Total Reflection: The She Said/She Said Project

“A calm sea never made a skilled mariner” (as seen on a T-shirt at Cafepress while searching for a T-shirt that says ‘Buddhists Do It Better’)

For the last Tuesday in February, I’ve decided to post my reflection on the She Said/She Said project. I can honestly say that I’ve learned a lot over the past few weeks. And the outcome was not at all what I expected.

Initially, I approached Meredith about the project because I thought we could set an example: that the two of us could open our blogs and welcome discussion about these topics. Although I am a Girlfriend and she is a Mom, we are not enemies. I thought our discussions would allow us to find some additional understanding and common ground. And I think that happened, but there were some sharp edges along the way.

I was surprised to see the attitudes conveyed through the comment sections. I suppose it’s a natural instinct to simply “make a call and take a stance”. I just wasn’t quite prepared for the way it played out (although, come to think of it, I’ve seen it a thousand times before. I just thought we were different). After stepping away from my own emotions, I can understand where everyone was coming from (some place inside him/herself which was significantly impacted by previous life experience related to our discussion). Advice was served, defenses were ignited and tempers flared. But it’s all good. The experience has further proven to me how necessary it is to communicate effectively (why don’t grades K-12 teach “Communication” along with “English”?).

Some key insights I’m taking away are as follows:

  • All emotions are valid. Not because the emotions are correct, but because they are present.
  • We asked the wrong questions. Personal preferences pale in comparison with the Big Picture. We should have taken a solution-conscious approach and asked not “what do I want?” but rather “what can we do?”
  • There’s always a lot to learn. It’s important to listen whole-heartedly.
  • Hope is still an option.
  • Communication is imperative.
  • Every situation is different.
  • The Blogosphere is a great forum to share information, but there’s no way we can know everything. So have a margarita every time you give/receive advice (the salt thing, get it?).

Just a personal note: I think Meredith is doing a terrific job. Her kids have relationships with both parents, she communicates with her ex on a regular basis and she was open-minded enough to delve into this adventure with me. I respect her immensely and wish her the best.

Again, thank you to everyone who participated, whether you commented here, there or silently in your head. If there’s anything special you learned that you’d like to note, please do so. Your comments are welcome.

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10 comments on “Total Reflection: The She Said/She Said Project

  1. Lori says:

    I like how everyone is quiet now. If anything, this project helped me think about where my boundaries are – which is always good to know beforehand because like it or not, the rest of my life raising these children will be some sort of negotiation. And if I know my hard lines I can be prepared to give elsewhere.

    Also, I really like the point that emotions are not ‘correct’. They are not ‘incorrect’, either. They just ARE, and emotions are things that need respect, because they ARE when something is affecting us.

    • Yeah, where is everyone?? Thanks for speaking up, Lori!

      Good point about getting to know your boundaries. In these situations, we often figure out our boundaries as they are challenged. It’s a good thing to communicate about this- if your ex and his partner know your boundaries (and you know theirs), then everyone can be more considerate along this path. It’s tough to guess where someone else’s comfort zone might lie… and constantly guessing (and being wrong) only breeds more conflict.

  2. […] not to post that final chapter over on the Relative Evolutions site (although Tara has written a lovely closing post on the series—check it out).  That’s no reflection on Tara at all—I imagine (and […]

  3. *chirp chirp chirp* said the crickets. Surprising silence now. I loved this closing post of yours. You do have such a talent for summation and for judiciousness. Thanks for the open mind and open heart. I have no doubt you will continue to provide me with ample food for thought. Have a great day.

  4. babs says:

    Gimme a chance, ladies! I’m piping in! Thank you, Tara, for joining with Meredith and for providing an example of how two people from two different sides of the same divorce scenario (well, not exactly the same, but you know what I mean) can discuss and share feelings like true adults and yes, can even disagree like adults about the proper protocol in certain situations. Your willingness to exchange ideas and thoughts without judgments is not only an example of how to navigate dealing with the ex and the girlfriend, but also how to navigate relationships and life in general. Thank you.

  5. MTFFH says:

    It’s taken me a while to sort out how I feel while reading these posts. There are solid boundry issues for me but I always love to be shaken by opposing or informative or new views and I received quite a few from you.

    As always, I’m enlightened by your posts, thank you.

  6. ChopperPapa says:

    Passionate debate is always a good thing, we’ll obviously not change the entire course of fate, but if these posts provided individuals an opportunity to look at their own situation a bit differently then it was worth every word and response written.

    It was a pleasurable discourse.

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