How to Drop An Argument

I admit, I have never been very good at this.

When I feel I have been wronged, I tend to needle at the people I love until I get resolution – and sometimes I’m even unhappy with the resolution but at least my point was heard.

Regardless if I were to stay with Bennett or end it tomorrow, I am really irked over the Christmas gifting situation.  The bottom line is I received expensive gifts I would prefer to exchange, the reasons for exchange are irrelevant at this point even if they are complex.  I don’t want the gifts and they will go to waste, I prefer to get something else.

He has told me to do whatever I want with them or give them to my kids.  The reason that makes me mad is that he didn’t offer to fix it at all, I wanted him to make it right.  Instead, he is leaving me with something I don’t want and now have to sell in order to exchange for something else.  Either way, I get left with the bad feeling and no gift from Bennett in the end and I just can’t seem to get over this.

Nor can he.

Sure, this is an example of how we would manage arguments in the future, and certainly not a good one.  But before everyone goes off on the path of berating him, it’s really the only thing we’ve ever had a true problem with that we can seem to negotiate.

I know I need to drop the argument for all the right reasons but it’s eating at me.  Why should I be left holding the bag?

This is a historical behavior for me.  I get upset and I need to get the person to “hear” me.  I think it’s important that they “understand” why I am so upset.  I need them to see my point of view.  I tried to do some reading about how to resolve arguments in personal relationships and most say the same thing:

  1. Take a step back and think about it, what is the real root of the argument?
  2. Create a win-win situation
  3. Keep in mind you seek resolution, not to win the argument
  4. Focus on the long-term outcome, not the short-term one
  5. Compromise

So, I tried many ways to look at this disagreement and still end up feeling that he’s mad that I am ungrateful and that’s the end of it.

This is exactly how my x treated me, exactly.  So the feelings this raise in me are just horrid (and not ones Bennett should pay for, I understand).  But, boy, I am just mad and that’s turning into wanting to make him pay for it through emotional stress.  I know that’s the wrong route, I don’t want that route, that route doesn’t work….but how do I let go of the feeling?

My over-arching concerns are how do I just let it go with Bennett…how do you just let-go?

I am not sure I have this skill or even see a way to develop this skill.

My second concern is, how do I learn to manage these conflicts in the future?

I am so stressed this week it’s unbelievable.  My stress is working its magic on me and I look horrible and can’t hold my mouth and temper.  I am cranky constantly and can’t afford this behavior at a new job.  Part of this is being overwhelmed at work, some of it from the kids, and lots of it from knowing I will end it sooner than not with Bennett.

I realize when I am emotionally clouded, my entire vision goes blurry.  I find that my ability to think clearly at work is disrupted.  My patience is lost.  My mojo is gone.  I don;t feel good about myself and I get angry.

I want to try and work on one thing at a time and right now I am hyperfocusing on the smaller issue of this Christmas gift because the larger issue of breaking-up is looming.

Still, I don’t know how to let-go and I wish I did.

 

Author: Madeline Harper

My journey through divorce and an emotional and sexual reawakening. Love, laughter, friendships, family and heartbreak included. And there is sex, lots of it, so close your eyes and turn the page if that's not for you! While I started this blog as an endeavor to journal my thoughts and feelings in an attempt to better understand myself, it has become an amazing platform from which I have met some of the most interesting and wonderful people in my life. My path is often crooked, but I hope you will share in the journey with me.

43 thoughts on “How to Drop An Argument”

  1. Well take one of the issues off the table an keep the relationship with Bennett going. Especially since you are willing to have him at any cost to you… I received something for Christmas that I absolutely don’t like (No not from J, he know what I like), but I just put it in the closet for now. Will never wear it cause it’s just not me. Honestly M, I don’t really believe this is about the gifts at all. As your therapist, bet she’d agree.
    I am willing to bet that if you had Bennett, really had him coming to you for real, the gift would not be so important that it seems to be ruining everything in your life.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I’m a little surprised he’s not offering the receipts so that you can exchange them.

    In any event, I agree with oceanswater above. The gift issue wouldn’t bother you nearly as much if you were happy with Bennett and your relationship was strong and stable.

