Confession

I’m not a saint, darn it.  I wish I were, because I wouldn’t have to share this story with you about how I am less than perfect (but loveable anyway, I like to think:-)

My SweetHeart has a crazy work schedule, and because of that, we had not seen each other much in the previous six days.  On top of work, he’s been enrolled in a six-week self-improvement workshop. Staying connected is important to both of us, and we know that sometimes our life prevents that.  Usually we roll with it pretty well, and make a point of having a check-in to reconnect the first chance we have to be alone again.

I had so many thoughts from the previous days that I wanted to share with him, and suddenly the desire to share was urgent. I could recognize the building energy of resentment of being apart for so long and I knew that the solution was to make a request of him for some time together—the following day would be perfect!

“I have a two-hour commitment in the morning with my workshop group, and we will have lunch after that”, my SweetHeart offered.  “Why don’t you join us for lunch?  I will call you when we are heading to the restaurant.” I met him and his group for lunch and we had a great time, even though I hadn’t yet gotten the one-on-one time I was craving.  As we walked back to the car, he asked, “What are your plans for the rest of the afternoon?” indirectly hinting that he would like to spend time with me.

And then a funny thing happened.  Instead of saying, “Yes, please, come back home with me” I started hedging, saying I had to run errands first and could he come over in about an hour and a half?  Wha???  Who was in charge of my mouth?  I could see his face fall a bit but that sort of felt oddly satisfying.

As I finished my errands and was driving home, it hit me.  I was making him pay for the sins of my ex. I observed that I kept remembering two incidents that happened 15 years ago when I was married:  both of them involved me asking my then-husband for time together and him making excuses and blowing me off.  I felt so sad then at the story in my head that he didn’t think my needs were important…and was feeling that same sense of sadness again. My saying I had to run errands was a defense mechanism that was an ineffective attempt to avoid feeling hurt and sadness about feeling rejected. In reality, I know I am important to my SweetHeart and I then had to own my emotions.

“SweetHeart, I owe you an apology.  I realized that in brushing you off when you said you wanted to come over was my way of designing an action that would make you feel as hurt as I was feeling.  Like, “Oh NOW you want to get together, after everybody else was taken care of!  See how it feels when I say ‘no’? “It was revenge!  And I am sooo sorry!”

Instantly I felt reconnected, even if I was a little embarrassed about it.  I never ever want to create an action in anger that would hurt him.  The solution instead is to observe my deeper purpose for my actions and words, and be accountable to myself and to him, even when I feel like a goofball for doing it in the first place.  This kind of micro-honesty is the glue that builds emotional intimacy.

Fortunately, my SweetHeart is the kind of man who doesn’t hold a grudge, and also didn’t give me too hard of a time for being human.  He also told me later how much he appreciated my apology and owning my behavior, as he was already being hard on himself for not spending more time with me.  It helped to know both of us were just doing the best we can.  And that’s all anyone can ask!

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