An honest conversation.

Friday night M and I had one of our most honest conversations we’ve had so far.

He and I were supposed to meet one of his friends for dinner at 7:30 but opted to reschedule as the weather was crappy and getting to the city and back was less than attractive to either of us (but points to me for gently letting him decide…without letting on that I secretly did want to stay home, but if he did want to go out, I would have gone. He made the decision to cancel. Baby steps, right?)

So, my assumption was that he’d leave work and head up my way (as he had said he didn’t want me drive in the sleety-snowy weather, and i was happy to oblige!). He said he’d stop by his place, grab a bag and then head to my place (his job is 15 mins from his house, which is another 25 to my house. Still following?). He said he’d leave in about 20 minutes, which was around 6 (so my assumption was that he’d be at my place at 7 or so). 6:15, he was still there. 6:25 was the last text I received.

Then I waited for him to call (as he usually calls once he leaves work).

And waited.

And waited.

7:15 rolls around and he was just leaving work.

At that point, I was starving, annoyed and frustrated that he hadn’t even left yet. If we had dinner plans at 7:30, he would have had to have left earlier. The fact that he didn’t leave as he said he would and stayed longer at work made me feel like I wasn’t a priority.

But at the same time, I know his job is important. I mean, he takes care of patients all day, how can I be upset if he runs late? That was my internal battle. And the fact that I didn’t want to sound like his ex-wife, who hated his job and long hours.

Thus my conundrum.

But when he called, I couldn’t hide my frustration.

I told him exactly how I felt (and started to cry as I had pent up anxiety over my abbreviated weekend, and trip ahead, plus trying on a new bathing suit for Jamaica and being less than pleased).

He felt awful, and apologized. I started to minimize it a little by telling him it was that, compounded by everything else that was bothering me, not just that.

His response – it bothered you enough to make you upset and not feel important. That’s why I’m sorry.

He finally got to my house around 8:15 and we talked some more. I told him that I know his job is important. I know it comes with paperwork he has to catch up on after patients have left, but what I just wanted more of was a realistic timeframe for when he thought he’d be heading out. Not an overly optimistic version. I’d rather be excited that he got out earlier than frustrated than he didn’t leave when he said he would.

He admitted that it ‘sounded a little familiar’ *insert cringe* but that this was different than the past and he knows he needs to work on this too.

I know this will be a struggle, because his job isn’t very predictable sometimes and he doesn’t always have a hardfast time that he knows he’ll leave every night. Truth is, it varies. And part of the struggle is that I need to be okay with that, just as he needs to be able to ‘shut off’ for the night more than he has in the past.

But it was a start. I was honest. He was honest. We had a good conversation, and it ended with much more clarity on both of our needs and expectations.

The rest of the time we spent together, in spurts on Saturday and today, were wonderful. I love this man so much. Which is why it was even harder for when he dropped me at the airport a short time ago and he had tears in his eyes.

Which made the tears stream down my face even more.

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42 thoughts on “An honest conversation.

  1. The two most important keys to having a healthy relationship are honesty and communication. Not even that you have to accomplish both of those things all the time, but the very fact that you’re both making effort in this direction is what makes me know how good this relationship is – for the both of you. It’s all about living and learning and doing better – together. 🙂

    1. Thanks Sunshine. You ‘got’ the point of this post. Honesty. Yes, it wasn’t the end of the world, but it bothered me in part because he needs to be able to turn off work too and partially because everything was bothering me. We got through it, it was a good convo. Period.

  2. okay so you are always SUCH a supporter of me, even more so when I am crazy and irrational so I would like to be all like – yeah he shouldn’t have done that – and I feel terrible having a different point of view but this post is about honesty and communication right? I think that its great that you guys are open with one another and can talk about things frankly about what is going to work better in the future and to give the other person what they need. As no one is perfect and also not perfect in any relationship either. There will be conflict and disagreements without fail. However, I REALLY think you overacted here. So he worked an extra hour. My Mr U is late all the time. He works all the time. He’s stressed out the time. But he’s just about the most amazing person the rest of the time. So I just told myself – thats what he needs. He needs to focus on work and be allowed to work later or be late or forget to text me he’ll be late. So I made my mind up to just always have a book with me and my phone charged and be happy to just stay at work or read at a coffee shop or run an extra errand so that no matter when he shows up, I’ll have used my time wisely and not have been upset. M totally caters to your every whim and need 99% of the time. The least you can do is not give him grief when he’s running late from work dealing with patients and forgets to call to let you know. An hour is an hour. Its not like he was 3 hours late. fwiw, T.

