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Sunday, March 07, 2010

To Speak or Not to Speak

UPDATE: Some readers have drawn the conclusion that this post may be about my own relationship with LoverBoy. They couldn't be more wrong. All is quite well in our home. It's a quite general topic for discussion.


Yeah, so is there a limit to what you/we/me/us/anybody should expect from our husbands/wives/ partners/whoever when it comes to us permitting them to "be themselves" or them allowing us to "be ourselves"? What do you think?

I mean, you'll find that I'm pretty open minded when allowing others to have their own thought patterns and ideas....even if I don't agree with you. I may very well play devil's advocate -- and choose the other side -- even if I really do agree with you! I love to stir the pot and ask lots of questions. And I'm totally for allowing each of us to choose our own roads in life and make our own decisions.

But what if we're headed toward the deep end of the pool? What if we're being rude to someone? What if we are actually (gasp!) WRONG? What if we are truly making a poor decision -- financially, in a relationship, work related, life choices sort of thing. I'm not talking about which restaurant to scoot into for dinner. I'm talking about whether you, or me, would say to our life partner "Hey, I don't think you're making a very good decision -- I wouldn't do that if I were you." Yikes. And, hey now, what if alcohol or drugs are involved? How about domestic violence? What if you steal something? Would you think it okay if your partner spoke up about it? I mean, in this 2010 day and age of allowing everybody to fend for themselves, let it be, don't make waves, and all of that.....what do you think about when you see somebody headed toward WrongVille? What happens when someone is so focused (or not focused) and headed, truly, toward a cliff of no return. What happens when relationships are destroyed or career choices are ruined? Is it okay to say nothing to your partner and just chalk it up to "They'll have to make their own decisions." Meanwhile, the other partner just stands there. Doing nothing. Watching. It just feels weird sometimes. On both sides of the issue. What happens when you honestly disagree with your partner? Do you speak up? Or do you allow them to fail. To make poor decisions. To be rude to someone else. To take a financial jump into the abyss. To not do the positive, healthy thing. At which point do we speak up? At which point do we butt out?

20 comments:

Blair said...

What in the hell have I done now?

Larry Ohio said...

Some advice: Don't air your dirty laundry in public.

Ur-spo said...

Such cosmic questions - all good ones too.
Being midwestern, it is hard for me to speak up and say I think you are wrong. I've learned to pause and think if it is a good time to speak up and HOW to speak up - the later is just as delicate.

No fixed rules here, alas.

Anonymous said...

Ahem. This sounds like a marital spat along the lines of which way to position the toilet paper roll. Inside or outside? Have a honest-to-goodness face-to-face conversation and discuss your issues and save the bandwidth for a topic less tedious.

Breenlantern said...

Communication is always a good idea, but it doesn't have to be "I'm right and you're wrong." It can be out of concerned.

Also, not a fan of people who like to "stir the pot" and cause friction for the sake of it. What is that about?

Michael Guy said...

Hmmm. Having dealt with alcohol abuse I'll use that as my soapbox. I talked till I was blue in the face but to no avail. My partner had to hit rock bottom and climb back up. Unfortunately his climb revealed some hidden truths and we split after 26+ years.

I think one can advise, counsel, yell, scream, bitch & moan but ultimately it becomes a matter of self-survival. I chose to survive by leaving; his behavior was destroying both of us.

Now, nearly three years later, we're both in much better spaces.

annie said...

brother, you're give me that warm sweet fuzzy feeling in my heart. and it's not heartburn. all great cosmic things to ponder....

LSL said...

Interesting. I didn't think it was about the hubby at all. I just enjoy these kinds of questions, too. I think in general it's best to let people make their own decisions and be themselves, but I do have to remain true to myself, too, and if I think someone is going to hurt themselves or someone else, I feel obligated to express myself. Clearly.

:)

Rick said...

I agree with Spo. There is no magic answer here. Each situation must be evaluated individually.

Lemuel said...

Actually the issue can be expanded beyond partners/spouses to wider family/friends/others in general. If we assume the best of intentions by the one who possibly intervenes, at what point should he/she intervene and at what point should he/she stay out and let alone? It is an issue that divides us within the LGBT community and it is an issue that causes great friction between us and those who oppose us.

CJ/Rick said...

To much to ponder this Monday morning. I want more trifle. I love that banner pic Lewis. Quite the lad you are there. And those new?specs. Mercy. Blair's a lucky boy.

christopherc said...

Wow... my ability to think has sunk to the level of Larson's "Far Side" this past week and here you are with some of the great questions of life trying to make me think.

In all reality, there is no right, nor wrong answer for this situation... just a matter of preference how one might carry one's self or approach a situation. For me it depends on the moment, mood and situation.

Rob Inukshuk said...

I'm all for talking about it and am not known for keeping my thoughts to myself...of course some situations call for tact and thoughtfulness - it really does depend on the situation though doesn't it?

Geoff said...

Having been raised in the WASPiest of houses, we weren't raised to 'dialog' or 'commmunicate' but then I went and found my partner whose life and career is built on both of those things. It's a growing experience both ways. Great questions!

Single Guy said...

Good to hear it. I was worried. You two are my role models.

Stephen said...

The questions are vald for any working relationship. I think things said need to be framed with something positive first.
I resent being given a list of aht I do wrong, by anyone... especially the spouse. Give it to me in small doses with a bit of sugar.

Stephen said...

& what did Blair do...?

Bridgeout said...

what a fine delicate dance between when to speak up and when to butt out. I am quite sure I have done both when maybe I should have done the other...

heat said...

I can only control myself, my actions, and my decisions. I find that for me, when I make a suggestion, it soon tuns into an expectation to me. I've just become aware of this through the end of a partnership with an alcoholic and the teachings of Al-Anon. I think it's acceptable to show concern when you see things happen, but after that there's not a lot you can do exept be there if you are needed and if you can afford to give yourself.

Mark in DE said...

My opinion: There are certainly areas where you allow your partner to make a decision that may not turn out well. A new hair style. A vacation destination. People easily recover from these things. But in more important matters, especially matters that could have a negative impact on both people in the relationship, I believe a partner not only has a right to speak up, they have an obligation to do so. They owe it to their loved one to say "Hey, I think you're headed to Wrongville, and here's why..."