My philosophy: “Never go to bed mad. Stay up and fight.” ~ Phyllis Diller
His philosophy: “Anger, if not restrained, is frequently more hurtful to us than the injury that provokes it.” ~ Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Two weeks ago marks the first time yours truly made Z angry. We’re talking livid, way beyond any lover’s quarrel. In true Sloane fashion I started spewing word vomit and didn’t know when to quit….totally mea culpa. Not only did my behavior infuriate him but the things I said really hurt his feelings. It was bad. During that period a truth became glaringly apparent: we have drastically different responses to anger. Nobody in a healthy relationship wants to prolong conflict with their significant other. Despite our different approaches both of us wanted it to be over as quickly as possible. Yet I’m the type of person who wants to duke it out and be done with it– even if that means hashing it out in the heat of the moment with tempers flaring. Conversely, he remains isolated until he’s ready to move forward. He favors logic over emotion– refusing to engage me in battle– and take solitary space to process his feelings.
Let me take this moment to divulge my Achilles’ Heel: being ignored. I have no qualms sharing this considering very few individuals are close enough to use it against me. But if you are one of my nearest and dearest getting the cold shoulder cuts straight to the core. Not knowing where I stand leaves me in a state of panic. When Z chose not to respond to my calls and texts I completely lost it, bawling my eyes out while curled up in the fetal position. Leaving ridiculous messages– vacillating between demands and pleas, sobs and screams, anxious and calm demeanor– I found myself nearing a total meltdown. Who am I fooling? It was a total meltdown. Definitely not my finest moment[s].
Eventually we spoke. My reaction left him confused [and probably questioning my sanity] as he grappled with the
seemingly unstable drama queen invading his girlfriend’s command center. His reaction left me incredulous– how could he not realize he’d committed the cardinal sin?! Unless somebody rewrote the ethics handbook two wrongs do not make a right. I felt he was trying to ‘punish’ me and that was unfair. He felt that I was acting like a woman possessed without taking responsibility for my actions. Talk about being lost in translation. After talking our way to a common ground we walked away from the ordeal stronger than ever.
Z choosing to ‘ignore’ me it was not a punitive measure….quite the opposite actually. Understanding how difficult it is to take back cruel words, he wanted to wait until he cooled down to ensure he didn’t make the situation worse by lashing out in anger. I commend him for having enough love for me to not add fuel to the fire. Because of him an already awful situation did not escalate further. Temporarily walking away requires willpower, respect, and maturity. Stop. Take a breath. Think before you speak. Turn off your phone. Decompress. He recognized the importance I place on frequent communication [never more so than when things are rough]– and validated my need for resolution– even if the full peace treaty has yet to emerge. Simply telling me he needs space saves me the despair of feeling neglected.
Quite a few times I’ve expressed our mutual belief that Z and I share a brain, an assertion we stand by 100%. However, this enlightening experience proves that two separate individuals exist within our shared wavelength, and we still have lots to learn about each other. I think it’s a testament to our relationship that we made it half a year without any major incidents. Dare I say it’s almost reassuring to realize that we can survive those bumps in the road that arise from our own doing? Understanding him on a new level makes me a better partner. It’s funny how you can know somebody so well…more than anyone else…better than they know themselves…yet still discover some of the most basic knowledge along the way.
[[ SIDENOTE: Changing his contact information required less effort than blurring out his actual name. I do not refer to him by his code letter in my phone or anywhere else for that matter. Oh, and I don’t like grapes. ]]
With infinite love, gratitude, and respect,