The Forgotten Date

In her book, “Lost and Found”, author Geneen Roth writes:  “We live in a trance; we make up the stories we tell ourselves, an then we act as if those stories were true.”  I know this, have worked with this concept for years, have based my personal and professional work on it and yet….when my stories about what’s going on get activated I break down just like everybody else.  I become unable to not only see any evidence to the contrary but also unable to take responsibility for anything I had done to contribute to the way I was currently feeling.

Talking about stuff but never doing it bugs me.  And I suddenly realized that my SweetHeart and I had been talking about a special date night for THREE WHOLE MONTHS and we (read that as ‘he’) hadn’t made that happen.  BAM!  I suddenly had a story that I was doing ALL the work in our relationship and that he was Mr. Slacker.

I managed to hang onto my perspective long enough to test my assumption that the responsibility for our date night was all on my SweetHeart, and that he wasn’t just waiting for me to do it, putting us both in the position of waiting on the other to take action.  (Sometimes I just hate it that I may be accountable as well, and didn’t want to look bad by getting all mad if I had something to do with it.)

So here’s how that conversation went.

Me: “SweetHeart, were you expecting me to be the one to set a date for us to dress up and go to dinner?”

SH: “No, I guess I just got focused on other things.” 

To his defense, his family had come in over the holidays, and between work and family gatherings, we didn’t have much available opportunity for our date.  That didn’t matter much, though, at that moment.  I wanted to make this his fault.

So I check in with my emotions.

Me:  “That makes me feel really sad and disappointed that we haven’t done that. (Oops, here comes a little sneaky accusation).    And hey, when was the last time YOU came up with something for us to do?  For the last month, all the activities we have done together were my idea.”

SH:  (after patiently listening)“You’re right, I’ve been slacking”. 

This was proof that I am doing ALL the work in this relationship! Then I burst into tears.  That’s one of the reasons he is my SweetHeart, he is willing to own his part in the care and feeding of our relationship.

Our stories get triggered all the time, and where we run the risk of creating a mess in our relationship is when we pretend they’re real.  When we can remember to test our stories by asking questions, and owning our role in the situation, the breakdown becomes a breakthrough, and the kissing and hugging can then commence.  And really, isn’t that way more satisfying that picking a fight?

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