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    1. Yes, it would, and I can say that in all honesty – yes, it would. Even if things were perfect this would drive me bonkers. There isn’t a human on the planet who knows me well that wouldn’t agree with me. Tech is an issue after years of miserable tech gifts from my x.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree with Oceans, this isn’t about the gift issue at all. As long as he is staying in his marriage, other issues you have with him will blow up bigger than they are. It’s not about your Christmas needs not being met, it’s about your overall wants and needs not being met.
    In terms of the gifts I don’t think he intentionally set out to hurt you…and you are coming across as ungrateful. He likely thought he was getting you something you would end up using and being happy about even if it wasn’t something you were asking for.
    Maybe tell him you would like him to come with you to return the gifts and then you can go shopping together for what it is you really want.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oceans is right there is a bigger issue but I promise you I would be equally as mad about the gift in the best of circumstances, I hate tech, period. It’s really that simple.

      On the other hand – there were a lot of complex reasons I didn’t want the gift: it wasn’t romantic, he gave his wife one and made an offhand comment about it. we are not in a good place – of course all of those things weight in and I am not saying they don’t factor in my overall mood – I am simply saying I would really not want that gift under the best circumstances and would be equally as disappointed.

      No one seems to believe that, but people who know me well screeched when they heard what he bought me – everyone knows better than to get me tech, so why did he do it? He believes his whole gift was so very thoughtful (and the overarching idea certainly was) but somewhere in there he pitched the concept to the wrong customer.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh I am not suggesting that under perfect circumstances you would love it. You would love it as much as I would love getting a frying pan (hate those types of gifts but would love me an iPad lol)…but I wonder if under different circumstances it wouldn’t have such a profound effect on things. The fact that he also has given his wife one shows that he is likely geared towards getting people techy things or perhaps things he *thinks* they need. All of this workable in a relationship where there isn’t a wife and all those emotions attached to being the other woman. Things take on bigger meaning and more effect when you are the other woman and granted only snippets of his life I think.

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  4. It almost seems to me like you want your relationship with Bennett to blow up. You have no control over when he will ever be ready to leave his marriage. As awesome as you are, him leaving his marriage would only in small part be about you; it would more be about him and his marriage. You stay in a situation that leaves you empty handed – you know that you chose this. You chose to give up so much power. But, when it comes to gift giving between the two of you, this is a realm that is clearly yours to influence. You are permitted to have feelings, so feelings, you have. SO, I see much misplaced anger over the lack of control you have in the bigger situation coming out over the gift. Let me say clearly here, though, that to me, on the outside, your anger about the present at this point seems petty. So many people on this planet get zero gifts… so many people are starving, without shelter, without security. In fact, you have an opportunity to do something wonderful with those gifts; find a local charity that helps empower underprivileged people with technology and give them the electronics. Imagine how that iPad or whatever it is can really make a difference for someone. Think of how a poorer woman who works some unrewarding admin job might love to reach into her purse and finger that leather-bound journal, to know that she had something refined to write out her thoughts or calendar in a life that she has been conditioned to think of as boring, mundane, unremarkable, invisible. Think outside of yourself. Also, you logically know that within the sphere of your relating, Bennett has been 85-95% awesome to you, as far as . Think of all the lovers who get nothing from their sweethearts, or who are treated cruelly or downright negligently. I know you aren’t this shallow. You are upset because you have no control over the larger situation, than this present-issue is the only thing between the two of you that you can legitimately leverage your feelings about.

    Liked by 9 people

    1. Let’s start with: I am selfish. So if we are aligned with that, I want my Christmas gift from my boyfriend and I don’t want to give it to someone else. I am glad there are many altruistic people in this world, but I never said I was one of them. Nor to I choose to compare myself to them. I admit to having qualities that are shallow. So what? To be honest, maybe I am not so clear about myself in my blog – I don’t think I come across as a great and wonderful person who is into giving away things to others and being selfless – that’s NOT me and never will be. How I choose to donate time or money to those less fortunate is my own personal decision, and one that has NOTHING to do with my Christmas gift.

      Petty? To who, you? Ok, that’s fine, I accept your criticism, but if you don’t like who I am, you don’t have to read.

      I am upset about the GIFT. I am ALSO certainly and absolutely upset about the situation. Remove the situation and I would feel EXACTLY the same. Those two things do not have to be mutually exclusive. I think it’s obvious I am upset about the situation. Doesn’t change how I would have felt about the gift under any circumstance. Not one bit.

