Treat your partner like an ex


My son's dad and I are friends. I had to look up the word 'friends' to check but, yeah, I think we fit that description. I mean we don't go out for 'one' and then get monstrously drunk and regret everything we did the night before and we don't eat processed foods together and argue about which Ryan (Gosling or Reynolds) is hotter (although why bother because it's clearly Gosling) but we speak to each other and of each other kindly and that's enough right?

Except recently when collecting Roscoe, I strayed from our usual 'how cute is he?' routine. As I was leaving I spotted a booster seat I had borrowed from a friend many moons ago. Conscious that my ex is a recent convert to minimalism (possibly prompted by no longer living with a hoarder) I pointed it out, imploring him not to give it away in a future purge.

'Oh, I think that's mine,' he said, 'I think I got it when I bought the bike seat.' 

'No,' I insisted, 'I distinctly remember borrowing it from my friend after her BBQ.' Roscoe's dad cocked his head to one side and said, 

'Nah, I'm sure it's mine.' 

'Or maybe you're wrong!' I snapped, 'Have you considered that?' And then I stalked away or the closest approximation of stalking one can do with an overexcited toddler in tow. I was brimming with rage, just brimming, but by the time I got to my flat seven minutes away, the rage had boiled over and left me with the burnt bit at the bottom of the pan. My previously rock solid memory of taking the seat in question and storing it in the cupboard under the stairs had started to erode dramatically. What was clear was a combination of hormone imbalances and a toddler with an outrageously, antisocial concept of when the day should start had made me ratty and snappy and maybe just a little bit unreasonable. 

I sent the ex a text; not the 4AM regrettable kind but a 'on my way to adulting' apology for my behaviour. Very graciously he accepted my apology and even suggested that he may have been wrong about the booster seat, which was very giving considering how ridiculously insignificant the whole situation was. Then it was done and that felt good. In that moment it occurred to me that I never would have done that when we were married. I would have sulked and brooded and pulled out some minor infraction from 2003 and that would have gone on and on until he apologised for something, for anything, just to have the whole thing over with. 

Why did I do this? Why did I treat the person I claimed to love most in the world with less kindness than my friends, my colleagues, the guy who delivers my ASDA shop? I'm sure there's some psychological study explaining it all but the hard truth is - it's bull crap. I'm a believer that you should give people what they deserve and the person who's chosen to take you and your beautiful flaws on, deserves the best. So the next time you find yourself feeling bored or frustrated or almost immobilised by rage with your significant other, take a deep breath and treat them like an ex. 

2 comments

  1. Very well put. It's maybe easier to go off on a rant with your partner as you think they have to put up with it, where as the relationship with a friend or coworker for instance is more fragile? I dunno, I might be talking out of my butt. But I do talk to my family in a way I wouldn't talk to other people and it's something I'm conscious of and hope to stop.
    Did you figure out who owned the booster seat in the end lol?!

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    1. When my friends tell me their kids have said 'I hate you' to them I always say, they must really love and trust you to be able to say that. The origins of the booster seat are still a mystery :D xx

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