Back in California…

I made it back home!

I wanted to surprise Davide… he wasn’t expecting me home until super late tonight or tomorrow morning since I wasn’t sure which flight I was going to take. So I arranged to have my sister pick me up from the airport, so I could surprise Davide.

I let myself in and then jumped on Davide and woke him up. It was so sweet because he said, “Wait. Is this real? This isn’t a dream? You’re home??”

Then he kissed me deeply and pulled me under the covers. Kissing all over my face until I started giggling. He was scruffy which I wasn’t used to- but it looks good on him.

I missed him. It felt good to be home. Felt good to be held again. I didn’t want to go to bed until I showered. So he joined and washed me. It felt how it used to when we’d wash each other multiple times a day. I missed his scalp massages. After that we spent the next few hours in bed until we were completely exhausted.

At one point he pulled me close and looked me deep in my eyes, “Did you see Nate while you were over there?”
My stomach turned. “No. I didn’t.” I said simply. It felt good to be honest. But it wasn’t an answer I was happy about. I wish I had. He smiled and said “good” before taking my mouth and kissing me hard.

I pushed that out of my mind, and instead focused on how it felt so good to be home. To cuddle with Davide and Cliff. Cliff showered me with kisses and cuddled into my chest. I took a short nap. Then Davide woke me up.
“So we have the whole day together??” Davide asked excitedly.
“Yup. And I have a suprise for us tonight.” I said with a wink.

We cleaned the apartment together and then hit the beach, for another surfing lesson with him. He’s gotten good at standing up on waves… now I’m teaching him a few more moves.

Disagreeing about Social media

Davide mentioned that he’s kinda hurt that I don’t show off my engagement ring on social media. That’s something we’ve been disagreeing on.

I have very different views on social media. I’m not there to show off. To get anyone’s approval. I don’t give a shit what anyone else thinks of my engagement or my life. I post pictures of things I love… memories… or even pictures that show off my body. My social media is whatever I want to share. What other people think of it… just isn’t a factor and I don’t want it ever to be. In fact I usually turn off comments for that reason

I’m not living my life for anyone else but me.

He thinks I should try and be one of those Instagram Influencers that post pictures of couples traveling the world. That’s his dream.

I don’t want that.

Yes, I want a life that looks like that. In fact, I feel like my life already does look like that. But I’m not doing it for Instagram and prefer to keep most of it off IG. I don’t want to chase after the approval of others. I only want to do it for me. I don’t give a shit what some random people on Instagram think, or how many likes I get. None of those things has any kind of impact on my happiness.

I don’t want to spend hours posing, trying to capture a perfect moment, when the moment was perfect without a camera present.

I think as a society we’re too obsessed with appearances and selfies. Trips that make friends jealous. Instagram influencers. But what are these people actually influencing? What does their life look like behind the camera? Are they actually happy? They very well could be, this isn’t me trying to place judgement on them… I just know that I wouldn’t be happy.

I explained this all to Davide, but he rolled his eyes at me and said, “I just think you should try and be an Influencer. You could do some good.”

“I already am doing good. I’m helping democratize publishing. I’m helping women on the other side of the world build a business. I’m causing real change. The kind that can’t be captured by a camera. If you want a life and a relationship that looks good on social media, maybe I’m not the person for you.” I replied.

He was frustrated with me and I with him. He thinks I just don’t understand social media. Which made me laugh, because he knows what I do for work, right?

What it all comes down to for me is that, I’ve wasted too much of my life caring about what other people think. How my life looked. I didn’t focus on whether I was happy. Now that’s all I care about- is if I’m happy with my life. Not what other people think of my life, like I need their approval. It frustrates me that he doesn’t get that.

I want to live each moment to the fullest.

Then that somehow snowballed into my engagement ring being such an expensive ring that I should make sure everyone knows what I have. Don’t get me wrong… I LOVE my ring. I never take it off. I rave about it all the time. I also get it from the perspective that this is something he spent a lot of money on and is proud of. I want to respect that. Thing is… I’ve never really liked anyone spending a ton of money on me. That just isn’t my style. I don’t care about money, jewels, or any of that stuff. That’s just… not me.

