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The Cactus Cast 002 – You’re Getting on my Nerves

Reading Time: 3 minutes

You will never meet two people needier than MisterE and me!

Oh sure, we act independent. We drive separately to events because we can never agree on how long to stay. We watch TV in separate rooms because MisterE has no taste in quality entertainment. War movies and period dramas? Yuck! Give me wizards, aliens and Sharknados any day! We even eat different meals for dinner because he’s not about to let my poultry allergy interfere with his love of chicken wings.

But deep down we absolutely crave each other’s company. We stay within arms reach at social events, we don’t sleep well when one of us has traveled for work, and we are in our best form during long road trips.

A few hours after giving birth to Chief I couldn’t sleep, so MisterE got in the hospital bed to nap with me. Fell asleep right away.

We both feel love through Quality Time and Acts of Service, so a romantic evening might look like washing dishes together while we watch Disney’s Tangled with Hurricane for the 44th time. It really doesn’t take much for us to get the warm and fuzzies around here. 

All of this sounds hopelessly romantic, right? Nah!

The problem with quality time as a love language is that it can very easily become one of the first things to disappear when you have two kids under the age of three! And those acts of service like getting to the dishes before your spouse does? Well, those just become chores… by which I mean they begin to feel like Promethian torture. 

MisterE and I respond to separation in much the same way; we become incredibly irritable. I know we’re in bad shape when even the way he breathes becomes an annoyance. 

In the early days of our marriage when we got this annoyed by each other, we would waste time pretending we were fine and skirting around potential arguments, only to end up having a huge, blow-up fight a week down the line. 

After years of growth we can just say, “You’re getting on my nerves,” and be done with it. It’s such a wonderful place to be in a relationship. We both know what triggers our feelings, and we both know how to solve the problem: spend time together! It’s that simple!

A sleepy session recorded at 5:45 in the morning. You can hear how unmoved MisterE is that he’s getting on my nerves. Par for the course at this point.

Except sometimes it’s not that simple.  

The problem with all this togetherness is that I am extremely introverted! I NEED to be alone in order to feel recharged. If I don’t get serious me-time on a regular basis, I feel absolutely drained, and when I’m drained, well… you can read about my alter ego in my post Fail and Fury

For a long time it was, understandably, hard for MisterE to reconcile my need to be with him and my need to be alone. He certainly didn’t marry me because I’m predictable. He used to feel put-out by my desire to be away from him without really understanding why. I would emerge from my quiet time refreshed and ready to reconnect, and he would be withdrawn and moody until, you guessed it, we had a huge fight one week down the line! 

He’s getting better at naming his feelings, which is a huge plus for us as we can spend less time walking on eggshells and more time getting on with things. 

As for recognizing when I need alone time, he’s a pro these days. For example, if I head into the closet with a pillow, blanket and headphones, it’s a pretty solid sign I don’t want to be disturbed. 

If only the kids would take the hint…

What do you do when you need to recharge? Do you isolate yourself, or engage with people? And how do the people around you respond? 

Have fun!


Hi, I'm Chioma Ikoku, a spirited explorer and a peace-loving homebody. I founded Casa Diem Life to help you combine the excitement of travel with the comfort of home, because I believe that adventure begins at home.

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