Showing posts from 2017

The Right Words

If we said the right words, everything would turn out alright, of course. If we spoke to one another just so, neither of us would hurt. Disappointment noisy as air escaping an untied balloon that, up until the wrong word seeped out, had been stretched thin and round, its breath held by pinched fingers. This is the trouble with being seen. When his words prick me, the sting flashes across face. I turn away quickly, hoping he won’t see the defeat in my eyes. I search for the right words and perhaps even find them, but speak in my taut, brittle voice and he can hear me cracking inside. He knows, he sees instantly I’m disheartened by his response. I take a step sideways and search for angles of escape, some distraction that will avert conflict and allow me to scurry away before I fall apart. My falling apart takes many forms; some are self-defeating, some self-abusing, and some pure rage. A falling apart in stages, really. Once we’ve used the wrong words, the right ones go into hid

The Pinnacle of Divorce

There’s a perception I’ve heard presented as scientifically confirmed reality: Stepfamilies are becoming more and more prevalent because of escalating divorce rates, which are caused by society not valuing marriage enough. As if our cavalier attitude toward commitment and our apparent disregard for the sanctity of marriage is resulting in the downfall of so many unions. We all just split up and leave because it’s so easy to do and no one seems to mind. What I’d like to consider is the possibility that divorce, if it is in fact more prevalent, may be so rampant because we value marriage too much. We are a society that idolizes marriage and pushes it as the optimal relationship status. Everybody ought to be married, women sooner than men. Everybody must be married before they have sex (but, as an aside, we understand – just don’t make it obvious). Yes, no sex before marriage, unless you get yourself pregnant (you woman, you spontaneous self-fertilizer; you man stuck with a woman wh

“We-ness” and the Common Enemy

Relationships are strengthened by alliance. The us-against-them challenges create camaraderie and reassure us that we’ve got each other’s backs. Tension mounts when our partner offers excuses or explanations for the entity that’s causing us grief. If we have a frustrating call with customer service and regale our partner with the awfulness of that experience, we’re not looking to be talked into having compassion and understanding for the agent on the phone. We want our ally, our friend, to stand by our side and agree with how awful that must’ve been and empathize with how difficult it is to keep cool in those types of conversations. We want understanding, validation, reassurance that we are still likable, loveable, and most of all connected because those types of experiences usually make us feel decidedly unconnected and our reactions sometimes cause us to doubt whether we are in fact the “good person” we aspire to be and whether we can in fact handle the things in life that we have t