more or less

In ALL, DATING & MATING by Stephanie Klein50 Comments

We’ve been fighting a lot.  I don’t know what a lot means when compared to the average couple, but I presume we do it more because of how I am, because of how he is.  Debaters really.  Aries and Libra.  He’ll roll his eyes when he sees that I’ve brought our zodiac signs into this.  "It’s all bullshit, your signs; that crap fits anyone."  About his Aires sign, one site says, “You will not tolerate being bossed around by your mate. You hate to have your space infringed upon and you can’t stand it if your mate shows up late for a date. You like to be asked for advice and flattery always makes you feel important. You will never slow down and wait for your lover. It’s keep up or get left behind.”  Yes, flattery makes us all feel important, but on the whole, this description is all him and not at all me.  I’m late for everything, and when anyone is late meeting me, I shrug and use the time to push back my cuticles.  The idea of my being bossy gives him hives. “That has nothing to do with our sun signs.”  Yes, it does.  I think he’s wrong; he thinks I’m crazy. 

He suggests couples therapy, "because you can’t use, ‘well it’s because I’m the girl’ as an excuse.  And saying ‘feelings don’t know right from wrong’ is crap too.  How can we have a productive conversation when you say things like that?  They’re irrefutable.  Stephanie, sometimes you have to stop playing the victim.  You can’t walk around saying you’re entitled to your feelings just because you have them.  You need to stop feeling them, and therapy can help you do that."  Ew.  Then he’ll roll his eyes to "Ew."  "Well what kind of thing is that to say?  Ew?  Who says that?"  I do, you fucker.  Couples therapy?  Oh God.  No.

I think part of me likes a little bit of fighting because it usually closes with reassurances.  Usually, I feel like we’re making progress and learning about each other.  Sometimes I reignite an issue we’ve already covered and closed because I need reassurance.  I feel angry about something that has already been resolved.  I need to let it go, but I can’t.  "Well you need therapy to go figure out why you can’t."  Ew.  What I need is empathy.  To hear, "I’m sorry I continued to see her (even though I wasn’t doing anything wrong by doing so… we didn’t have a commitment back then) after sleeping with you.  I understand that must have been really hard for you.  That you made yourself vulnerable and asked me to just be with you, and I said no, for my own reasons.  You must have felt deeply rejected, and it really scared you.  I can totally understand why you felt that way given your history.  But I chose you in the end, and I love you, and we are making a life together now.  That’s what’s important." I just need to hear it.  I need to know he understands, really understands how hard it is for me.  And I need for him not to get annoyed that I need his help.  That I need him.  I need for him to not get upset when I want to talk about it.  I don’t need, "well you need therapy to go figure out why you still bring it up."  I think after a while, after some stability and consistence, I’ll know it and won’t need to ask as often.  Maybe there will be fewer fights, less aggravation.  Maybe there will be more with less.  Therapy is not the answer for everything, especially not to answer the stuff he doesn’t want to deal with.  If I want to change, it’s one thing.  But suggesting I seek therapy because it will help him out isn’t the best argument.  Going to therapy is about learning how you can improve yourself.  Sending your partner hoping they’ll be fixed and change isn’t the best attitude.

Right now, there’s more fighting.  We’ve agreed on the ground rules.  No one leaves or threats.  We’re together, so there can’t be talk of, “maybe this just isn’t working” because that escalates everything into a battle of scared.  Neither of us can bring up an issue if we don’t know what we want the outcome of the conversation to be.  This will prevent me from picking a fight just because I’m bored.  Oh, I’ve done that.  I don’t really realize when I’m doing it, but I do.  We never call each other names, except in writing when I’m trying to make a point. 

