I’m really trying to get over being annoyed.
Step 1) Wendy comments while we’re out running errands that she should insist that I cook, or take her out for dinner, at least once a week.
I agree, and offer to skip leftovers tonight and take her anywhere she wants – including the wonderful All Natural Restaurant in Boulder (where she can DEFINITELY avoid Onions and Garlic – those being the bane of her dining-out experiences, every time.)
She can’t decide where to go, so we head home – and I’m planning on making dinner.
Step 2) Wendy comments as we’re coming in from running 3 errands last night, "Yeah… I’m really in PMS mode.", then adds, as we’re going up the stairs, "Be thankful I’m not in ‘I hate everything you do’ mode yet."
Step 3) Trying to be helpful, I start filling the new spritzer bottle we bought with a mix of dishsoap and water – just the way Momma used to. I do this because the day before, when I mentioned that’s what my mom used to do for aphids, Wendy expressed surprise. Wendy wonders why I’m not using the Dawn (in the bathroom). So, I’m using the wrong soap.
I rinse out the bottle thorougly, and go to the bathroom to do it ‘the right way’.
She reaches for the bottle, and I say, "I’ve got it."
Step 4) She comments, "Well, fine. Like it’s *YOURS* or something…" and exits, stage right.
Step 5) I rinse the bottle out thoroughly (again) and leave the Dawn and the spritzer on the kitchen counter for her to fill her way, at her leisure, and I retreat to the bedroom for a few minutes.
Step 6) I exit the bedroom, and start making dinner – beginning with asking where the beans have gotten off to. (Wendy says "I hid them", and gets them for me, and also hands me the beans from last week, which I put on the stove – not realizing that they’re from last week, and they’ve gone off.)
Step 7) Dump the bad beans. Wash the skillet. Make ready to put the (now open) beans in the skillet. Wendy makes noises about "I’d like to have some tonight, if you don’t mind."
Step 8) A little confused, I hand her the can, and she starts making *her* dinner. I ask what’s up, and she mentions that I put chili powder in them last time, so she couldn’t have any. (I put chili powder in because I didn’t know that it contains onion/garlic. Had I known this, I’d not have done that – AND I apologized for my ignorance at the time, and said that I would know that in the future and not repeat the escapade.)
Step 9) Return to the bedroom for more alone time.
Step 10) At some point, she comes in and says, "You know, you can be very sweet when you get everything your way." Pause one beat. Turn, exit the room.
Step 11) Mull this over. Realize that, yeah, it *IS* about me getting my way – especially when ‘my way’ involves doing things to take care of MaWendy. Take this to her to discuss.
Step 12) She sees this reaction as anger, and withdraws. That’s fine. She’s had men in her life who are really *BAD* at anger. I know that when she reacts this way, it’s best for me to just back off.
Step 13) I leave her to her own devices for the rest of the night.
Step 14) Try to discuss this exchange this morning, and I’m the recipient of "you can feel any way you want about it – but I’m not going to be the one to step in and ‘fix it’ and make it all OK.", and "My goal is that I want to love you – what’s your goal here?" and "You didn’t communicate to me that you were making dinner", and "I wanted to come in here and kiss you and caress you and love on you – and look where we are. Is this what you wanted?"
Last night, I tried to love you. I tried to do nice things for you. I tried to be the me that I usually am with you, and out of nowhere, I got my ASS chewed for it. Apparently, I was wrong last night, and I was wrong this morning, and I’m probably STILL wrong.
Then, when I try to share with you how I’m feeling, (that being: I’m not absolutely *100%* responsible for the entirety of my feelings, because *how* someone conveys a message certainly has an effect on the potential emotion that the recipient of that message may express, and that certainly consumes some ill-defined portion of that 100%, leaving less than 100% of the responsibility for me to accept in the first place.), I’m STILL WRONG.
I’m aggravated that you’re laying all the responsibility for my emotions on my shoulders, without so much as a nod to the possibility that you might, maybe, POSSIBLY have been a little PMS-y last night (despite the fact that you said as much going up the stairs), and that you might have inadvertently been a little snippier in tone than you’d actually intended, that woah, that might have an effect on the evening, and woah, maybe I should apologize for that.
Nope. In Wendy’s view of the world this morning, what Jon feels is entirely Jon’s responsibility, and if Jon wants to be happy, he should just…be happy…because Wendy certainly didn’t have any role in the exchange last night. It’s Allllll Jon. Wendy just said some stuff, and how Jon reacts to it, and whatever emotions Jon’s having as a result are all Jon’s responsibility.
Yeah. I should just let it go and pretend that ‘nothing’ happened to upset me or something. Just be happy. Don’t discuss it, don’t come to some mutually agreeable place. No closure, no mutual understanding.
Just stuff the aggravation, put on a happy smile, and let it go.
Easily said. Not so easily done.
An unqualified apology and acceptance of responsibility of the role one played in setting up the circumstances that lead to a shit night can sometimes go a very, very long way.
I was wrong. I didn’t realize the joy that taking care of the plants gives Wendy, and I was overly helpful.
I also didn’t communicate that I was planning on making dinner when we got home. I ASSUMEd that just DOING it would be communication enough.
For that, I apologize.