    1. Thanks Toddy for your honesty. I agree that there will be disagreements and we do need to be open, I am realistic in that. I also know that I did overreact a little but my point was more that if we’d had dinner plans as we initially had, he’d have been there earlier. That was the thing that bothered me. It made me feel like I wasn’t a priority, work was. So I felt I needed to share that feeling, with the caveat that I know his job is difficult and sometimes has to take precedence. But you are right, he does do a lot for me and I’m learning to compromise more. Baby steps.

  3. That’s tough. But I live in that box. Tim may text and say he’s leaving in 10 minutes….then an hour later, he’s finally leaving.

    I used to get all bent out shape about it, feeling the way you do now. And over time I’ve come to accept and be ok with days like that because on the important days, he makes sure he leaves on time or early. And the days he’s late….”eh.” it happens. And I now ask for “aroundish” the time he will leaves. 🙂

    1. It is tough. And I know it’s also just more adjusting to each other’s habits and patterns. We’ll get there, I’m confident of that. I was just glad we could be open and honest. Both of us. We need that.

  4. Aw girl, you know, I read this and I feel your pain and frustration b/c I would have been fairly furious. But I get the sense that it’s going to all work out. Period. Done. It’ll all happen how it should. There are ups, downs, and everything in between. But I sense something so special for you guys.

    1. Aww thank you Heather! More and more I feel that so strongly too. We are building a strong foundation, despite some little bumps here and there. All good.

  5. I’ve ran into this situation a lot…Hardscape doesn’t want to sound like the ex-husband and I don’t want to treat him like one. It is something I never thought about before hand but it is another thing to throw in the balancing act. It sure helps build that foundation though.

  6. Well at least you guys got to have an honest conversation- communication is the important part so kudos. I think if he just learns to realize that you’re at home waiting for him so he should be respectful of your time, and you learn not to plan your evenings with a bit more flexibility (I get this as I’m the same way when waiting for someone) then it will work out well.

    Travel safe and good luck on Tuesday!

    1. You got that right – it goes both ways. We’re learning. I’m just most glad at the honesty. I keep harping on that but it was something I shied away from in the past.

  7. Sounds like you guys can be very honest with each other and can communicate well which is so important. What is it with men and time? I don’t think I’ve ever met a man who sees time the way we see it.

    1. Yea, men and time is never a good combination to start with. I am glad we can be honest and I have work to do in the area of patience too, so it obviously isn’t a one-sided battle!

  8. I know the thought of sounding like the ex is close to the top of my list of things to avoid! Realistically, it’s probably a pretty common thing as we all bring some portion of the issues we had in our marriages to our new relationship. I suppose there are those that are completely transformed into perfect relationship material after their divorce (not really).

    Things sound so nice for you two. Keep at it. Keep doing the things you know that make a relationship thrive. You got it! Love each other now as life is so short. Enjoy your trip and hurry back to him!

    1. Thank you so much Michele. You are right about past issues having a way of creeping into current ones…something I want to avoid, but IF it were to happen, it needs to be talked about in order to most past it, right?

  9. *insert cringe*

    Oh boy do I get this!

    Gentleman Jack has his own stuff too… that I react to… and apparently so did his ex-wife. I try explaining that I’m not doing it because I’m a woman and just like her, it is something he really needs to think about. He gets it, most of the time. Sometimes, not. It depends on what it is and the mood he’s in. Guys get sensitive about their stuff, I guess.

    And like you, I end up minimalizin it because I don’t want to be compared to the ex. Then again, if we’re both saying something about the same things, perhaps he should figure out that it is something that should be addressed, right?