      He made a mistake with the gift. He won’t allow me to exchange it. What I do with it now is irrelevant and NO it wouldn’t make me feel any better to give it to those less fortunate. It would not make me feel like a bigger person. I would feel nothing except wasteful, the same that I feel today.

      I am this shallow, unfortunately, when it comes to certain things, yes, I admit. And it’s a terrible trait to some. Others embrace me for the fact that it’s a relatively easy thing to solve: give me what I want when it’s in the realm of possibility.

      He didn’t buy me jewelry because he thought I had too much – not because he thought it was inappropriate or couldn’t afford it. He refused to call my friend and asked for help – this is what he told me so that’s what I’m going on.

      And do I sound mad about your comment – probably – but I’m not really mad at you Nichts you have your opinion – I have no shame in admitting I’m shallow in wanting what I want. So you pointing the finger at me in some kind of move to guilt me won’t work. I am upset he gave me a tech gift, it wasn’t related to the bigger picture because if you removed that obstacle I would be int he same situation. I don’t believe I need to go through life not getting what I want from a partner and had he been willing to listen to me, hear what I was saying and not fight with me, I would be much more agreeable to “letting it go” I am mad about the gift, sure, but more mad about the fact that I need to accept his ignoring my desires.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. As to how to drop the argument, you just drop it. You decide that there are more important things to put your energy on. If this were the day after getting the gifts, it would be impossible to do. You would be too raw. But, it has been weeks. You have total and complete control over your reaction to this. This isn’t up to Bennett, unless he is hellbent on being hurt forever that you didn’t like his gifts. You (or you both) decide to stop being 5 year olds about this and you let it go. Over Christmas, a parent friend of mine, in a moment of frustration, sent me a photo of his 6yo sulking at the table because he didn’t get anything he wanted for Christmas. He didn’t get a PlayStation4, even though he asked for it time and time again. No way was my friend getting his 6yo a PS4. This was explained in advance, multiple times. It still didn’t prevent the 6yo from feeling massively betrayed and disappointed when he didn’t get it. He had his huge feelings about it, my friend was momentarily reactive. Then, everyone got over it. I can see that Bennett did not get you diamonds because it also didn’t feel appropriate to him. Ironically, the 6yo was pissed off because he “only” got an iPad. Sound familiar? I personally don’t care what your values are… but I see that you are solely responsible at this point for making yourself miserable. I say that out of a place of tough love, emphasis on love.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I have little to add to what Nichtisobel says in the two comments above. You just let it go. Breathe and think before you send the texts or say the words and ask yourself the questions you list in your post. You are completely capable of it, but you have to decide you don’t like the outcomes your behavior creates.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Here’s the thing about that – I want a resolution. I can’t let go of not getting a resolution.

        I can behave differently, but currently don’t see any path to resolution.

        Our communication around gift giving was VERY clear and he knows it. He wants to literally sweep this under the rug and I feel that’s wrong and unfair. So let’s remove the gift and talk about any kind of conflict resolution: if I feel I need resolve and my partner is unwilling or unable to resolve, how do I let go and how do I decide where an incident is perhaps isolated or actually part of a larger problem (as Oceans indicates – he’s controlling – is that the bigger issue? but I can’t talk about it because he doesn’t like to be confronted)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The key is to go back to those points in your post:

        1. Take a step back and think about it, what is the real root of the argument?
        2. Create a win-win situation
        3. Keep in mind you seek resolution, not to win the argument
        4. Focus on the long-term outcome, not the short-term one
        5. Compromise

        If you are actually able to do those things, then you have already let go and don’t demand your specific resolution. For example, #1? The real root of the argument isn’t about the gift. Therefore, demanding resolution for the gift isn’t really where you should put your energy.

        Same with the long-term outcome, and the win-win, and everything else. If you focus on those things then you will get to the place where you just decide to move on, focus on what matters, etc etc.

        But you can’t control whether he steps up in the same way. You can’t force a partner to resolution. And you can’t change his being controlling, or anything else.

        And that too is the key: the foot-stomping stuff you self-identify that you get into seems to be about trying to demand a specific reaction / action from the other party. It doesn’t mean you can’t ask for what you want, but you know you continue to demand and demand when it doesn’t go your way… which is what gets you into trouble.

