Just say “I’m Sorry.”Posted: October 4, 2015
Last weekend Papa Bear and I had an overnight date. When we were on our way out to dinner, he asked me if I would be okay with The Wifey joining us for breakfast. Things between the two of us have been somewhat awkward, and historically the two of us sharing time with Papa Bear hasn’t been great, so was a little apprehensive. Then he mentioned that she said she’d be fine with it if I’d be fine with it. And I was….not overjoyed.
He had spoken to her about joining us on our date, before he spoke to me. I told him I would think about it, and later that night I explained to him that the next time he wants to invite someone else along when we have plans, he needs to check with me–the person he actually has plans with. Just as if he wanted to invite me along when they had plans, he’d first check with her, then ask me.
This is an issue that has recurred semi-regularly. I’m pretty positive he just talks to whoever happens to be there when he has the idea, and then clues the other person in after the fact. It’s something we definitely have to work on, because its caused its fair share of crap.
This time, I let him know I wasn’t impressed, but that I felt like I didn’t really have a choice, since he’d already invited her. If I said no, it would just make everything worse. So I agreed, with the caveat that we wake up earlier than usual, have breakfast with her, and then continue with our plans of spending the beginning of the afternoon together. He agreed that that would work.
The next morning he went downstairs to tell her I said she could join us for breakfast, and she was happy. We had a nice breakfast without too much awkwardness, but when it was time for us to continue with our day, she asked if she could ride with us while Papa Bear drove me home so they could plan their day. Even if we hadn’t had plans for after breakfast, I wouldn’t have been thrilled with this. I would have wanted to debrief with Papa Bear and just have a few more minutes alone to talk and hold hands and whatever, since our time is so limited. I love our car rides. But we did have plans, and it became immediately obvious to me that he hadn’t told her about them. I felt pressured–the awkward silence built as neither Papa Bear nor I knew what to say–so eventually I broke the silence and said sure, she could ride with us.
At a convenient moment I pulled Papa Bear aside and asked him why he hadn’t told her we were planning on spending part of the afternoon together as well. He said it had slipped his mind. I wasn’t pleased. He told me he’d talk to her and sort it out, which he did. Eventually I gave her a big hug that lasted longer than usual, because we’d had such a good morning and I wanted so much for things not to be screwed up, and he and I went. However, since he hadn’t told her he had plans for the day, she needed the car, so while we did go to the farmers market, our day ended earlier than we had planned.
This weekend, Papa Bear and I spent the night together again, and made plans to take my kids to an indoor playground and meet up with a friend of Papa Bear’s who he thinks I have a lot in common with (I’m actively trying to make friends so that Papa Bear is not my only non-family support system). However, on Thursday, The Wifey decided she wanted to have a games night so everyone could meet the guy her boyfriend’s wife is dating. Papa Bear, in true people pleaser fashion, decided we could do it all. He said we could probably join them after meeting his friend, and an e-vite was put out on our poly family Facebook page before he even talked to me about it.
I was not happy. We had plans, and he’d made other plans. He said he thought since we didn’t have plans for anything after meeting up with his friend, that it would be fine. But I explained that it wasn’t fine. When we try to cram too many things into a day, we always end up rushed and stressed out and screwed. Plus, he hadn’t asked me, and I felt he was bailing on me in order to keep his wife happy when we already had plans to be together that night–even if those plans weren’t definite. I asked him, “If we make plans for dinner at 7, and I figure we’ll be done eating by 8:30, is it okay for me to go ahead and make plans with someone else for 9?” He said no—that I was right. But we were stuck, so I sucked it up.
This is something I am going to have to talk to him about again soon, though. He needs to be able to say “no” if this poly thing is ever going to be less complicated than it has been.
Anyway, the day did NOT go as planned. Of course. Papa Bear was called into work a couple of times, which meant that instead of taking the kids out at 11:30 like we’d planned, we didn’t end up at the indoor playground until 2. We didn’t have time to stop at the store for appetizers for games night, as The Wifey had asked us to that morning over coffee, and then we ended up rudely cutting short our hang-out time with Papa Bear’s friend because we had to rush to the liquor and grocery store on our way back to Papa Bear’s house. We were 20 minutes late, The Wifey was pissed (though she let it go pretty quickly), and I couldn’t help thinking this could have all been avoided.
At dinner, I texted Papa Bear to ask him if his friend knew we had to be at games night shortly. He didn’t respond and didn’t mention it to her. Then when we were running late, I asked if he wanted me to text The Wifey–or if he wanted to text her–to let her know we were behind, and why that had happened. He declined.
It struck me that the times I am most frustrated with him is when he knows he has done something that will upset me, but he doesn’t mention it in the hopes that I won’t mention it. He just wants to breeze past it and let it be smoothed over. When I bring it up, then come the apologies. This makes me insane. For me personally, it is so much more respectful for someone to apologize right away and explain, than to wait for me to bring it up and hope I won’t notice. I know he doesn’t like conflict, but communication is so important, and when someone doesn’t acknowledge how they’ve let me down, it just makes me feel like they don’t care. It feels invalidating–like whatever happened isn’t even worthy of mention. At the same time, Papa Bear was incredibly stressed out about being late, and then when we walked in the door he didn’t say he was sorry–he just made a joke. That’s just his way. Now that I’ve seen how stressed out he gets, but that he still reacts that way, I know that when he lets me down he is probably just as stressed and is just handling it the way he knows how–and that doesn’t necessarily mean he doesn’t care.
What to say, though? First, I was pretty annoyed that he didn’t clue The Wifey in as to why we were late, or even that we were going to be late. I wanted to insist, but I am trying this thing where I do not comment on their relationship or the way they choose to handle it. He does know her better. And maybe the way he deals with things–by avoiding and then apologizing if called on it–is the way The Wifey responds best. Maybe excuses just piss her off even more. But I am not like that–I need it to be acknowledged when someone disappoints me, and if I get an apology, I will move on a lot quicker than if I have to pull one out of the person. I will explain to him, I guess, that when dealing with me, at the very least, I need him to be upfront about things instead of trying to sweep them under the rug.
There is more, but this post is already too long and my fingers hurt, so I’m out for now.
Up Later: PMDD (the relationship killer), and Baby Girls Don’t Share Well