    I’m happy to see that you two are continuing to talk openly and honestly. It is good honest communication that will help this relationship to grow and flourish.

    Now, let’s pray this week is over quickly! I’m seeing my man this weekend too! 😉

    1. Yea, the cringe moment. Not fun. But you are right, if there are similarities to past behaviors, it can’t just be us, it has to be partially on them too. I thought that exact thing this morning actually. I don’t want to minimalize, nor do I want to blow things out of proportion. It’s just a balance I guess, and every day is a new day to learn and see what happens. I pray it goes quickly for both of us!!

  10. Can’t say enough about communication. Need it. Have to have it.

    That being said, you might have to come to some sobering realizations about his line of work. Being that he works in healthcare it is a given that something, anything will upset the even the most general schedule in that field. At any given moment his services may be needed, be it at the beginning of the shift, or when he has his coat on and has one hand pushing against the exit door.

    Healthcare is unlike any other field in that time and scheduling are fluid and are always interrupted or bypassed. This isn’t accounting or database managing or any other eight hour job, and it is a given in his line of work that he just might not be able to ‘punch out’ at the end of his shift. It is a known sacrifice for those who are the S.O.’s.

    The question may well be more along the lines of are you willing to realize that he is in a profession that at times will demand that he sometimes must necessarily stay longer, and are you willing to let go and replace thoughts that you are not as important with thoughts that it is not his fault and part and parcel of what he does for a living? Can you do this long-term?

    Apparently, his ex could not.

    But, you are not the ex. You are part of the bright new future, aren’t you?

    Decide now and don’t let what is not his fault become the yoke around the neck of your relationship.

    1. You are right. I do need to accept his job for what it is and that it could be constantly changing. He actually does a really good job of work/life balance but there are times, like right now, where he doesn’t give himself the breathers he needs. So I try to help him with that and maybe this was partially my way of trying to get him to ‘turn off’ for the night. But back to your original point – you are right, I need to accept it. And I do. I absolutely admire what he does and wouldn’t change that for the world.

      1. Jo, I try and “help” Eric “turn-off” too but OUR determination of when they need to unwind is very different from theirs. I can tell you that from experience. I know when Eric is stressed beyond belief and try to engage us in something to decompress but, until HIS mind is made up that he NEEDS to chill, we have to be accomodating on those extra hours* I am in the same boat as you because I have dinner ready for “X” time and he CALLS at “X” time to tell me he’s going to be 45 more minutes! LOL It’s tough for us “planning” types, I know. : )

        1. Ames! I KNEW you’d get this completely. I need some girlie time with you so we can catch up on all things men. I think ours are so similar in many ways. You are the pro I need 🙂

  11. I understand your frustration. I am always on time. And if I’m not, it is a highly unusual situation.

    These kinds of talks are something, aren’t they? It is really difficult to tell a guy something that he does bothers you. The “little familiar” comment reveals that he didn’t quite *love* the subject either (cringing with you). It is good that you communicated your struggle with it, though, and it sounds like it was a positive discussion. The fact that you can share these things is in itself a good thing.

    And the tears are very touching.

    1. Thanks Misty. It was difficult I think, for him to talk about too, and I am glad he was honest that it felt familiar (even though it was hard to hear!). His tears were very touching, even though he mostly hid them.

  12. HS Marine and I have had this same conversation! My brother is also the king of this. “I’m on my way now.” really means he’s 15 minutes away from walking out the door. So frustrating!

    1. Yea, the ever-impossible – be on time, would it kill ya? 😉 M’s actually much better at that part, this was just not so much the norm (which is good).

  13. I’m really proud of you for being open with M about this. Sure – part of it is putting on those patience pants sometimes and letting M take care of work when it needs to happen. But you make a great point – in this case, he truly would have left much earlier if you had plans so I can totally get why you’d be peeved. For me, Scott used to fall into that and it was REALLY hard for me to let him make work a priority sometimes over me, but you sort of figure out a balnace and try to stick to it. You guys made great strides in talking it over further and agreeing on some meeting-in-the-middle points which is half the battle. Compromise is huge, and is another one of those “learned behaviors” that don’t come easily. You guys are doing great – learning a ton about eachother and having lots of fun too. Don’t feel badly for having an “honest” moment with him. That’s what makes relationships real!

