Before my current boyfriend, I had very strong internal rules about how I would spend my time and what I’d do with someone I was dating. But, my current boyfriend (going on five months) is completely different from anyone I’ve ever dated before. He’s considerate, kind, gives me his time freely, gives me all the attention I want while absolutely respecting boundaries, and makes almost no demands for himself in return. He seems to genuinely enjoy spending time with me when I enjoy my hobbies, and he has made a series of positive impressions with all of my friends. It’s the first time I think I’ve ever felt truly loved by a partner, and it makes me love him even more than I otherwise thought I would.
Here’s the problem: A lot of his hobbies are things I don’t think I’d ever enjoy on their own, something he is aware of and that he keeps separated from me because I think the idea of boring me causes him physical pain. In the past, this would have suited me just fine, but now I want to give them a try, even if just to spend time with him and to see if maybe I’d enjoy it because of him. So how do I tell a very considerate boyfriend that, yes, I really do want to watch some pretentious Italian cinema with him and that maybe it’s okay if I don’t like it because the worst case is that I’ll like that I’ve tried it with him? And how can I convince him to get out of his head about caring about whether or not I’m enjoying it while it’s happening?
—Feeling Up for Some Fellini