“OK, fine.” That’s what I said to my therapist as I begrudgingly agreed that she might be right about my preferred mode of communication with my husband (and all other living, breathing things). I don’t deal well in moments of intense emotion–I typically freeze and just shut down. That makes speaking difficult. I have learned that I do much better writing my feelings so that I can get through my entire speech, with all its bullet points and sub-points. So, I typically email my husband when I have something really important to say.
I know. I know. I know that sounds absurd. But, imagine just bringing up the topic with three words and then sitting mute for like an hour, and then just giving up. To me, a nice, logically laid out email is a much better idea. And then, he can lay out his thought and write back with all of his counterpoints. So forth and so on.
In our last meeting, she asked whether I thought that all of the situations I have emailed him about warranted an email, or whether perhaps, just perhaps, those things deserved an in-person conversation. She agreed that my rational fears about needing a pool fence in our new house (because of our toddler) and my fear about my husband pushing back (because of aesthetics) was maybe fine for email–I could outline all my points and even provide hyperlinks with quotes and suggestions for fencing types. (Because he loves our children and is a logical person, of course he agreed. We had the fence installed the day we closed. Problem solved.)
She also suggested that perhaps telling him I’ve been struggling with bulimia these past 13 years (surprise!!) when he may not have known was not an issue for an email. She suggested that maybe I would have cried, maybe I would have gone mute, maybe I would have struggled in person with that… and then maybe he would have sensed that this is a big deal and that while I’m getting help and I’m doing well in recovery, it’s still something that is an issue for me, day in and day out.
OK, fine. Maybe so.