    1. I thought immediately of your past struggles with Scott and his work schedule. I did get peeved, perhaps unnecessarily so, but it opened up a conversation we needed to have. So I still find value in that and am glad we did. I am not perfect, I have areas I need to improve, and in time, know I can do it.

  14. I think you couldn’t ask for a better outcome. From your end, you need to be honest about your needs and when you are upset. If you were to “let” him think that being late and not calling was ok, it would build resentment on your part and he might start to lose respect for you. What I mean is that we all expect our partners to call us on our BS –and we ALL commit acts of BS on our partners. You know?

    So A for you for being open and honest and not burying your feelings. And A for him for being a good listener and being open to working on this (tiny) problem.

    And the tears are evidence of how MUCH you’re both committed to each other. Happy times 🙂

    1. Thanks Jess! I didn’t want resentment to creep in, so that was also part of why I wanted to share my feelings. your comment and others on here have given me much food for though on my own strengths and weaknesses and what I need to work on too. So, thank you for that and thanks for the A 🙂

  15. Hi There,

    I am late to the party, but thanks for your supportive comments to me today so I had to reciprocate!

    Ok, I do think you overreacted a little as well, but you already know that and I did the same thing this weekend with the overreacting. Then again, I am used to being married to a cop who never had a guaranteed ending time to work, endless call ins, worked weekends, worked holidays, you get the picture. I am used to being really flexible about work schedules so its a non issue for me. But I think that with his job in health care, you’ll have to get there too. The one point I agreed with, is your expectation of a realistic time line ,that was right on. Jaime might have given me an ETA, but I knew that it wasn’t set in stone. And M shouldn’t tell you he’s leaving until he REALLY is so you aren’t expecting him.

    I would never tell you not to be open and honest with him about your feelings, because you should and it is good that you guys talked it through. Then again, sometimes I think that we have a tendency to guilt or unload our angst on people in a way that only adds to their stress. The trick is finding a healthy and helpful way of communicating without making things worse.

    I have a feeling that you had a lot on your mind, were upset about the upcoming work trip and were in an emotional place so you had a hard time when you came up against this. I may be wrong about that, but it makes sense to me why this was a hot button issue for you this weekend. I have all the confidence that you guys will continue to figure these issues out as they come up and continue to rise above it.

    1. Thanks Marisa – weird how we both had sort of similarly themed posts, isn’t it? And yes, I know that I partially overreacted and a HUGE HUGE part of it was what you said at the end. I had a lot on my mind. I was excited to see him. And the letdown of waiting more (plus being hungry. When I am hungry, I lose patience and get bitchy!) just added to that. He responded so supportively though, and we had a good conversation about it, that I know it was the right conversation to start. And I know I do have to accept that in his line of work, there isn’t always a black and white hardfast time he leaves work every day.

  16. I can totally understand why you’d be upset. If he had already planned to have dinner with a friend at 7:30, why couldn’t he make it to see you at 7:30?
    Eric has such awful hours that I honestly get pissed if he’s not home when I get home from work (on the days he has off). Like, if he wants to work out, he should do it while I’m at work, rather than taking even MORE time away from me to workout in the evening. Doesn’t that make sense? haha…I need to learn to lighten up though.

    1. RIGHT. That was my only point…that if we had plans, he would have had to get out early. But at least it led to broader conversation, right?

  17. I would have been bothered, too. I’m sure it didn’t help that you had so much work stuff on your mind. I’m glad to read that you both talked about it and shared your feelings. Work will need to come first at times, but you guys are making an effort to blend both of your worlds — and doing a very good job at it! xoxo

  18. Sounds like you’ve already gotten past this, which I’m happy about. But let me tell you that I know exactly how you were feeling. I get so frustrated with waiting. I just need my expectations to be set upfront. The EX used to drive me crazy with this. Anyway, I get why you were upset.

    1. WAITING SUCKS. It just does. Sometimes it’s easier than others, but that night, it just was the last thing I needed. But yes, gladly past it 🙂

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