I have a friend named Karen who recently came to me with a serious bone to pick with her husband. He had taken a short stint job overseas leaving her to hold up the fort at home. While he was out gallivanting on the other side of the world, having interesting and new experiences, she was dealing with the bills, the young kids, her career, and her car’s sudden decision to blow a gasket. She was pissed.
Sure, lots of women maneuver through life on their own, but she hadn’t signed up for this. She wasn’t equipped to suddenly become a single working mother in the midst of her happy marriage. Because the majority of her social circle consisted of “couple friends,” she felt awkward as the third wheel on date nights. Instead she gravitated toward her single friends and immersed herself in one of her long last loves- art. During the year that her husband was away, she tapped into and relished in a more independent side of herself.
Karen’s husband was to return home in 3 months. Having each had their own individual life experiences and growth during the year of living apart, things wouldn’t be the same when they reunited and she was going to make sure of it. Problem was, even in telling me how different things would be, and that he “better realize” this, her tone was biting enough to even piss me off.
“Karen, if this is the tone you intend to take with Justin, you are headed for a serious fight,” I said, “and if you plan on taking that tone to the next step and holding the grudge against him that you have carried all year, you are headed for divorce.”
“Well if that’s what that means, then that’s fine with me.” She snapped.
“Really? Okay, let’s be realistic here and think about what divorce would mean- if it comes to that. Divorce would mean that you would likely have to sell the house, move into an area that you don’t like as much, split your time with the kids, and struggle a little bit. When it comes to meeting other men, don’t forget that it’s not that easy. You will likely date a bunch of different men as you compare each and everyone to Justin, who happens to be very interesting and dynamic and a lot of what you look for in a spouse. So let’s, just for a second, drop the anger and speak from a place of honesty. Yes, you’re angry, but you also feel like you were abandoned. You are envious of his interesting time away. You felt lonely…”
Sometimes you have to take a beat, bite your lip, and allow yourself to be vulnerable. Talk calmly, from the heart. Even when you’re pissed.