I have a manfriend. If we were a rom-com, he'd be the Harry to my Sally. This week as he turns 30, I reflected back over the years of being in each other's lives from kids running around an elementary school playground to two adults trying to make our way in the world.
I'm not just heart burstingly proud of the man he's grown up to be, but what if I'm better woman because he's in my life? What if because of our friendship, I have healthier relationships with men when I'm in a girlfriend capacity and truly know what it is to be loved, seen, and valued?
Here are 30 reasons why I love him and why we work:
*Photo courtesy of Audrey Bellis' Instagram
30. He never fails to notice the little things.
29. He knows what all my faces mean. Cocked eyebrow? Playful smile? Irritated glare? He knows them all and I don't have to always spell it out.
28. He doesn't make assumptions. If he's unsure, he asks.
27. We're prematurely graying together. The physical effects of getting older aren't always awesome, but we both earned these gray hairs and its a reminder of all the things we've overcome. Some of them together.
26. Sometimes I have a tendency to isolate myself. He doesn't let me go too far down the rabbit hole without a supportive reminder that I'm not in it alone.
25. He's always the gentleman. He opens doors, treats meals like date nights, and has a way of making everything feel safe.
24. He knows all my flaws, mistakes, and failures. I know he genuinely loves me not in spite of them, but because of them.
23. He challenges my "stuff." We all have scars from bad break-ups, feelings of abandonment, and past hurts. He's the first to remind me that those aren't always looming around the next corner.
22. When something is really, really important to me, he makes it important to him.
21. He always does what he says he's going to. Without fail. Maybe it's because he's a Marine, but I don't know anyone with more integrity.
20. He's a family man and family is important to me. He prioritizes his family, and because he and I are family, he treats mine like his own.
19. He's my supportive side kick. Who else would be there to help out/ all hands on deck during my cousin's bridal shower? The only man in sight, and not a single complaint from him.
18. He's the best wing man a single girl could ever hope for.
17. We have polar opposite tastes in music, but he lets me change the station in the car.
16. He treats my friends like his friends. When one of my girl friends needed help moving on short notice, he didn't hesitate to lend his muscles, even though it fell on his sister's birthday.
15. He makes me feel genuinely beautiful whether I'm in yoga pants with no make up on or dressed up in a gown for an event. And he tells me so.
14. He's the brother I never had.
13. He doesn't chicken out of the "hard" conversations.
12. He calls me on my shit.
11. He's always down for adventure and willing to try new things.
10. He's a personal trainer so he sees incredible bodies every single day. Mine isn't perfect but he makes me feel like it is.
9. He has shown me what a strong partnership between a man and woman can be through communication, support, and respect. I'll never settle for anything less.
8. True intimacy comes when we are willing to be our most vulnerable. We have this together and he's never made me regret trusting him with what I hold most dear.
7. He's my anchor. Sometimes life can be hard, he has never let me feel alone.
6. He tells me my brain is my sexiest muscle. I believe him. He makes me feel brilliant.
5. We can always tell each other: I love you. I'm sorry. I miss you. I was wrong.
4. He is the best date. He never complains about having to wear a suit, and he's not too shabby of a dancer.
3. He's my #1 supporter. I co-chaired a gala last year and I thought he was going to miss it following a major back injury. He couldn't sit comfortably, but he still suited up and came to support me. And made sure to let me know how proud he was of me. (See photo)
2. He isn't scared to share his feelings.
1. We're better together. We've had periods where we weren't as close or didn't talk for a while. He doesn't meet my stubbornness with his. He's willing to let things go for the sake of the bigger picture, a lesson I hope I'm learning from him.
As I celebrate him this week, I also celebrate us, our friendship, and the influences we've had on each other. The relationship I have with my manfriend makes me a better friend, girlfriend, daughter, and maybe one day, a better wife because its built on what love is supposed to be: unconditional support.