Oct 28, 2007

Taking A Time Out

S and I are taking a “time out” as he puts it. Taking a time out is OK, but I found out 3 days after being put in time out. Why are we in time out? Because I became upset after S undermined my adult authority when I tried to correct his 3yr old son’s behavior. What made me angry about S’s actions is the fact he did it in front of the kid. IMO and that of professionals, you never do that in front of children. It only shows them there isn’t a united front and a child will use that little crack to wedge themselves in between, pitting one adult against the other. I have walked on eggshells in regards to the kid’s behavior and I have even talked to S about my stepping in a couple times when I did. His response was: “I need all the help I can get.” It seems that’s only when he chooses the timing. I don’t know.

It’s not like I have no experience with children. I started changing diapers and feeding babies at age 5. I grew up taking care of my brothers and sister while my mom worked nights. I also babysat during my teen years. I have 5 nieces and 1 nephew whom I’ve been a caretaker since the day they were born. I’ve been through nasty diapers, teething, colds, arguing, daycare, and most recently the teen years. I even subscribe to parenting newsletters! So, I am not clueless. I don’t feel that S’s tot should get away with behaviors my own nieces and nephew didn’t get away with at that age.

S and the tot had eaten before they came over. I had just gotten home from the chiro and started dinner when I found this out, so I made enough for myself. While still in the middle cooking dinner, S asked the tot if he was ready for cake and then asked me if I wanted any. (I had made a cake for S’s birthday) I thought it was rude to not wait for me, and to bring up the subject in front of the kid before checking with me. I had wanted to put a candle on and have a little celebration. I certainly was not going to eat cake before I had dinner!

After those incidents, S and the tot were amusing themselves with my aquarium. After about the 6th time of hearing the hood being dropped closed (Apparently the tot wanted to see the fish from the top – the side wasn’t enough) and hearing that the light was being clicked on and off 3 or 4 times, I calmly said something to S about stressing out the fish with all that activity. At that point, he decided to leave. He made a big production out of making sure the tot gave me a hug and S even gave me a hug.

Why do I say “production”? The above happened last Wed. When I got home from work on Thur, I found that S had been at my house and picked up his trailer that has been in my backyard since I moved. No note, no text, no call that he was coming or had been there. S has never gone more than 2 days without calling me. We talk practically every night. So, Thur night, no phone call. Friday night, no phone call.

I sent him a text message around noon on Sat asking if he was avoiding me. No response. About 3 hours later, I re-sent the message.

The response: “Yup. Pissed.” He is angry because I ruined his birthday. His perception is that I was acting like a b*tch. Keep in mind, I wasn’t yelling, screaming, or out of control. I wasn’t sarcastic or any of that behavior I think of when I think b*tchy. It seems whenever he doesn’t like what I have to say, I’m “grouchy”. Sometimes, I really think that his reactions to things I say are because of how his ex treated him. Most of the time I let it slide. Anywho, he made everything look hunky-dory with all the hugging before he left on Wed.

I tried calling him on Sunday, he refused to answer the phone. So, via text messaging we tried to discuss the problem. Know how hard that is? I shouldn’t have expected any better, since that’s how he deals with problems with his ex. I told him I didn’t like feeling abandoned and ignored. First he said I was PMS'ing. Then he said we were “Taking a time out.” Nice. We’re adults, we should be talking this out face-to-face. I also told him that if I’m to be a part of his life and the tot’s life, I am going to need some leeway in correcting the tot. S and I have been together almost a year now.

I should not still be feeling like an outsider when it comes to him and his kid. I've dated other men with children and never felt like an outsider. In fact, one of the children is an adult now and she is always happy to see me (She was 4 when her Dad and I broke up). I got a note from another ex's mother telling me that if I wanted to write to her granddaughter (who is now 8) she'd love to hear from me. Now, I'm not clueless and I understand a parent's need to protect their children from pain and getting attached when the relationship might not work out. It was S who brought up that our relationship was pretty serious a while back. I'm confused. :(

I thought we had open lines of communication, but it seems the lines are only open when everything is happy and good. I want a relationship where I am able to talk about how I feel, whether I'm happy, sad, frustrated, anxious... whatever, good or bad. I don’t want to have to worry about whether my partner is going to desert me when he doesn’t like what I have to say. I also want my partner to feel like he can talk to me.

