Any couple that says they’ve never fought is either A. lying; B. a cyborg; or C. the more likely issue, doesn’t leave room for differing opinions or feelings in a relationship. I myself tend to fall in the last category, that is, until recently.
Despite how miserable it can be, fighting, if resolved well, can be quite healthy for a relationship. You learn a lot about a person in a fight, and you get to practice the art of forgiveness and respect.
Still, I avoid it like the plague.
Fighting brings out all of my worst qualities and parades them in front of my fighting partner in a very unflattering manner. Old wounds pop up, words are said that should never be said, and I usually feel like it’s all my fault. And because I am human, I avoid painful things (e.g. fighting), and pursue happy things (e.g. wine). So yeah, I avoid fights at all costs. In past relationships, this meant that I kept opinions to myself, would just accept whatever my partner said/wanted, or would run away when it got tough. I never really felt safe enough to do otherwise, until I met Danger (again, the irony is not lost on me).
Danger and I haven’t had very many fights, and the ones we have had were fairly mild. We’ve been together long enough now that I feel safe with him, and trust him enough to share my thoughts, opinions, and upset feelings, because he has shown me time and time again how loving, patient, and accepting he is. Sure, he’ll have his opinions, but he’s very cool and collected about it.
I was starting to accept that Danger and I wouldn’t fight often, and would live in peaceful harmony forever and ever, amen. Then last week happened and I saw my darling boyfriend like I’ve never seen him before.
Danger was stressed.
I know, I know. Sound the alarms, right? But this was very unusual for me. Danger usually handles stress like a champion. He doesn’t get overwhelmed easily, nor does he get overemotional or even emotional. He’s just chill. When stress gets high, he may need more alone time than usual, or want to hang out with his guy friends, but it usually doesn’t leak out and affect us. (Sigh, I wish I could say the same when the situation is reversed, but when I’m stressed, comforting me is like trying to hug a porcupine).
Anyway, so last week we had a bad fight. It was bad because it was stupid. Really stupid. I present it here in a play-by-play for your learning and/or entertainment pleasure. Here we go…
Scene: Monday night, our church night. We got some praying and adoration in, and I was in a great mood. I was giggly and bubbly and just so in luuuuurvvvv. And I thought Danger was happy, too.
Then it happened: my hyper-aware feeling feelers detected a trace of unhappiness in my beloved. Gasp!
Me, “Hey, what’s wrong?” (Read: You’re not perfectly happy/calm, and you are my rock, so if you’re upset, I feel like I should be, too.)
Danger, blandly, “Nothing. I’m fine.” (Read: I’m not perfectly fine, but I don’t want to talk about it.)
I studied his face closely, “No. you’re not. Something’s wrong.” (Read: You’re lying, and I’m going to assume the worst because I’m Anxiety Girl.)
Danger, “Nope, everything’s fine.” (Read: I’m fine. Just stressed. Don’t want to talk about it.)
I put my hands on my hips, “Seriously. Tell me.” (Read: I’m getting emotional-er and if you don’t tell me, I’m gonna freak.)
Danger sighed, “Work is stressing me out.” (Read: Sigh, I’m stressed but I didn’t want to say anything because I knew you’d freak.)
So I say, “Oh. Well, we don’t have to hangout tonight if you don’t want to.” (Read: I feel like I’m annoying you, and you seem like you need alone time, but I really want you to tell me that you love me and wouldn’t dream of not spending time with me.)
Danger, pauses and appears to be considering it. I see that and assume it means he really doesn’t want to hang out, and now I feel rejected. Ugh. I cross my arms and look away.
He replies, “No, I still want to hang out, but I appreciate you trying to give me alone time if I needed it.” (Read: No, I still want to hang out, but I appreciate you trying to give me alone time if I needed it.)
Me, still feeling rejected, “Okay.” (Read: You think I’m annoying and wish you weren’t obligated to hang with me tonight. Now I’m gonna sulk.)
End Scene, Part One.
Ah, the emotional female brain trying to communicate with the less emotional male brain. It’s a beautifully awkward dance that takes a lot of practice before we start dancing together and not just stepping all over each other’s feet. Stay tuned for Part Two to see how this dance escalated into crazy-stupid mode and finally resolved. It gets better, I promise.