At the end of the work day, whatever the time, be it 6 P.M. or 12 midnight, a couple reunites under the same roof. How that reunion goes impacts greatly on the relationship over time, months, years. This is also true for couples where one partner travels and re entry may occur after a few days, a week or more.
The challenge to the Coupledom is how to negotiate this “reunion” in a healthy fashion. Each person is coming from a different place, a different focus. Often the reentry feels interruptive to the person already home, who may be attending to meals, children, pets, exhausted, tapped out or starving for adult company. The person returning is often wired from the day, still preoccupied by its good, bad and ugly aspects, fatigued, perhaps in need of a big hug or a big space. Each often feels a strong need to be “acknowledged” in a manner unknown to the partner.
Please Read My Mind: These unspoken expectations and all kinds of history underlie the behaviors and color the reunion. If the reentries are snagged by frictions and frustrations, take the time to discuss what the expectations and wishes may be and how to best help each other satisfy some of these wishes. Dispel the misguided view that the other should be able to read your mind. We are the species wired to articulate in words what we need. When we do this with our partner, then the shared life can become mutually satisfying.
©Jill Edelman, M.S.W., L.C.S.W. 2009