Hell, when my ex and I were ring shopping I was the one trying to convince him not to get me a diamond. I honestly could care less if it was a cubic zirconia or moissanite stone. I want something pretty and sparkly…. but it doesn’t matter to me at all how much a ring costs. Other than the fact that I don’t want him to spend too much. I never have. It’s more important for me to be with the right love than it is for me to have this big expensive ring. Thing is… Davide kinda proposed out of the blue so we never got to have that conversation.

He doesn’t seem to understand that about me… he likes the big fancy stuff, appearances, and always always looking your best. I want to always look my best for me… but outside of that I don’t care.

Is this a culture thing?

I think part of it is the Italian culture. Like the guys… they expect their women is BRING IT, like alllll the time. Perfect hair, perfect clothes, almost like you’re off a runway.

I’m not a runway kind of girl. Davide has known that isn’t me from the start. I look great. I have style and dress well. I’m very… typical California girl. I’m casual with a little dressy. When I need to dress up, I knock it out of the park.

But on a typical day, you’ll find me in a pair of shorts, tank top, and flip flops. I don’t pour on the makeup. I’m most comfortable when I keep it natural and laid back.

We were headed out to the car dealership when Davide was like, “Are you wearing that?” referring my shorts and my nice dressy shirt.
“Yessss.” I said raising my eyebrow at him.
“No. You should wear a dress instead.” he stated.
“Why?” I challenged.
“Because I don’t want them to think we can’t afford a car.” he retorted in this condescending tone.

That… bugged me. I CAN afford a car, so it doesn’t matter how I look. In fact, this is my car and not his. I’m the one paying for it. I don’t want to go in all dressed up, it doesn’t help me at all if they think I have money. Besides today was a test drive day… I wasn’t actually going to get anything. I just wanted to drive a few options and see if I liked anything.

“The way you said that made me feel like you think I’m dressed like a bum.” I said, trying to not get angry
“You do look like a beach bum. Wear a dress.” he said back.

I was shocked. My gut reaction was to yell at him. So I took a deep breath. We don’t fight like that. I don’t fight like that. I went into my closet and shut the door. I sat on the ground and just tried to calm down. It bugged me because as I looked in the mirror I KNOW I’m not dressed like a beach bum. I look clean, beautiful, and dressy casual. What was his problem??

He knocked on the door. “Are you done yet? I can help you pick out your outfit.”

I opened the door and his face fell seeing I was still in my shorts.
“I’m not changing.” I said.
“Why not?” he asked.
“Because I don’t look like a beach bum and I don’t appreciate you speaking to me that way. I CAN afford a car all by myself. But it feels like you’re talking down to me. That all you care about it appearances. That makes me seriously question some things about our relationship. I don’t want to fight. Or argue. But I need to go on a walk to cool off, so I don’t yell. When I get back, if you still want to join me and test drive some cars you can… but I don’t want to hear any more comments on my outfit.”

I left. Went on my walk. Came back and we went to the dealership together. He didn’t bring up my shorts.

Round 2

After test driving some cars we got some food and I told him the plans for the night. How my coworker was in town with the show he’s touring with. He got us some tickets and we were going to take him out after.

We went home and I took a shower. I didn’t have to be ready for another couple hours, so I threw on some jeans and a dressy shirt. Something just good enough to take Cliff to the dog park for a bit.

As soon as I walked out of the room Davide sighed.
“What?” I asked.
“You’re really wearing that?” He asked.
“I’m going to the dog park. Lay off.” I stated.
“Well what are you wearing tonight?” He pressed.
“Whatever the hell I want to wear. What is up with your sudden obsession with what I’m wearing?” I asked.
“I’m going to look good and I want you to look good too.” he said nonchalantly.
“When have I ever not looked good? I look hot all the time! But you don’t get to tell me what to wear and talk down to me. That’s not going to fly with me ever because it feels like you’re just trying to control me.” I said, getting really frustrated
“I didn’t mean it like that baby. I just want you to look your best. Don’t take it so personal.” He said and then kissed my forehead.

