Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Living With A Stranger

It's a good news/bad news thing where the good news is Huge and way far outweighs the bad news in significance and impact. And yet here I am writing a blog post I actually hope Ron doesn't read to vent about the bad part. Since Staci's visit Ron seems to have somehow let go of an enormous amount of anger and pain he'd been carrying around for a very long time. That pain gave my dearest a sharp, bitter edge that could be very unpleasant at times and I often felt I had to be very careful lest I set him off on a Major Angry. Which was painful to watch cause He was the one I saw so clearly terribly suffering from his anger and I have been trying since the day I met him to gently show him How to drop that burden.

I feel so much for my Ron because I have SO been there. As Staci could tell you I used to be the same way or worse. And part of me is just insane with joy to see Ron acting calm and pleasant most of the time and for the most part experiencing rather than suffering most of each moment, each day, his life.

But with all of that huge anger gone we are both having to look at all the ugly stuff that got mixed up and lost in it. It has been such an odd role reversal this weekend with Alan the emotional mess and Ron playing the patient counselor. And I am learning a lot of things about Ron that I never knew. I really am awed at the amount of anger that Ron has been able to let go of and I am trying my best to listen to him and hear what he now quite calmly tells me is what he is Really concerned about. Crucial information that Always got lost before under all the anger. I am so happy he is no longer bearing all of that pain and am happy to do the real work on our relationship that we're now having to do to actually deal with what needs dealing with.

So the saga of the friendship that was saved because they were all willing to keep talking to each other and trying to work things out until they worked things out has played against the back drop of major personal growth and the challenges of deaing with a spouse who really is a very different person.

The friend we managed to patch things up with said something to me that really struck me: "...this isn't the first time I've had a friend, especially if the friend is part of a couple, take something wrong and then boom they never return your calls again and it's like your dead to them and you don't even know what you did wrong....you two were the first couple who was ever willing to make the effort to work it out."

And he's right. Close relationships actually take some work and many people socialize with lots of people and are Never willing to do the actual hard work of working things out when someone's feelings get hurt and thus never move beyond the most superficial bonds.

Ron says we have to help our friend let go of something that is just as big as his anger rock was and once we have he will almost certainly move on to family. But when I think about what our friend said and I think about people that I myself have in fact dropped flatly and never spoken to again, I realized that having shown both of us very personally that he cares about us enough to have invited us over and genuinely looked glad to see us the day after he got to see me on my absolute worst behavior makes me realize that while Ron is no doubt right about us needing to help him with his own rock, he's already family to me.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Moving Along To Family

Ron and I have a small number of friends who are so close and dear to us we refer to them as family. Ethan Mordden talks about something similar in his books though in Mordden's world the families of gay men seem to extend only to other gay men, whereas our own "family" of dear friends includes a straight couple whom we are very close to and love dearly.

We know and see Lots of people and most of them are never going to make the cut to becoming family. And if I were to introduce Ron to an old friend and add simply "and he is family" after providing his name, Ron would immediately know the stranger before him was somebody very important to me, to be welcomed most warmly.

And the last few days when I have Not been reading any books or writing any blog posts about them I have been learning some lessons in friendship from my husband and from a good friend who is well along the road to becoming real family to us.

It could have been a nightmare. Thursday afternoon in my living room a friend said something to me that was intended quite innocently but which offended me very greatly. And from the moment my huzband saw as our visitor did not that I was utterly furious and doing my absolute damndest not to let it show, my dear sweetie efficiently moved into what he refers to as damage control mode.

My instinct of course was to try to hide my outrage and get the man of out my house and not let him see how offended I was, because I knew deep down that the remark I had taken such intense offense at was never meant as an insult. But the thing is, I am not good at hiding my feelings. When I was a supervisor at Sprynet it really got me into trouble once. I was very unhappy and pissed off about a something that happened at work and it was very obvious to every person I dealt with how unhappy and pissed off I was because no matter What words came out of my mouth Anyone who could see my Face would know immediately how peeved I was. For better or for worse I am Not good at hiding things.

But I actually might have pulled it off. I vividly remember sitting here moments after I took offense typing an IM (to another friend who is also moving along the road to becoming family) that "I am laughing and typing fast and the guy across the room has no idea I loathe him at this moment". And privately to me, Ron agreed of course that we 'must try to hustle him out of here before you explode' and yet inexplicably insisted on detaining our friend until such time as I just could not hold it in (I'm told the tone I gave to the words "yes, it's been busy" scorched the ceiling) and we ended up having a Major Scene.

I hate scenes. Everybody hates scenes. They're ugly, they're messy and they hurt. But my huzband, who in this installment is playing the wise director knows that sometimes you have to actually go ahead and Have a scene if you are to work things out and go on being friends.

It's been a tense and emotional three days. There have been a whole bunch of calls and emails. And we've just come back from dinner at our friend's place. We had a great time and I think what we all felt most was relief that we're still friends. And having done the emotional heavy lifting of actually learning how we had quite unintentionally hurt each other very badly, we have moved with him a big step along the road to being family.