Yesterday marked one of the first times that I have freaked out (internally) about our finances, and then waited until I was calmed down to actually sit down and discuss everything with N rationally and calmly.
It was hard. Intensely, ridiculously difficult. Normally, when I get all worked up over something, my immediate response is to react. If I’m upset or worried or angry or sad it all comes out in a big torrent of crazy. Unfortunately, I don’t just let loose with the torrent and then feel better. Instead, I get swept up in my own flood of negativity and get angrier and angrier, and it takes a long time to talk me down off the ledge – if I absolutely must mix metaphors (and I must).
Yesterday, I tried something a tiny bit different. I started getting worked up around 2pm, I guess. Instead of sending N an, “ARGH WE HAVE TO TALK”-style email, I forbade myself from emailing him anything of consequence, as we’d already decided we were going to go over financial stuff when we got home.
Then I spent a few more hours getting worked up over everything and getting all bent out of shape and upset. Our drive home was pretty quiet, because I knew if I said anything, it wouldn’t be nice, and I wanted to avoid that at all costs. For a change, I recognized that I needed to calm down before I talked about anything. I took some deep breaths, I made the effort to appreciate and laugh at the jokes N made about stuff, I petted the doggies and had oh-so-much-fun bringing them to the vet’s for Maggie’s last immunization. (Actually, that was fun; Blunder gets so excited whenever we go anywhere that it’s hysterical.)
We came home, spent a little time relaxing and cuddling, and by the time we actually sat down to discuss stuff, I was actually calm. Not a forced, fake, brittle calm, either. Instead, I was truly calm, because I realized that no matter what, we’d make it through and be just fine, and things aren’t that bad. You know what this resulted in?
Instead of a big argument and me shouting and N getting frustrated…we found a solution that worked for both of us, and our budget, and went on with the rest of our evening quite happily.
I was kind of ecstatic, afterward. N was more relieved than ecstatic; I think in his mind it was about darn time I managed to act like a rational adult and not a panicky two-year old when the subject of money comes up. I have a lot of baggage when it comes to relationships and money, and I tend to get a little bit worked up. I’m working on it – last night was an awesome example of the fact that life is happier when you don’t panic.