The point is, despite our ground rules, we disagree a lot, more than with anyone I’ve ever dated (except for my high school boyfriend who was also an Aires).  We don’t disagree about the really important things, but we disagree about how we should communicate with each other.  Though, I guess that is a pretty important thing.  If, for example, I were to say, “I’m upset,” he’d respond, “well you shouldn’t be, and those feelings are irrational because I didn’t do anything warranting your being upset.  So you should go work on why you’re upset because clearly, I haven’t done anything that should make you as upset as you are.”  He’d give me a logical explanation of why he’s right and I’m wrong instead of acknowledging my feelings and my right to have them.  “Ugh, you know you aren’t always entitled to feel upset.  At a certain point, it’s just irrational, and I shouldn’t have to be empathetic.”  Then I probably cry and want to go slam a door because what he did obviously upset me.  I am not, even though he’d doubt it, just feeling upset for the sake of feeling upset.  I’m not bringing it up just because he’s there and it’s something to talk about, to connect us.  I honestly believe what he did was upsetting to me, but then it’s an argument of who is right and who is wrong and what is valid and what’s irrational.  It becomes a one-hour debate. 

On the other hand, even if I were to say, “this might be irrational, but I’m still upset that you did this,” he’d still respond with “I didn’t do anything wrong.”  That’s not the point!  Then he’d argue that I just want to be right!  Pot, kettle, my friend.  Pot fucking kettle.  We talk past each other, which leads to longer fights where we both finish unsatisfied, speaking to each other in grumbles and small words come morning.  We forget it.  It’s a new day.  We love.  But we’re each waiting for the next argument, knowing with us, it’s not too far behind.  And I’m getting sick of the you’re-right-I’m-wrong dance. He’s sick of having to put on my shoes to see how I might be feeling.  “I have to put on your tap shoes again?  Ew is right.”

Comments

  1. I love you Stephanie, but you gotta chill out. Its just like when you were single…you gotta bake your own cookies, and stop asking the man to do it for you. He can't make you feel good in a real way, no one can (unfortunately). Only you can (fortunately).

  2. I've seen a lot of comments from readers finding your new domestic situation boring and something they can't relate to. I have to say that this doesn't ring true for me, the new stuff is hitting home with me much more than the old stuff did. Guess it all depends on where we are in our lives. Any rate, this:

    "He’d give me a logical explanation of why he’s right and I’m wrong instead of acknowledging my feelings and my right to have them."

    Well…nail, meet head.

  3. Hi Stephanie,

    This post totally brings me back to the same sort of cyclical arguments I used to have with an ex-boyfriend. It was sort of the same situation, except I was the one who thought emotional arguments were too irrational to warrant a three-hour discussion past my bedtime(I preferred to sleep on it and discuss it calmly the next morning, when I had cooled off and could articulate my feelings and responses better) and my ex would force me to stay awake and cry my way through things… but that never made me feel any better. I always ended up feeling angry and frustrated, because when I am upset I can only cry – and the words I do manage to get out are never the right ones.

    I guess my biggest difficulty with that dynamic (because like you, we agreed on lots of 'important things' but couldn't settle an argument in a way that satisfied us both) was that I always felt that he used his feelings to validate what he did. And he never tried to change the way that he behaved — leading to a repeat of the argument months, or even weeks, down the road.

    I suppose that's why we're no longer together…

    Anyway, thanks for the update today. A nice post to think about as I head into the new year (and hopefully some healthier relationships).

  4. If this is about you and Phil, wow! Perhaps moving in together so quickly was the wrong thing to do? How does he feel when you write about things like this, knowing that 100s, maybe 1,000s, of people read it?

  5. Stephanie, you are one f'd up chick, and you are going to drive your man away. No guy puts up with this crap for very long. You need to get over your issues BEFORE you get into another relationship. You have way too much emotional baggage for any healthy man to want to deal with. Work with a psychologist so you don't f'up the next relationship as well.

    By the way, I love your blog.

  6. I think … wow. It sounds like you're dating a therapist. What kind of response is that? I mean, I'm all for introspection and pointing out certain things in other people's behavior here or there, but … wow.

