I should be famous for talking about how fighting in a relationship is totally normal. Seriously. I’ve always said it is and I’m a firm believer that it truly is. My grandparents fought and bickered often, but were madly in love. In fact, many people say that’s why my grandma died – she was tired of living without my grandpa. Couples that don’t fight are scary. To me, that means you don’t care enough to actually tell the other person how you really feel. But as much as I know all of that, it’s still hard for me whenever Mr. T and I fight. I always have this feeling like it’s wrong or we shouldn’t be doing it or maybe this is going to somehow impact our relationship in a negative way.
It’s senseless, maddening, and often feels more frustrating than the fighting itself. So I’m working really hard to stop driving myself crazy and here are a few things I’ve learned:
A little fear is OK, but don’t let it rule. If I liked fighting with Mr. T that would be a little strange, but being afraid to ever bring anything up isn’t a good thing either. I think it’s good to be in between – hate the fights, but understand it’s necessary. Having a little fear makes sure you aren’t picking at every little thing they do. It keeps you grounded.
Realize that sometimes you really are being crazy and moody. I hate to throw this card out there, but I am a woman and sometimes we are just moody about things. It’s not our fault, it’s just the way things go with our hormones. However, just because this is the case doesn’t mean it’s Ok to just act however we want and blame hormones. If you’re being unreasonable take a step back. Apologize. Explain that it’s your hormones. And then realize this is the case the next time around so you can prevent it or at least be a little less crazy.
You’re going to feel like you’re not fun anymore and that’s OK. But it’s not true. It’s just the change in the relationship. You probably felt way more carefree when you were dating because you didn’t have to worry about things like who is going to do the dishes, take out the trash, or pay the cable bill.
Be honest, but not rude and unnecessary. I am a firm believer in honesty. It’s corny, but it’s always the best policy. But brutal honesty when it’s not needed isn’t necessary. Neither is constantly picking at everything they do.
Know the difference between healthy fighting and the kind that’s destroying your relationships. Everyday spats are not the same as full-blown fights. If you’re always having these crazy screaming matches then it might be a good idea to really look into what’s happening. Likewise, if you’re delivering low blows and saying really hurtful things while fighting you’ll probably want to get that into control because that’s just plain disrespectful. Just because you’re mad at someone doesn’t mean you can lose all respect for the person. Remember that you still love them.
Don’t make something out of what you think is happening. I confess, sometimes I am too quick to think something is happening when it’s really not. The other day I got mad at Mr. T for not telling me something that I thought he had told his roommate first. Turns out his roommate just intercepted the message. While Mr. T could have explained that to me, I should have given him more of a chance and not just assumed he didn’t tell me.
Understand that it’s a part of communication and that communication is necessary. I fully believe that sometimes you just have to fight stuff out in order to find a solution. And sometimes it’s just the only way. It might seem bad, but it’s healthy and it’s feels good sometimes to let it all out.
Try not to fight about everything. Let me be clear here – a little spat is OK and it’s good to be honest about things. But every situation doesn’t deserve a long, drawn out, exhausting three hour discussion/argument about everything. Remember, you’re going to do things differently. Sometimes you have to bite your tongue and just let it go. I mean really let it go (also something I am working on).
Remember, fighting is just another way of learning how the other person operates and how to work together. And like everything else it takes time to fully understand it and get comfortable with how it all works.