Monday, May 21, 2012

Relationship Communication Issues

Where to even start.
Yesterday sucked. Like, sucked bad. A big unbelievable suck vortex. From what I've heard. One of us had a really tough day (and due to conversations she had with James, of sensitive nature, we're not tattling on who of us it was who had the bad day).

Sunday started out fine with James pleased with the city we had left that morning, after having a hearty breakfast at a little organic-vegan friendly joint (way better than it sounds!) in the downtown region of the city where we had stayed the night after having dinner at dad's (The Father) house. We arrived in Chicago at the time we had hoped we would, exhausted from the eight hours of shared driving duties and traffic. We checked into our hotel and figured out directions to Giordano's Pizza. Having lived here in Chicago over ten years ago for a short time, we recalled that they had great pizza (turns out it's not that great these days).

Somehow there was some miscommunication between James and one of us when we arrived at the restaurant and it resulted in arguing and then escalated into her crying at the restaurant quite a bit (there were some angry issues with Brooke, who was angry, taking place internally, which was part of why she was crying). After a little talking with James it got better and I guess they decided to drive around Chicago. But then there was more arguing as we tried to make our way downtown through neighbourhoods, where we ended up turning around because the G8 Summit anti-war protest that had taken place earlier in the day was still experiencing issues with the protesters and there were loads of yelling people and marching, loads of police officers and general havoc moving about Downtown Chicago, even at 11:30pm, hours after the Summit had concluded.

After a few wrong turns in the darkness and rain of Chicago, we got back to the hotel, on the outskirts of, amongst silence. She has been crying much of the drive home, even though she had actually been driving.

We are all required to drive while in Chicago, (if we can...Bethany cannot, obviously).

Once we got back to room she lay on the bed full clothed and cried for what must have been a long time, eventually she told James what was wrong, starring at the bumpy white ceiling of the hotel room. Without getting into too much detail, the issue was related to thoughts of no longer wanting to live. (Please don't be alarmed by this, it's a statement of fact. We do not all feel this way.)

Obviously this upset James, he lay still and listened while she talked, asking questions. Things got a little better but eventually topics got changed and then there were more arguments, and by that time 4am rolled around there was still James and some of us, by this point, arguing about communication.

Four hours later we all woke up and it seemed to have gotten better. But then it wasn't again. Crying in the shower, and James with his lack of sleep was grumpy and tired. Then we had a long talk with James. Private conversations about the future of our relationship. It got scary and sad before it got better.

It was a really tough morning.

When it was all said and done it boiled down to the issue of communication styles, and us not expressing ourselves in a manor in which he understands, or interprets well. Meaning, he reads into our facial expression and tone, and often times those two things do not coincide with the words that are coming out of our mouth. This is not the first time we have had this problem over the last year and a half.

We know all about non-verbal communication cues, of course, we've studied communication in University. We used to be a lot better at it, or at least we thought we had, but these days it seems like even when we try to use them they don't come across clearly. We wrote about another time we had an issue with this back in January of this year ('A Face Full of Emotion: A Journal Entry' Our occasional difficulty expressing many things verbally is what eventually drove us to writing this blog.

All we can do now is resolve to learn the different ways he communicates and we communicate, as we have discussed over the last 24 hours, and share how we interpreted what was just said without jumping to conclusions or assumptions.. Some of us are way better at it and that's where he gets confused.

Another reason she was upset, to add to the tangled destructive episode is that she doesn't understand why he wants to deal with us, why he loves us, why he is willing to put up with so much. The words "Because I love you"...just don't seem enough...for her.

Anyway, with that over we finally made it out of the hotel around 2pm this afternoon, real estate route in hand. We had noted some houses on the market we liked, and so we went to look at the neighbourhoods of around eleven different properties.

While most of them were clean neighbourhoods, there were elements that didn't make James feel safe, and many times those elements didn't make us feel safe when we thought about prospects of living in them for an extended period. Begging and pan-handling on one corner, and then on another, inside a northwest Chicago neighbourhood, a group of young black men cat-called and whistled to us making mention of how we, a white girl, must like us a black man...guess we were in the wrong neighbourhood. (we have some other impressions that formed throughout the day, none pretty or those we are currently willing to share.)

There were many neighbourhoods like this. I wouldn't have felt safe walking down the streets in these places, though surly some of us would, and slowly each neighbourhood on the list got a fairly firm "no" from James, until 7pm rolled around with one last neighbourhood in the far south of Chicago, near West 99th Street and I-57. The neighbourhood was nice enough but was car-dependant. One of the things we are looking for is being able to walk to a grocery store/bank/etc., so we don't have to drive too much.

Heading back to the hotel we and James came to the hard decision that Chicago, as it turns out, is not the city we'll be moving to. We can't afford to live in the areas that feel safer. So, with that our fantasy/dream/desire is now dead.

In the end that's the very reason we took this trip first. It was only fair that he see the city a bit before we made/asked him to live in it.

Now we're back to the drawing board of "Where will Frankie and James live"...but at least we're getting along and will try to work hard at communicating better, which means he also has some work to do, because it's not just us...he's a bit short on patience sometime...but not, he just comes to a breaking point because he bottles it all up.

Tomorrow we're moving to a different nearby hotel, the one we are staying at smells bad, and may have some mould problems, and what with all the arguing and crying that's gone on in it, it's got bad ju-ju as well.

If you made it this far, thanks for reading about our day. Tomorrow will be better...we're going sightseeing!!

~ Catherine et al

1 comment:

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