    I was surprised that you moved in with him so quickly. I feel like your writing has been rather different since you started the relationship, and especially over the last few months. I don't know if that's because you're just too busy or what.

    Communication is more than pretty important. It's probably the most important aspect of a relationship. I hope you both find a way to communicate better with one another. I'm sure you both care about one another. You just may not be right for one another. Time will tell. Good luck!

  7. I agree that this sounds bad. Most men will put up with a certain amount of drama for a certain amount of time but, in the end, they just get sick of the constant fighting. You may see it as working through issues/learning more about each other/etc. – but odds are good that he sees it as an increasingly unpleasant pain in the ass. The fact that he's so desparate that he's suggesting couples therapy means that you need to simmer down, and now.

  8. I don't if it's meaningful to your conversation, but I'll put my 2 cents in anyway…

    Feelings are not always rational. They are what they are, and often that means defying logic. Analytical types crave logic, however. Perhaps he can't help wanting that if it's in his nature. I'm that way, and I can't stand it when people don't make sense although as I've gotten older I usually just shrug my shoulders and move on even though I might be puzzled.

    Sometimes when my feelings are irrational, I later find it is usually an old issue resurfacing. I've dealt with most of my old issues, but I don't think my reactions to them will ever completely disappear, or at least it will take long time (years).

    Because you know what your issues are, perhaps you should try to be more self-aware when arguing so he doesn't feel like you're a complete nutcase and maybe he should be more willing to accept that what you feel won't always make sense.

  9. He can reassure you 'til he's blue in the face, but it's useless until you allow yourself to hear it, and then to believe it, and then to let it stick. I've been in your shoes, but at the same time I can empathize with him; Sooner or later even the most patient man (or woman) will get sick of repeating him (or her)self and give up.

  10. I just spent an entire christmas holiday in this state of mass confused love. Suppose that's how you can tell you love someone, when it's hard to let our guards down, and you push them away when the reality of it is, as you wrote,

    "And I need for him not to get annoyed that I need his help. That I need him. I need for him to not get upset when I want to talk about it."

    Moving in together is a big step – it's making sure this will work and forging ahead. Your losing a lot of your own independance and gaining more of an US. Day by day.
    Best of luck and patience.

  11. I should have also added that for you to control your anxiety relating to the trust issues…

    You know what your issue is. You know it is natural to have anxiety about it spontaneously surface from time to time. Therefore, when you do feel it, you should recognize it for what it is, and have PATIENCE with yourself. I know it's like an itch that you feel you need to scratch, but if you see the episode for what it is, you also know it will pass and the urgency to scratch it won't persist. It goes away by itself, without any help -if you've resolved the underlying problem an its only the anxiety resurfacing.

  12. He is being a typical male "fixer" and some time men just need to realize that we don't want to be fixed. Just listened to and empathized with and in the end they'll listen, never really get it and just shake their head. I went through this when I first moved in with my SO and it took about a year to get back into our comfort zone.

    This just proves that even the best relationships take work and you two are probably going through some sort of primal instictual thing regarding space and territories.

    I hate advice but one thing I can say is "pick your battles" and be honest with yourself — from a self-described drama queen sometimes I have to stop the act and stop trying to make him understand things he may never understand. Instead of chastizing him for it, I try to find a way to love him for it.

    Not sure if that makes sense.

    Its a transition period, the nice thing is that once you get through it, you'll be both stronger and wiser for it.

  13. I have been married for more than 10 yrs now (pretty much happily) and I can tell you, from experience, that you lose credibility w/ someone you're close to if you are regularly bringing up issues from the past. Life becomes a minefield of taboo topics and emotional outbursts and no one can live like that for very long. It took me a while to learn to articulate my feelings and emotions adequately at the time I was upset/pissed off and then let go and move on. No, you never forget (forgive and forget is a lie) but in my mind, you can't build trust if you never know when something you did last week or last year is going to come hurling back at you.

