... I decided to be an even better one and see just how far I could not argue/micro manage etc. I was on about 80% beforehand and just as a personal challenge over the last week wondered if going to 100% (or near as dammit) would improve my relationship or make me less authentic to myself/ too placid.
No prizes for guessing how that played out... we're both even happier and closer. So I just thought I'd drop in a few of the nice little outcomes of this as a sort of mini-field report. Note that we have been RP from the very onset 9mths ago so these aren't major things, no big transition has taken place, it's just small things...but they can make a difference when they add up.
1) Talking about getting a dog in the future (a year or so away), SO says something I don't agreee with about how dogs shouldn't be in the bedrooms. Ordinarily I'd have gotten upset, hamstered about how this means we shouldnt get a dog together, it would have been a debate, even an argument - albeit a nice one as we dont have shouting matches or anything. Because of my little personal challenge I was quiet for a min while I thought and said, "I disagree with you. Personally I would allow a dog into the bedroom. But I respect your opinion."
He looked amazed and said, "wow. Thank you. That means a lot to me." And the conversation was done and he felt even more respected. I'd rather have a dog with him and than not have a dog. I'd rather have a dog with him that's not allowed in the bedroom than have a row and decrease our intimacy/happiness as a couple.
2) SO was at mine all weekend and decided to take my youngest boy into the garden while I was baking. I immediately thought of all the little man-jobs that need doing in the garden, heavy stuff that I can't do but only takes a few mins, and bit back the urge to ask him to do 'two or three quick little jobs' since he was out there. I stayed quiet and watched them both from the window. SO looked around and saw a few things that needed doing and did them. Got his phone out ordered necessary bits from amazon to do more (so he tells me later). Started a football game with my little boy (SO loathes football so this was purely for my boy's benefit). I am so glad I didnt interrupt!!
3) We went on a bikeride with my boys - my eldest and my SO discuss removing the stabilisers. My son is very keen and wants to do it right now, SO says we'll have to clear it with your grandad he might prefer to do it, it's a rite of passage thing (my dad and my sons are extremely close, we live on the same lane, he's a very strong role model for them). I privately sympathised with my son's eagerness and thought it was a bit silly to wait - my dad wouldnt have a problem with it. I voiced this politely and SO said he hears me, but he's decided that's the way it is. So I stfu. A few hours later SO has bought some knee pads for my boy completely of his own volition and asked my dad about the whole thing. Dad says he's fine for SO to do it but is clearly absolutely made up that SO respected dad's position/status enough to ask. Result? My boy had to wait a bit but my dad has even more respect for my SO and is happier we're together. Again, very glad I didnt try to insist or make a big deal of it.
There's more but I think this illustrates my point :) and yesterday morning having coffee in bed he turned round to me randomly and said, "So I told my auntie you're the one, and my mum piped up with 'what sort of wedding are we having?' So, what sort of wedding do you want, poppet?"
I just looked at him all agog. We aren't engaged. There have been strong hints about near-mid future but we've been together 9mths so it won't be for another year I wouldnt have thought, and he's never outright said it like this - so I was so happy. Inside I was squealing and making a guest list and picking a dress, but I just smiled a big smile and said, "a beautiful intimate/small one." And we had a lovely moment, and I didnt ruin it by saying, "omg when? How exciting! Are you sure?'
Overall results: He feels more respected. I'm enjoying even more affection/lovely texts/future plans from him. And I have even more trust in him. I'm much happier and calmer/generally less stressed because now I'm certain that his word goes - it always has done but now it's become something I don't have to debate in my head even a little bit. It just is. Should anything crop up that would damage me at all I'd simply say no: example, we're going on holiday for a week next year, he said how about 10 days? I said, I'm not leaving the boys for that long at this young age, which is something I feel very strongly about, and it was fine. He said he respects what an attentive mother I am. Because I've got a lot of credit in the bank with him (as an RPW, obviously I don't nag, criticise, and I take care of him in all the right ways) he listens when I say No thank you.
The personal challenge is going to become MO from now on!