Lesson #1: I know what he sounds like when he's mad. I should clarify...he wasn't mad at me. He had a horrible day at work and needed to vent about corporate culture and his boss. He is a passionate man, so he really vented.
Lesson #2: I have more testosterone than I thought. I fancy myself quite empathic and touchy-feely. I'm a listener, for goodness' sake! That's like the highest compliment for a woman, is it not? Kidding! However, some of my first responses were questions like: "What's the next step?" "What can I do to help you?" Basically, I turned into a dude and tried to fix it.
Lesson #3: He has more. It was kind of amazing how respectfully yet firmly he told me what he needed. It definitely wasn't me telling him what to do...not at that moment.
Lesson #4: I am not used to healthy disagreement. I've heard stories of what it's supposed to look like. I've studied it in the context of organizational behavior. But it is clear I will have to practice listening without taking it all personally. I will have to practice arguing the issues and not the person.
I think the most important lesson is how invested I am in him. I want him to be happy, really happy. I also want him to be employed, really employed. When he spoke of his urge to just walk out of the building and never look back, I was torn between empathy and fear. I felt bad for him, but also felt quitting was not an option.
The last lesson is ultimately about me projecting my own fears and lack of trust, along with my distorted views of money and work and self-esteem. He and I have plans as a couple, but they are in their infancy...we are in our infancy. It is unhealthy and unwise to hold onto them so tight. I know I am important to him...I know our goals are important to him. I have to trust he won't jeopardize them, just like I won't.
As I write this, I'm also thinking investment is not all bad. He even acknowledged that I had a right to get pissed if he up and quit his job. I have to figure out for myself what makes sense at this point in our relationship.
I have more to write, but I have to go to bed.