For the longest time, whenever conflict arose in my relationship, I suppressed the urge to confess my true feelings about a situation because I didn’t want us to fight. Fighting to me meant that something was wrong with our relationship; that we were doomed. Over time, I’ve realized just how ridiculous that was and I accepted a few important truths.
- Arguments aren’t inherently unhealthy. I don’t believe that arguments are inherently unhealthy, but I do think that unproductive fights or fighting unfair is why people shy away from conflict in relationships. At least for me, I had to get comfortable with the idea that if I decided to confront a conflict in my relationship it wasn’t a regression of sorts.
- My honest feelings are one of the most important things I can give. If you’re like me you seem to be brutally honest in every other arena of your life except for your most intimate ones, like your romantic relationships. I realized that I was doing my relationship a huge disservice by failing to disclose my real feelings toward the person that I considered the love of my life. Being vulnerable and open is hard to do in any relationship, but I’ve found that it’s one of the most important things that you can give someone else. It helps set them apart from others. It reminds them that you have trust and faith in them. It reinforces your ability to be candid and fearless with another human being.
- My fear of resentment greatly outweighs my fear of confrontation. I hate confrontation, but I hate the idea of being resentful toward someone more. As I said, confrontation isn’t inherently unhealthy, but I think that pent-up resentment totally is unhealthy. It drains you. It eats away at the foundation of your relationship. It compels you to do things you wouldn’t otherwise do sometimes. When I start to get into a place where I don’t want to confront my guy about something, I consider this balancing test and remember that one fear has far greater consequences than the other.
- Each time we argue honestly and upfront, our bond deepens. Whenever we’re vulnerable about our feelings and emotions we are trusting that the other person isn’t going to take that information and use it against us. Our roots grow. Our bond deepens.
- Passionate love sometimes results in passionate arguments. At the risk of sounding like I’m in some corny romance novel, I do believe this is to be true that you can’t have passionate love with someone and never have any heated arguments with them. We care deeply about each other and we’re crazy about each other but sometimes we also get on each other’s absolute last nerve. Ultimately, I’d rather passionately argue with my guy than not argue at all. It shows that we’re not indifferent to each other and that the spark is alive between us.
- Our relationship is worth fighting for. I want my boyfriend to know that, so I approach disagreements with the idea that by resolving whatever conflict we’re having, I’m fighting for a relationship that’s worth it in the long run. This thought process helps me to remember that my objective in these fights is to open up the lines of communication, flush out the conflicts, and move forward.
- Not all confrontation is negative – some things just need to be hashed out. Sometimes we just need to get things out on the table so we understand our positions on issues that have an impact on our relationship. Getting over this idea that conflict was inherently negative has been instrumental in helping me fearlessly face problems with my boyfriend.
- Communicating fairly during conflict is an important relationship skill. I’m only recently getting better at communicating during arguments with my boyfriend, but that’s because I’ve learned how important it is to develop a way of communication that works for us and our relationship. Finding a way to fight fair but zealously has made me feel freer in my relationship because I’m able to assert myself respectfully and honestly.
- We vow never to take a fight to bed. I’m willing to fight with my guy as long as necessary to get over an issue that we have identified and confronted. I hate going to bed feeling like something is off about anything, especially if it involves my relationship. One of the things that I did was implement a rule between us that we are not allowed to take a fight to bed. I don’t want to go to bed angry because chances are, I’ll wake up that way. This rule helps us flush everything out, get everything out on the table, fight hard for our relationship, and move on.