I was half tempted to wear the stupid jeans on our night out. I figured I was just being petty though. I want to be reasonable and rational. I’m probably making a huge deal out of nothing.

I was in the closet changing when he came in to grab his shoes. He pointed to this red dress I have and said “You look really good in this one. You should wear it.”
“It’s not a ball Davide, thats way tooo dressy and like I said… I’ll wear what I want to wear. If you don’t like that and keep telling me what to wear I can find someone else to go with me tonight.” I replied, super frustrated at this point.

“I know you have options other than me. But guess what? I’m the ONLY guy who has ever had you as my first and ONLY choice. There is no one else for me. You may think these other men love you, but they don’t. You’re just an option to them. I’m alllll yours. You just need to be able to handle some criticism sometimes.” he said and left the closet.

I felt like crying and arguing at all the things he said… but what’s the point? I don’t want to argue. It’s just stupid clothes. If a dress is what makes him happy… I should want to do that, right? I put on the red dress and brought a leather jacket to dress it down if I needed to. Then I packed the clothes I wanted to wear in a larger purse that I could keep in the car just in case.

As we were getting ready to walk out the door I grabbed my purse.
“Your purse doesn’t match your shoes.” He stated.
“I know. I was only bringing it to the car- not bringing it out tonight.” I said.
“Or you can bring a purse to the car that matches your shoes.” he said.

I glared at him, pissed. Weighing my options. I need to go tonight. My coworker got me these tickets and it’s been awhile since I’ve seen him. I could call up my sister or maybe even Glenn. They’d be free and could get ready… but if I didn’t leave right now…I’d be late.

I took a deep breath, “Pride or Connection.” I whispered to myself. I had read that all relationships are based off either Pride or connection. When it’s all about ego or pride, you have conflict. When it’s about connecting with the other person, it’s about the love you show each other. I use that phrase to help reset myself sometimes… make sure I’m being the person I want to be in a relationship. I mentally chose ‘Connection’ and took a deep breath. Maybe he’s having a bad day… I can rise above this.

I handed him the keys- so he could drive us and silently gave myself a pep talk. Maybe I’m just making something out of nothing. Maybe this is just a weird cultural difference between us.

The Show

Davide and I make it to the show. My coworker C got us amazing seats. The show was so amazing!! We were definitely too dressed up though. I felt ridiculous in that stupid red dress.

During intermission C popped up and we gave each other the biggest hugs.

C is… gosh I don’t even know how to describe him. He is brilliant, like all of my other coworkers… but he is also incredibly sarcastic, even out sarcasming me. Something we majorly bonded over.

As soon as we were done hugging me he exclaimed “what the fuck is with this dress?” and I burst out laughing.

Davide cut in and said he thought I looked great in the dress. I was irritated with that, but I introduced them, forgetting that they had already met the week that Davide proposed when we were at the company meetup.

Normally Davide is very easy going and gets along with everyone, but tonight… he was irritated and kinda rude. C noticed, but was polite enough to brush it off. As soon as C left, all Davide could talk about was how much he couldn’t stand him.

I stood up from my seat and said “Walk with me to the lobby please.” I did not want to have this conversation with other people overhearing.

“But babe it’s about to start.” he said.

“Walk me to the lobby please.” I said again and gave him a look.

He sighed and took me to the lobby. I went to a quieter corner and then said, “That is my coworker. This is about my work and you were rude to him, which reflects on me. I don’t play around when it comes to my work. You’re going to be respectful and kind to him. If you can’t do that, I’ll call you an Uber to take you home. But I haven’t seen him in a really long time and he is NEVER in California. So this is a big deal to me. I’m going out to drinks with him after. If you can’t be on your best behavior then you’re not invited. Understand?”

He nodded. “I didn’t like how he spoke to you about your dress. I was just standing up for you.” He stated.

I laughed and blurted out “Well at least he didn’t say that I looked like some god damn bum.” I felt bad as soon as the words fell out of my mouth. It felt so petty and mean. I don’t argue like this… talk like this… this is not who I want to be. I immediately sighed. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that.” I said softly.

