Stop Mistaking Constant Fighting With a Normal, Healthy Relationship

My wife cursed me out Sunday morning. Being cursed out isn’t fun, but I think I earned it. It started with a phone call late Saturday night. Prior to the call, I had gone to a bar and buried myself in Jack Daniels Single Barrel (delicious stuff, by the way), so I wasn’t exactly in my right mind. Anyway, Rachel suggests that we cancel a trip that we planned in order to save money for the baby. Reasonable, I suppose. I replied by telling her that she’s overreacting about any future money issues and hanging up on her. I totally planned on calling her back after using the bathroom. I did not call her back after using the bathroom. I passed out and woke up to the aforementioned fire and brimstone. After about two hours of doing a great impression of a dog with his tail between his legs, we calmly talked everything over like the normal humans we are and we were back to ourselves soon thereafter.

This isn’t a normal occurrence. We fight about once every 5-6 weeks. I can count on one hand how many times we’ve been mad at each other overnight. It’s been, by far, the most peaceful relationship I’ve ever had. It’s a constructive, loving relationship, and it’s totally fucking foreign to me.

I used to live by the adage of, “if she’s not always upset at you, she doesn’t really love you (or she’s ready to break up or she’s cheating with a real man or something else stupid),” and my previous relationships followed suit. My former girlfriends and I were always arguing with each other, always yelling about something inconsequential to the big picture. And I thought that’s what love was. My aunt always yelled at me when I was younger, and I carried that over into my relationships. Until fairly recently, I truly didn’t think that a relationship was “real” unless there was constant drama or negativity involved.

arguing-couple

Well, that viewpoint was bullshit. And poison, mentally and emotionally. If you are constantly fighting with your significant other, then something is wrong. That isn’t normal. It drains you and kills you slowly. Your lifeforce is slowly sucked away from you, and the only solace you can find is when you’re as far away from her as humanly possible. Yet, many people persist in those relationships because that’s what they think love is. Hell, I sure did.  Thought it was a badge of honor to stick with this one girl no matter how miserable she made me because that’s what real love is and that’s what real men do. There’s a reason I used to smoke so many cigarettes. I was basically eroding inside.

And it’s not like Rachel and I agree on everything. We’ve had a bunch of heavy conversations that involved politics, religion, family, money, friends of the opposite sex, and everything else that evoke the worst from otherwise rational human beings. You know what we do? We talk. And talk. And talk some more. We even listen to each other occasionally.

We rarely, if ever, devolve into screaming matches. And while it was some sort of miracle for me to actually disagree with someone I love without it turning into an argument, she said that she just took it for granted as being normal. I patiently waited for the other shoe to drop, for her to stop this facade during our honeymoon phase and turn into the crazy (but my version of normal) women that I dealt with in my past, but it never happened. It still hasn’t. With time, and a lot of reassurance, I eventually realized that it is normal too. That’s how human beings who care about each other are supposed to communicate.

I’m not an advice guy. I have no clue about the lives of strangers, so telling them ways to solve their problems, especially without context, seems disingenuous at best. But please listen. If your significant other is a source of your stress more often than a source of joy, leave. Quickly. It doesn’t get better. It doesn’t magically stop. You just die slowly. Don’t die on me. I need you to read my stuff. Finding someone who constantly makes you happy isn’t a miracle. It’s normal. But Rachel’s a miracle.

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