        I’d encourage you to take that list to heart. It’s a pretty good one.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. I agree that the root is he ignored my wishes and dismissed what I deem important as nonsense.

        So, I don’t achieve ANY of those results by dropping the argument in my opinion. Long term- will he do it again? We certainly didn’t compromise – that would have been a gift exchange. There was no win-win. So even if we say it’s not about the gift and it’s about the fact he dismissed what I feel is important, I get no resolutions.

        Then, to your point, I can’t force him to make one, so I have to “give-up” something I feel to be important (now it’s acknowledgement of “why” I didn’t want the gift and how he dismissed what’s important to me) – which causes me resentment.

        I asked for what I wanted, I was told he “didn’t care” and that was the end of the conversation.

        That will come back to haunt me for sure because there is no resolution.

        So I’m stuck on how to get a resolution without the demand.

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    2. I am sorry, I don’t agree with your comparison but maybe it’s because I understand the 6 year old. Or maybe it’s because I have a desire to get what I want when gift changing with a lover. I am not sulking, I wanted to have an adult discussion with Bennett – there are multiple layers of things at play here – and I could not because he is so mad I didn’t like the gift.

      So, since you don’t like the fact that I am upset about an expensive gift because I am a spoiled, selfish child that needs to be taught a lesson – perhaps you have a better understanding of Bennett than I do? because that’s why he is making me “keep” the gift – just like my x used to do – to teach me a lesson.

      But it’s not a lesson I will learn – I don’t want the gift. I will continue to want what I want. My likes and dislikes are mine and define me for who and what I am. I also don’t like vanilla ice cream – is that a surprise? But if I wanted ice cream and all that was available was vanilla, I would eat it. I don’t like tech, I don’t want tech, I can buy tech for myself – why did he buy something I so clearly communicated I hated? I sound more mad about it now because he is so honestly stubborn about making me keep it. Now I am mad because he is blatantly forcing me to keep a gift I could exchange.

      The conversation with Bennett is over, there’s not reason to revisit it. But I take away two things:
      1. how do you drop any argument without resolve?
      2. is this part of a bigger behavior for him?
      I understand I should focus on the bigger picture, but point 2 is the bigger picture – and we can’t talk about the gift situation without him being mad, so I can’t focus on the bigger picture – I don’t know if that makes sense.

      I feel like I can’t drop it entirely because I feel like the bigger picture isn’t resolved. But I know, instinctually, I must drop it to keep the peace. I still feel at odds.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. M – I am sorry I was judgmental! You and I have very different views about gifts, but neither one of us is right or wrong. Our views shape our expectations, and thus our enfolding reactions to when expectations aren’t met. If I guilted you, it was more a hope that I could gently slap you out of how stuck you are feeling by trying to find a way to turn Bennett’s brass monkey into something that could feel positive. I know that for me, re-gifting to someone (i.e. to charity, or even to a friend) who could benefit from it would make me feel better, but that doesn’t have to apply to you. It doesn’t matter what your values are, but what matters is that you seem intractably unhappy about something that isn’t going to change. You don’t have control over Bennett. You only have control over yourself.

        Ironically, this year, I got the most thoughtful present ever from That Person in My Life, even though our relationship is still in shambles. He had gotten his hands on some pristine important recordings of seminal operas from the 60s, all from the estate of a locally famous artist. The artist has made personal inscriptions inside each album, sharing his thoughts, or some notes about times when he played the recordings. The recordings all play beautifully on my sound system. Most thoughtful of all, he had found the albums 6 months earlier and had been holding on to them for me all this time. I was speechless when I got the present – I certainly hadn’t received anything that uniquely special in a while. Yet, my relationship with That Person is still a source of heartbreak for me, since we can hardly be in the same room together without feeling worlds apart. I guess its just a testament to how people really do have different Love Languages. Gifts are not one of mine, even though I sure as hell can appreciate it when someone gives me something that shows that they *get* me. They are yours. Even though Bennett does high-stakes gifts, I would gather that this is not his language, either.

