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.”