Friday, October 10, 2008

Love is a Battlefield

Mr. Wonderful and I don’t really fight. Sure, we’ve had some intense conversations that included some heavy emotions, but I wouldn’t call them fights. He’s done things that bugged me—like leaving his online dating profile up WAY too long and harassing me about wearing loud shoes in the morning. But we don’t ever really have “fights” about these things.

So last night when we got into a He Said/She Said squabble, I didn’t really know how to handle it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a pro at fighting. I’ve had years of practice and am genetically predisposed for confrontation. Plus, with the whole writing thing under my belt, I’m pretty good with the word-slinging. If I didn’t turn red in the face and have hot flashes, I might’ve even considered a career as an attorney.

Anywhoo, I don’t know how to fight with Mr. W because I’ve had no practice at it. I think the last time I had a real rip-roaring riff with a significant other was last summer. Not that I want to have a full on war with Mr. W, I just want to be able to address our disagreements properly.

The context last night was that he said he told me about something we were planning to do this weekend and I had no recollection of this. Which means, of course, he never told me. He assured me he did. I insisted he did not.

We had a little back-and-forth over IM—good spirited, but definitely razzing one another. And then, as I continued to argue my point, he said, “I’m bored with this conversation, I’m going to bed.” Say What?!

Why this upset me so, I’m not really clear. He said goodnight in the same sweet way he always does, but I sulked around the house for another hour. I couldn’t figure out if I was just out of sorts because we’d had a bit of a fight or because he shut down the fight.

I don’t think he did anything wrong—he’s more than entitled to get tired of a conversation and cut it off. But I’m not sure whether I should’ve handled that differently.

So now I feel the need to assemble an arsenal of reader advice that I can hearken back to during future fights. What tactics do you all employ when arguing with your significant other?


Anonymous said...

Oooh, he pulled that exit card. My ex-bf used to always yell, "I can't do this anymore. I'm done!" and just leave. Even when it was his fault. I've realized over time that this is the way guys do it. They don't labor over the details or dwell in it or overthink it. I just pull the "Fine, you're right. You're ALWAYS right." I'm a guilt arguer.


laura said...

arggh....doesn't he know that you are the only that can end the fight? he shouldn't be able to say he's done with. other than that, i have no advice since danny and i have never gotten into a heated fight in the almost 10 years we've been together....but that is of course because i haven't been wrong yet...or, that he just doesn't play into my attitude when i am in a huff, which upsets me even more!

btw....was there PMS involved in your feeling upset and stewing over it??? i usually find that plays into my mood...more than i'd like to admit!

on another note....i'm anxioulsy awaiting a blog on anonymous' recent visit to the hospital cafetieria. maybe poopypants could be the guest blogger??? i'm sure there is more to the story than pam told me.

Wow, that was awkward said...

I am bored with this blog. I'm outta here.

Dingo said...

When my ex and I used to fight, I used to end the conversation by saying, "Well, if that's what you need to think to sleep at night...." I pulled that line out for everything from whose family we visited on the holidays to whose turn it was to clean the bathroom. An alternative is, "If it makes you feel better to think that...."

Then again, we're divorced so maybe you shouldn't take my advice.

poopypants said...

I'm not good at the fighting thing...although I just had a confrontation with a resident AND I turned red in the face and had hot flashes...and I WAS right. Anyway, in response to Laura...I would be honored to share the "hospital cafeteria visit" with anonymous.

L said...

Well, I am no pro but I've been known to pull some pretty creative crap out of my word aresenal. Things like "fine, if that's how you want to see it" and "whatever" seemed to also do the trick with much less effort, though.

As for how you reacted, I probably would have been the same. When I'm all riled up and rolling on all cylinders to get my point across, the last thing I want to hear is that I'm boring. What?! This is not boring! This is me being RIGHT! And, of course, duh, a man totally misses that. :) They stop thinking about it at that very moment, and we get to stew on it for hours or days or, forever.


