how to accept partner's apology and move on
August 18, 2022 4:11 AM   Subscribe

My partner got upset with me because he was angry about something that wasn't really my fault. He has since apologised, and I want to accept this and move forward, but I don't feel okay. What can I do for myself to feel better and put this behind me?

My partner arranged for a technician to come to our home yesterday to sort something out with our utilities. He planned to be home in anticipation of this visit, but after making this arrangement, he also scheduled an important work meeting on the same day. Per the email from the utility company, the technician should have given us a call to let my partner know a specific timeframe for his arrival, but my experience of having had to wait for a plumber last week is that arrival times can vary. It's annoying, but in my view, it's best to anticipate that there will be disruptions on a day that work is scheduled to be carried out in the home.

Unsurprisingly, the technician arrived while my partner and I were both on work calls. I ended my work call early, literally mid-sentence, despite me not being the person who requested the visit. I tried to be accommodating to the technician, but there were questions he asked that I struggled to answer because this was a visit arranged by my partner, who was then too busy to interact with the technician. My partner was annoyed that I had to ask him to move to a different room so the technician could check an appliance in the room he was working in. My partner was annoyed that I had to interrupt his call again to explain that the technician might need to turn the electricity off to check something. In the end, there was a complication which meant that the technician didn't have the right equipment to carry out the work anyway, but by the time he left, I felt embarrassed that I was being unhelpful and obstructive to someone who was pre-arranged to come on this day to do a specific task.

After the technician left, my partner chastised me for not being independent-minded enough to manage the situation on my own. I explained that I didn't know what I was supposed to do because he was the one who arranged the visit and then subsequently arranged an important call on the same day.

My partner has since apologised to me but I still feel hurt that my partner criticised my competency when I went out of my way and my own work was interrupted to try to manage a situation I didn't create. I also felt humiliated in front of the technician because I wasn't able to be more helpful and in front of my colleagues whose meeting I left early, and that feeling of shame and guilt is still lingering. We've said we both want to put this behind us, but I'm struggling to get over the unfairness of the situation. To repeat my main question, what can I do for myself to feel better and put this behind me?
posted by quadrant seasons to Human Relations (32 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I heard this in a webcomic, in a strip where a couple had been having a spat and had apologized to each other; they both still felt upset, though, and one of them said "I think we still just need to let the angry feelings finish metabolizing." I always thought that made a lot of sense - when you feel things, sometimes they just can't be turned on and off like it's a lightswitch, you know? So some of this may just be you still need to let the feelings you're feeling finish metabolizing.

But I also feel like some of this may be because there's some deeper stuff that got stirred up that you may need to think about, that's not necessarily about what happened. You're saying that you feel guilt and shame about this - it may be worth thinking about why you feel that way. Do you feel like you've let your co-workers down? If so, why? Or is it that you feel like you left your partner down, and if so why?

You know? If you think about this a little and explore "why do I feel this way", maybe you'll realize that "oh, hang on, I think that deep down I'm just afraid that Brandon in accounting thinks I'm a flake and is trying to get me fired, but Brandon wasn't even on that call - this isn't even about that, but maybe I should address that separate issue at work differently, I didn't know that was bothering me so much." Or you may realize "oh, this is like those fights my parents always got into where Dad was pushing Mom to do this thing a specific way all the time and then years later we found out it wasn't even possible, wow I never realized that bothered me that much."

I still think some of what you feel needs to just work its way through you, but I also think that exploring "hang on, why do I feel this specific way, it may not just be about the tech guy" will help metabolize that, but also help you figure out some specific deeper issues that may be affecting you without you even knowing it.

Good luck.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:36 AM on August 18, 2022 [12 favorites]

Best answer: - Do you feel that your partner understands how their behaviour was inappropriate, and hurt you?
- Does your partner have plans for making sure it will not happen again?

Both of these would be crucial for me in order to feel better and be able to put this behind me. Notice that they are not things that you can do for yourself: they are work that falls directly onto your partner's plate.
posted by Too-Ticky at 4:37 AM on August 18, 2022 [28 favorites]

Best answer: Honestly? You can be angry about it for a while. You can hear your partner's apology and accept it and still be pissed. You can take some space and journal about it and drive around with loud music on. That's all fine and normal.

What isn't normal is expecting an apology to shut off your emotions like a light switch, and that's kinda the common conception of what accepting an apology means. It just... doesn't work that way, and trying to make it work that way is just going to turn anger into resentment.