        I don’t know you well, but I sense from this chapter in your life, and in how you process it with others, that this is one of your non-negotiables. While your life might be easier if you were more accommodating, you are asserting that it would be inauthentic for you to expect less from others. This is who you are, and so everyone, concerned fellow bloggers included, has to accept this about you. As long as you can take responsibility for your feelings, then you get to be who you are. It doesn’t mean that you are entitled to get everything that you want, and you may be setting yourself for future disappointments, but you are allowed to feel however you damned well please about it. It may mean that you will never come to resolution about this with Bennett or with your fellow bloggers, but perhaps that it preferable than suppressing your true nature.

        I think that many of us might ultimately be trying to tell you here is that you are unlikely to get resolution about this from Bennett.

        Liked by 5 people

      2. I’m really not mad and realize my writing (quite like my mouth) is too direct sometimes – so peace between us 🙂

        Gifts is the lowest of my love languages – truly. But words of affirmation is my highest. So let’s look at the gift like an affirmation that he understood me well enough to buy a gift for me – he didn’t. This is ultimately what is confusing me as well as his reaction to my unhappiness. I just wanted him to fawn over me and acknowledge my frivolous side – my practical side – the side that could consider using such tech – well I like to keep her at work where she belongs. She’s around for the really important things like making sure the kids get to the doctor and the bills get paid. But my frivolous side is what makes me fun and silly and all the things he loves about me – why did he ignore that so blatantly when she’s the one that needs to be fed?

        I do take responsibility for my feelings and I know even why they are where they are – from past experience. But Bennett has given me the simplest of gifts, a song, a verse, a small lotion and I have been over the moon for days because I love the acknowledgement that those are “for me.” I’m more upset he wants to ignore it now.

        I am not going to get resolution, I agree, so I haven’t pursued any additional conversation – I’m just using the blog now to vent whereas I cannot in real life.

        If I had gotten the gift as special as yours, I would be able to be thrilled that someone knew me so well, regardless of how I feel about our relationship and truly appreciate it.

        This may not seem relevant but I feel it is: after my divorce I took my rings and had them reset into other beautiful rings. I felt that those rings were given to me in love and created the wonderful family I have today. Never mind I can’t stand the sight of my x most days. they are really beautiful reminders of a wonderful promise. My x was very, very happy I kept the rings and hadn’t sold them because it was his blood sweat and tears to get me what I wanted. Some of my divorced friends couldn’t believe I wanted the diamonds from the rings because they thought it was a bad memory – my marriage wasn’t great at the end but I married that man with faith and hope and a lot of love – and that’s what those diamonds reminded me of. Conversely, Bobby bought me a beautiful diamond necklace that I can’t wear because it just hurts too much to think of how that whole thing went sour, so maybe I will give it to my sister or niece who will appreciate the beauty. When I think of a gift from a lover – I equate it to the feeling I get when I use the gift. Tech is a cold hard thing and I can’t equate it to warm happy feelings of love and romance. But that’s me and that’s how I think it that puts it in any perspective.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. he is shit testing YOU. ask him for the receipts, exchange the gifts, and be done with the complaining about it.

    otherwise YOU are going to show him that you are too high maintenance, and who wants to deal with that? especially if you are going to blow up a marriage to be with it?

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    1. I asked him if I could exchange and he said no, asking for the receipts was a step I wasn’t willing to take.

      I am high maintenance with gifts. Period.

      With other things in life, not so much.

      Everything is a give and take.

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      1. Yes, this is a dead discussion and I am only venting here on the blog now. Discussion with Bennett is already over.

        I am simply frustrated by it and trying to work through it here.

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  7. I’ve been reading Brene Brown recently and she mentions that whenever we are feeling a strong emotion(s) about something, that’s when you should get curious about what you are feeling and why. She contends that we make up “stories” about situations to avoid dealing with what is really going on inside of us. Many times these include blame or rage or “it’s not fair”.

    So, for example, your story about this situation may be that Bennett is being unfair or uncaring because he did not listen to you about what you wanted in the first place and now he is being unreasonable about you not liking his gift and wanting to exchange it. He doesn’t make an effort to understand your point of view and is not really listening to you or understanding you.

    But it could be that what is going on is that you are feeling not good enough, dismissed, unheard, ignored — any number of things (and of course, you would need to do the self-reckoning and be brave enough to face your demons). You’ve mentioned several times that it reminds you of unpleasant encounters with your ex-husband — and what were you feeling then? Perhaps it even goes back further — to childhood What more do you need to learn and understand about yourself? What is underneath your response? What are you really feeling?

