Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Compartmentalizing work and personal life

Late last week, I had lunch with a co-worker, Cheetos. She used to sit near me, but got moved a couple months ago. Now we try and eat lunch together every other week to catch up.

Early on, it was to hear my adventures in dating. But since that has subsided for the time being, we chat about other random things. This time, she wanted to bounce off of me a plan her boss has to promote her. He sees the potential she has to become a marketer and move out of her administrative position. However, she's reluctant because she's not clear as to what the new job entails. She says she not afraid to be challenged. it's just that she wants to better understand what she'd be getting into. I think she also had some doubt about whether this is the right fit for her.

As the conversation progressed, she asked me about my dating life. Sadly, there's nothing much to say. I've been going out with friends, but I haven't seen a single prospect. I think about it all the time, but it's only a passing thought.

In Cheetos' attempt to help me be more optimistic, I expressed my desire to be married. She was quick to remind me that things aren't always better that way. I completely agreed with her that neither side of the fence is better. Then she confided something to me that she has been hiding well from everyone. She and her husband are on the verge of divorce.

Literally, all the papers are in order, they just need to sign on the dotted line. What a shocker. She's the type of person who prefers to keep her work and home life very separate. I admire that because the emotional rollercoaster she must be riding must be very distracting.

It all started at the end of last summer. I guess it's been simmering for a long time, like 6+ years. Cheetos finally got fed up of her husband not helping out at home. She explained that he grew up being catered to his every need by his mother. An example she gave was how he can't even pick up his underwear off the bathroom floor and put (or even throw) it into the hamper which stand three feet away.

Maybe there are details I don't understand but it finally was too much for her to take. They kept it simple and had the lawyers draw up the papers without worrying about how to divide their property. She just wanted the divorce.

Then, at the very last minute, he pleaded with her to wait. He said he misses and needs her. He suggested they attempt counseling for six months. (This after he refused when she brought it up months ago.) He told her that he would accept the divorce if she still felt the same at the end of therapy.

It sounds as if they're two-thirds of the way through the counseling. They're still live in separate housing. Cheetos says that he makes effort to come over and take care of little things. Now, when she comes home, she finds that he has stocked the refrigerator with food. He seems to take time to help her with the house and make sure that the contractor gets things done.

Although she's happy with the gradual changes he's made, I think she's still somewhat skeptical. Naturally one has to question whether this is all temporary. I expressed my happiness for the progress their making. My only recommendation was to make sure that, if the decide to get back together, to make sure he agrees to at least three-months of additional counseling. I think it's a healthy way to make sure the issues are addressed and summarized rather than abruptly stopping and thinking everything is okay.

I'm always impressed that people can keep things so quiet. I wear so much of my emotions on the surface. It's difficult for me to not to have all my thoughts running around together. On some levels, it would be nice to be able to compartmentalize my feelings so that I could be more productive and focused. On the other hand, I think it's unnatural to be able to turn emotions on and off so easily.


Anna May Won't said...

wow, that's so tough, to have made the decision to get a divorce and then to have him wanting you back.

i agree re: long-term counseling. it's not a short, quick fix.

zerodoll said...

i agree too, that you have to be able to say that you made every effort before you walk away. i also tend to compartmentalize things as well, perhaps not quite to that extent, but work can serve as an escape from your other life at times.

Pandax said...

Yeah, I'm glad they're trying. I'm still amazed at how composed she is about the whole thing. They still love each other, so I have my fingers crossed that they've both learned some better ways to communicate and respect each other .