Tuesday, June 12, 2012

How do I Stop Fighting with My Soulmate?

Kiss-Cam Win
My boyfriend and I have been together for over 3 years. Since the day we met it has been an instant spark and our relationship has always been extremely passionate. We have that relationship where you just know that you've found it: real, true love and a soul mate. 

We began having fights like normal but we really started hitting some trouble last year when it started becoming a constant thing. They can range from idiotic pointless fights to his girl-friends or exes. I know he's faithful; I'm just a jealous person.

I know I get angry way too easily, and I've improved a lot, but I still get ticked off and start arguments about little things. Even if we resolve it I can't seem to let the anger go. His problem is that even when I am calm and try to talk to him about something he gives me one word answers or says "I don't know" or makes a sarcastic comment. 

We both think that the problem is that we never went through that awkward, getting-to-know-each-other-and-not-ready-to-fart/go-to-the-bathroom-in-front-of-the-other phase. We didn’t allow ourselves to learn about each other; how we fight, how we deal with stress, how we deal with problems, how we defend ourselves, how we react, etc. Do you think this is what the problem is? We both feel like we need a blank slate. How do we fix us? 
I THINK WHAT YOU'RE asking for is how to transform (or restore) your relationship. It's possible, but it takes time, effort, and commitment. Truth is, you could spend time trying to explore how things have changed and why they're not working, and could probably come up with a bunch of really interesting theories for your mind to wrestle with and enjoy. But that's not what's really going to help you. What's going to help you is developing a new interaction style and putting the old one on hold.

So we have to ask what a good pattern might look like for you too. Right now, things are tense. Your jealous thoughts (let's call them fears) are getting triggered easily and seem to linger. Your boyfriend sounds like he completely checks out when you guys are arguing. Maybe he feels like you're dominating the conversation or bullying him. It's not that you're intending to bully him, but maybe you're dismissing him or out-maneuvering him in the fight. Or, maybe he's just tired of being accused of things that originate in your own personal fears. Make sense?

So I ask you: what would it look like if things were better? How would you be interacting with each other? What would you be doing, and what would you be saying? How would you both be feeling? What would your body feel like? Picture yourselves walking down the street or sitting in a restaurant with humble smiles. You're talking, cracking up here and there, sharing something meaningful or something completely pointless. But you're connected to one another. It's not too intense or too dramatic. It's more just...nice.

The thing about passion is that it fades. Not just fades over years, it fades over minutes or hours. And when it fades, that loss of connection and intensity can be painful, so much that couple begin lashing out at each other. It's not really sustainable. You have to find something in the middle that's less intense and easier to maintain. 

What I want you to do (you or both of you) is spend time visualizing that more stable, nice interaction. Ponder it during your shower or whenever you have time. Develop as clear a picture as you can of the two of you interacting in different situations. Imagine how you'd deal with your fears, and imagine how you'd deal with your frustration with his jokes--wisely and lightly. Then try it on. Don't discuss it, be it. Over time, you may start to see some shifts in the way you guys interact. It's important that you keep up the visualization exercises even when they seem pointless. Give it 3 months and if you don't see any results, I'd recommend finding a therapist. My heart goes out to you guys. It's a tough situation.

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