    I find writing everything out helps. I write an unedited account of my story — no one else is going to see it, so I can be totally honest and unfettered. Sometimes they sound like a child throwing a temper tantrum. Then I try to figure out the “real” story — which is why I was reacting the way I did and what it means about me. I challenge my gut beliefs about myself and the situation to try to get to the real stuff underneath. It’s been helpful.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Thanks Jana – I do agree. I do feel not good enough, dismissed, unheard, ignored – all of those things. Take the gift out of the equation and make it another conflict and if I couldn’t resolve it I would feel dismissed. And yes, goes back through my marriage and my childhood.

      I admit to being a flawed human. I have some pretty amazing qualities that make me a great partner, lover, mother, boss and friend. I have lots of flaws too which people love to share with you over the years: I’m too direct, I’m spoiled and I’m picky. Do I try and course correct to be a better human? Of course, every single day. But do I think that just wanting what I want in a gift from my lover is a big deal – no, I don’t – he knows what I wanted and like – why couldn’t he just get it? Or latterly, let me exchange it once he knew I didn’t want it. I gave him a gift that there was potential he had it already – I included the gift receipt and said I would be happy to go back to the store for the exchange – what’s the big deal with that?

      So, while I think I understand what drives this particular behavior – being spoiled, wanting to be spoiled – I think it’s one of those things that isn’t such a big deal if it doesn’t get out of control. I don’t feel I should settle.

      To put that into context with the gift: I would have been happy with a much less expensive gift I wanted. I would have been happy with much less. I wanted something romantic, something my Dad did for my Mom and was a model for me, something my husband never did for me because he thought I didn’t deserve to be spoiled. I know exactly why I feel this way – Bennett and I talked about it for hours…then he not only went and did what upset me, but he treated me with dismissal JUST like my x did – which was even WORSE than the unwanted gift. But I can’t explain this to him because he simply feel that I am upset because he gave his wife an ipad and thinks I am selfish (his words).

      So I feel you hit the nail on the head – it’s underlying issues related to me – and the fact that Bennett didn’t listen to me whereas he has done so in our entire relationship. And the first time it’s a big mistake, we fight over it.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. There are Two ways to be spoiled, one is with gifts and other monetary things. The other and most wanted by humans is to be spoiled with love. Only being spoiled with unconditional love fills that void of what we really need. Or for that matter really want from others no matter who the other happens to be.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m not sure I agree. Unconditional love would not get me through poverty. It would not be enough for me. I respectfully disagree that, in my subjective opinion regarding my life, it wouldn’t be enough. There is more to life than love, unfortunately.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Of course there’re more to life than love. I’m talking about what is realistic for people who wish for unconditional love. It’s ok that you do t agree. You have your whole life to keep growing. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I can’t seem to reply directly to your latest response about the rings, so I will continue my thoughts here. yes! Peace be with us! ❤

    The story about the rings is beautiful. It is about transformation, and all the lovelier that your ex appreciated your endeavor.

    It is so goddamned bittersweet that That Person in my life does understand me as well as he does. Alas, it doesn't mean that he can show up for me. I got him a great gift, too, this year, although not as good as his. One of my favorite gifts of past that I gave him was his for birthday present last year. He was feeling self-conscious at the time about me having giving him my old computer and really didn't want me giving him anything else. He loves apples, and is a fall baby, so I went to the grocery store, bought him a sampler of 6 different kinds of apples (one of each), put them all in a repurposed, but pretty gift bag, and it made his day. Not only did he love the apples, but he appreciated that I heard that he really only wanted a little present.

    It's ironic that Bennett was able to give you the meaningful, affirming presents at less momentous occasions! But, perhaps not surprising. Christmas is high-stakes, and there is already the elephant in the room that he is not supposed to prioritize you. He tried to compensate. He overthought things.

    Good to know that you accept that you can't get resolution from this, even though you aren't at peace with it.

    I am sorry about the stress and strain that the rest of life is putting on you. It's so easy for other things to creep up and enrage us at these times.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Wow! This was a lot to take in this morning. I normally don’t read all the comments, but I’m glad I did. First off, I want to tell you that I too thought you might be a little over the top and/or petty over the gifts and was careful not to chastise you for it. Then someone did so above. And I’m glad they did – but not because they did but because you very honestly admitted that YES, you ARE selfish and YES, you want what you want, unapologetically. I appreciate that in you.

