I'm Knot Ready
My ex taught me to be un-anal without even realizing he’d done it. I was always being too safe about time, about tasks, and about being orderly and polite. The first thing I found intriguing about him was that he always said what he felt. How unusual it was to me at the time.
I would rather bite my tongue, stay the safe route, not hurt anyone’s feelings, sit quiet and worry what someone might think. I was NOT going to be the one to tell you something that you didn't want to hear.
How he said whatever was on his mind without concern of repercussion was the first thing about him that intrigued me into un-analness. The second lesson was how he would pick me up for a date, and then run a quick errand that he didn't get to that day because he had been bogged down with his work.
I remember thinking that maybe, just maybe, it’s kind of insulting when a date wants to stop by his architects’ office first before the restaurant.
I’m sure my thoughts were, why didn't he just let me know that he’d be a bit late and then do the errand without me? Or maybe I was thinking: isn't it a bit rude to make a date tag-a-long on an errand? But then it occurred to me…
…he doesn't care what I think. What a wonderful idea!
Still to this day, I’m not sure if I should have been insulted or not, but back then it just made me think: how cool would it be to not care what others think? THAT would be SO cool. So FREEing. I wanted to be just like him. I knew life would have a different feel to it if I didn't worry so much about others’ thoughts and opinions and needs way more than I worried about my own. It’s a habit not easily broken, but suddenly I had a window opened that wasn't there before, letting light in where there had never been light.
I dipped my toe into those waters slowly over the years and now I rarely think about others' feelings until after I've said something. Then I might think, maybe I shouldn't have said that.
But I've also learned over the years how to just let things go. Which I now do with great success. So there’s less worry, less safeness and less anal-ness in my life.
He helped me get there in other ways, too. I used to be VERY anal about keeping the house neat. I worked five day weeks in banking before I’d had my son and had created the habit of Saturday being cleaning day.
Nothing could interrupt my day of cleaning. It just HAD to get done. Until he had an affair. Then it SO wasn't important. Nothing can compare to importance like the falling apart of a marriage.
I tried hard to keep the marriage intact and it became my focus and the sponge of my energy. My son was barely two and was my biggest focus and happiness in the years that followed, but the marriage suffered. I remember my ex mentioning to me that the house hadn't been its normal organized state for some time. I told him that when our marriage became organized again, I’d focus back on the house. I was okay with a messier house more than I would have been before. I wanted clean, but I wanted something else even more. I realized that the world wouldn't fall apart if the house wasn't in its place. Especially if your world had already fallen apart.
I think he learned from me over the years, too. I DO know he had gotten lots of little reminders from me (smile), but one lesson stands out. When I got back to my anal household standards after my daughter was born years later, he got used to a clean house again. My middle school aged son would come home from school and sit at the counter to have an after school snack with me before doing his homework. We would talk about his day and be silly. While there, often times he’d pull off his socks and they would sit there on the floor after he went to his room. The house spotless, his dad would come home and see the socks sitting amid the neatness. They would bother him so much.
He’d yell about these inside-out dirtied sports socks. He’d discuss them as if they were a disgusting alien and it bothered me how much those socks bothered him. They were his pet peeve.
One day I suggested that he simply tell his son to pick them up instead of having a cow; it would be easier. But nothing worked to soothe his frustrations over the dirty socks. I sure wasn't anal about them. I’d learned so much in the past years that a pair of socks scored a zero on the 1 through 10 difficulties-of-life scale. One day that I’m guessing he’d had too much coffee, he went WAY off about these socks.
The only response that I had left in me was, “One day you’re gonna’ miss those socks,” and I left him alone in the kitchen with those socks.
He went quiet. He must have had a long talk with the socks and the two of them made peace. I never heard another word for the rest of our marriage about them.
I know we can all look back on past relationships and appreciate the things that we learned from one another while there, no matter how much bitterness or anger remains. My ex taught me to be real with myself and with others. I was able to apply those lessons when it was time to ask for a divorce. I was thinking of me. I had kept things in motion for my kids, but it was time. He cried, but I was more in tune with the tears that I had shed. And that was a big accomplishment that I could thank him for.Katherine A Rayne has a book for your relationships on Amazon.com. Back To Being A Woman (Without Changing The Man) is oxygen for any and all relationships in your life, including with yourself. Begin reading here by clicking on the book image. Put your oxygen mask on first, before helping others with theirs. xo www.Facebook.com/BackToBeingAWoman www.Twitter.com/BeingAWoman Visit her on her website at www.KatherineARayne.com for tips on how to “I Did It!”