One of the reasons that I love Tate so much (there are many), is his sense of humor and how laid back he is. He turns everything into a joke and doesn’t stress about anything. This isn’t a bad thing, though. Some people who turn everything into a joke or brush things off don’t accomplish anything. The reason they turn it into a joke is so that people will stop bothering them already and let them off the hook. Not Tate. He gets things done, he just doesn’t freak out when things don’t go his way. Instead, he finds another way. I’ve learned a lot from him.
Anger issues run rampant in my family. My father tried to be a happy man, but because he was never taught how to deal with disappointment, he often flew into loud, knock down drag out, rages. His father and brothers were similar. My brother broke this curse and is very level headed and concise. We call him Spock because he is just so calm and logical.
My sister and I, however, were unable to break this curse. As a kid, our walls were always filled with holes created by my sister’s fists and feet. Because we had no example of how to deal with things rationally, we just followed what we knew. I always thought that I was better at handling my anger than she was but I have since realized that wasn’t true. I can’t tell you how many phones I’ve broken, how many walls I’ve kicked in. Then, I met Tate.
I truly had never met anyone liked him. He always smiled, never got angry and got along with everyone. When things didn’t go his way, his face and ears would get red for about a minute, but he would calmly and quietly deal with it and move on, the smile back on his face. I just didn’t understand it!
When we would fight (read: when I would lose control over nothing), he would just stay calm and quiet and let the storm pass. I now realize that I did not deserve him in those days. Here was this amazing man, taking the brunt of my anger for things that he had no control over. If I saw a couple like that today, I would tell the calm one to run. Tate didn’t run, though. He stuck by me and I am forever grateful for that.
Then, one night, we were walking up to my house from his car. I’ll always remember this night, because it was the night that I started on the path to being a better partner. The argument started in the car, and by argument I mean “me bitching at him for no reason”. When we got out of the car and were walking up the sidewalk to my front door, he was in front of me. All of a sudden, he turned around and yelled back. I was shocked. It genuinely stopped me in my tracks. He never yelled back! He always just quietly took my abuse and then accepted my apology later. Not this time, though. He had had enough and he was done.
I remember being really hurt by it and thinking oh my God, is this what I’ve been doing to him this whole time? This is how I’ve made him feel this whole time?! I’m a monster! I immediately apologized to him and he apologized back and we were back to our happy, normal selves.
The next argument involved very little yelling. Then the next involved none. We had come to the point where we discussed things that we disagreed about. I didn’t hide things from him until they burst out in anger. Our relationship became much more transparent. I learned to tell him, calmly, about things right when they came up. He learned he could now tell me things without me blowing up. We were so much happier and we still are.
Now, this sounds like it only changed how I was in regard to my relationship with him, but it did so much more than that. It changed me in so many ways. I don’t get angry anymore. I deal with disappointment with grace and dignity, instead of making an ass of myself and breaking something. I get along with others better. I’m just a happier person now. I don’t let things get under my skin and tear me down anymore. I love who I have become, and I know that I wouldn’t be who I am now if not for him.
Because we’ve been dating since we were 16, we have raised each other in a way. For everything he teaches me, I return the favor. This post was about what he contributed to our relationship, the next post will be about what I have contributed. Relationships really do take two.