Larry left his wedding ring on his bedside table again this morning. I hate when he does that. So, as I always do, I put it on my thumb and walked around with it on all day. I do that so when he gets home, he notices and gets the message. Sure enough he did, and I got that look from him like “sorry, I know that bugs you.”
So I thought: if he knows it bugs me WHY does he do it??? Why doesn’t he pay more attention? And there I stayed for a little while. Cogitating. Getting bugged. Getting mad.
Then I stopped. That’s what I do when I feel myself getting mad at my dear man. Because really…feeling mad at him is unpleasant and I try to avoid it.
I do that very consciously. I have a process. I talk to myself before I say a word to him. It goes something like this:
The loved and adored Bobbi: What did he do to make you mad??
The Pissed Off Bobbi: He knows that bugs me and if he really cared he’d pay more attention!
LaAB: Well, do you think he does it purposely to upset you?
POB: No, but he still shouldn’t do it. It bugs me that he forgets.
LaAB: Why does it bug you? Do you think he’s off picking up hot chicks at the local bar?
POB: Uh…hell no.
LaAD: So, you know he doesn’t do it on purpose and that even when he does leave it at home it has no significance…he simply forgot to put it back on.
No longer POB: Yes, I know both those things. Okay fine…pretty stupid thing to get mad about in the first place. I guess it’s me that better get over it.
See how that goes? This usually takes place in seconds as he’s standing in front of me. This is a large part of why we don’t fight and always talk to each other respectfully. We both do this.
Had I not had that little chat with my silly self, something like “I’ve asked you not to do that so many times! Why do you keep doing it?” would have come out of my mouth. And you know how that spirals down to two people being mad at each other. (Or, more likely, you being mad at him as he promptly forgets you even had the conversation.)
This works. And it’s the grown-up thing to do. 99.9% of the time you’ll find that this five-second pause makes the difference between you feeling safe and loved tonight, or you walking around pissed off and feeling insecure for the next two days.
I know which one I would pick every time.
Great advice…like you, I regret the occasions when POC won and I opened my mouth for something trivial. You’re right, it only takes a few seconds to go through this mini-conversation, and it saves both parties from feeling miserable.