Monday, Oct 1 2007
View LYNNABEL's food & exercise for this day
Again, edited from an email to Stephie:
We had a conversation of sorts today that involved some exchange of facts. He indicated he was ready to talk if I was. I said I could talk about some things and not about others yet. I won't say that this was much more than a more rational, less angry exchange of positions. It was hardly a "joy comes in the morning" exchange.
I give myself credit for trying to clarify where he is at - I say "give myself credit" not because that makes me such a good human being (insert snort here), but because it does show me how far I've come. As ridiculous as this sounds - for most of my life reality has been what I perceive it to be. Hence the demise of my first marriage. Its only recently that I've begun to check my facts/assumptions, so to speak.
Not necessarily in this order, he said the following. And I won't pretend I'm quoting him exactly. And its possible I didn't understand him correctly in every instance.
1. He acknowledges that he failed to speak up when asked about this trip several months ago.
2. He said, in that vein, that he has a major problem with a proposal I made several months ago where I said how much I want to take an annual trip somewhere, anywhere alone or with you.
3. He acknowledges that it isn't necessarily excessive to see a person's grandmother once a year.
4. He thinks I should have not gone ahead and bought the tickets after our heated phone exchange on Friday morning.
5. He said he realizes he could come with me, but that for him the combination of the extra cost and kenneling Ripple make it not worthwhile.
6. He said he thinks now that he buried deeply how much being away from his own family on holidays before he met me (he counted 8 years in a row of no Xmas or Thanksgiving with family) bothered him. He said, Theres a reason that people commit suicide over the holidays when theyre alone.
7. He said he couldn't imagine taking Will to AZ alone, for example, but that he understands I would be willing to come along if he wanted to do that.
8. He thinks that I should have been able to tell that the last two times I traveled on holidays with Will without him that it hurt his feelings. I tried very clearly to tell him that he needs to STOP assuming people can read his mind - that he needs to be explicit about his feelings, not just hope people get the hint. I said, and say, "people" because he does this with other in addition to me.
9. He says that he feels like I'm pretty heartless towards him. He says he knows/sees that I have a big heart, am a wonderful mother, and a great wife, but that I'm not a good friend to him. He said he thinks that this is at the heart of the problem for him. He says he has been working on trying to be a good friend to me, which isnt easy given our schedules. I asked for examples and he said when he suggests we do things as a family over the weekends or share comedies on TV or trying to make me laugh, he is trying to get us to have more fun. (I agree completely we do not have enough fun and I have definitely noticed the effort to make me laugh more.)
10. He says he is furious that I was showing no compassion for his feelings over my decision to go or over this conflict. I tried to explain that this was because I just didnt feel like this was coming from a place of concern about or love for me, but about control and bad communication. We have a long way to go on this point.
11. He says that the last two times I traveled alone with Will over the holidays, I called him in tears to tell him I was having a miserable time. (I dont recall either). I agreed (rather snidely I admit) to confide in someone else if I was miserable in Indy.
12. He says the next time he is that upset he wants us not to exchange any words at all until he calms down with the exception of basic information over Will. He says that when he is that mad he says things he regrets later. I asked, again somewhat snidely, but also truthfully, So we can discuss things when you tell me you are ready to? He said (patiently) yes, but only if I was also ready to.
Number 9 and 10 bother me the most, of course. Its what AJ told me also. I think what it means is not that Im heartless, because I firmly believe I am not (or why else does it feel like my heart breaks every day all day long over virtually every thing and not just when I'm pregnant), but that I do not know how much he is hurting in general. And that is as much his communication-style problem as it is my insensitivity. Obviously I need more information from him on this issue, but Im not ready to approach it yet. I dont feel loving enough to approach him with that yet.
I offered that I would be willing to curtail travel on the holidays alone with the babies going forward, but that I wouldnt decrease the frequency of my travel with or without him and with or without the babies. He seemed receptive to that, but I will be honest that I do not trust his reaction.
I went to church this morning and took Will. I desperately needed the comfort of it. And it gave me comfort. There were 3 homilies on faith, which is a difficult subject for Unitarian Universalists because of what we perceive it to mean vis a vis more conservative religions. The first homily was on faith at home, and the pastor talked deeply and meaningfully and comically about his wedding vows with his wife (the other pastor). It hit me in the gut, of course, and made me think about what living faithfully at home means to me. I didnt come up with hundreds of answers, but a few.
Later on, I told S that I wasnt trying to punish him with the silent treatment but that I had been hurt enough that I didnt know how long it would be until I could be normal around him and to him, and that I assumed he felt the same. He said he did.
I have an idea about our money disconnect. Either we re-split our finances again, which Im guessing he will be against, but I wont assume that without asking, or I will provide him with a list of things I want to buy over the next ½ year and see where he believes that to fit into our finances. I dont mean things like hairspray or makeup, but bigger things like maternity photos and Xmas cards (they get pricey after postage) and some things for the baby.
Part of Stephie's reply:
Does S acknowledge that his issues with holidays are his issues, and that he needs to work on those in a way that is compassionate with you? Yes, you are a partnership but this is a opportunity to reconstruct what holidays mean - sometimes this means being alone with the three/four of you and sometimes it means seeing people that will likely not be there. And, compared to other families we are pretty low key in terms of demands. And even if you did cry to him when you were away, I think it's normal given that you had to 1) explain why he wasn't there, 2) cope with traveling alone with a small child, 3) wish that things were different.
I don't think you are insensitive or heartless at all, but I do think that we have a tendency to be overly pragmatic at times. Both S and AJ are very sensitive and loving men. I suppose that's not a good combination with reluctance to communicate emotional pain. Lynnie, please know that your warmth, grace and openness are what make you an amazing woman, mother and friend. I understand that Steve might feel that you are not good friends right now, but I don't think you can always be. As your partner, he has a responsibility to tell you when he is hurt and to understand that solving that dynamic is a process, and just because he is hurt doesn't guarantee that things will change. Have you talked about relative compromise (ie what is seen as a huge concession by one isn't always received that way?).
Thank goodness for wise, loving sisters.
Physically I've felt better the last few days - less achy. I'm keeping on top of the heartburn and nausea by taking Zantac 2x a day. The swelling in my ankles stays down if I spend a few minutes on the elliptical in the mornings.
Will and I got a few books from the library on Saturday that he is TOTALLY into. Sometimes its hit and miss for library books. One of them is a Clifford counting book. Will said to me, "Oh no. A-pwain. Cu-ffee fa-down. Leep-ees." which means, "Oh no. Airplanes! Clifford fell down and went sleepies." The picture is of 3 airplanes flying over a cowering Clifford. The others are "I know a rhino" by Charles Fuge, and an Eric Carle with split pages which he loves to open and close.
Oh - and he peed in the toilet!!! Before his bath! I'm so proud of him! Again, not sure I should actually CRY over it, but I'm darn impressed.
Of course I wonder how much he absorbed of the conflict between S and I - he's so sensetive that I'm sure some of it touched him. I did do a lot of crying in front of him this weekend, but I decided to just let it come, not make a huge deal of it, and try to focus on our acitvity at hand, other than to say to him once when he was appearing concerned, "Mama's sad, monkey." He then asked me, "Ba-bee cwy?" (Babies cry?) because we've talked about babies in the nursery crying. I told him it was similar. "Sad" he confirmed.