I went to couples therapy alone last week. The Suitor was out of town, in New York, giving me a rambunctious case of food jealousy with his updates about Nobu 57, Bobby Van’s, The Brandy Library, Spring Lounge, Onieals Soho, and The Kingswood. Bitch.
A source of friction in our marriage is reconciling our very different styles of doing things. Phil is a planner and can see turns five, ten, steps down the road, so he becomes frustrated when I don’t think the way he does, don’t plan ahead (despite really trying). I simply can’t think the way he does. I’m more circular, and he’s linear. I don’t know what this means exactly, but it feels right. Overall, everyone would agree that he’s all about utility, and I’m about creativity. I want a life of moments, memories captured. I do things for the fun in them. Phil does things to get them done.
One of the benefits to therapy is having an outsider’s opinion, someone trained, who can with some certainty, call bullshine to the statement, "Well, too bad, this is the way I am." We’re then forced to reevaluate our behaviors and actually work on changing the dynamic by changing "the way I am."
Last week our therapist asked me how things were going, how was I managing without Phil. "Relief" was the word of the day. It’s all I was feeling. It felt like spring with him away, and with spring comes spring cleaning. "All I want to do now that he’s away is live a life of lovely. Of iced lemon water on a coaster." Because there was no one to consult, I could do everything my way. No compromise. I could take charge: the very thing Phil wishes I did more when he’s around. So why don’t I do it more often?
We fall into roles, living in patterns, creating familiar. And now we’re trying to leave familiar and work on restructuring. I left things to Phil because he’s a planner, and he gets shit done faster than I do. He’s better at it, and whenever I did take charge, he’d always have a comment, a suggestion, a criticism, asking why I did things that way, why I hadn’t thought of X. So, I finally threw up my hands and let him do it himself.
"Spring cleaning?" The therapist said.
"Yes, Phil is a mess!"
"But he’s mister planner! You’d think he was the orderly one."
"Nope. My closet is always organized, neat. His looks like picnic grounds after a family reunion. And don’t get me started on office space."
So the irony is that as much of a planner Phil is, he’s a pig. Whereas I can’t seem to get anything done unless my surroundings are orderly and clean, everything in its place. "He thinks I’m procrastinating when I feel the sudden urge to reorganize the scrapbook room, but the truth is, if I don’t do it, it weighs on my mind, and I can’t get anything else done."
After therapy, I canceled happy hour plans and spent the night organizing (view photos in my galleries). And it felt glorious. I want to believe that Phil appreciates all the effort, but in truth, I’m sure he’s happier with things everywhere. But bottom line, I feel more organized and productive now, like I’m ready to take on the world… or the three writing projects I have before me: a new book, Moose movie, and a network pitch for a new TV series I created (heading to LA again soon).