Yesterday during my lunch break, Megan was having an argument with her boyfriend over the phone. Of course, I did my best to not listen. I read my book. I contemplated my chicken curry. I stared intently at the microwave at the bowl turned and turned. But her voice rose above all my careful distractions.
At first, listening to it made me uncomfortable. Like any minute she was going to say something that would just ruin it all. She was standing her ground. She was saying, "This is what you did, this is how it made me feel, this is what I wanted you to do to fix it. You didn't do that. Now this is how I feel. This is how you can fix it." It wasn't even my argument and I was recoiling from the confrontation and just wanting peace.
But something happened.
He didn't hang up on her. He listened.
Now I wish I could argue like that. Normally when I'm upset about something, I never really tell the other person . It usually comes out apologetic. I back down. I just want to fight to be over. And I I always have this unsatisfied feeling that I didn't really say what I wanted to say. And how can I forgive you and move on if you don't even know what you did? And how can we keep it from happening again if I don't ever let you know how much it hurt/bothered me/ disappointed me?
It is so easy for me to say, "I love you." Why can't I say, "Many times I feel like you don't value me at all."? The second is probably the message that would give the relationship the most chance of surviving. Eventually, I'm going to withdraw altogether. And I won't be able to explain why, because I never, ever said a thing.