Reintegrating with Pace after our separation during BlogWorld and my cruise has been unexpectedly difficult.
Both of us grew so much in such a short time, and we’re finding that we each have new and different edges, rough spots, sore spots, tendernesses that weren’t there before. She is bold and acted boldly, I am sensitive and have found a few of her bold moves painful.
Not to mention the different speeds at which we lived the past week: at BlogWorld, Pace sped up and lived at three times our normal speed, but on the cruise, I slowed way, way down and lived at a quarter of our normal speed.
Thus, reuniting hasn’t been altogether easy. We have, in fact, had multiple fights. Lots of tears have been shed. We’ve miscommunicated more, jumped faster and more often to wrong conclusions, and generally been having trouble with each other.
Working together and living together, building personal and professional lives together, is challenging on the easy days. But after spending so much time apart, in such radically different environments, we’re learning new and interesting lessons on how to make things easier.
Most importantly, remembering to talk about feelings instead of actions. If I talk about her actions, she feels bad and gets defensive. But if I talk about my feelings, she can hear me. She can listen. She can understand where I’m coming from instead of feeling like I’m pointing fingers at her or like I’m making accusations.
Remembering that we’re on the same team: it’s me and Pace against the problem, not me against Pace or Pace against me. When we’re on the same team, we can talk about how to make things better instead of focusing on what’s currently broken.
But – and this is a very important but – we can’t do that until we’ve both had a chance to talk about our feelings. If I’m still upset or hurt, jumping into problem-solving mode is only going to exacerbate my hurt feelings, not relieve them. I need to feel heard, understood, and soothed before I can move on (and so does Pace). So, we’ve learned to wait it out, to take extra time and have extra patience when feelings are raw.
Knowing that spending time apart, especially when we’re doing vastly different things that result in vastly different experiences, will be both good and bad. We each thought that reuniting would be all rainbows and dandelions… but then, when it wasn’t, we had to deal with our crushed expectations on top of our sore spots. If we’d known that things might be a little rocky at first, at the very least we would have had better expectation management, which would have smoothed out a few of those rough edges right away.
Being compassionate for hurt feelings, even if we didn’t intend hurt feelings. One of the problems we ran into was one of us feeling defensive and being uncompassionate. If we could have held on to knowing that it’s okay to feel the way we feel, regardless of how we feel – and be compassionate for each other when our feelings are hurt, (which means not beating up on ourselves or each other), we could have avoided a few of those arguments.
We’re getting through the rocky reunion and finding that our strong, loving connection is still there – and might just be even better than before. But whew, those first few days were rough!
Just goes to show you that “happily ever after” doesn’t mean “easily ever after”.