(Note: what is NOT a good idea is continuing to yell at/complain to/behave angrily towards your partner. Get space and feel your feelings, but don't try to make him find that light switch. It doesn't exist, and it's just going to make things worse for both of you. Once you're not actively angry, it's probably a good idea to have a "how do we make sure this doesn't happen again" conversation, but that won't be productive until you're calm about it, so hold off on that for the moment.)
posted by restless_nomad at 4:39 AM on August 18, 2022 [47 favorites]

Best answer: Has your partner acknowledged all the wrongs that they did? For example, I would expect an apology in this situation to cover:
  • an apology for arranging the technician visit on a day when they had a work meeting that couldn't be left
  • an apology that you felt you had to leave your meeting
  • an apology for the embarrassment that caused you and general thanks and graciousness that you chose to do so
  • an apology that you did not have the information needed to work with the technician
  • an apology for the embarrassment that caused you
  • an apology for not being grateful for your help
  • a profound and heartfelt apology for chastising you at all
  • a specific apology for criticising your competency
  • some kind of offer to make this up to you, in a way that would be of value to you
If there's something in that list that you think your partner hasn't done, or wouldn't think to do, or you really feel that they have not properly acknowledged their role in this mess (because it was entirely of their own making so far as I can tell), then that may be why you can't yet move past it.

If it speaks to deeper concerns you have about how your partner treats you, or how they respond to situations like this, then that may also be a reason. For example, if they tend to mask their own embarrassment (or other emotion they don't want to admit experiencing) by blaming you.

Alternatively, as others suggest, you may just need time to let this stop annoying you. If you can't identify anything specific that's causing you to dwell on it, perhaps leave it for a month or so and see if that naturally brings more perspective. If you take this approach it would be kind to tell your partner that they can help by not alluding to it at all, as you're still finding you're sensitive about it.
posted by plonkee at 4:56 AM on August 18, 2022 [55 favorites]

What Plonkee said. Has he acted disrespectful of your time or your job previously? I’d be pretty livid about having my day upended like this, not to mention wasting the tech’s time.

You are allowed to put him in the metaphorical doghouse while you let your anger work its way through.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 5:11 AM on August 18, 2022 [7 favorites]

I'm guessing this was not typical behavior on your partner's part-- at least you don't mention that-- but it seems to me that he showed really awful judgment in this situation and then left you to scramble and cover things. I'd be wondering why he did it and whether it means something. For instance, does he think his work is more important than yours and that it's OK for yours to be interrupted and not his? It may be that in order to move on, you need to come up with a plan that will keep this from happening again.
posted by BibiRose at 5:12 AM on August 18, 2022 [11 favorites]

Best answer: Did he apologize for getting mad? Or for the long list of bullshit he pulled BEFORE he got mad that caused this whole situation?
posted by showbiz_liz at 5:51 AM on August 18, 2022 [39 favorites]

Best answer: I am sure this is not biologically or nuanced enough to be correct, but I have found it helpful: thoughts are electricity, bopping around in your brain. Feelings are chemistry, bopping around your whole body. Chemical reactions take time, so even if your brain is saying "sheesh, it's over, what are you worried about," your body can still be like "AAAaaaaAAAAaaaaAAAAhhhhHHH!!!" So there is a pseudo-scientific justification for why you may need time to "metabolize" your feelings, as EmpressC. said in the very first comment.

And the same way you're not allowed to drive or sign paperwork for the day after anaesthesia, it's perfectly legitimate to build a cushion of time around this event before you have to know exactly what will help, or exactly why it stung the way it did.
posted by adekllny at 6:21 AM on August 18, 2022 [11 favorites]

Best answer: As the female partner in a hetero relationship, I’d also feel quite annoyed that my work time was not respected, that I’d just be expected to magically handle the situation (just the way the house magically gets cleaned up), that the likely male technician would see me as just another woman who doesn’t know things, that my partner’s work colleagues may have just witnessed me behaving as a servant to my husband, and that my day and concentration were interrupted and FURTHER that I didn’t realize all this in the moment when what I should have done was say, “Hey, I’ve got to do my work now, technician is here, come deal with them or let them go.” Oh, that last part where I should have stood up for myself would burn me up FOR DAYS.
posted by amanda at 7:17 AM on August 18, 2022 [62 favorites]

If I were you and I really wanted to put this behind me (rather than just stuffing it down and pretending it doesn't exist) I'd have to have another conversation with my partner. It sounds like he lashed out at you for things that were actually his doing. Putting it behind me would involve knowing that I don't have to be on guard for it happening again. I'd need to know that he understands that this behavior is unacceptable and will take steps to redirect his frustration more appropriately in the future.
posted by mcduff at 7:17 AM on August 18, 2022 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Uhh if my husband said I wasn’t “independent-minded enough” I would have gone nuclear.