  14. I'm just sort of curious: A lot of advice is offered in response to some of your more provocative posts. Do you, Stephanie, ever follow any of the unsolicited advice offered in response to your posts/learn something from your readers responses? For example, at least one preson has said in response to this post that you just gotta chill. Do you ever read such a post and say to yourself: "Wow. He/she is right. I am overreacting. I do need to chill." Or is anyone who offers unsolicited advice merely blowing smoke?

  15. Sounds like you are having the same problem I sometimes have with my husband. The problem isn't that he did something "wrong" but that he doesn't really listen or understand when I tell him how I feel. You need to feel like your happiness is important to him – and his telling you to "get over it" or go to therapy isn't doing that. This sets up a vicious cycle based on your frustration with his response. Tell him to stop being so smug.

    I do have two pieces of concrete advice for you. One, stop bringing up the ex-girlfriend thing – now. You really need to get over that. If you can't, you have to break up with him. Two, give it twenty four hours before you bring up something that is bothering you. If you feel like you just need to "unload" something – try it out on your girlfriends first, or say it out loud to yourself. You'd be amazed at how stupid some things can sound when you just put a voice to them. You want to make sure it's going to be worth it before you bring this stuff up.

    It's possible that you are a person who doesn't feel comfortable with a happy stable relationship, because you have always had drama in your life – or you secretly don't think you deserve him, so you are trying to make him prove to you that he really loves you by pushing him away. Therapy would help you figure this out.

  16. Wow. Your boyfriend and mine are the same person. Except in my case, I'm the Aries, he's a Gemini.

    I think it's less about astrology and more about this deep, intense need to be right. All. The. Fucking. Time.

    I also hear the "you need therapy" line. Maybe I like myself just the way I am, fucked-up and all.

  17. This will prevent me from picking a fight just because I’m bored. Oh, I’ve done that.

    when you write this, you need change!!

  18. Wow, sounds like big trouble ahead. Maybe you're trying to hard and looking for perfect…nothing or no one is perfect. I've been married for 17 years and we rarely argue. I can't believe how lucky I am when I hear these things.

  19. Not even together a year and you're already talking couples therapy? Not a great sign…

    It sounds like the two of you need to learn how to deal with each other and your respective quirks and baggage and a professional really can help you do that. Clearly you value this relationship but love is not enough to make it work. The stuff you've shared here is obviously not all there is to your relationship but it is telling in many ways. You need to work out your issues before it is too late. Get help.

  20. I must say, after reading your post (i.e. the fact that you want him to acknowledge your feelings, and your right to have them), i immediately thought of a scene from "White Men Cant Jump" (i am betting that there is at least 1 other person who reads this site that has seen the movie). It was the scene when Rosie Perez is mad at Woody Harrelson because when she tells him she is thirsty, he gets her a glass of water. And she doesnt want the glass of water, she wants sympathy, she wants him to say "i too know what it is like to be thirsty…i too have suffered from dry mouthedness" (i am paraphrasing a bit i think, but you get the point).

    Guys (or at least the guys i know) usually put up with that crap for about 3-6 months, until the infatuation period wears off (and the sex is no longer new). At some point after that they (the smart ones) tell you to f#ck off. some marry that high maintenance girl, learn the hard way, and make sure that their second (or next) wife is low maintenance. There is a price to pay for everything, and the price you pay for the high maintenance girl is your soul and sanity.

  21. Stephanie,

    Your blog is very entertaining, but sometimes you make me cringe because you confront me with images of myself as I once was in relationships. I learned, and hopefully you will, as well, that I absolutely had to change if I ever wanted one to work out.

    I mean, really! A mere entry/week ago, everything was joy, bliss, veal, and panko. Now, love is a dang battlefield. Sometimes (lotsa times) that's how relationships are, but your stuff is a wee bit extra.

