After a wonderful two days, someone said something the wrong way and we had a major blow out on my birthday. Aargh…We agreed though, that we sure like to talk even when we are talking about breaking up.
It’s very different arguing at 53 than at 23. We used phrases like “tell me what you heard me say..”, “stop and breathe..” and “what I learned in therapy…”. Both of us listening to each other rather than shouting. Not wanting to be right, but wanting to be heard and understood. Lots of “how can we fix it?” and “Why are we still discussing an incident from months ago, what haven’t we healed about that?”
We figured out that when I have a bad day, I want him close. When he has a bad day he wants space. So we are giving each other what we want. I try to give him a hug and ask lots of questions about how he’s feeling and he doesn’t call me so I can have space. I know, this sounds like pretty normal 8/9 months of dating transitions.
As part of a joint agreement, we had my son with autism mowing and trimming at the farm. This was going to be good practice for getting a job. We discovered that my 17 year old is a long way from having the skills necessary to work. A huge eye opener for me. The line between support and enabling is a very fine one. I told my friend that the divorce rate among families with special needs kids is over 85%. He said he understands why. We had so many fights this summer with what I deemed parenting issues.
His marriage broke up after 20 years from issues with her previous kids that he helped raise. One calls him dad and the other caused the beginnings of the divorce. He knows my ex (small town) and can’t believe he won’t see the boys. Now my friend is starting to get attached and is scared. He doesn’t want to re-do this scenario of raising some one else’s kids.
So we are trying to step back for a while. Part of the issue is he stepped back without talking to me, and then I panicked because he pulled back. Then he pulled back more and I panicked more. Again, pretty common themes in relationships as they progress.
We also discussed drinking. Mine and his. He is the one with the romantic notions about going out for dinner and having a nice glass of wine. I laughed and said 99.9% of our time together is spent NOT drinking. He thought a minute and agreed. I asked him to remember us drinking together and he could only think of one time. It’s more worrisome for him because the only person he knows who doesn’t drink is a radical non-drinker who really puts people down who do drink. He doesn’t want me to become like his best friend’s wife.
The goofy part of all this, is we both like things just the way they are. But we can’t seem to agree on what we call it. He tried so hard to win me over in the beginning and I took it slow. Now he wants to slow it down while I am just learning to relax and trust. Hence the Arrgh…..
We both agreed that we don’t want it to end, and we both agree we don’t need to rush towards anything. We just can’t figure out what taking a step back means.