You’re still mad because he was being a sexist asshole. You’re not mad enough, if anything, which is why you’re still pissed - because you didn’t address the root of the conflict which is that he treated you with contempt by disrespecting your time, your desire to plan ahead, your work hours, your professionalism in your meeting, your efforts to problem solve, and even your basic competency as an adult?!

Try telling him off again until he apologizes for the correct thing(s) - not the scheduling but the contempt! - and then you might feel better sooner!
posted by nouvelle-personne at 7:22 AM on August 18, 2022 [40 favorites]

Best answer: Give yourself a day or two to clarify your thoughts on this. Let him know "I don't think we're done resolving what happened yesterday and I think we need to sit down and have a talk about it this weekend. Let's do that at X time when we're both done with our Y and Z."

It's okay to journal through this and turn it into a list of topics to discuss, like "one person's time is not less/more valuable than the other's" and "while we are a team, if you had wanted me to play substitute for you then you should have prepared me with everything you know about the situation/why should I be expected to read your mind when you made the appointment". Absolutely have a bullet point for "Go ahead and explain to me in detail about 'not being independent-minded enough', because my experience was you set me up for failure, to be embarrassed in front of the technician, experiencing you humiliating me for bothering your too-important ass for the service call you scheduled like I'm your personal assistant, and maybe reflect for me on how you think I might feel about you right now."

You can think he's not all that great right now. It sounds like you do and that's uncomfortable for you, but the goal here shouldn't be simply to make the feeling disappear, but to actually resolve that to actual satisfaction.

A good partner, having been warned this conversation is going to occur, will show up already ready to address most if not all of your points and provide specific apologies for the points where he let the team down and insulted you. They will be more concerned with any hurt you feel than absolving themself of their role in it. This is unfortunately where you may find out something about the quality of your partner that you didn't want to know, but I hope what you get is a "hey, I mismanaged the hell out of this situation, here's how I'd handle that differently in the future, here's where I'm so sorry I made you feel bad, and here's clarification that I don't think you're incompetent and deserving of that kind of embarrassment." THAT's what a full apology looks like.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:52 AM on August 18, 2022 [14 favorites]

I'm with plonkee and showbiz_liz. Honestly, I wouldn't have left my meeting or answered the door. If I had done, it would take several whole days just to be prepared to accept an apology at all. I would feel that it'd be very important to communicate every dimension of his mistake, as in plonkee's list, to ensure that he understands why what he did was so infuriating. He made the appointment and knew exactly what he was doing when he also entered that meeting and it's beyond unacceptable to insult you after professionally inconveniencing and embarrassing you. Wooooof, I'm angry on your behalf!
posted by the liquid oxygen at 7:55 AM on August 18, 2022 [6 favorites]

Nthing agreement with plonkee. They laid that all out fantastically. Your husband still needs to do some soul-searching and relationship-appropriate groveling.
posted by sharp pointy objects at 7:59 AM on August 18, 2022 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Yeah, what did he actually apologize for? If it was just for being cranky, and he isn't acknowledging all the other problems, then I'd still feel miffed too. And I'd be angry if he didn't verbally address the "independent" remark explicitly.

I agree that sitting with your feelings isn't a bad idea. You can sort out if something in particular is bothering you or if it's a general feeling. But if he's given you a perfunctory apology, I'd bring it up. Ideally at a time where you both can sit off to the side and process if needed. Because I think I'd really need him to understand just how crappy and dismissive his behavior was. Like, if he's not getting it walk him through point by point how dismissive and shitty he was. This would be my list, but obviously yours could be a bit different. And the questions are ones I'd want him to actually answer:

1) scheduling an important call for the same day as a technician visit he scheduled and then letting you disrupt your schedule. Why did he not jump up to deal with the situation and assume you'd take care of it?
2) being mad that work he fucking scheduled displaced him. How did you have any control over that? If he acknowledges you didn't have control, why was he mad at you?
3) the independent comment
3a) how supremely dismissive that was, you need to be more independent, when he was the one washing his hands of a problem he created. What would he have done if you weren't there? Why didn't he do that, or confer with you what to do if the tech showed up when he was busy?
3b) he scheduled the appointment because he presumably knew what needed to be done. How did he transfer that knowledge from his brain to yours? Oh, he didn't, because he just assumed that things would work out (see 3a again).