    YOU might try practicing a little bit of empathy; put yourself in the suitor's shoes: what if you slipped up (and I will say, for the sake of argument, that he actually did) and had to not only constantly/adnauseam/adinfinitum reassure him that you were sorry/understood your feelings/would never f' up again, but to do so following the script that he lays out for you in a public blog? Would YOU sign up for that foolishness? Hell-to-the-naw!

    I haven't been reading your blog for that long, but my assumption based upon my limited reading is that The Suitor is probably being made to pay for the trangressions of MYDs of olde. Don't let them hurt you further by causing you to ruin relationships that could potentially be everything you wanted but apparently never had. It's tantamount to ingesting poison in the hopes that the other person will die. You need to let go of your baggage and pack light.

    My advice to The Suitor: I would simply make a tape recording of myself saying, "I'm sorry I continued to see her (even though I wasn't doing anything wrong by doing so… we didn't have a commitment back then) after sleeping with you. I understand that must have been really hard for you. That you made yourself vulnerable and asked me to just be with you, and I said no, for my own reasons. You must have felt deeply rejected, and it really scared you. I can totally understand why you felt that way given your history. But I chose you in the end, and I love you, and we are making a life together now. That's what's important," so that you could listen to it (and other tapes with assorted similar sentiments) whenever you felt like you needed some reassurance. Maybe that'd help you both?

  22. this isn't about him…or you and him…this is about you. it sounds like you are looking for someone to put the blame on for your own pain. Until you heal who you are and the pain you're in or feel – you will constantly be in this anxious, non-trusting place with your guy. I think its easy to say "this is who i am – let me be" until you realize all the growth you can accomplish with the right therapist. No one should live with this kind of anxiety of the next argument…perhaps you think this is what relationships look like…it doesn't sound good from this angle. I wish you the best and some peace of mind.

  23. If he loves you enough to want to go to couples therapy, maybe you could respect his feelings enough to try it. He is saying "WE" need help to work this out, which isn't the same thing as "you're crazy". And everyone is entitled to his or her feelings, which isn't quite the same thing as expecting everybody else to support, cater to, clairvoyantly guess what they are at that second, endure (pick a verb) them. Learning how to let some feelings go might take therapy. It doesn't mean you're wrong or a bad person; it just might be that a little realignment is in order. ;)
    sarah

  24. You know, seeing as this is Stephanie's JOURNAL(albeit for public consumption) and that none of this ass-vice is asked for, people should just chillax (chill out/relax). You do not even know if she is referring to Phil or a previous relationship or anything else and regardless, it's no ones damn business if she is. How about we give Stephanie the benefit of the doubt and assume that through all of her trials and tribulations in past relationships, she has learned enough to know when SHE is ready to take the next step and move in with someone? And that perhaps Phil is intelligent enough to know as well?

    Gawd people….puhlease. Besides, it makes for good reading, which, dunno about you; is why I come by and check things out. That and I dont know where you all got your psychology degrees but there sure seem to be a bunch of shrinks around! And free diagnoses to boot! Woohooo!

  25. RUN!…there is no way that having a family with this guy will lead to happily ever after. He will never be wrong.

  26. Um…Deanna(Banana)? I'm sure you mean well, but this is a comments section. It doesn't seem like any of the people posting here are being hostile – just offering their two cents. If Stephanie didn't want people to share their opinions she could have disabled the comments feature for this post (as she does from time to time).

    I think perhaps it is YOU who should "chillax".

  27. I think it's also important to remember – and this is especially for readers who are new to Stephanie's blog – that these journal entries are not always contemporary… And that this is a good thing to keep in mind as we all get wrapped up in the recent events of Stephanie's personal life.

    I am sure, as an inveterate blogger, Stephanie has the wherewithal to take all of these comments with a grain of salt. That said, it also couldn't hurt to be a little sensitive – both to her and to other commentors.

