The other day I recieved a parcel in the post.
(Cue Peter Combe song. Don’t know who Peter Combe is? You probably weren’t a child in Australia in the 90s. If you were, then you’re welcome: enjoy the earworm.)
It was one of those incredibly delicious days where lying-in was bliss and I had decided to completely take the morning off from everything and just relax with my love. Sun streaming though my windows and a book waiting for me on my bedside table. You get the picture?
So when the knock came, I stayed in bed whilst my Gentleman answered the door and signed for the parcel. He then brought it in to me with much teasing and “What is it? What have you bought this time?”
I went along with the laughter, but inside I was unsettled, and opened it to find the purple wig I had ordered months ago. He then lost interest and went to make us breakfast.
While he was cooking the unsettled, niggling feeling built up inside me. Eventually I identified it with a simple thought: He shouldn’t question what I spend my money on, it’s my money to spend how I want! I mean, it’s a small thing now and I didn’t want to make a big deal out of nothing so I thought about ignoring it, but it still made me feel unsettled that he would question me on my own spending. My parents didn’t have a lot of money growing up, so I remember them fighting about money a bit when I was a kid. What if we became like that? What if he questioned me on something big and expensive and important? What if he did want to control my finances?
Whew. What a spiral. Ignoring it was certainly one option, but part of being an adult is dealing with things before they become problems, not avoiding them until they do.
So a couple of days later, when I was calm and I had worked out what I wanted to say, I sat my Gentleman down, and the conversation went something like this:
Me: “The other day when I recieved a parcel, you teased me about it. I know it’s a small thing, but I just wanted to talk about it before it became a big thing. It’s not up to you what I spend my money on, and I don’t want you policing my fiances.”
Him: “…” *Tilts his head*
“I hadn’t even thought about money. I thought you’d bought something sickeningly cute (like that Llama you were looking at the the other day) and I wanted to tease you about that.
Your money is your money. It had never occured to me otherwise.”
Me: “Ohhhhh. I completely misread the whole thing.”
Can you imagine if I had left it instead of talking to him? It would have been a tiny little festering thing, and the next time we actually did talk about budgeting or finances (or any of the other essential yet unpleasant things to do with money that adults who live together and and have plans for the future need to talk about) it would become a problem becasue of the pent up resentment. Like how a tiny splinter can become infected until it bursts with pus. (Yes, I just compared an argument with an pus filled wound. You know, I might actually be on to something there.. but that’s an allagory for another time.) And, he wouldn’t know where the resentment was coming from, becasue I didn’t have the conversation with him when I should have.
All becasue of one tiny little thing that we didn’t talk about.
Misunderstandings happen, which is why it’s so important to clear them up before they become bigger things. Before a misunderstanding can become resentment.
So, next step on the road of adulthood: dealing with things proactively before they become issues. Not avoiding them like a child. I did OK this time, and was surprised by how easy it was and the effort/profit ratio for the small amount of anxiety invested into deciding to have the conversation vs the conflict avoided in the future.
Have you had an experience where a small conversation has made all the different in avoiding a conflict? Let me know in the comments.