And seconding the point about gratitude. Assuming he made a good apology and the walk through above isn't necessary, did he also say thank you for managing the situation? I've been in almost your exact situation: tell my husband I have a call at X time, so I can't be backup then. He schedules some kind of visit that needs management, and then he has an important call thrown onto his schedule, so I have to interrupt mine. Though perhaps a key difference is he didn't choose to put a meeting in that slot, they've been genuine urgent matters that he had no pull to reschedule.

He's always apologetic and expressively thankful before, during (if possible, usually just a quickly mouthed thank you as I walk by), and after.

I'm not saying your partner needs to be as expressive with gratitude. But the gratitude always meant more to me than the apology (which, in our case, I don't need, since it's been out of his control). It's an acknowledgement that I had to adjust my schedule on the fly and that my schedule is important too, even though it is usually more flexible.

If he made a good apology and it's just the lack of gratitude, I'd probably still bring it up if it's a reoccurring issue. I'd probably acknowledge that he may feel gratitude, but he didn't express it so I feel a bit taken for granted. Basically a gentle reminder that I'm not a mind reader.
posted by ghost phoneme at 8:02 AM on August 18, 2022 [7 favorites]

I will note here that sometimes I am the person who schedules the thing and my job is fantastic about suddenly bursting into flames an hour beforehand, but I will literally hand my husband a written outline of what needs to happen - in fact, my job is so predictably bad about this that I often write the outline before I arrange the service call. But that way even the person I'm arranging to come has been given* the same information.

*And of course completely ignored.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:08 AM on August 18, 2022 [6 favorites]

Feelings are feeling but thinking you were humiliated in front of the technician is unnecessary baggage. Give yourself a break. Techs of all trades experience ignorance and confusion with many of their customers. And, you weren't the project manager, your husband was.

Your husband should be thanking you for what you did, and his complaints seem way out of line. I would feel very attacked by them. I would think that he was using this situation as an excuse to grouse about flaws he sees in me, whether or not they are at play in this situation.

Does he generally think you are not "independent minded"? What the heck does that even mean?

As far as this situation, I am not sure why you ended your call in mid-sentence. Which makes me wonder how much, if any, advance notice you had that you would be the one dealing with this? It seems really odd that it had to be explained to your husband that you did not know what the tech was doing, etc..

To "just move on" is a healthy thing, but I think this exchange needs a little more exploration. I would be surprised if this is the only time he has unfairly criticized you based on a situation of his own making. Of course, that could not apply at all, in which case this falls into the "everyone has a bad day" philosophy.

I'd refuse to manage the return house call, even if it meant telling the tech to reschedule for another day as they stand outside my door.

good luck.
posted by rhonzo at 8:41 AM on August 18, 2022 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I second Amanda’s thoughts on this. My first husband was exactly like this.

I will add two additional thoughts.

Your partner’s comment that you were not “independent” enough to handle this sounds like 100% projection to me. He was the one who was acting immature and irresponsible. What would he have done if you hadn’t been there to step in and cover for him? He may not know it consciously, but his subconscious definitely knows this. So that comment, while it is incredibly hurtful (and he should apologize for that) also tells you a lot about its lack of maturity generally and lack of maturity psychologically.

I also think that some of the shame you are feeling is about not setting a boundary. Instead you overcompensated for him and overgave, and I know how shitty of a feeling the regret around that can be.

As for what to do next, I am with those suggesting that you set a time this weekend to have a follow up chat, let the feelings metabolize a bit (get some space, get some exercise, go out with some friends, whatever calms you down) and then calmly tell him that you did not appreciate the level of disrespect he showed and that in the future you will not be stepping in to cover for him when he cannot handle his own shit.

(And yes, I know I am projecting my own feelings about my first husband onto this situation, but I also really wish I had paid attention when he did things like this. As a woman in a hetero relationship, once you start overcompensating for an immature man, that is a slippery slope to a bad situation that can be really hard to come back from.)
posted by susiswimmer at 8:51 AM on August 18, 2022 [10 favorites]

Work calls make people weird. Their professional self is on display and their competency is always being evaluated. Some places are forgiving about this, but some are not. And it depends on the meeting.

I say the same to my kids when they have a fight and injured party gets an apology but is still mad: “looks like you’re not ready to forgive yet. That’s ok.”

