Laid-back Joey Cobb of Nashville, Tennessee, prided himself on not sweating the small stuff – and especially enjoyed injecting the additional caveat, “And it’s all small stuff.”
Not so, Joey later came to learn. Unbeknownst to Joey, his wife, Liz, an alcoholic, had been cheating on him for years.
“I didn’t sweat the booze,” said Joey, “but when I found out about the shenanigans, I suddenly began questioning my stuff-assessment system. This honestly didn’t seem small.”
Experimentally reclassifying the cheating as big stuff, Joey confronted Liz and told her he was done. For her to risk all they’d shared in their eight years of marriage for fleeting trysts with random men was unacceptable. He was out.
Jarred by this unexpectedly vehement reaction from Joey, who she’d anticipated would shrug off her promiscuous behavior with his usual, “It happens,” Liz took a hard look at herself – and didn’t like what she saw. Realizing she was a textbook sex addict as well as an alcoholic, she got help. She and Joey have since reconciled and say that they’ve reached a level of intimacy and authenticity in their relationship beyond anything they’d ever before experienced.
What about Joey? Has he become an uptight, controlling dork who’s always sweating everything?
“Nah,” said Joey, who admits he’s still not great about making it to work on time, taking out the trash, or matching his socks. But he has improved in remembering his mom’s birthday and kissing his wife good night. In other words, he still doesn’t sweat the small stuff – but he does sweat the big stuff.
“Not only did I realize that not everything’s small stuff,” said Joey, "but I realized there's some small stuff that adds up to big stuff." He smiled and shook his head. "I was missing a whole category of stuff!” That new category, he explained, includes things like eating his vegetables, going to the gym, and catching some Zs instead of staying up until all hours watching esoteric music documentaries on Netflix.
And it’s working; Joey feels more balanced, more on top of things, and, in fact, even more relaxed.
“I think I’ve got it down,” said Joey. “I’ve figured it out. Life.”