For years, RJ and I never fought. Literally. If we disagreed, we talked about it. And that was that.
I often dared not share this bliss with peers, especially when it was apparent others did not enjoy peaceful coexistence with their spouses or long-term SO's. They played mind games. They stopped speaking with each other for days. Not RJ and I.
Early into our marriage, I shared this with my mother. Essentially she responded, "You just haven't had something to fight about yet." which sent chills down my spine.
I credit my time spent in therapy. When something upsets me, I step back, cool off, and analyze why I react to such an extent. As Buddha may have said, and I paraphrase, expectations and desire lead to disappointment. Recognize when your expectations are not realistic (or, worse, not important in the scheme of things). I know not to enter a relationship expecting the other person to change. It never works.
If I got upset, I'd be mindful and not make my issues about RJ. He was still the same person.
When things are not easy, I remember what I love about RJ, what makes him him. Hopefully the person you're with — you truly love his core. I love RJ in dimensions: as a boy, as an adult, as a person. So many things, simple things, he does, I adore. You have to relate to someone on that level, on all levels, I think. Or the bond is not complete.
That acceptance and multifaceted love grounds the relationship. I have joked that we are fine until dementia changes one of us.
Since RJ and I started working together this year, the dynamics of our relationship inevitably has changed. I was apprehensive, but we stumbled upon the arrangement without a choice.
I have never wanted to be in a managerial position. I know myself. I have traits that do not make an ideal supervisor. After all, I am my mother's daughter. Given specific circumstances, I can be overbearing, micromanaging and all-around shrew-like.
Well at least I realize that, right? It is remarkably a far cry from when we met, when the one adjective that RJ used the most to describe me was "sweet".
Personalities are not a duality, but a spectrum.
RJ, on the other hand, is soft-spoken, mellow, and patient. He also is intelligent and tireless in his problem-solving ways. Our working styles may be "slightly" different...
And thus I find myself picking on things that in hindsight are often trivial. Mind you, this is the opposite of what I do in our personal lives. In the professional realm, I am much more a perfectionist. I am impossible to please. Again, like my mother.
Coming to terms with that will help me ease up. Still, I find myself apologizing at night for having been harsh during the day. Talk about a case of Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Hyde!
I'd say to RJ, "Was boss lady mean to you again today?" We'd laugh. You gotta stick with humor (and be sincere about it).
It is a learning process. I do feel that I exceedingly exasperate RJ more and more frequently on both the home and the work front, which leaves me ruminative.
I neglect to mention the bright side is we get to carpool most days.
This evening, as we were coming home, RJ was behind the wheels. We tend to show off our skills parking as far away from our neighbor's spot as possible, which means that we slide very close to this column in the corner of ours. (Because a concrete column poses less threat than a human being.)
I watch intently until he was done backing into the space, almost holding my breath. (I have trust issues. Our car is only several months old.) The side mirror of the car was literally only half an inch from the concrete column. Then, with a straight face, I said, without giving away any sarcasm, "You should have gotten closer to the column."
RJ looked at me like... there's no word for it. You should have been there. As he opened his mouth to (I imagine) defend himself, I could hold it no longer and burst into laughter.
"I was being facetious!" I said, now laughing in spasms. There was no cruelty in that, I swear. Just that he was so cute.
As we walked to the elevator and then in it I still was laughing hard, almost snorting. I kissed him repeatedly on the cheeks to make up for my mischief. RJ, being his zen self, just gave me this "Oh, you..." smile.
But then I got to thinking: have I become such an irrational partner that he actually believed my ridiculous complaint?!?!
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