Love and Logistics
One thing that’s helped me feel better more of the time is to take the love in the form it’s given, even if the person giving it is imperfect, even radically imperfect. By imperfect I mean that they are not me and they make that clear repeatedly by doing and saying stuff I’d prefer they didn’t do or say, and by doing and saying stuff I don’t understand.
If I’m not on my toes about it, I might say something to them like, “Stop doing that!” or even, “How could you do that?” when they might be just trying to live their lives and even maybe looking for a thank you. One time I got so frustrated about something I threw a metal three-hole punch at Mike, who is the sweetest person ever. It didn’t hit and he was quite far away, but it took a really long time to recover from that as a couple so I don’t recommend it.
I don’t recommend throwing actual three-hole punches or words that amount to the same thing. It’s just too long and too tough to dig out from that kind of thing. Thank goodness he seems to have forgiven me. And I’ve forgiven him for whatever it was he did that I thought warranted that kind of response. I don’t even remember.
Another example of just let it go-ness and take the love is my mom. I’ve been begging and threatening her for a few years now in an attempt to get her to stop buying our son plastic toys and feeding him processed sugar when they get together. I finally realized it’s not going to happen. It’s against her grandma nature. After a lot of drama, pain, feelings of betrayal and disrespect on both sides, I decided to just appreciate that she loves him and it’s not going to kill him once in a while. It’s not going to kill me either, though I felt that way for a long time.
She seems to have perhaps reduced the quantities (that maybe is just wishful thinking), and there’s openness to giving the sugar at the beginning of their get together so by the time she returns him to us the crackhead sugar insanity is mostly worn off. Maybe she hasn’t changed at all. But I have. I can honestly say I am grateful our son has a grandmother who loves him so much and who he loves as well and feel good about all of it. It feels so much better.
My husband is another one, as all husbands seem to be, who does and says things that I simply never would do or say. I would not laugh at some of the memes he sends me, and in the beginning I’d examine these jokes and wonder how in the world I could spend my life with someone whose sense of humor runs so basic. Now I appreciate that he’s thinking of me and sending stuff that does make me smile from time to time if I let go of my idea of what I find funny. We have a much better time of it when I stop rolling my eyes at stuff that makes him who he is and start appreciating him.
It’s one thing to traverse the sense of humor gap. It’s tougher to really love my partner through the triggering stuff. For me, the triggering stuff is sex, money, religion, politics, child-rearing (so called co-parenting), home buying, selling, decorating, organizing, anything house-related, and a few other things. Entertaining used to be on the list (making elaborate recipes for the first time for guests?!?!) And laundry (no separating whites and darks?!?!)
There is really so much I’ve had to let go of to enjoy the incredible love and connection we share. I highly recommend it.