I’ve been mulling over a conversation from Sunday evening, during “Family Meeting” (where C & I talk about the logistics of the week ahead, and anything else beyond the usual superficial conversation).
I think it was a minor win? And I’m going to chalk it up to the heightened awareness and continuity sobriety has given me.
Over the weekend, we invited a girlfriend of mine and her son over for dinner. It was wonderful – everyone getting along well, boys eating without prodding, and even some adult conversation mixed into the usual kid chaos. At some point, the boys said something innocent that implied something a bit disrespectful toward women. C laughed uproariously for a minute or two, in spite of the fact that my friend and I weren’t laughing along with him, then turned to me and said “You’ve lost your sense of humor.” I replied, “It reveals a side of you I don’t like.” And then we moved on past the awkwardness of that interchange.
At the end of Family Meeting, I brought it up. Quietly, gently, I brought that incident back up (he had forgotten about it) and said, “I found it disrespectful. And the fact that I didn’t laugh doesn’t mean I’m lacking in a sense of humor.”
Then, without anger (although possibly some intensity), I told him that over the years, I’ve noticed a side of him that is disrespectful toward women. And I didn’t like it. If I see any of this language or behavior in the future happening around our boys I will point it out, because I don’t want them growing up thinking that is okay.
He was noticeably angry after I said this, and following this conversation has been giving the usual cold shoulder treatment, without any followup conversation.
Everyone is a mix of good and bad, and there is nothing better than the mirror of a close relationship to reflect all of it back in our face. I know I need to get better at turning that reflection back on myself instead of focusing on his faults.
But there are times when I wonder if the pros outweigh the cons.
If it weren’t for the drinking, I would at least feel like we could have an adult conversation about it that wouldn’t get buried under a haze of alcohol. There might even be a chance of self-improvement on both of our parts!
Too hopeful? Maybe.
But we are playing Gin Rummy again, so there’s that.