Fight it Out

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.

 

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He smiles to hide how frustrated he gets when I lose my temper at the drop of a hat…

 

 

How to Be Alone

Since leaving college last year, I’ve taken a huge trip by myself, am living alone, and working from home. So it’s safe to say I have a lot of practice being alone. I live by myself, across the country from my parents, in a different country than my boyfriend and work so much it only makes sense to make plans on weekends with friends. Which means sometimes I go a whole day or a few days without interacting with anybody other than my skype meetings for work. Sometimes I go out to eat alone, sometimes I go to movies alone, and I most definitely go to the beach alone.

People are surprised when I tell them how much I do by myself. I feel like, for some reason, many people are embarrassed or uncomfortable to do things in public by themselves. But just because you do things alone doesn’t mean you’re lonely or a failure, there are actually tons of perks to doing things all by yourself.

First of all, you’re not limited — by anything! You’re not limited by which one of your friends is free, or what they want to do, or when they are available. If you want to see that indie flick, you don’t have to try and find a friend who is into it. If you want to try that new sushi restaurant you don’t have to deal with your boyfriend who is only ever feeling a burger. If you are interested in something, you can just go do it! You have that power!

I get that a huge part of the fun of experiencing things is sharing it with others and the laughter and discussion that goes along with that. But for me, I need both. I need those times with friends, family, and boyfriend. AND I need that alone time. And there’s nothing wrong with that. For me, going places and doing things alone allows me a level of efficiency and depth that I wouldn’t otherwise get.

For example, if I go shopping with friends, it can be fun, but it takes about twice as long to find all the things I’m looking for. If I’m alone, I’m in and out, and have so much more time. If I see a movie with friends, I know that they probably like to talk, but I prefer silence. This isn’t to say that I prefer being alone to doing things with the people that mean a lot to me. This is just to show that there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. Maybe you’re not in the mood to be around people but still want to do exciting activities, and you should feel comfortable having it both ways.

We think that if people see us spending time out alone they will judge us from afar, but how many times have you ever done that? You don’t stare at that guy at Starbucks who is at a table by himself, and you don’t feel sorry for someone if they are sitting by themselves at the movies. You barely even notice anyone but yourself anyways. Humans are self-absorbed, and in this case it is liberating!

Maybe we are all scarred from that one time we felt so embarrassed to sit alone at lunch in middle school (we all know those days were not fun for ANY of us). But now, life moves so fast, you can’t always wait for someone to catch up and live it with you, and nobody else has time to judge you for eating lunch alone anymore. Why limit yourself to what the everyone else wants to do when the power to do whatever you want, whenever you want, is sitting right in front of you?

 

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You can even take pics of yourself BY YOURSELF. Pro tip: prop your iPhone up on your purse and set the timer. 

 

“I would never let my daughter do that!”

Fatherhood is an interesting concept for me to think about because although I have a father, I can never become one. In the wake of Father’s day weekend, I’ve been thinking about why I appreciate my own father so much. While he’s done so many things for me that I can never be grateful enough, one trait, in particular, stands out.

My dad always made my sister and me feel capable. He always encouraged us to get out of our comfort zone, learn new things, and have new experiences. He rarely made us back off on a new opportunity because he was scared for us. This was prevalent when we were kids when he would push us to be better at our respective sports, or when he would try and get us to read books outside of class that pertained to classroom topics to increase our knowledge so we could get ahead. Even as adults he never tries to pull us back for safety’s sake. A chief example is the nearly two-month long trip I went on by myself last summer. No family, no friends, just me! Most people, especially men who are

Even as adults he never tries to pull us back for safety’s sake. A chief example is the nearly two-month long trip I went on by myself last summer. No family, no friends, just me! Most people, especially men who are my dad’s age, balk at this and say something along the lines of “Oh I could never let my daughter do that!” When I ask these people why, they always say something like “oh she’d get lost”, or “What if she’s attacked or taken”, or sometimes they don’t even have a reason! And I think to myself ‘Do you not think of your daughter as a capable person? Do you not think you’ve raised her to be smart and competent enough to be ok on her own?’ I don’t get it at all. When I said I was going alone, my dad barely batted an eye because he knew I was totally capable of handling any chaos a trip like that could throw at me. He has always thought very highly of my and my sister’s abilities and I’m only just now realizing how much it meant that he never underestimated us.