    OK, I'm stepping off my soapbox now to focus on my last hour at work…

  28. I'm really hoping this is about you and an ex, not you and The Suitor.

    Regardless, but particularly if it's current, I applaud your bravery in putting it out there.

  29. If you haven't yet read Mars and Venus, my advice (for what it's worth!!) is: buy the book, keep it by the bed, re-read it everytime you fight.

    I used to believe in the idea: No drama, no passion. So, I enjoyed stirring the pot to create some. Another belief: He must understand everything about me, no matter what it takes. One more: Every argument must be "completed" immediately, so we can heal and move on. Three strikes, you're out.

    After two failed marriages, I was determined to not repeat the same mistakes. Third time is the charm, with me running for my Mars and Venus book often, to try to see things from his side. Maybe it's not the book, but just the "seeing things from his side" part that helps. And, that he doesn't always understand me, but he tries to give me what I need anyway.

    Moral of the story, I learned my lessons (well, some of them!). We've been married happily for 11 years. Big arguments? Yes, there were some, and I'm sure, more to come. But so far, I can count them on one hand.

    I wish you well.

  30. You are one seriously high maintenance be-atch.

    I am sure you tell yourself, I am special and I want a man who has strength of character, integrity, the courage to stand in the face of opposition, to fight for his values – in short, a world-beater.

    But, I imagine, just as you are now, you will fight with that person to have things done your way. You need to find a more "agreeable" mate.

    Three options: (1) grow up, (2) resign to a life filled with conflict, or (3) look for someone dumber and less ambicious than you.

  31. someone professional recently told me that "we can't control our feelings, but we can control our actions."

    so you ARE entitled to feel insecure, upset, blah blah, however it is you feel, but you can't harass him or get whiney.

    conversely, when you start getting upset, he has to find more sympathetic, understanding responses to you.

    i think it's good he's recommending couples therapy. That's him saying he is SERIOUS about you, serious enough to put in time, effort, and money to making your relationship work. and it's always a plus when a man is willing to get help (some guys wouldn't, you know).

    i've been reading your blog for a long time. i think there's still a part of you that feels fat, unloved, and all the rest of your insecurity garbage. here is a real man who loves you, warts and all (and once bought you hair glop to prove it).

    getting real and staying committed is what big girls do. good luck, stephanie.

  32. A mere 7 days after posting the wondrous news of moving in with The Suitor, he is asking you to go to therapy? I feel sorry for the guy, truly. You really should have gotten your head out of your ass before you tried your hand at a live-in relationship. Your level of self-absorption is not congruent with successful co-existence with another her human being…even if you think you love him. Good luck…looks like you're going to need it.

  33. i think fighting is good. not fighting, not letting things out, not letting yourself or the other person vent or have feelings is more dangerous and leads to further counterproductive blow-outs…no?

  34. You and my best girl friend are so alike… I often send her a link to your post so she can that A. she is not alone and B. how manic she is being.

    As a woman calls her best friend in the worst and best of times to share, so does a blogger write. We readers are not often exposed to the middle ground, because that is not what stirs our emotions and therefore our pens/fingers on the keyboard.

    Yet again, a well written post. Thanks for helping the dreary mid-holiday work days go by a bit faster.

  35. The responses that you get are exactly as I would word them….and I am an Aries. I used to date a Libra for 4.5 years…and boy, too much of the cerebral for me. Now I'm dating a Capricorn which has a much different outlook on life than I. Not the most compatible sign with Aries, but the key is compromise. We may disagree, but never fight.

    And I realized something…. Stephanie, you are very much in your head. You are about how you feel about what you think, and there is nothing wrong with that. But realize that the other person (the Aries person) doesn't think this way. Rules or no rules, you need to find a middle ground from which to understand each other. He shouldn't just suggest that you need to see a therapist to "fix" you b/c that isn't fair.