You can go back to him and say hey I’m still hurting about you questioning my intelligence. That’s a fair thing to do. Maybe he can apologize again in a different way, or see your side a bit more, so it lands fully for him and he doesn’t go there again.

Sounds like it’s next level relationship layers getting activated and part of growing deeply close as a couple.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 9:28 AM on August 18, 2022

Your husband was being a total asshole, but I find this kind of "waiting for the plumber/electrician/super to show up" kind of thing to be generally pretty annoying and fertile ground for my husband and me to get aggravated with each other.

I think that a good way to get closure on this would be to talk about how to handle the NEXT time you have to have someone come over to fix something. I will say that your line here: "I ended my work call early, literally mid-sentence, despite me not being the person who requested the visit" suggests that you were a little hung up on this being his responsibility because he set up the call, but it's really on both of you to deal with it since the technician was coming to fix something in your home, presumably to benefit you both.
posted by cakelite at 9:30 AM on August 18, 2022

Best answer: that the likely male technician would see me as just another woman who doesn’t know things

This is probably a relatively minor point, but for me it would have been at least a bit of a factor: for me, as a woman, dealing with technicians is all too often a fun experience of being gently or not so gently condescended to and/or ignored. Being in the position of repeatedly having to say "I don't know, I need to ask my husband" would just make that more frustrating. Again, a relatively small thing and maybe not an issue for you, but it's a dynamic guys should have some awareness of and help mitigate where possible.

Why was it you who ended your meeting to handle things and not him?
posted by trig at 9:35 AM on August 18, 2022 [9 favorites]

I literally can’t imagine my spouse acting like this.

Here’s how this rolls in my life. I’m disabled, but I handle the house logistics and manage the work we have done. There have been occasional times husband has had to step in to manage if I’ve been unwell. He’s been flustered by it for sure. Something that changes his schedule. He has a high stress job. And because like you, he’s not the one used managing it and it’s not his area of expertise. So I’ve made him notes and said “don’t worry about anything else but the list and if you need to come ask me a question.” It’s only happened a couple times. But once was with the electrician when I had a migraine. It all was fine. And if for some reason I was unwell and he couldn’t drop work, I would just reschedule.

Your husband behaved in a way that I find wildly disrespectful and sexist. And I doubt his apology encapsulated that and made you feel you feel understood.

YOU have nothing to feel embarrassed for. Not everyone knows technical things about their house, even if you were the one to arrange the call. Though it’s expected for women to have all knowledge of the universe. And it’s not fair that you were dropped into this with no info. And the way he acted is beyond not okay.

I too feel this goes deeper and think you should speak with a therapist to sort your feelings and what needs to be done on a deeper level in your relationship.
posted by Crystalinne at 9:41 AM on August 18, 2022 [2 favorites]

All these answers have been about sorting out the conflict and the events that comprised it, and I think I agree with everything I've read; that's my style too, to talk through what happened until it's clear both parties are on the same page.

But my first thought upon reading what you cited as your 'main question' is the old standby, meditation. If your partner's behavior is part of a pattern, or threatens to become one, I would say it has to be addressed. But purely for feeling better and putting something behind you and, going forward, not dwelling on a thing like this, faithfully practiced meditation can teach (some if not all) people to put some space between the events and their reaction, and buy them time to use that space to process internally and then decide on their actions, *in place of* reaction. Practicing CBT does something similar for other people.
posted by troywestfield at 9:45 AM on August 18, 2022 [1 favorite]

my partner chastised me for not being independent-minded enough to manage the situation on my own
Man, I'd be pissed. You don't specify what the apology covered, and if you felt it was sincere.
As plonkee and others point out, you were treated with disrespect, your work was interrupted, and after that, you were insulted. If the apology wasn't big enough for all this, then you have every reason to go back and say You were wrong, disrespectful, unreasonable, and a jerk to me. The apology didn't cover it, and I'm pissed. You can do better, and I expect you to, because I deserve better.

Think about what you need. More apology, acceptance of wrongdoing, declaration of respect, for partner to make you dinner or give you a back rub, or whatever. You may not get it, but it's better to start a complaint with an understanding of what you want.
posted by theora55 at 10:14 AM on August 18, 2022 [2 favorites]

Best answer: when this happens to me it's because I haven't had a chance to (1) process exactly why I am so pissed off (2) having figured it out, communicate exactly why I am so pissed off to my partner. Basically the apology came too early and it isn't comprehensive or sufficient.