    I was going to make short and brief comments, but “concise” isn’t exactly my strength in writing. However, that being said, my concise, unapologetic comments are: You need to talk to your therapist about all this. You need to break up with Bennett. (not necessarily in that order)

    Now for the lengthy comments…. I read a lot of things above, that I’m just going to point out that struck me.
    1) If you need to resolve and your partner is unwilling or unable to resolve… (is this a familiar feeling for you that causes knee-jerk reactions? Ie: Your ex?)
    2) Making you “keep” the gift “just like my ex used to do”… (here it is again – it calls up old familiar, and certainly NOT happy feelings)
    3) How do you drop an argument without resolve? (You had to do this with your ex perhaps, to “keep the peace”?)
    4) Instinctively you must “drop it to keep the peace”
    5) Your frivolous side needs to be fed.

    I am no therapist, and I know you have seen one before… but this all makes me feel like you would benefit from working through all this shit with a professional. We’re all prone to our opinions, but truth – we can only offer what we see from the outside based on what you choose to share. I have also been in an ugly, unfulfilling marriage and some of your reactions/comments above reminded me of similar feelings I had. My ex was unwilling to work on anything. He was always right. I gave up many times to “keep the peace.” (And there were many times I didn’t back down without a fight.) What I’m feeling right now is that Bennett’s behavior on this matter is just too close to what you learned to cope with in your marriage and you aren’t willing to go down that road again. I don’t even know if your reaction is a conscious one, but rather buried in habit. That is something worth exploring with your therapist.

    That frivolous side needs to be fed because that side is a big chunk of what makes you happy, and WHO you are. Your ex didn’t nurture that often, did he? My ex hated me being a free spirit, and he broke me down over 13 years just as one would a wild horse. So, if Bennett’s gifts didn’t nurture or acknowledge Frivolous M, does it throw you back to things your ex did or didn’t do for you? (you mentioned his tech gifts too) Is your reaction also rooted in an unconscious revelation that maybe he “could” be like your ex in that way?? That he doesn’t fully appreciate/acknowledge WHO you are? That his gifts made you feel more “wife” than “lover”?

    All very concerning subconscious thoughts to be having, let alone Conscious thoughts. Of COURSE you can’t let it go. Especially if you never saw that Bennett could be anything like your ex.

    And after I’ve said all of that – here’s my tough love. Break it off. Now. Give him the gifts back, without emotion – tell him you don’t feel right keeping them because your relationship isn’t going to work. Focus on work. See your therapist. Enjoy your boys. Take a breath.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think Tara has really hit something here with the “like the ex” piece for sure. You have said multiple times in the comments here about Bennett in this one situation treating you like your ex used to. If I am recalling correctly when you first me him and were attempting to reject him as a partner, you also noted then that he had some characteristics similar to your ex. Was this gift giving type scenario one that you had anticipated but hoped wouldn’t come true…or was this a complete shock and a new and additional way in which Bennett could resemble your ex??

      For what it’s worth, I really wonder if Bennetts amazing and wonderful qualities were present initially and up until now because he was trying to woo you. Now there is a different element going on…the stress of *maybe* separating and perhaps you are seeing each other more clearly now…he doesn’t want to spoil you as he feels you have too much and you don’t want to accept that he has traits of your ex. I’m not suggesting that you should accept these traits but you must know you can’t change them.

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    2. I don’t think I need a therapist Tara when I have you 🙂

      Early on, when I met Bennett there were some very stranger parallels to my x….Bennett had so many of his similar qualities that attracted me, but Bennett had them all in a positive way. So, yes, I have already seen where Bennett can be like my x. This scared me – less so about the gift and much more so about his reaction to me not liking the gift – you are dead to rights to say that I cannot accept a relationship like that again. I know what kind of acknowledgment I need for my frivolous side (and believe me, it’s not much, but I need some) and when I am well fed my partner is rewarded in triple spades. This is the first thing that has happened with Bennett and I that makes me wonder what else is lurking under the pleasant exterior of the affair.

