. I love him for his strength and protectiveness. I love him for believing in me and for reminding me that I am someone who deserves that belief. I love him for spoiling me and enjoying my childish pleasure in that spoiling. I love him for being someone who forgives my grumbling and loves my silliness. I love that he doesn't tell me off for being me. I love that he revels in my naughtiness. I love that he's clever enough to force me to think in debate. I love that he's generous enough to let me win when it's important to me (but not let it be obvious). I love that he is my equal, and I his, even though we currently have very different household roles.
He's lovely. Really. And I love him.