So, my partner and I had a fight. An argument. A discussion of whose fault it was (this makes it a fight). I blamed her. She blamed me. We both tried not to do this, but we failed. I hung up on her. She threw a comment at me.
Then, I went away to hang out with my enlightened friends from NYC, so my partner and I couldn’t really talk about it. Giving me plenty of material for the Letting Go of Fear meditation practice group homework.
I tracked my fears. I wrote them down, and then tried to sense where they happened in my body and how they changed my behavior. My behavior was mostly not calling my partner, though I did send a text message, “metta,” spelled, “Meta,” because Siri inappropriately corrected me. (Incidentally, I asked Siri if she loved me, and she said, “You’re looking for love in all the wrong places.” This made my NYC friends howl.)
Among my fears appeared a kind of panic that my partner’s friends would tell her to leave me. Also, that I would cave first and therefore not win the game of chicken I’d created in my insane mind. (It goes like this–my partner tries to have the make up talk a couple times, but I don’t like her sallies into the game, so I say no. Then she gets really mad because I won’t play, and when I try to have the make up talk, she says no. So I decided I wouldn’t try to have the make up talk and see if she’d crack first. (She didn’t, but I started the make up talk with a question so she had to be vulnerable first, which came a close second.))
In case you were wondering, this falls under the category of “More Insane than I Could Have Imagined.” It falls under this category because Buddhism has made me capable of realizing that I’m doing these things, whereas before I just thought I was right and justified…or needy if I wanted to make up really badly. Now I know I’m crazy. My partner seems to prefer this…though I think she could have skipped the 3 days of playing chicken.
Anyhow, the good news is that when we had the make up talk, about, one might add, the same issue we’ve been arguing about for 25 years (is she being passive-aggressive, am I invasively describing what’s happening inside her head and is either one of us being really, really, really bad…or, even further, are we reminding each other of our mothers (answer to all questions, yes, yes, yes, and yes))…we actually made some F%$#ing headway! After 25 years! We are aiming for satya…you know, some relentless honesty about what we do, what we’re up to, and how much we’re defending ourselves when we want to just love and be close but are, guess what? scared of being hurt.
My partner said, “I’m trying so hard to hear you and be honest,” and I really believed her, and I was trying, too, and we both do know the score, after 25 years. I always say that the script is really well memorized for these arguments, and I could say her lines, in order, just as she could say mine. There are, apparently, couples who don’t argue, and instead don’t talk at all and just resent each other endlessly. We talk, resent each other, talk some more, resent each other some more, confess we’re scared, especially now, as we’re taking this Letting Go of Fear workshop together.
Tonight, at dinner, my partner was like, “I really hated the middle of this fight.”
I was like, “You know, I just started watching the procession of my own reactions, and I got really interested in them, and then curious, because I hadn’t seen it this way before, so it wasn’t that bad for me.”
She started laughing really hard.
I was like, “I’m just like that. I get curious, and then it’s like, ‘Hey, someone just cut off my leg. I’ve never had my leg cut off before. It’s really painful. But I didn’t know it felt like this.'”
She’s like, “I know. I know what you’re like.”
Which is, in the end, the sum up of being married for 25 years.
I can say, for example, that I know since I didn’t print her out a check sheet for the fear homework (because we were fighting) she probably didn’t do it.
Here’s the surprise–I didn’t do it perfectly.
I only did 1-2 most days, not 3, because I was too busy being with my friends from NYC.
Miracles happen. All the time. We just have to stop moving and see them.
Metta for my partner. Who I love, who I love, who I love.