      Believe it or not, there’s not too much to work on that I haven’t already addressed with a therapist. I am simple and direct in “I want what I want” and those who love me for who I am have no issue with this because they see all the other fantastic things I am….I am one of the most thoughtful and empathetic friends around (Bennett would say the same). Things have gotten better since I have gotten into a situation where I can just buy what I want for myself and have learned not to depend on getting it from someone else….but I still believe in sappy romantic notions and I thought he did as well.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I forgot about you writing about those similarities. But now that you mention it, could it be that Bennett in some ways might have represented your ex 2.0 (during happier times) and perhaps the do-over that would make you feel good?
        I think absolutely there should be sappy romance in relationships at ALL stages. I KNOW I’d be stomping my foot if I didn’t get that in mine.
        It certainly has all the signs of “comfortable” in a relationship, like one would a long-term partner, wife/husband. So, in that, I understand your perspective.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Bennett is a better man than my x, I am sure of that. And he would be a better partner for me overall. His worst (so far) doesn’t hold a candle the cruelty I experienced in an emotionless marriage with my x. But, with that said, it’s an affair, it’s 7 months in and there are similarities – so, yes, I do wonder are there more?

        And for sure there is a comfort level in understanding the type of person he is because it’s familiar – but I would say he is more like me than like my x – and maybe I don’t know how to manage myself!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh M, I think your friends above have provided some great insight and things to think about, so I have nothing of substance to add. One thing I truly admire about you is that you accept all sides of yourself — the good, the selfish, the spoiled, the generous. That takes a person comfortable in his/her own skin. I will just add one thing that wasn’t noted by others: focus on work. Bennett is a distraction creates unpleasantness that takes your focus from work. Sorry, new big job, new boss = work priority. You could be venting some work stress on this situation — just a thought.

    Now one side note that I must mention: I listened to a podcast (can’t remember which one) and a neuroscientist was discussing how to recover from a break-up. He had an an awful breakup and decided to look at it from the science/chemistry approach. His recommendation: Tylenol/Advil — whatever is your OTC pain reliever. Believe it or not, regular doses during the height of a break-up helps the chemistry of your brain. Apparently your brain is releasing the same chemicals it releases during physical pain. So get yourself a jumbo bottle of Tylenol and get on with it. Hugs!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think I need a bottle of oxycontin! lol. You are right about work, this week has been bad form e and once I wrote out the gift story and started venting a little and got my head around my emotion, I was able to gain a little more control of myself. I know what I need to do and now I just need to do it.

      I appreciate you (and Tara) saying I look at all sides of myself…in the same breath Bennett said I was selfish and he didn’t like that side of me, he had to admit I am easily one of the kindest and most thoughtful people he knows…so he admittted these things are contrary – but I believe that’s what makes me me – the Virgo and the Sagittarius and contrary too and I both sides of those signs in me – the wild party and the even keel organized executive. I am learning to accept who I am and what I want, and I no longer want to feel ashamed for wanting things within my reach just because others may not have them or consider it petty.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Counseling? I have some of the same issues with regard to holding onto feelings and being unsure about how to proceed in a more healthy way for myself and the people I’m communicating with. It’s helped a lot. There are times when he tells me I just need to let it go and only time helps with that, but more often he gives me really useful advice for approaching situations like this.

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  12. I go through much of what you do with the man I have been with and also married to for about 26 years now. (Damn that’s a long time…) Key comparisons: I am extremely narcissistic and self-centered, and I hold grudges. We do go to couples counseling (far less frequently now than in the past) and I understand myself much better than when I was younger and even more stubborn and willing to hold a grudge. I also like pretty things but my man feeds that need!

    How to let go of arguments or difficulties? Realize that in the grand scheme of life and its complexity, beauty, and so many wonders yet to experience and behold – the THING is only holding you back from something much more important and great, yet to experience. Just take many deep breaths, MANY, have a great cup of coffee, tea, wine or whatever, and slowly release the stupid and ridiculous stubborn emotions. It ain’t easy. It takes time and work. I still blow up at my man. Every week. Then I walk away, go outside, pet my dogs, and let it go. Sometimes he is right, sometimes I am… but really, who cares? We are still here, still together, we have each other, and life goes on. When things become simply insurmountable I read something inspiring, pray a little, and volunteer at one or two places. It helps to know I have something to offer to others instead of constantly being wrapped up in my own (relatively) unimportant self.

    I know you are a good person and this too shall pass.

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