I am in the car with the Ex and the kids. The Ex plays a Yeastie Girls CD, which was probably mine but he wanted it in the divorce. It’s a live concert and in the middle they start giving away speculums to promote women’s health.
The boys perk up when the Yeastie Girls yell out to the audience, “Don’t use this in your butt!” Suddenly women’s health is a fascinating topic.
We have fun until we are lost. Then I want to use GPS and the Ex wants to use his phone. I support whatever he wants. That’s how I get along with him.
If he were writing this he’d say we get along because he does whatever I want. I’m not sure which of us is right–we both might be. But what I am sure about is we were not like this when we were married. When we were married we mostly did whatever we wanted. Alone.
The key to getting along with people is that you always think you are doing the most work but you do it anyway. Because you get what you give.
Now the Ex and my kids and I travel together. A lot. My husband, the Farmer, hates leaving the farm, and we have to drive a lot for the kids, and I don’t drive, so when the kids have to go places on the weekend, the Ex usually drives.
People are terrible at picking a mate because we use criteria that is largely irrelevant to spending the rest of our lives together. We pick “attractive” and “fun to be with.” And then we spend the rest of our lives learning to get along with the person because we picked them.
This analysis confirms (what I’ve always thought) that it is the Ex’s fault for getting a divorce because I don’t believe in divorce. I simply would never have done it, no matter how bad the marriage was. Getting along with someone is more about proximity than compatibility. The theory of propinquity describes why you like people you live close to. Similarly research shows if you stay with a crappy partner, you’ll like them five years later.
Now I am at hotel check-in, trying to deal with a clerk switching rooms on us, and I say, “I need the rooms I booked because I’m here with my husband and kids.”
And my son yells, “He’s not your husband, mom.”
So we end up with rooms that are very far apart. It’s a pain, but what really bugs me is how seven years after the divorce I still don’t want to be a person who got a divorce, and I don’t want to be the person who caused a divorce. I want to be a person who gets along with people.
I never wanted to be the cause of a divorce. I want the divorce to go away. And I can’t even be angry at the Ex because when the kids see anger between us, they get anxious.
So I am nothing. I ignore that it ever happened.
Did you know that second marriages fail at a much higher rate than first marriages? Maybe people who get divorced are bad eggs who need a lot of personal development. Which I am not doing because I choose denial. Which, by the way, is not good for getting along with people. The better you know yourself, the better you are able to get along with other people.
I signed up to get Time magazine’s newsletter every day so I can know what mainstream media is saying about the world, and what I’ve discovered is that mainstream media is publishing weight loss info disguised as news of the world. Recent changes I’ve made from reading Time magazine: eating unripe bananas and keeping my kitchen surfaces spotless.
Even NPR is jumping on the bandwagon: If you eat with men you eat less food. I tell the Ex this is why I’m really happy we are having dinner together.
I read that people eat less pizza if it’s cut into smaller pieces. So I lean across the table and cut our pizza into slivers.
“What is this?” the Ex asks.
“I read people eat less if the pieces are smaller.”
He says, “I don’t like it.”
The kids both complain as well.
I say, “Can you please say something positive? Your attitude influences the kids.”
He says, “It’s great that you integrate cutting-edge research into our junk food lunches.”
I see that really he is sick of my research, so I stay quiet. Getting along with people is a component of weight loss, and something has to compensate for my crashing metabolism.
What I notice is that we’re most likely to take action in areas of our lives where we are comfortable. This is why, having spent months in a mental ward for an eating disorder, I’m happy to take action when it comes to keeping my weight down. Eating disorders are all about pretending to solve emotional problems by taking control over food. So I’m in my sweet spot with weight studies.
I notice lots of people set up coaching calls with for career advice, when they really need life advice, but they are used to solving all their problems by taking action in their career, so that’s what’s comfortable.
When I push people to solve their personal problems with actions that are outside of their career, they can do it. And when my therapist pushes me to solve my personal problems with actions that are not about food, I can do it.
No one’s first choice is their weak spot.
Making real change in our life comes from using a new tool to solve a problem. The first step to doing this is to figure out the tool you use regularly, so you can decide you will not use that one this time.
I have not decided that yet. But I did apologize to the Ex for forgetting to tell him that we have to go to Chicago this weekend.