Now you know why. His behavior was really shitty. This whole thing was his fault, and he's not only projected his embarrassment about having created the situation onto you, but insulted your competence. He's the one who fucked up here and then compounded it with nastiness.

As theora says, just go back and tell him "you apologized, but I really need to say this, and you can do with it what you want, but you need to hear it first: [whatever you have to say.]"
posted by fingersandtoes at 10:52 AM on August 18, 2022 [5 favorites]

Best answer: For myself, I would need:

-Assurance this would never happen again. Whoever arranges it is responsible for it. We're not mind readers. If both people work, there's a lot of stuff that goes wrong and has to be coordinated. Both partners can't be fully involved in everything; it's a waste of energy and it's exhausting and overcomplicated. Someone needs to be point. If partner A makes the call, it is partner A's responsibility for full coverage or to make sure partner B is prepared and willing and available to step in.

-It is incredibly hurtful to make a partner feel small. It sounds like there was shaming involved. That requires an apology that says "I fully understand that I made you feel like this and I fully understand that it was wrong and why it was wrong and if you did this to me I would be hurt too and I'm sorry."

So maybe you don't feel like you've had the full airing?
posted by A Terrible Llama at 11:34 AM on August 18, 2022 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Yeah. I have a hard time accepting apologies from my partner when I have been very hurt. And over time we've come to realize that it's usually when I feel like the apology doesn't match the seriousness of the situation. I want to feel like the other person a) really gets when went wrong b) understands why I am very hurt and angry c) has a plan for preventing this from happening again. So maybe your partner needs to try again...
posted by jeszac at 11:38 AM on August 18, 2022 [3 favorites]

Maybe, a cigar is really just a cigar. Maybe he really was sorry for screwing up the situation and taking it out on you. Maybe you should not be so forgiving. I don't know. I have found that in a relationship, people make mistakes. Especially under pressure. People also make amends. If your partner's apology was sincere and I have no way to know that, then forgive but don't forget. It is not mutually exclusive to be forgiving and to be angry. I would attempt to have a calm discussion about what upsets you, how it can be avoided in the future, and his reactions.

If you don't have the discussion, I think it will fester and you will be angry for a long while. Rightfully so?

You know your partner better than anyone else presumably. Is this par for the course? Is this a reaction that could have been anticipated? It is certainly not your fault. One solution in the future is if you know he scheduled an appointment like this, go for a walk to have your business phone call. Of, don't answer the door. If the issue is important enough for them, they will get the door or they will have to ask you. You can explain at that point that you are busy and they scheduled it so they should deal with it.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 12:52 PM on August 18, 2022

Is your partner angry at you for not “being over it yet”? You said that you both agreed that you wanted to let it go and move on, but are THEY the one who suggested that?
posted by Silvery Fish at 2:11 PM on August 18, 2022 [2 favorites]

Best answer: After the technician left, my partner chastised me for not being independent-minded enough to manage the situation on my own.

Uh yeah, this would totally piss me off for a long time if my husband said this to me. That's a criticism I might expect from a manager at work, not a domestic partner. You could've just as easily shot back at him that his time management skills need improvement.

He needs to apologize to you for treating you like his professional subordinate if he hasn't already. Perhaps he was stuck in that mindset because he'd just had a big important work call, but he needs to realize that and he should feel bad about treating you that way specifically and not just generically "sorry" that you had an argument.
posted by wondermouse at 2:25 PM on August 18, 2022 [10 favorites]

Best answer: Feeling angry is a sign to pay attention to—something is not right or unresolved.

My advice here is: Take space to process without his input or influence, even if it means silence for a bit (let him know that you need this space to process, that it's not "the silent treatment"). And let him know that your feelings need to be addressed before the logistical/planning issues can be addressed.

It might help to re-frame this as "how do I move forward?" and "what do I need?" rather than "how do I get past this?"
posted by Lil' Blue Goat at 6:57 PM on August 18, 2022

Response by poster: Thank you, everyone, for your thoughtful and kind responses. I've marked a few best answers but even the ones I haven't marked were good and helpful.

Everyone has bad days, and everyone has moments where they behave poorly. This is atypical behaviour for my partner which is probably why I found it so disorienting. As many answers have touched on, I realise now that it was being spoken to like an employee/in such a disrespectful manner that bothers me the most, and I think this is the main thing that we need to unpack for us to move forward.

There are a lot of good reflection points for me here, and I'm going to go process everything else privately instead of writing an essay on an Internet forum!
posted by quadrant seasons at 2:33 AM on August 19, 2022 [8 favorites]

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