Adventures of a Midwest Transplant

Doldrums and Listening

I’m starting to notice a trend. When I am not publishing new blog posts, it’s not because I don’t have anything to say. It’s because I don’t like what I have to say.

When I’m writing blog posts, I like them to have an overall positive feel. Even if I fussing about something, there’s still a good-natured me behind it.

But man, I’m feeling something like the winter blues.

Last week, I posted a weather forecast that forecasted weather in the 50s today. Did that happen? Hell no, it didn’t happen.

And now, they are predicting another polar vortex this time next week. Ugh, I can’t take it anymore. Just like the last time I went to visit Chicago, they are predicting temperatures in the single digits. Spring can’t come soon enough.

Beyond the winter blues, For Valentine’s Day, it was up and down. I sent Easy and my best friend Valentine’s Day cards in the mail. And I sent the husband a big ass box of Crunch bars (his favorite) in the mail.

Then I had to watch all of New York figuratively and literally embrace the holiday. People everywhere had teddy bears, flowers, candy, balloons, etc. They were holding hands and sticking their tongues down each other’s throat. It was just all so much.

Then for the next few days, at the soup kitchen and at work, everyone kept asking everyone else how their VDay was. Here’s how my typical conversation went:

Them: Hey CeCe, how was your Valentine’s Day?

Me: Oh, it was uneventful. The husband is in Chicago, so, you know…

Them: Oh, that’s too bad! Well, at least he sent you flowers, right?

[He didn’t do that]

Me: Oh, um… no, well he didn’t do that, but you know…

Them: Ohhhh, um, well… At least he called you, right?

Me: Yes, he did. He called me in the afternoon to wish me happy vday.

Them [looking visibly relieved and eager to move on]: Oh, good! Well, there you go.

So you see, I had to field that question and answer that Easy didn’t send me flowers. I honestly didn’t think anything about the lack of a Valentine’s Day gift until it they pointed it out to me over and over again. At least when I recounted this to him, we got a nice chuckle from the story.

I had all these plans with my maybe new New York friends while Easy is away. And they’ve been cancelling on me left and right.

I still haven’t gone rock climbing. That’s been re-scheduled for–I kid you not– “let’s aim for mid-March-ish.”

I haven’t gone out for drinks to Smalls without Easy. That gets pushed to the next weekend every Friday night.

I haven’t gone to a single restaurant for NYC Restaurant Week. I know we’re only 5 days in, but I already had plans to go to Delmonico’s, which I would never be able to afford under any other circumstances. My friend cancelled those plants and did not reschedule them.

I haven’t gone to kickboxing yet because snow and more snow, and I didn’t want to travel to break a sweat with a ton of snow and ice on the ground.

And the straw that finally broke the camel’s back was yesterday. I was locking my house door behind me when I got a call from my doctor’s office. He stayed at the hospital and they were cancelling my appointment.

They rescheduled it for me. For 28 days from now. It is his first available appointment that allows me to get to work on time and isn’t while I’m already scheduled out-of-town.

After settling on the couch to finally watch this week’s episodes of American Idol (it’s so good this season!), Easy called me. He made a very… culturally insensitive comment that led to a conversation about it that led to a conversation about how difficult it is for us to talk to each other.

Our marriage foundation was setup on three pillars: Love, Trust, and Communication. Without even realizing it, we went a bit off with the communication.

There are things he doesn’t share with me because he doesn’t want to hear my reaction or he knows I’m going to want further explanation that he feels like giving or a number of other reasons that basically means talking to me sucks.

This is the part I’m really feeling conflicted about blogging about. Easy and I never really discuss our problems except for with our closest of friends. The ones who we know love us so much that they aren’t going to turn on our spouse because of one problem, no matter how big. And here I am discussing this on the blog.

I feel a bit better about talking about this because it’s not me complaining about him, it’s his problem with me. I have acknowledged my tendency toward hypercriticism (is that a word?). I just didn’t realize it was affecting Easy’s ability to even have a conversation with me.

Luckily, as he says, we’re solutions people. Just like I was able to get over my hesitancy to talk to him when he wasn’t retaining anything I was saying, he’s going to give me a chance to stop being so critical.

It’s such a fine line to walk. The origin of the criticism is from a lack of understanding.

Half the time he says something to me, I don’t understand. He can say the same phrase twice in a week or even twice in the same conversation, and it will have completely different and unrelated meanings.

Other times, he’ll say something vague and then I’ll ask for an explanation, and he won’t have one. Trying to think of a way to clarify or explain frustrates him, then I get frustrated, and then we’re both just irritated with each other.

None of this is so terrible until we zoom in on the was I convey my frustration or my lack of understanding or my request for an explanation. When I am feeling cognitive dissonance, the gloves come off.

So I’ve got to find a way to make this better. I don’t know if I should just accept the information he gives me with no clarification. I don’t know how that would work. I remember it, for one thing. Or maybe I just think I won’t remember it. Seeing as how it’s the only idea I’ve got, I have to try it.

Because I want to grow into a better wife.

Because I feel awful that it snuck up on us that things had gotten this bad.

And because I love my husband, and he deserves to have a marriage with someone he actually wants to talk to.

And maybe if he can talk to me, he won’t cancel our anniversary next year.

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2 responses

  1. I think it is such a fine line to walk, being authentic about your true thoughts and feelings at any given point in time without coming off as a debbie downer. But I do believe walking that line is so much more freeing than shooting rainbows and butterflies out all the time! So congratulations on breaking that barrier – and good luck on bing less critical! I know it can be hard to alter your communication style!

    February 22, 2014 at 05:00

  2. I’m sorry about the problem you are having with Easy. Communication is hard, especially if one, or both parties constantly feel like they have to tread very carefully when talking to the other person. It’s good that you both recognize the problem and are willing to work at figuring something that can work for both of you. It’s especially important as Easy travels so much and in many cases…communication is basically the only thing you have when he’s away.

    February 23, 2014 at 20:43