I argue with my boyfriend. I argue with him A LOT. And he argues back…and it’s AMAZING.
Obviously, fighting, crying, shouting, and generally being frustrated with your significant other is never a fun experience, but a relationship without those conflicts is even worse.
Conflict is necessary in a romantic relationship. There will be tons of things you disagree on or dislike throughout your interactions and the worst thing you can do is sit on them and pretend they don’t exist. And while every disagreement should not turn into a knock-down drag-out MMA fight, sometimes it’s healthy to lose your temper a bit.
Personally, I consider myself lucky. My boyfriend has the patience of a middle school teacher who runs an orphanage on the weekends, whereas I have the short-temper of Yosemite Sam. Most of our disagreements are solved pretty rationally and quickly, but every so often we work ourselves up into a shouting match. These don’t happen too frequently but they do almost always result in extreme frustration for him and tears for me. However, we are never able to go to sleep unless some kind of understanding is found so there is a lot of talking, explaining, and listening, and ultimately we end up feeling even better about our relationship.
First off, as I’ve alluded to above, working through conflict can help you grow closer and can strengthen communication. Honestly, most conflicts probably stem from a miscommunication in the first place and figuring out where you guys misunderstood each other and working to better comprehend each other’s intentions can actually improve your communication skills and in turn, can improve your relationship. Every time you are able to work through one of these conflicts, you will be able to uncover another element of the other person and grow even closer.
Secondly, sometimes it’s one of the ways you can tell that you both care about each other. Nobody gets angry over things that don’t matter to them, but if you get frustrated or angry with each other you know that whatever the issue is, it means a lot to the other person, and it means a lot that you understand them and why they are getting worked up. Now, I don’t mean to say you should use fighting to show you care, but fighting is a by-product of caring a lot. It is also a by-product of feeling comfortable enough in the relationship to argue without fearing a breakup or something equally dramatic.
And sometimes, it is just plain cathartic. Maybe your partner has been leaving their clothes on the floor for the past couple days and you decided to give them the benefit of the doubt and ignore it but finally, you snap and say something snarky and pick a fight. Maybe both of you have had a rough week and it just feels plain good to shout at each other for a little while and then have great makeup sex. Sometimes, that is just what you needed.
However, even though I believe conflict is important in a relationship, I do believe there should be some ground rules
1.) No hitting. This should go without saying, but violence is never the answer and physical abuse is not something to be taken lightly. At no point in any conflict should anyone resort to violence to make a point or to get the other to give in. This is just plain unacceptable.
2.) No name calling. It’s like your playground days again, isn’t it? Once again, this does way more harm that it’s worth in a fight. Never call names or call out personal characteristics because they will probably only hurt or anger the other person more, making the fight harder to resolve. Calling out hurtful past experiences, or using intimate information against the person is also a huge foul.
3.) No dismissals. I admit, sometimes this one is hard for me as I have a mean sarcastic streak, but you cannot, I repeat, CANNOT dismiss your partner’s feelings. Don’t roll your eyes, or patronize them, accuse them of “just being so defensive,” or tell them they are being dramatic. Any of those actions show contempt and show that you aren’t taking your partner’s feelings and statements seriously. This type of feeling is relationship SUICIDE. Your partner is feeling a certain way for a REASON, just as you feel certain ways for your own reasons, and it is not your place to tell them that their feelings are invalid just because you don’t understand them right away. This is a relationship and it is your responsibility to listen to your partner and sympathize with how they are feeling. If you dismiss your partner’s feelings or allow your own feelings to be dismissed, the issue at the root of the argument will never be resolved and will only taint your relationship moving forward.
Fights can be tough, and arguments are not fun to start or to be a part of, but they are inevitable in relationships. However, if you both make an effort to avoid being actively mean to each other, then most of these fights can actually result in improved understanding, and who doesn’t want a wholesome, healthy relationship with mutual respect and love? NO ONE, we all want it, so fight and make up and love each other.