“We need to talk.” Did anyone else read that and have their stomach tighten just a bit? I did and I’m the one who wrote it…and said it (kinda) to my hubby not too long ago. Some of you may remember he had a slip recently and while I’m an understanding sorta gal, I’m not one to sit idly by when I feel something needs to be said. I’m gonna say it.
I try to avoid such great conversation starters like the one above and use something more like, “Hey, babe, when you have a minute can we sit down and chat?” or “Babe can we do LOVERS later? (That’s our new check-in conversation tool. More on that in another post.)
When we sat down to talk, the conversation started out fairly well. I addressed the issues I wanted to discuss and Devin seemed open to listen…until he wasn’t. It was very out of character for him.
Normally, we have the ability to stay on track, stay on topic, and not get too defensive. This time, however, the conversation kept winding down roads it didn’t need to travel. The discussion jumped from one subject to another and I could sense that Devin felt like I was attacking him rather than trying to sort things out and express how I felt.
Then it dawned on me. The slip. Just as I was expressing my concerns on what his recovery looked like at the moment, i.e.: not much of a tangible change that I could see to assure me things were good in his world, he was also moving through his own emotions about the slip.
He’d gone through shame and embarrassment and I thought that had past, but as we continued to talk, I discovered that the slip really shook him to his core. He felt like he had failed me, especially during a time that could be filled with triggers. He’d slipped so close to the anniversary of disclosure day and that was eating him alive inside. I told him he had to let that go because I already had, but still, the feeling of letting me down and letting down those who looked to him as a mentor was a bitter pill to swallow.
The result of these feelings were causing each of us to withdraw. Not completely, but I was already in my detaching with love mode and he was feeling that and not digging it at all. We both knew we needed to nip it in the bud so detaching with love didn't turn into complete detachment.
We talked about how to reframe the slip and seeing it as an opportunity for both of us to refocus on our recoveries and our relationship and reconnecting again. So I guess in this case, we really did need to talk.
Do you cringe when you hear, “We need to talk” or do you love a good conversation?