Along the way, Philip runs into his old buddy Tom. They haven't seen each other in years and start to catch up. Tom is going through a difficult time with his marriage due to the stress being caused by his oldest child, a 16 year old girl who the parents suspect is behaving irresponsibly with her friends.
So, as is natural with Philip, he and Tom start walking and talking. When Philip returns home almost 2 hours later he receives a very cool reception. Philip knows by now that Suzie is angry with him.
So, Philip tries to break the ice and apologize for not having called to say that he would be late. He justifies himself by relating what had happened and that he was so taken by Tom's story that he lost track of time. No biggie. He was being a good friend.
Unfortunately, Suzie is even more upset now than before and let's him have it. "You were being such a good friend to Tom, that you showed you take me for granted! Again! Why are you so selfish? How many times have we been through this? Just call. Is that too much to ask for? I guess for you it is. Everyone is more important than I am. When was the last time you even saw Tom?"
"Ah." Philip counters. "Umm." He continues. "What are you getting so upset about? You always get so upset about nothing. If you were really worried, you could have called me." As he says these last words, Philip realizes too late that he probably just added insult to injury. He's not sure how exactly, but something inside of him says, "Oops."
He was correct. "I should call you? You have no consideration for my feelings and I should chase after you. Look how little you care!!!"
So, what is going on here?
We all have sensitivities. Often times, they stem from past incidents that set us up to be insecure. In Suzie's case, when she was young, her father would often get distracted and forget to pick her up from school. She would be the last child waiting and start to panic as the staff left the school and they weren't sure what to do with her. This pattern of neglect continued when she needed to be picked up elsewhere or if she was counting on her father to remember to do something for her.
Suzie's father saw himself as a nice guy who was just a little forgetful. But, Suzie internalized a message that equated someone else's forgetfulness with the anxiety of abandonment and panic. Years later, she may not realize why she becomes so upset. But, by finding a husband so much like her father, Suzie keeps reliving the threat of abandonment. She really does feel unimportant in her husband's eyes.
As much as Philip tries to prioritize Suzie, he will still do something that will trigger her insecurities. In order for this marriage to become more stable and for the feelings of love that Suzie has for Philip to blossom, she will need to realize why she is being triggered.
Of course, Philip needs to work on reassuring Suzie. He must meet her need to feel important. And yes, she was correct. When Philip will be late, a simple phone call will go a long way to reassuring Suzie that she is not abandoned.