When I opened my Facebook and Instagram this morning, expectedly, there were tons of posts and pictures about love, advice, what to buy (and what to avoid like a plague) for your significant other. There was an article by a psychiatrist about practicing self-love https://goo.gl/f10tMs and I love this heartwarming piece that reminds us of what really matters https://goo.gl/2JzDtm (Shout out to my hometown’s national newspaper, #StraitsTimes #STcom !)
Since today is Valentine’s Day, I will touch on the emotional aspect of this new life. I am no love guru. Had my fair share of heartaches, and some heartaches, they were. But I suppose it is possible for most who have been in relationships to agree with me that matters of the heart – this ‘thing’ is delicate, complicated, at times conflicted.
We have been advised not to overthink things but pay special attention to what they are not saying, to read between the lines, etc. Cue Beiber: When you nod your head yes, but you wanna say no, what do you mean, ohh ohh ohh, what do you mean? WHAT ON EARTH DO WE MEAN??
The emotional upheavals when one experiences a major event in their life is understandable and has a ‘thing’ on us even when we are just concentrating on say, packing and moving.
My husband and I experienced a number of such events in a matter of months. I am more a planner so I tend to want to ensure the transition is seamless. Since the confirmation, my husband was more focused on making a seamless transition pertaining to work. He is also by nature, what’s a nicer word, free-spirited (read: messy and nonchalant about it!)
One can imagine when the stress of uprooting (and all the other stuff about my loss of self-identity, career, blah blah blah in my previous posts) gets to you, tiny, often stupid things that are not worth arguing about, of course only on hindsight, get magnified. Then it turns into a ‘thing’. And one too many of these ‘tiny things’ accumulate into something real big and ugly.
It started getting testy about two months before we moved to Toronto but the first two weeks was bad. Like arrrrrggghhh bad.
With the stress of dealing with the new city, weather and apartment hunting, we were both treading on thin ice, pun not intended. I was trying not to make everything a ‘thing’, he was dealing with the stress of working in a new environment (my husband internalizes stuff. I am the opposite.) I think he was also feeling a tinge of guilt that was acting out in strange ways because he knew how much I loved my job and being financially independent.
There were many fights (but surprisingly, no tears) where we said, things and didn’t (but should have) say some. Throw in jet lag + runny nose + super dry eyes x 14 days. Yup, I think you get the picture.
Finally, I had a major meltdown (with lots of tears) soon after, triggered by my slow-reacting Macbook (you know, when that rainbow thing just kept circling). So stupid, I know. But at that moment, I felt like everything was just not going my way like I couldn’t catch a break, not even from my own laptop! So we talked. Like, really talked.
All we both want is to make each other happy in this new environment that we both know is an opportunity of a lifetime. Yet, we keep doing the opposite.
I was dealing with so much internal struggles and expectations that they really screwed with my head.
We are better now. I am much better now. Yes, I have read much literature about stress and even depression faced by the trailing spouse. But I think while the advice makes sense, one should pay more attention of what your spouse really needs. Sometimes, just giving the benefit of the doubt may be more than sufficient to prevent an emotional catastrophe.
Happy Valentine’s Day.
You had an emotional meltdown of the trailing spouse kind? Or advice to prevent one? Please share with me and the readers here in the Comment column 🙂 _CC