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losing my sh*t

Couples who don’t argue?  Whatever.  I view them in the same way that I view the Loch Ness Monster or Bigfoot–that is, with disbelieving fascination.  I’ll believe it when I see some crisp photographic evidence.

I’ve read a lot of incisive articles in Cosmo about relationships.  And they all tend to focus on the communication styles of the spouses.  Once angered, I am like a spewing volcano and there’s no point in trying to deal with me until all the lava has flown into the cooling ocean, which may take minutes but usually takes a few hours, depending.  I read something in GQ last month about an angry wife being like a bear.  When Tom is upset, he needs to resolve things as soon as humanly possible, often with suffocating hugs.  But even a baby knows you should never try to hug an angry bear.  If we’re arguing late enough in the day, I’m probably still mad by bedtime.  In my experience, going to bed angry can result in some truly deep and restorative slumber.

If holding a grudge was an Olympic sport, I would be its Mark Spitz.  I would win the gold in all of the events in two consecutive Olympics, and they’d have a photo of me on the Wheaties box with my six medals splayed just so on my torso.  And any time you talked about anyone else’s skills at holding a grudge, you’d have to end your conversation by saying, “yeah she’s good, but she’s no Yoona Park.”  I am still holding minor grudges from events that happened a decade ago.  Tom described my hands as “pudgy” in approximately 2001 and I still haven’t recovered.  He, on the other hand, can’t remember what we argued about last week.  Which may be why we keep having some arguments over and over again.  I made this point to him once and he seemed receptive, until he promptly forgot about the discussion 17 minutes later, in order to make space in his brain for the latest episode of the Bachelorette.

I’m entering the point in my life where friends are separating or divorcing.  And selfishly, going through that with others makes you want to examine your own relationship for the fissures, and to fill them in before the cracks become unbridgeable canyons.  I am unabashedly nuts about Tom and not ashamed to say so here.  So I am resolved.  The next time Tom wakes the beast, the beast will take the hug like a champ, and be grateful that her husband made the effort.

who wouldn’t want to hug this guy?

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11 Comments Post a comment
  1. Wow, that really resonates! When I get angry, I get furious at any attempt at physical contact. I’ve been known to shout, ‘DON’T TOUCH ME!’ and push my ever-patient boyfriend away from me should he even try. The indicator that I’ve calmed down is usually me hugging him later, and we talk it out, and all is well (he’s a big fan of talking and resolving).

    But maybe I’ll let him hug me next time. Maybe.

    June 1, 2012
    • i like to get really dramatic with the “don’t touch me”s. you never know when you could be discovered

      June 4, 2012
  2. I dig it and big ups to Tom. Next time Tiff and I get in a fight and she brings up something from a long time ago (which is inevitable) I will tell her to stop being such a Yoona and see how that works for me.

    June 1, 2012
    • go with god my friend. and please be sure to report back on the results.

      June 1, 2012
  3. Patrick Query #

    That’s what’s in Cosmo?

    June 1, 2012
    • yes pat. on every page…that doesn’t have useless sex tips on it

      June 1, 2012
  4. Lori Eberly #

    Thank you, yet again, for speaking truth into dark places. (Your blog on nursing woes did the same). Your writing regularly highlights that Tom is a patient man, but also that you have the capacity to step outside of your experience and evaluate yourself with grace, humor, and profound curiosity. Your willingness to do this in a public forum allows the rest of us into the learning, and is why we resonate with you. We get to say, “Yeah, been there.”

    Whether we’re the exploder or the pacificier, we’re all just trying to manage the anxiety and fear that inevitably rise when we’re in relationship. The fissures become canyons when we live too long in the space of avoider.

    When Cosmo doesn’t cut it, I found The New Rules of Marriage by Terrence Real enlightening. (Sorry I lack the tech savvy to turn that into a link to Amazon). And I would need my own blog to carry on about interpersonal neurobiology and how understanding our brains and our fight/flight responses has radically altered the way I look at my marriage and why and how we argue.

    That beast may need the hug offered, but probably won’t accept it until she feels understood.

    May 31, 2012
    • i like that last line, lori. the bear is misunderstood. my new mantra!

      and i’m tech savvy enough to search for and purchase the terrence real book, which i just did. thanks for the lead, and for the really lovely feedback.

      May 31, 2012
  5. This is such a heartwarming post! 😀 Some relationships are doomed, but I am under the very self-centered assumption that some people don’t try hard enough. I agree that all couples argue, but working towards resolving issues is necessary and MATURE. Don’t work on it, then don’t be surprised when your relationship fails. Yeah, now I’m a love guru.
    Also, “even a baby knows not to hug a bear” made me laugh out loud and choke a little. Hilarious!

    May 31, 2012
    • i’m going to work at being a better hugger but tom should also work at not angering me in the first place

      May 31, 2012
      • I can relate to that! And sometimes hugs are terribly misplaced. When anger makes fists clench…it’s probably NOT a good time for a hug!

        June 1, 2012

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