“Thank you for the apology.” he said. I tried not to think about how he hadn’t apologized once… for any of this madness. I pushed the thought out of my head. This isn’t about winning or who is right and who is wrong. Davide turned around and went back to our seats. I went to the bar and got a drink. I hung back and thought long and hard about this. How did I end up here? How did WE end up here? Whatever the hell was going on today between us, it wasn’t Us. He never talks to me like this.

I eventually made it back to the seats. Davide and I didn’t speak until after the show. C gave us the big backstage tour and we laughed and joked around a lot. Davide was quiet… which was better than him being rude.

Then we all jumped into my car with C’s date I took them to Perch, my favorite touristy rooftop bar which has some great views of Downtown LA. I had invited a few other coworkers who live in LA who also showed up and we all hungout.

I got to know the girl C has been dating and C entertained everyone with his favorite Monica stories. Which even I had to admit were pretty funny. Overall it was a good night. Davide was pretty quiet and wasn’t making much of an effort. He seemed especially irked when I changed out of the red dress and into the spare clothes I had packed.

At one point C and I found ourselves alone, leaning against the railing- looking out at the tall building surrounding us. “So what’s up with your fiancé?” he asked casually. I blushed “I think we’re just having a bad night. I’ve been away in Kauai… and it was a weird day for us.” I explained. C just silently nodded and then said “As long as you’re happy. You deserve the very best Monica. I mean that. You’re one in a million. Make sure he treats you like that.” He said and gave me a hug. That was a big deal coming from C… he’s not like that usually. All we ever do is sass each other and give each other crap.

Davide and I made it back home super late. We didn’t say much on the drive home. Davide went straight inside and I stayed in the car and called Tots.

Am I overreacting?

Tots… she’s like my North Star. I don’t tell her the things that I do to gossip. I tell her because she’s really good at setting me straight. At correcting me. I need that. The type of things that have happened to me in my life… not a lot of people understand it. Understand what it’s like to be sexually assaulted. Or to have a father who can sometimes be controlling and physically violent. Weird triggers come with those things. I can be too sensitive or how I speak to myself can be especially brutal.

Tots is just one of the few people I rely on to sanity check me. I can tell her anything, she always has a great perspective. She pushes me to be a better person. But what’s most important to me, is she never looks at the people differently. She’s nothing but supportive, kind, and neutral no matter what I decide.

So I told her everything that happened with Davide, confident that not only would she never bring it up again- this wouldn’t hurt her relationship with him no matter what I decide.

After I explained everything, she blurted out “He’s being such a dick!!”

I sighed and sunk down into my seat. “Yeah. He’s acting like one right now. So… I’m not overreacting? Not being too emotional?”

She started ranting, “You’re UNDERreacting. Monica when it comes to anything like this… you’re the most logical and rational human being. You put up with too much shit.”

“Okay. So Kaia… he’s never got on you about what you wear?” I asked. I needed to know if this was normal.

“No!! I mean maybe if my slit went up too high and I hadn’t noticed. But he let me know and never told me what to wear or not. Never calling me a bum. Fuck him for telling you that by the way, you have NEVER looked like a bum. And I hate that you’re doubting yourself.” she said

I sighed. “I don’t know what to do Tots… maybe he’s just having a bad day but right now I’m so hurt. I’m so angry. I don’t even know how to make it right.” I explained.

“Yeah… I would be too. I know you’re already on the fence about him, so this makes it even more confusing. Look go in there and explain to him why you feel the way you do. Try to understand where he is coming from. But let him know that he can never speak to you like that again and will never be able to control what you wear. If he can’t handle that, you have your answer.” she said.

When I went in Davide was asleep… or pretending to be. Which sucked… because I was really hoping to sort this out before we went to bed.

All I know… is right now I wish I hadn’t flown back from Kauai early to surprise him. Maybe it’s just an off day. He’s never said anything like this before…

About Monica

Living in Newport Beach and Kauai. Survivor of crippling Anxiety and Depression. When I'm not cuddling my adorable dachshund puppy, surfing, or reading, you'll find me on here writing about my love life, loss, and everything in between.

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