This is part two, the finale of “Anatomy of a Stupid Fight.” Part one can be seen here.
Welcome back for part two, the last piece of the stupid fight. We left off with what appeared to be an easy truce between Danger and I, though there still was a hint that something was still boiling under the surface. Unresolved stupid fights tend to do that.
So we pick up where we left off: Danger was still acting stressed, I was pretending to not be hurt by his distance, and we were headed to my house to make dinner. Once said dinner was done, we sat down to chat some more before our curfew sent him home (ah, one of the many delights of chaste living).
Me, brightening slightly, “Oh! I have to tell you this fun story about today!” (Read: I’m trying to get things back to normal by being bubbly and talkative as usual. Please respond appropriately with excitement and adoration.)
Danger looks at me with tired eyes and a weak attempt at a smile, “Okay.” (Read: I wish I had a Guinness.)
Me, being over-attuned to all things body language, instantly read his face as “I’m bored, stop talking!”, and my bubble bursts. “Oh, well, here goes…” I attempt to keep telling my silly story, hoping to make him laugh.
Danger watches me with a distracted, droopy look and does not seem amused, “Hmm.” (Read: I’m so tired from work, but I love you and want to keep listening as best as I can.)
I sigh, stand up, and pretend to clean something, “Never mind. You’re obviously not interested.” (Read: You think I’m boring and annoying and you probably hate me.)
Danger, “No, I’m interested. Keep talking.” (Read: When I get stressed, I shut down. I love you, but I don’t want to talk.)
Me, “Fine.” (Read: I’m so not fine. I’m going to ignore you now to simultaneously illicit your pity and also protect myself from further injury. Porcupine quills, ENGAGE!)
Danger, sighs heavily, “Britt, you can finish your story.” (Read: Here we go…)
Me, “No, forget it.”(Read: You don’t like my stories. You think I’m lame.) *Note: Can you hear the insecurity screaming its head off?
Danger, “Brittany, c’mon! Just tell me!” (Read: You’re pissed for no reason and now I’m pissed.)
Me, “No! You’re obviously upset!” (Read: You obviously hate me!)
Danger, “I’m stressed about work! But I don’t want to talk about it! (Read: I don’t want to talk about it. PLEASE don’t make me talk about my feelings.)
Me, “Maybe you should go home.” (Read: Tell me you love me and give me a hug!)
Danger, “Okay, maybe that’s for the best.” (Read: Thank you, I’m so tired. I need an early night.)
Me, “Yeah, sure.” (Read: WRONG ANSWER, BUDDY.)
Danger, turns to leave expecting me to follow him to the door, then turns back to see me still cleaning, “Wait. What are the chances that if I leave without talking about my feelings, I’ll pay for it tomorrow?” (Read: You’re not gonna let this go, are you?)
Me, nonchalantly, “Pretty good, I’d say.” (Read: 110%).
Danger, groans, “Fine. I’ll talk about my feelings!” (Read: I hate feelings!!!)
Danger then rants about how angry he is about work, how frustrated he is with how pushy I’ve been getting about weddings and babies and my other biological-clock-inspired ramblings, and he just lets it loose. I stand and watch him amazed. I’ve never seen him this emotional before and it freaks me out. I instantly regret pushing him. I tell him to go home, and he does. We’ve never, EVER, in the history of US left each other without saying goodbye. I go to bed confused, sad, and disliking myself for pushing him about all those girl things. Stupid girl brain!
The curtain opens on the next day. Danger doesn’t send me his usual “Good morning honey!” text and I decide I will NEVER text him again, but I will wait until he comes to ME. He’s tired of me and my antics? Fine. I’ll give him space. I’ll give him tons of space! Eons of space! See how he likes that!
My resolve crumbles by lunchtime.
I call him, crying, “Danger? I’m really sorry.” (Read: My girl brain took over me!)
Danger remains silent on the line.
I keep cry-talking, “I shouldn’t have pushed you to talk about your feelings. I should have respected your emotional boundaries, and trusted you would talk to me when you were ready. But just know that because I love you so much, I want to help you feel better, even when you’re angry. And when I think you’re angry with me, I can’t stand it because I want to make you happy. So, again, I’m sorry. And honestly, I think this fight is stupid and pointless!”
Danger pauses, then says, “Thank you for saying that. And I think you’re right – this is a non-fight. It’s stupid. I’m really just stressed about work so much that it makes me angry. I want to do well, and I don’t feel like I’m doing as well as I should and that pisses me off. I’m sorry, too.”
Jump ahead to later that evening. Danger has made me dinner and we’re trying to recover from the emotional hangover of the past day and a half. We continued to talk it out, both of us being brave enough to share our insecurities so that we could reaffirm each other with kind words, and eventually when my quills go down, a hug. Then we turned our brains off and watched ‘Futurama’ together for awhile until we felt that we were back to our emotional equilibrium.
Whew! That was exhausting, eh? But it was very growth producing. Lessons learned:
One, you’re gonna have stupid fights. Work stress, family stress, stress stress – all of it can make you both on edge and more prone to silly non-fights. Expect it, and have an action plan for it when it does happen. When we’re in that angry/stressed/hungry/tired mode, we’re not exactly the epitomes of rational thinking. Know what works to calm you down, and do that until you’re ready to talk again.
Two, if you need to talk to someone about it, make sure they are pro-relationship, and not all “bahhh, I hate relationships, men/women are the worst!” (I’ve totally been that person before during my Cat Lady years). It helps to have a positive person to hear you and give you positive feedback.
Three, pray together! Okay, so maybe you don’t want to pray when you still think your partner is the most infuriating creature alive, and that’s okay. But be sure that prayer is a regular, daily, frequent activity with your partner. It goes a long way to help you maintain peace, perspective and gratitude in your relationship, and your life.