50 Days of 50: The Key To A Good Relationship: Shut Up! DAY 27

Mafia Hairdresser
5/6/2012 DAY 27
As I sit here in the dark in our living room amongst boxes of files, bedding, storage items and piled-high furniture while my boyfriend paints the trim in the main bedroom, I can’t help wondering what it would be like to be single again. Oh, don’t worry, I’m not heading for singledom again and I won’t be hurting my boyfriend’s feelings…tonight. In fact, just before we embarked on having the carpets ripped up and new hardwood flooring being laid this week which, of course, required painting both of the bedrooms, my boyfriend had a meltdown at sweet little “old” me.
It was Sunday morning, you know, that day number that drove me to drink? And “David” (let’s just call him David–because that’s his name) woke up to find me sitting on the living room couch typing out my daily blog. I had already been up for hours, walked and played ball with the dogs and was almost done writing which would give me time to go the gym. I don’t know what kind of ugly dream David had but he burst into the living room and exploded about how I don’t take care of his things and he didn’t know why he was going to waste time and money on new floors when all that was going to happen was that I was going to wreck them.
Without getting into the details, which really don’t matter, other than I can be quite the nutty professor when I have a lot on my plate (book deadlines, blogs, events, salon work) and then to have to lump clearing out rooms, painting and spackling onto that, well, I know I was extra slobby the week prior to Sunday. But hey, I do the household stuff, so I can let it slack—right?
Now, when David went off, I really thought it was about me. Cuz it’s true. I am destructive. I’m destructive to things. And I’m destructive to myself. And, lately, with this blog and my “I’m going to die soon anyway” philosophy, I’m also destructive to my friendships. But its things I’m mostly talking about so I’ll tell you that if I might be wearing a brand new suit and if someone says they have a flat tire, I’ll forget what I’m wearing and fix the tire. If I drop a package of bacon behind the refrigerator I’ll retrieve it and tip the whole appliance over, scratch the stainless steel doors and scrapped off a lot of skin off of my face. But I was pretty sure when he told me that I was a danger to that new hardwood floors, it wasn’t really about me. It was the stress of the disruption of our home and the upheaval that a big renovation can put on a relationship.
I was glad I pretty much kept my mouth shut when David exploded. Oh, I reacted. But I did so with restraint and with very little verbage. If I were younger, I would have been out the door, no questions asked. Or, I would have thrown a couple of “can’t-take-it-backs,” of which I used to be famous for. But at 50 I’m tempered, and I don’t lose my temper as much as I used to because I’ve learned how to keep my mouth shut. In fact, that is why I think our relationship is the best one I’ve been in—I was ready—to shut up. But I had to learn to let what I thought was important in the moment and only voice it after time and more contemplation while keeping an eye on what I really wanted: To be in a happy relationship and to make my partner happy.
This is also what I tell my women clients: The secret to my relationship is that I shut up and I recommend it. Women, like men who are spew thoughts that have not clearly been processed give out way too much information for (other) men to take in. We need bullet points-not diatribes of multi-dimensional feelings and ideas. I have also learned that by being quiet, David’s opinions of me are much the same of when he first met me, except where I have broken the mystery or his (mis)conceptions with my actions such as by being slobby or a complete dingbat with my finances.
David is the opposite of me. He’s always been silent in his past relationships. He was in the closet when he was married and he didn’t voice when he was unhappy in another. This is his time to over-shoot the communication and I’m happy to just shut up and listen.
I thought about being single again and that would suck. Especially since I have someone so great in my life; someone who puts up with a “destructor.”

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3 thoughts on “50 Days of 50: The Key To A Good Relationship: Shut Up! DAY 27

  1. Some good advice. Sometimes people need to vent, or are in the
    angsty part of their cycle (men and women), sometimes it’s best just not to outscream them.

    Recently I’ve noticed my husband and I manage our conflicts differently to how we did earlier in our relationship. I don’t know whether it’s, finally after 5 years, simply knowing each other’s moods and mannerisms well enough, or because we survived a 9 magnitude earthquake in Japan last year and know how quickly life can change, that we’re a lot quicker to shrug off fights, divert or avoid them in the first place.

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