Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What I've learned: Speak up

Last week, I wrote this post about learning that I've been using relationships as an excuse to avoid other things in my life. That's not the only thing I've learned.

I avoid confrontation. This isn't totally new - but it is new as far as romance. I'm usually a peace-keeper with friends, family, at work, etc. I don't like to argue, and I don't like making people angry. It's not that I'm shy, or afraid to speak my mind. I just pick my battles takes a lot to make me angry - or to make me care enough to say anything.

When I was married, there was a running joke that I was "in charge." I wasn't; but I was definitely not afraid to speak my mind. If I was unhappy, or didn't like something, or wanted something specific - he knew.

When I was with Big, I tried to change. I genuinely don't want to be "that woman." I have no desire to be in charge of anyone's life (other than my own, natch). I don't want to be perceived as someone with a lot of requirements - go there, do this, say that, etc. (plus, to be honest, I'm more laid-back now than I was when I was married)

But - it became something more. I was afraid of a confrontation; I was afraid he'd use it as an excuse to end things. So, when he did or said something I didn't like - I held my tongue. If I was unsure of something, I'd try to figure it out myself, rather than just ask. It left me in tears more than once; and it left my closest friends asking me, "Why?"

I have no doubt that Big sent me some confusing signals. But for my part, I had no business relying on them. If I wanted a "grown-up" relationship, well then I needed to deal with things like a grown-up. If I had a question, I should have asked. If I didn't like something, I should have said so - yes, in a nice, polite way...but still.

I didn't fully realize what I'd been doing until I had a conversation with a good friend (my ex). I told him that I tried to curtail my "mouthiness." His observation? My habit of being straight-forward and...well...blunt about my feelings is part of my personality. If I wanted to be nicer about it, fine - but keeping my mouth shut altogether isn't me. According to someone who knows me pretty well - if I didn't feel like I could say what I was thinking to Big, something was definitely wrong.

I think I'm learning that I can't hold my tongue. I can tame it a bit; but the right person for me is someone with whom I'm never afraid to be myself. Mouthiness and all.


  1. I'm not sure he always likes it, but my guy accepts it. You'll find your guy to like/accept it too. It's how things work ;)

  2. Sometimes it's hard to acknowledge and share with someone those things that bother/confuse you. I had similar experiences (as you and I have emailed about) but the difference with me was that eventually I would ask about something, when the not knowing was worse than the knowing...even if I didn't like the answer I got, at least I knew and could rest easy knowing I'd gotten whatever I needed to out in the open. Granted, the last time I did it I severely underestimated the pain I would feel from the response I got, but still...gotta do what you gotta do!