    Aries and Libra are in opposition. So, if you are each looking at the box….you're each standing on the opposite end of things. Find a way to communicate to him how you feel in his terms, and if he loves you, ask him to find a way to communicate what he's experiencing in yours…. Meet somewhere in the middle. Otherwise, you'll remain as you are….in opposition and not understanding each other.

  36. Professional help is good. I suspect therapy could help you find a less volitile and manipulative way of getting reassurance. Good luck.

  37. i'm surprised that you are so anti-therapy – first for yourself and now as a couple. almost every married couple i know has gone to therapy at one time or another, as have at least 50% of couples who have been dating for over a year. i think you would enjoy it and get a lot of out it.

  38. I don't think that the Suitor is suggesting couples therapy to "fix" you. If he had said "damn girl, you need to get therapy" then that would be the case. He is suggesting couples therapy, meaning he understands that both of you have some things to work on in the communication department.

    Maybe by going he will finally be able to hear what you are saying when you get into arguments.

    I wish you luck!

  39. astrology is such bs. our personalities are not formed because of where mars is in relation to neptune at the time our mothers push us out from the womb.

    my advice: relax. relax. relax. and, maybe therapy will help. try it. i never have, but i hear it can work. it's a hell of a lot more reliable than where the moon was in relation to pluto on the day of your birth.

  40. Get your head out of your ass! Maybe you should think of how your boyfriend feels after reading this post. Grow up girlfriend.

  41. Even if you're not ready for therapy, read Gary Chapman's "The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate" – it's available for $10 from Amazon.com

    Stephanie, as many others (who, as you should note… *are on your side* – just like the Suitor is!) have already pointed out, this is about you. Not him. Not you and him, really. You.

    Yes, you've got issues. Honestly, we all do. Many of us have cheated, been cheated on, experienced heartbreak or divorce, been abused or raped, or any number of things. You're not the only one who's got *issues.* Trust me.

    But you're unconsciously sabotaging your future happiness by lingering on them – or by refusing to take proactive measures to deal with them.

    Unlike many, many others, you've got the time, money, and support to heal. Take advantage of that – or slowly, you'll lose that support.

  42. Being this is not tagged "past tense" one could only assume that this is about The Suitor. In that case, Stephanie, you might have rushed into moving in with him, as he is now thinking couples therapy is necessary. However, the problem doesn't seem to be with him, so much as with you. You will never have a relationship work until you fix you.

  43. Perception is reality. It doesn't matter if someone did something that could or could not objectively be judged as hurtful — if you're hurt, that's the bottom line, that's all that matters. Who cares who's right? What matters is how each person feels. And if innocent actions caused unintended pain, an apology is still in order — not for the action, but for the pain caused. "I'm sorry I hurt you" is so easy to say and can mean the world to the person who's hurting — why be selfish and hold it back, just for the sake of being "right?"

  44. hmmm. my husband and i had a protracted and miserable courtship because of our inability to communicated. as a last ditch effort we went to some couples weekend "communication" retreat. it saved us. and we have been very, very happy ever since.

    basically, it isn't about the argument. everyone just wants to feel heard and understood. so, what we do is simply repeat in our own words what the other is saying. and then we extrapolate why it must be upsetting–based on what we know of each other. We make sure we have not missed any salient points. THAT'S IT! It diffuses the subject every single time.

    there is a little bit more to it, but it so totally saved our relationship… completely.

    good luck. and remember– no relationship is doomed unless there is some sort of abuse, substance, emotional or otherwise…

  45. Gosh the comments you get are funny. I guess it makes people feel less fucked up to be able to tell someone else how fucked up they are over the Internet.

  46. I know your goal in blogging isn't to receive advice from imperfect strangers, so I won't offer any advice…not that I have any to give.

    It's interesting how we often feel the deepest attraction to the people who challenge us the most.

  47. This post reminds me so much of my relationship. It's kind of crazy when you start knowing exactly how the other person will attack your statements.

    "I think he's wrong; he thinks I'm crazy." This is how I feel in every argument with my own "Suitor."

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