The cliche thing to do at engagement parties or weddings is to give relationship advice. The cliche answer is 'Never go to bed angry'. Whether it's on an adorable card, tree, or drop box, it's suppose to fill the new couple with tips to get through the rough times.
My go-to answer is exactly the opposite of the cliche. I don't claim to have mastered this relationship thing, we're only 5 years in, but I do know that cliche answer doesn't work for us. I do go to bed mad and in the end, I'm actually glad I did.
The other day, my partner and I were quarreling a tad on the way to dinner. Had he not been my DD to beer, wings, and friends, we might have turned around. Stuffing our disagreement about work aside, we greeted our friends with typical joy and eventually forgot about the tiff.
Now, as an introvert that's busy and hates to drive, I don't go out much, I don't even ask to go out much. This particular night we were already out, so the temptation to go to the near by Barnes & Noble's was too much too pass up. Especially since 3 of the 4 members of our group were fully on board.
The fourth road home with me, complaining the whole way. In the moment, I knew I was purely thinking from my point of view, sure I tried to take into account his long day and stress, but it wasn't working. All I could think about was myself and how I never ask him to go anywhere. Part of me had attempted to think of other things he had done for me, but all that happened to come to mind were the things I had done for him. So I 'accidentally' fell asleep on the couch.
The next morning didn't go much better, the first comment from his mouth I found incredibly condescending. Though again, I stayed quiet trying to think from his perspective. I told myself I also turn into a condescending bitch when I'm stressed, so if I said anything I could possibly have my words thrown back at me as a counter argument. We managed to work together through our Sunday shift, though he didn't ask about the 'obvious' anger I was holding against him.
By Sunday night, things seemed to cool down and by Monday it was gone. I had gotten over it and it hadn't lead to an over exaggerated blow up. Our Monday night date was even enjoyable, we were alone, away from the shop, our house, and talking easily. We even mentioned the thing that had lead to the tiff in the car that Saturday and talked about it like civil adults.
Continuing our happy chat, I followed him upstairs to fold clothes as he got ready for bed. As he often does, he complained about wanting to go to bed, while I'm still up doing things. Things that happen to be chores for the both of us. I barely caught what I said, when he replied with:
"Oh now that we're home, your back to the condescending bitch?" he half joked, rolling over.
I had been completely right. He had seemed mean to me these past few days, but I had been the exact same. This isn't the first time this has happened, so this time I had stayed quiet. And thankfully so.
In the moment, I only think about me. I'm angry and give a weak attempt at being fair. I also over react and build myself up, getting more and more upset. So we blow up at each other and it leads to nothing productive.
In the end, it's not that me also being mean was a positive thing. Two negatives doesn't make a positive. Two cranky stressed people being snippy with each other doesn't make for a happy partnership. However, letting it go, and talking about it later does. I'm not saying I numbly stuff my emotions down and simply put up with anything but I try to wait for the anger to subside and when it's not such a big deal, explain why it had upset me. Then we move on for the better.
We've come to the agreement we don't talk about work at home. I come into the shop Friday night and Sunday to go over everything then. Home is for other things. Lastly, in general, we're working on the things that stress us out, preventing potential outbursts.
They'll happen I'm sure, we'll both do it to each other. We'll take our time apart and come back to deal with it calm and still together for better or worse.
So, I say, go to bed angry, deal with things when you're calm and rested.