Anita said...

I'm the type where if we're fighting, I have to talk it out when he just wants to be alone for a little bit. Sometimes I get what I want, sometimes he does. Just remember, occasional fighting is healthy in any relationship. Just think of it as an exercise in communication instead of a fight...and how making-up always comes afterwards.

Big Sister said...

Laura - you've never been in a fight in 10 years? Ok, Danny is even more perfect than I thought he was. Does he give seminars, and can my husband be the first to sign up?

Mel - I have no good advice for you. Sorry....

Sizzle said...

Going to bed angry is the worst for me. But having someone cut off a heated conversation is a button. It really depends on how they say it. To say he's bored would have upset me. Why can't he say he would like to stop talking about it right now. It's those little nuances that can really plague the mind.

Anonymous said...

I think Mr. W is so mild mannered he wasn't sure how to react and felt the argument was going nowhere and instead of giving in; just tryed to find the meanest thing in his vocabulary which was
I'm bored". Your dad seems to shut down also! Mainly because I AM ALWAYS RIGHT!
Perhaps Danny C. is smart and avoids the confrontation knowing Laura is always right too! And that is why they have not had a fight in 10 yrs.
I hope the next day it wasn't carried over.

Wow, that was awkward said...

Hey Mel - I had trouble sleeping last night so I came back over to this blog. I was out cold in like two seconds. Thanks!!


Anonymous said...

My boyfriend handles things in the same way. He says that he just needs to leave to clear his head. It's respectable. Better than yelling!

By the way, I love that you call him Mr. Wonderful.

The Coconut Diaries said...

I have to remind myself that boys are basic. They usually say what they mean without subtext or hidden meaning. I think he was sincerely bored and wanted to go to bed, without any extension of his feelings for you. That was what he felt then and probably won't give it a second thought 'til he reads it on your blog.

Mandy said...

My Boyfriend says that the secret to a long-term relationship is only allowing one person at a time to be mad. He says this is what his parents do.

We have actually managed to do this on more than one occasion. And when we do, things go really, really well.

The trouble is, we are both bull-headed and it is hard to NOT get mad because the other person is mad.

This is my way of saying I would have felt the exact same way as you did and done the exact same thing.

I'm no help.

Nilsa S. said...

When I read this, two things come to mind. First, I think of drunk guys in bars who get into fights. They take it outside. Beat the crap out of each other. Dust themselves off. Go back inside and have a beer together. That's how guys fight - get it out of their system and don't dwell on things.

My second thought was, it's amazing that the two of you don't fight. A rare relationship indeed. Sweets and I don't fight. We definitely don't always agree. But, when we disagree, we talk through things. We remain open to the other person's point of view. And we resolve it before going to sleep (never go to sleep angry). So, maybe your first step should be changing your mindset away from the conclusion you're bound to start fighting at some point. And then figure out a way to continue to keep the lines of communication open. =)

Mandy said...

P.S. Now that I know your creepy Ex reads your blog, I'm skeeved out at the thought of him reading this with delight in his eyes.

He probably even jerked it to this very blog.

He's waiting by the phone right now, Mel.


Alysha said...

I am a terrible arguer. I hate to admit that I am wrong if I know I am right and will stick to that fact no matter what, which I think is absolutely wrong. In the long run, does it really matter who said or didn't say what. Either way, Saturday you will or will not do the plans. I haven't managed to find the middle ground of not being a doormat, but gracefully conceding that it doesn't matter at the appropriate point. I tend to use the exit strategy because I know if I stay, it will evolve into a different kind of argument. I am really rambling. I think knowing went to stop and let it go is just as important as the argument. You both relayed your feelings, then move on, do you have time Sat to follow his plan, or does he need to make sure it hits the calendar in writing next time... moving on is much better than arguing. Trust me. I can be quite the passionate screamer and it is very unfulfilling.