… or to be more accurate, “still hurt and not quite over it, but needing some time to deal – alone.”
It took me two very tumultuous years to figure this out about us, that we can’t fix it before bed. Hell, some things won’t ever be fixed. I’m certain we’ll be 80 and still rehashing some of the same old battles. So if we can’t fix it ever, we certainly can’t fix it now.
But maybe tomorrow, after we’ve brooded and licked our wounds and finished rehashing the argument in our heads (with the best and most perfect responses substituted for the less ha-so-there reality), we might each learn something. Not because the other said it in the perfect way, necessarily, but because in the rumination we can’t avoid some shred of ugly truth we have to face.
There’s hope in waiting for another day.
I wish I was better at making my point and letting it lie. Instead I repeat and rephrase, as if the right combination of the perfect words might elicit the most wonderful response: “Oh, I get it now.” Oh, the happiness! “I understand why you’re upset and I think I know what I can try to do differently.”
Notice all of the wiggle-room words? I’m not asking for perfection or even an apology. I’m looking for growth, for understanding, for a chance that we won’t have to go through this again.
But no. Doesn’t work that way. The most effective I’ve ever been at making a point has involved obvious hurt and withdrawal. Into myself. When I do, I find it hard to come back from the insulation. Most effective with him is not most me, so I choose me.
Me yells. Me’s husband escalates the verbal battle. Me responds, careful not to escalate but stopping just short of the line. It’s our thing.
Progress, though, is back-and-forth-back-and-forth-escalated-back-and-forth-aaaaah-slightly-less-escalated-back-and-forth-fake-it-through-dinner. Then a quick good night and sleep.
We go to bed angry. Better than that we go to bed apart.