The spouse and I had a dust up night before last. I’m a Leo, so my position on a fight is sorta, kinda, well……enthusiastic? I’m not afraid of marital conflict, properly managed or even a little wild if it means a problem will be solved and I can look forward to a New & Different Fight the next time. I’m up for some air clearing and maybe some lovely post-fight making out (this has Never. Ever. Happened. in 18 years of marriage, there is no post fight love fest).
On the other side is the fact that I married a Capricorn. A denying Capricorn who prefers charged, miserable silences to actually bringing the issue out in the open and poking it with sticks until it blows up. I over analyze and review and claim knowledge and he plugs his ears and covers his eyes and runs away as I run straight toward the inferno (which he claims doesn’t even exist to begin with). “My hair is on fire!” “No it’s not, it’s raining, you are so overly dramatic.”
Like probably every-damn-one else who is married, we fight about the same thing over and over again. We dress it up in different outfits, initiate it around different acts, but it always boils down to he is too quiet and disconnected and I am too intense and attached. The problem with being the Leo is that the emotional person always loses, because they are always starved for attachment, whereas the Capricorn believes they can stand solitude for as long as it takes to break the Leo; which on average is about five minutes.
I’ve been really working out over the years and I can now do Not Speaking for up to 24 hours, which is way better than the 30 seconds I used to be able to do it before caving and taking all blame for argument just please please please love me again please okay at least talk to me or I will just order ice cream for you in whatever flavor I feel like. I will never get to the Olympian level of, say, being comfortable with it; but I can manage it now without becoming a complete basket case. Sometimes I like the first few hours, when I am still suffused with righteous indignation and can keep myself warm with that. I comfort myself with thoughts of how, a few young wives and many years later, he’ll realize he truly loved only me all along, but I’ll be too busy with my bisexual cabana boy to care about his broken heart (there’s like, at least, eleventy billion Country Western songs about this very topic, amirite?). My cabana boy is Hank Azaria, just so we’re clear.
So, the typical fight script is me demanding that he talk to me about The Issue and him refusing to talk to me until I become so irrationally angry that I say something about his mother and he leaves and then sleeps on the couch most of the night. I let the dog sleep with me, wherein she takes up 2/3 of the Tempurpedic, snores and farts all night. Who’s the winner, man, who. is. the. winner? This time, though, I went all atypical because instead of shouting and following him around screaming, I started crying. Like a faucet.
In case you’re thinking that this is where everything changed for the better and he took me in his arms and we had amazing make-up sexy times and then renewed our vows, that is not what happened. What happened was that the unemotional Capricorn felt that the reason for crying was invalid. “It isn’t about the reason!!!” I wailed, slinging snot, “It’s just that I’m upset!!” Like a tennis (shit, judge? referee?) he was dedicated to an internal rule book that stated that one cannot cry unless one has a reason that is cited in the Laws Governing Marriage Between Goats and Lions as being legitimate. “You can’t judge the quality of my crying!” I cried, wiping my lip and again wiping my hand on my pants because he was not going to hand me a tissue (the Laws indicate that handing the weeping woman a tissue would invite the perception of validation of the crying, which is against the Code of Stubborn Husbands).
Thus we entered the second ring, the Fight-Within-A-Fight. “You’re crying about THE DOG ON THE COUCH?” he demands, and I snuffle through swollen lips, “IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT TOUCHED IT OFF, IT MATTERS THAT I’M CRYING!!!!!!!” Pause. “The Dog on the COUCH?” he says again, “THE DOG ON THE COUCH IS WHY THIS IS HAPPENING?” He stands up now, spreading his arms in incredulous fashion. I am concerned that if I look his way, I will see a TV audience agreeing that I am hysterical and also grossly snotted. I say, “YOU CAN’T JUDGE PEOPLE FOR CRYING!!!” He storms off, but he is confused. Usually storming happens because my head has started spinning round and I’m vomiting up every offense ever committed in the entire marriage. But, that’s not happening, I’m just sitting there sobbing.
The Fight-Within-A-Fight generally has to be abandoned, unless one is under the age of 25 and staying up the entire night still sounds like a reasonable approach. We are older than that, so we both know that if we wait long enough, one or both of us will fall asleep, ending the evening’s events until the next day, when we will not have slept well and will be willing to accept aggressive not-speaking as a fallback position. Which is kind of what ended up happening, except that one of us got up with grotesquely swollen eyes and had to use a lot of makeup to become even remotely presentable for work.