How long is this “time out”? Who knows? The way this incident has been handled makes me very sad. It’s our first “argument” if you want to call it that. It has caused both of us tremendous anxiety. Can two people have an argument without even talking to each other?? I don’t want to just sweep it under the rug. I know first hand from my marriage that it doesn’t work. It only breeds resentment. We both agree that we don't want a relationship that causes anxiety. So how does it get resolved when the other person won’t talk about it?

I don’t like arguing. I don’t like conflict. Communication over emotionally charged issues has always been difficult for me. I seem to feel things much more deeply than most people. Over the past 6 years, I have worked hard on improving communication with the SO in my life. I used to have unrealistic beliefs that good relationships didn't have conflict. Conflict is a part of every relationship. If someone tells you otherwise, they're either lying to you or themselves. It's how the conflict is handled that determines how well the relationship thrives. Name calling, yelling, belittling, ignoring the problem - None of those are condusive to resolving the problems that arise. I'm not saying all those things happened here, but I've been on the receiving end at one time or another in other relationships. Such behaviors only cause retraction from each other and walls being put up. I don't want that in a relationship.

I guess the good news is that S text messaged me of his own accord Sun night that he’d been mountain biking that day and had an “awesome” time.


jymisgurl said...

HUGS!! I hope you two can work things out.

Marita said...

{{{Meari}}} I hope you can sort things out.

Nic said...

There's something bugging S, and I don't think texting is a good way of getting to the bottom of it ... although it seems to me from what you say how he deals with problem issues. Trouble is, if you always do what you always did, you always get what you always got ...

I hope that S actually manages to tell you whats on his mind and that you resolve it.

Pam K. said...

Meari - So sorry you are having problems in your relationship with S. But I must agree with you. Children need to be taught from an early age how to properly treat other people and animals as well, including fish. I have had to tell children before not to bang on the sides of my aquarium. It can send the poor little fish into a frenzy and they can really hurt themselves. Flipping the light on and off and banging the lid are just cruel behavior that no parent should allow their child to do. S should have stopped his child from doing this, but since he didn't, I think you had every right to step in and protect your charges. I do not allow anyone to abuse any of my animals. I do hope S will realize that texting back and forth is not a way to resolve your issues and will agree to sit down and discuss it with you. Dating is so hard. But then, so is marraige! LOL!! Whatever happens, I wish you the best.

Anita Sorrells said...

Darn, I am sorry you are having such a difficult time right now with S~. It is funny to hear adults taking a "Time Out"...LOL Thought that was for little kids. Keep your chin up.

Kendra said...

I'm sorry you're having to deal with something like this. You definitely had every right to step in and ask that your fish be left alone, and if S got mad at you for that, then that is HIS problem!

The fact that he won't talk to you about it...that's sending up red flags for me. I think there is more to this than what appears. I know it takes all kinds, but I can't imagine an adult man with a child would act so immature about a non-issue (meaning, in the grand scheme of life, your asking him to make sure he and his kiddo are careful with the fish is not a life-shattering thing).

It's not easy, but I would suggest giving him maybe a handful more days to man up and actually TALK to you about things, and if he doesn't, then maybe it's time to write him off. I say that having been through a similar situation several years ago with an exBF...I waited for him for a few months while he needed time to "sort things out in his head"...only to find out he'd been carrying on with some chick that his friends had decided was a much better match for him than I was. I wisely ended things with him (basically told him what a coward he was and to go jump off a cliff...LOL!) and got on with my life.

(((HUGS))) Life isn't always a gem, is it? But what doesn't kill us makes us stronger.

Viv in the UK said...

(((Hugs))) - I know this is difficult for you, but I so agree with you about the issues with the child - you have to put up a united front, and you were so right about not stressing the fish. I hope you work this out to your satisfaction, whichever way that is!

Jenna said...

Sounds like S has an interesting way of dealing with disagreements. I hope that you are able to at least clear the air completely soon so that you can get this off of your mind. In the meantime, we're all rooting for you! *hug*

glenda said...

Hey girl, I have been thinking about this ever since you first posted and the whole thing really hacks me off. He's acting like a complete MAN! There is no way the fish tank incident set him off like that, something else is up.

Coral said...

Yup, I agree with Glenda, there is something else going on.

Good luck with your surgery, you will be just fine!


rose_michelle said...

Ugh! How aweful. I hope it works out, but I agree at some point he has to let the child know that you're authority is to be respected. I just don't understand ... he was at your house. I make it clear to people at my house that they are to respect my pets the way I m expected to respect their children. I'll keep my fingers crossed.