Sex and the Capital City

Lean on me: The power of a supportive partner in the face of life's significant detours

Lean on me: The power of a supportive partner in the face of duress

couple walking holding hands in a field
Part of re-learning the relationship roadmap is discovering how your significant other will stand up to life’s detours. Courtesy photo

I hope you don’t mind a heavy hitter, because I’ve had a rough couple of weeks in my personal life.

After years of illness (and weeks of health that toggled from decent to dire), my dad passed away last week. And it’s been a very complicated situation to process. Let’s just say that my emotions have fluctuated with the speed and velocity of a roller coaster at Six Flags. One minute I’m fine, the next I’m breaking down at the mere thought of catching whiff of his longtime chosen cologne, the smell of which will always comfort me.

But amongst the binge eating of comfort food, in between the anger and confusion and pain, one thing has stood true: I’ve had the support of a fantastic partner.

Homebound due to his illness, my father hadn’t yet met my boyfriend. “It’ll happen at some point, there’s no rush,” I proclaimed often. Trust me, if you have the opportunity to introduce your new significant other to your parent in a place other than the intensive care unit, take it. But when my father took ill, I was accompanied on every intense hospital trip, my guy at my side to hold my hand.

In the blink of an eye, my house was wrought with out-of-town family, and our relatively calm and quiet daily routine was thrown off-kilter. At one point, the ratio of man-to-woman was 1:5. And while estrogen overload is enough to drive any man to the nuthouse, he handled it like a champ.

I’ve been lucky enough to have suffered many of life’s major losses at an age young enough that I was relatively unaware. A very dear aunt of mine passed in college, but my grandparents were all gone before I hit Kindergarten. So death isn’t something I’m great at processing. It’s the Liz Lemon in me, uttering “don’t be cry” and whatnot. But it’s nearly impossible to lose a parent without some sort of breakdown.

And breakdowns did I have. The complexity of my relationship with my father is something I won’t get into, but from anger to sadness to sheer frustration, tears were shed and anxiety was aplenty. Thankfully, I never felt the need to stifle my emotions. I felt utterly and totally supported, in a time when many men would have gone running — especially after just a few months of dating.

Now, I don’t mean to go all sappy on you, I wouldn’t want to read that either. But part of re-learning the relationship roadmap is discovering how your significant other will stand up to life’s little detours. And there’s comfort in the fact that some men aren’t afraid to stop and ask for directions.