Slightly Less Trouble, Part 3

“I don’t believe in signs,” I found myself saying to TWD several house later as I sat in my car in the parking lot at Bryn Mawr.

“Yeah right,” he teased.

“Okay fine, I do.  But still… what are the odds of that?”

We weren’t better.  In fact, in some ways we were worse, but we were talking at least.  And although neither of us could bring ourselves to say the “b” word (by which I mean the “break up” word) we both knew it was on the table.

Ten years ago I would have taken that CD as a sign that we were meant to be together.  At almost-28, however, I’m not quite that naïve.  There was, it turned out, a perfectly rational explanation for finding that particular CD in my ancient boom box.  And a bachata doesn’t have the power to make your problems disappear.  It just lets you to forget about them for a few minutes, but when you leave the dance floor, they’re still there and you find yourself wondering:

Is it always going to be this way?

Is he going to change?

And, if love is about acceptance, is it right to even ask him to change?

We talked for nearly three hours.  About everything.  And I do mean everything.  At one point, I found myself remembering a story told by a fellow Quaker at my meeting in Trenton and even though I’d just thought it a nice story at the time, it took on a whole new meaning for me.

The woman in question was going through a divorce.  She and her husband had been married for several decades but they decided to call it quits after finally realizing that neither of them could ever be exactly what the other person needed.  The divorce proceedings were amicable, however, and they still loved each other so they decided to give themselves a week to grieve for their marriage together before moving on.

At the time, I remember thinking, “That’s insane.  Just get yourself some cookie dough ice cream, a bottle of wine and get on with it!”

But this is why cookie dough and wine approach (or Reese’s Cereal Puffs, in my case) doesn’t always work.

After a week of grieving, they decided to stay together.  They finally accepted the fact that they weren’t going to change but they were okay with that because they were still friends and they still loved each other.

That, in a nutshell, is what happened with TWD and me.  Some things were harder to accept than others, and we both came away with a laundry list of things we’ve promised to work on, but we talked and talked and talked some more and by the end, I felt better about us than I had in a long time.

On Wednesday night, he took me out for an early birthday dinner at club on the Delaware River that I’ve been dying to go to for the past several years.  He wore the sexy, black v-neck t-shirt that I badgered him into buying last summer that he hates but I love.  He bought me a new pair of earrings and an entire bag of Smartfood popcorn for my drive up to New England.  We danced and we drank and we danced some more and as usual, I found myself falling back in love with him the minute we hit the dance floor.

River Deck

Is everything perfect now?  No.  Not quite.  We both have a lot of work to do— in both the “acceptance” department and in the “compromise” department—but as far as we’re concerned, we’ve got enough going for us that it’s worth trying.

20 Responses to “Slightly Less Trouble, Part 3”

  1. Landlord

    Okay, now I can go about my day and answer people a bit more intelligently. Enjoy your time away, breathe deep and continuing talking, that is one of the most important skills couples need. Humor helps immensely as well, and I know you two have that.

  2. becky119

    The fact that you took the time to have that conversation shows how strong your relationship is. I’ve had a lot of those kinds of conversations with the boyfriend and we always find a new way to compromise. (He’s even started rinsing off his dishes!!) Glad you guys are on the mend. ❤

  3. Jerseyite Lurker

    This is good news indeed. Congratulations. And it’s what I expected, too. One clue was your verb tenses in the last two posts (present tense when you referred to characteristics of the relationship, past tense when you described your intention to retrieve your belongings and leave the key). But there was something else. I don’t know about your other readers, but I haven’t forgotten about the time when you described to TWD a conundrum you were experiencing with a bit of choreography for your dance troupe. Now, I would have expected him to seem as if he was listening, to be nodding his head, making receptive utterances. But to actually listen to the point of understanding, to the point of offering a specific suggestion, about choreography? That really sounds like a guy who is worth working things out with when imperfections crop up. So I’m glad you still have your key, and your earrings.

    • Jerseyite Lurker

      (Wishing your blog had an editing function, because that should be a period after “troupe.”)

      • Kat Richter

        Done 🙂 For whatever reason I can edit people’s comments even though you can’t edit your own… And yes, those verb tenses were troublesome, LOL! I figured someone was going to pick up on it, but yes, I’m glad to still have my key and earrings as well.

  4. Tech Support

    Wait, didn’t you drive up to new England a week ago? Did you come back or is your blog just a few days behind real life in it’s updates?

  5. Maia Simon

    Thanks for sharing this real life story of how real relationships work. Here is my received wisdom about marriage and long term relationships.

    If you promise to stay together always, no matter what, and always have warm and toasty feelings about each other, you make a promise you cannot keep.

    If, on the other hand, you promise
    To do whatever is necessary to handle whatever comes up
    you will, in fact, stay together always, no matter what,
    and much of the time you will have warm and toasty feelings for each other.

    • Kat Richter

      Brilliant as always, Maia. I was starting to worry the lack of CONSTANT warm and toasting feelings might be an indication that something was wrong when it fact it seems that it’s an indication of something real.

  6. sarahnsh

    I’m really glad that you two decided to talk it out,make compromises, and went over things together. Having humor in a relationship is a great thing to have in a relationship and a partner, it’s one of my favorite things about my husband. That is so cute that he wore the shirt he hated but you loved for that night! There will always be things to improve in a relationship, but it sounds like to me you love him very much so you just gotta keep on communicating and working at those little (or big) things. 🙂

    • Kat Richter

      Yeah, I started cracking up when I saw the shirt. I basically forced him to buy it for our cruise last summer but he never wore it because he thinks it’s too low cut (he calls it his “cleavage shirt”). He brought it along with him again this time but made the mistake of leaving it in the drawer where I could see it with the price tag still ON and I was like, “WHAT???” I guess he finally got the memo… sexy TWD = happy Kat 🙂

  7. omtatjuan

    Oh the dance of being in love and being loved. The dance is always on.

  8. Chicago-Style Girl

    Oh thank God. I was hoping you didn’t break up. I’ve been so busy at work, so I couldn’t read until today what happened. Love is easy, relationships are hard. Good luck making it work for the long haul.


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