Choose Your Weapons!

Why do people constantly feel the need to battle one another over the most meaningless shit?

I was sitting at my son’s soccer practice and a group of women next to me were all mad at their husbands. All of them. What are the freaking odds?

I’ve been pissed off about a lot of dumb shit in my life. I look back now and am embarrassed not only of  the time I wasted being mad, but also at how shallow I acted. My arguments weren’t even good! Oh my God were they lame. Why? Because I didn’t have a leg to stand on. My arguments were shameful, and we’ve all done it.

“Well you just don’t care about me!”

“You’re my boyfriend so you’re supposed to!”

“If you loved me you’d do this!” (Okay, I used this one a week ago, but I was teasing.)

“If you cared half as much as me as you did about your stupid *insert hobby/vice*…”

Everyone is guilty of stooping to these lows. Why do we do it? Because when you don’t have logic in your corner, you go for personal attacks and guilt trips. If it’s all you have in your arsenal, you’ve lost. And really, arguments shouldn’t necessarily be about winning. You should be working toward achieving at the very least, understanding.

My previous relationships all lacked adult communication. It was just non-arguments, stone walling eachother by ignoring the fact that the other person was even talking, and yelling.

I’ve finally found a happy place where we actually talk and if we can’t talk rationally, we wait until we can. (Mind you, this pattern began when we became friends a few years ago and stayed with us when we transitioned into a relationship.) It removes the risk of saying something you don’t mean in the heat of the moment or resorting to childish comebacks and faulty logic. That’s not to say that I’m naive enough to believe that we won’t ever have a huge fight. That shit is inevitable. It’s going to happen. I’m just saying on the whole we’re pretty good at keeping our tempers at bay and being adults about things.

Think about the things we get needlessly upset about and compare it to the things that you have every right to be upset or hurt over.

Don’t set yourself up for disappointment by making things bigger than they are. You know what is important to your significant other and what matters to them. If you don’t know these things, you need to talk about it so that you can get on the same page.

My most most recent ex couldn’t have given a damn less about his clothes and appearance. I mean he just gave zero fucks about his clothes matching the event or occasion. This drove me to the brink of insanity and turned me into a nag. I never let that roll off. But that was him. And I knew that. There was a certain point where I should have let it go. But I didn’t. (I was right about it the day he wanted to wear a cerulean polo shirt with olive colored dress pants to my cousin’s wedding at the Buhl Mansion and I was in a Calvin Klein dress. Step up your fucking game, sir.)

Was I being reasonable? I really don’t know. To some I had reasonable expectations. To others, I should have just surrendered. I can tell you that I should have let it go more than I did. It wasn’t worth the fighting or the money I spent on clothes for him that he wouldn’t wear on dates with me. He sure as shit wore the clothes to cut down trees on his parent’s property.

My ex also hated musicals but I wanted him to come with me to one. “Why can’t you just do something I like?” Perpetual disappointment. Now? Current bf hates musicals. I go to shows with my mom. Boom. Problem solved. I don’t expect him to do some activity he hates with me just because I like it. Why should he pay to be miserable for 2 hours? And it’s fine. He doesn’t invite me to Piper’s Pub at 7am to watch soccer. That’s his thing, not mine.

I’ve seen people fight over this type of thing. I’ve fought over this! They need to have their significant other love everything that they love. They want invited even if they don’t want to go. “Well, you could have at least invited me.” Why? So you can say no and remind them of how you don’t like whatever that activity is? Wasted energy.

We need (ladies and gents) to choose our battles with care. What is worth fighting over and what is worth fighting for? And sometimes, really, why are we fighting for something to begin with? Is love supposed to be filled with perpetual conflict?

After all of the relationships I’ve been through, I can say in my heart of hearts that coming out of struggles day after day isn’t a sign of victory or the strength of your love. When every day is an uphill battle to force someone care about something as much as you do, that isn’t love. It’s time wasted that could have been spent enjoying being together.

No one has to care about everything that you care about. There must be a point of compromise and certainly respect, but you need to mutually agree on those compromises and they must be fair. My ex should have compromised with me on the clothing issue because for a wedding. My expectation wasn’t above and beyond what it should have been. The way I handled the situation though was poor. I threw it in his face and was pretty mean about the whole thing, and that is my regret. I was just as wrong for being rude as he was for not being open.

How you handle the battles you choose to engage says everything about your relationship’s strength.

Not sharing in household  or family responsibilities, not being emotionally available, ignoring your significant other, or mistreating them are all acceptable reasons to poise yourself for battle, but you don’t need to turn it into a war.

How you approach the situation will dictate the response and the outcome. Hostility breeds defenses being thrown up. You’re both just slinging shit and bringing up old stuff that has nothing to do with the disagreement at hand. You’re just laundry listing offenses like you’re reading a court docket.

Yelling and screaming will happen from time  to time over years of being together, but it doesn’t have to be a daily or weekly event and persistent fighting  isn’t healthy.

The biggest problem I’ve had in my current relationship is adjusting to open communication and a lack of hostility. It’s all I knew for years. Changing years of bad behavior has been an absolute struggle. How do you approach someone who doesn’t want to fight but wants to talk when your brain is trained to immediately start thinking of terrible things to say to the other person?

You stop. You breathe. You take a time out. And you realize that there is no reason to raise your voice or insult this person that you love because that isn’t how anyone deserves to be treated. Nothing gets resolved.

Make your weapon of choice a calm and respectful discussion, not hurtful words and nonsense statements. Don’t talk and yell for the sake of being heard. Say what is important and why and then listen.

I wish I had years ago. I could have saved myself a lot of tears over things that in the big picture didn’t matter as much as the person standing next to me.

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