Rules Apply to Everyone, Not Just Mom

I realized, 25 years into marriage and having kids, that I let people unload on me too much and then I feel guilty for getting mad about it. I swallow too much and put up with too much. I don't tell people I've had enough until I'm too upset. I let the people I love get away with too much. Part of it is that even at 48, I'm still afraid to confront feelings. I'm afraid I'll drive people away.

I'm the parent--the one who has to stay glued when everything and everyone around me is coming unglued. I get that. I'm the adult. But I am not the only adult in this relationship. Sometimes I play the designated adult so that my husband can act childish. That's not good for him or for me. I want to say "grow up" and sometimes I can. But when he's in "that mood" I don't dare push the issue. He knows I won't. He knows that I know that if I do, I'll get punished with anger, pouting or verbal backlash.

We're moving into a more honest place. I'm learning to be honest and to say something before I'm really annoyed. He's learning to bite his tongue. That's always going to be tricky, though. He's had a lot of practice at spoiled brat behavior. He's gotten good and shooting off his mouth inside of biting his tongue and thinking through what he's going to say. And I've had a lot of practice at toughing it out when I should confront it. Fortunately, he's a kindly, loving, mostly-unselfish person. He's nice with unpleasant times, not the other way around. Otherwise, I couldn't (and wouldn't) take it.

I think that's the key to deciding if a relationship is worth keeping: is your S.O. mostly decent and loving with bad habits? Or is s/he mostly bad habits with a few positives? If it's the former, I say stick it out. None of us is perfect and we can't expect perfection from significant others. But if s/he is generally negative, unkind, rude, nasty, impossible to get along with, I don't think it's worth it.

No matter what, always speak your truth. Say what you need to. Be tactful as much as possible, but don't always mince words to protect the other. They may not get your meaning if you sugarcoat it too much. The person you are in a relationship is an adult and needs to be held accountable to act like one. You're not a parent, nor should you expect (or be expected) to be.

Post a Comment

Google+ Followers