Nowadays, I work with a lot of men that are my dad’s age, and they sometimes develop this strange protective affliction. I say ‘affliction’ because they’re NOT my parents and shouldn’t be concerned with protecting from work and should respect my ability to get the work done. But they sometimes end up treating me like their own daughters, but unlike my dad, they treat me as though I’m naive and fragile, and unable to do certain things on my own.

My dad NEVER does this. He would, of course, teach us new things or skills, but he never just assumed we needed protecting and for things to be done for us because we were incompetent. He EXPECTED us to know how to do everything for ourselves.

Surprisingly, and unfortunately, I’ve found that my dad’s behavior is a huge departure from how many fathers treat their daughters. Most tend to protect and worry about them more so than their sons and think them more at risk in the world, and less capable of handling that risk. Even if they don’t mean to do it, they feel their daughters are more fragile, and thus need more protection – from boys, knowledge, the world, EVERYTHING – but not my dad.

I could go on and on about everything else that makes my dad special, but he already knows he’s the best so I’ll leave you all with the thought that daughters should be expected to be capable, confident, and competent and any father who stands in the way of those traits, stands in the way of his daughter’s success.

 

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Me, My dad, and My sister all having a grand ol’ time in Mykonos last year.

 

“My Boyfriend Thinks I’m Fat!”

You guys remember that line? In “How to Lose a Guy in 10 days”? Where Kate Hudson is pretending to be a vegetarian so she and Matthew McConaughey are at this horrible vegan restaurant and she basically shout-cries “My boyfriend thinks I’m fat!” and then Matthew McConaughey freaks out and the waitress gives him like THE dirtiest look? (Here is the link in case you haven’t seen this cinematic masterpiece of a scene)

Now, I’ll admit, I used this line as a little bit of clickbait because MY boyfriend does NOT think I am fat, nor has he ever insinuated it which is the point of this article.

When you’re in a relationship, you want the other person to love everything about you. And as much as some of us claim it doesn’t matter, we also want them to love everything about our appearance. Which is why comments from them about our appearance can affect us in mysterious ways…

For example, a guy I dated once said he liked long nails. So I got acrylics. He never said he didn’t like my nails, but I know I never had any interest in having longer nails until I knew how much he liked them. Ergo, I later realized how much of an impact his passive opinion had on my actions.

One of my guy friends starting wearing his hair a different way one day when his crush made a brief comment on a photo she saw. Another friend dyed her hair blonde because her boyfriend said he missed her blonde hair.

Sometimes, I can’t even tell if I’m wearing an outfit because I love it or because I know my boyfriend will love it. To be fair, there’s nothing wrong with doing little things to make your significant other happy, but it becomes scary when people realize they can prey on their partner’s insecurities.

You remember the fat comment? Well, I doubt such an obvious insult would be used, but instead, people could say “Do you really need that extra piece of bread?” or things like “Why did you do that to your hair?” or “I really miss when your arms were bigger”. These sorts of comments can come from anyone — candid family members, toxic friends– but somehow it stings more when it comes from someone who you hoped worshipped your every particle.

Plus, some people really know what they’re doing and can time these sorts of underhanded comments to tear their partner down, and make sure their self-worth only comes from the relationship. The issue with this kind of interaction is that it can be extremely complicated to spot. The difference between “I miss when you were blonde” and “Why did you do that to your hair?” is difficult to distinguish, and a lot of it comes down to circumstance and context. However, at a certain point, these subtle digs become emotional abuse.

I didn’t mean to get so dark in this article, but if you’re in a relationship or are into someone, just be aware of what you do for them, as opposed to what you do for you. You’re never REQUIRED to change your appearance for anyone, even a romantic partner. It’s cliche, but true. If you pay attention to how their comments affect your actions, it will be easier to pick out instances where they make you feel special, or when they make you feel awful. Then you can give out hugs, discussion, or CANS OF WHOOP-ASS accordingly.

 

 

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My face when I’m about to tell someone off