Reader Question: Fighting

“How do you two deal with fighting in your relationship?  Who is the peacekeeper?”

Depending on who you ask, Devon and I fight 24/7.

But that’s play-fighting, you know that sort of comical, sitcom-y kind of fighting.  One of my most affectionate nicknames for him is “butthead”.

However, a real fight doesn’t end with me calling him a butthead and us sitting down to watch a re-run of Chopped.

Real fights and arguments don’t happen often but they have happened.  They generally stemmed from something so simple but was either horribly misconstrued or misunderstood in some way, as a lot of fights do.

We’re not yellers in fighting, neither of us likes to yell.  In fact in the decade plus that I’ve known Devon, I’ve only ever heard him yell once (which was years ago and not to me) and that was after a lot of building up to it.  So rarely, do our voices raise in fighting; they might sound more serious and have a little more bass to them, but no yelling.

Depending on how upset one or both of us is, we are more likely to avoid/ignore each other until someone is ready to put in the white flag.  We’re not going to go around and start a bunch of little fights with each other because we’re upset.  We just walk away.  However, this doesn’t stop us from needing to get in one last jab to the other before the initial fight ends.

We actually got into a small fight (or argument, if you will) the other night.  We both have this horrible affliction where we both like to get in the last word.  It was one of those annoying moments where we were just funning each other, but neither of us would let it die because we both wanted to have the last word.  Somehow it started annoying the shit out of me and I said something fight-worthy and then left the room in a tizzy.

Came back a couple minutes later, clearly still in a tizzy as my only words were “are you done now?” Devon, of course, “lovingly” responded and we stormed off to separate rooms for a few minutes.

A minute later, I’m like “the hell just happened here?”  It was stupid.  The whole thing was stupid. So I take a minute or two to gather myself and then go and start the “can we talk” conversation.

This whole incident was maybe…15-20 minutes from start to finish.  We both felt bad because we both overreacted.  But once it’s over and we’ve mended or worked out what we need to and come to agreements if necessary and say what we need to say, it’s over.  We don’t make it into a lifelong thing.  Like yesterday morning, neither of us said, “sorry again about the fight last night”, we did that the night before.

We don’t re-hash and hang on to it.  Once it’s done, it’s done. I think that’s the most important part.  It’s not helping anything if you’re still holding on to what upset you for ammo later.  Everyone said what they need to, you said it was resolved, as did the other person, so it’s resolved.  Let it be resolved and move on.  Sure you’ll fight again, we’ll fight again at some point, but bringing up past arguments is only going to make it worse and there’s no point to that.

In the end, we deal with fights the same way most people do, but we don’t hold it against each other forever.  When we say we’ve forgiven, we have and we let it go.  It’s never going to be healthy to any relationship to hold on to any bad feelings.

Everyone fights, but I think it’s how you handle yourselves once the fight is over that is almost more important than how you deal with the fight itself.

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