Originally Posted by Conrad
When you say "rational and patient", what are you describing?
Can you give a couple of examples?
One thing that comes to mind is my habit of responding to all her complaints/criticisms/concerns strictly on their content, even in the heat of argument.
For example, some time ago she had the wet vac out to clean up some pet stains. She was angry at the time because my schedule for cleaning them up wasn't the same as hers. She asked me to move some things in my home office so she could use the wet vac in there. I didn't want her to go in there because it would have meant not being able to use my office for several hours, plus it might discourage our cats from using the litter box in the closet there. So I said "I don't want you to clean in my office." She shouted, "That's pretty dictatorial, isn't it?" To which I responded that "Don't clean in my home office" would have been dictatorial; "I don't want you to clean in my office" was a statement of preference. This mollified her not one bit. And I know from you among others that the issue being discussed was not the real issue.
More broadly, we often talk about things, equal to equal, after fights, and while the communication often brings up important issues and leads to minor improvements on both our parts, it leaves me feeling drained and somewhat disappointed in myself. Like once again I've been proven inadequate in some way.