On Arguing.

I like to think that I’m quite restrained when I’m angry. I scream into pillows, grind my teeth and dig my fingernails into the palms of my hands. I threw a remote control at a wall once, but that was more out of frustration than anything else. I love to have a good sulk and there’s nothing like slamming a solid oak door to release some tension. I’m not a shouter, nor am I particularly articulate when I’m het up about something serious, hence the remote control shotput.

Not being a shouty person is generally a good thing, but when it comes to arguing-specifically with Phil-it’s nothing but a big fat hindrance.

You see, he’s exactly.the.same. A world-class sulker. Professional, almost. HE’S never done anything as irrational as throw the Sky Remote at the bedroom wall. Regardless of the topic of ‘discussion’, he can assume the air of the correct party (even, and especially when he is very definitely the wrong party!) and sit in silence for hours.

Two pouting sulkypants do not an efficient argument make. We have niggly arguments regularly and when we bicker, it’s fun. But when we really argue, when we fight, it can take us days to resolve the conflict. I’m not proud of this, I wish more than anything that we could have a reasoned debate, each stating our case and listening to the other do the same with patience and respect…but it’s never going to happen. I choose to hope that it’s our kind of ‘healthy’, the way we fight. Even though there’s only been a handful (four, I think…) of times we’ve really exploded at one another, I still envy couples who can have passionate, intense, short-lived fights and move on with clean slates and consciences.

Is there hope? Might we two adults learn to argue like…adults? What works for you, as a couple? Have you ever thrown a remote at a wall? (I swear-it was just once. And no-one was hurt, not even the remote.) 
 

Categories: Family, Friends and Relationships, Health
8 interesting thoughts on this

8 Comments

  1. Posted January 24, 2012 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    I think every couple has their own 'healthy-normal' arguing style, and everyone is different. Ours usually go something like this…. mildly irritated (him or me), screaming irrational temper (me), shouting frustrated temper (him), floods of tears (me), stomping off (him or me), returning to still tearful but now rational discussion about why we argued (me and him, although the tears are mine), hugs (me and him).

    G is stunningly rational in arguments tho, I am equally stunningly irrational, until I calm down, thus the middle phase of irrational screaming/frustrated shouting. We usually do end up sorting ourselves out, since luckily I'm also good at analysing my own irrationality!

    K x

  2. mahj
    Posted January 24, 2012 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    Martin and I have epic arguments, usually about something that could have been resolved calmly. They usually involving screaming, yelling, things being slammed and end with us both in a huff not speaking to each other for the rest of the evening/day/wkend. But I think that's who we are. Our personalities clash sometimes. But I still love him, even when he's right (sometimes!).

    xoxo

  3. Zan
    Posted January 24, 2012 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    I once threw a hairbrush at the wall… think the hairbrush def. came off worse!

    I'm terrible at arguing, mostly because when I'm angry, it makes me cry. Not the most rational look if you're trying to make a point. And he's soooo calm and collected and always makes me feel a bit silly when I'm crying and he's standing there with his 'I'm making a perfectly reasonable point' face on. But we usually manage to work through it and he doesn't always win!

    I think the important thing is that you can argue as a couple, no matter how you do it – I was once in a relationship where my partner refused to argue, would just shut down and leave the room and not talk about it. Used to drive me nuts. Also a contributing factor as to why we broke up, we could never discuss anything important as the moment it got heated, he'd give up and walk off.

  4. Christie
    Posted January 24, 2012 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Oh God I wish we could just sulk at each other!! We have the opposite problem, we're both very opinionated, fiery and struggle to let things go when we're annoyed about something which can lead to all hell breaking loose (usually stemming from a "what shall we have for dinner" type of discussion).

    It was a major problem when we first became a couple and were a lot younger, we couldn't control our tempers and it was constant rowing but we grew up and got over it and to be fair we rarely argue now, more snapping than anything!

    Unfortunately my lovely husband to be doesn't handle stress very well, we lost a friend unexpectedly recently and it's been very hard on him which resulted in a HUGE meltdown at the weekend over a completely innocent comment I made. Stress is the devil.

    On the flip side though I'd rather have a healthy screaming match sometimes than be one of these couples that say they never EVER argue. As far as I'm concerned if you're not arguing you're not talking enough!

  5. Posted January 24, 2012 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    My natural inclination is to scream – never throw something – but have a good, irrational wail and scream.

    Mr K completely shuts off if I do that. He doesn't deal with irrationality AT ALL. So I know that if I want to get my point across, I have to either pull it together sharpish, or walk away, collect myself, come back and present my point rationally. "I feel like X when you do Y. How we can resolve this is Z."

    I know that sounds crazy, but I spoke at length to an expert in EI (emotional intelligence) about this. Mr K and I went through a stage where we just couldn't get our points across, or communicate, and I was feeling so frustrated, and like we couldn't go on, and she told me that was rubbish and it was just a case of changing how we communicate. She taught me about borrowing behaviours, and thinking "how does Mr K think? How can I get my point across so he will understand?".

    Probably the most valuable tool I have ever come across. And it's not restricted to relationships either, I use it in friendships and work ALL THE TIME. Borrow behaviours that don't feel natural to me so I can get results with someone who behaves differently to me.

  6. Posted January 24, 2012 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Can I say how relieved I am to hear that other people argue?! I am surrounded by people who claim that they've never argued with a partner which I think is either a lie or hugely unhealthy! What a relief that there are people out there who will admit to the rocky times in their relationship!

    The Mr and I have huge, monumental arguements that start with a bitchy comment, climax into shouting and tears (me), shouting and shouting (him) and then end in a rational discussion about what got us to that place, with me blubbing and him having calmed down a touch. They're epic and I have to say that I wouldn't change them for the world, as mental as that sounds. It's cathartic and in a messed up way, I know that there is still passion and a spark there which forces us to fight about something we believe in… is that weird? I hope not!

  7. Posted January 24, 2012 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Um, our arguments last about ten minutes.

    Andy is very collected, discreet, calm and all round Mr Perfect. Usually I have done something wrong, blurted out something I shouldn't, drank far too much and been embarrassing, or left most of the housework for him (bar the cooking and washing up – I always do this), and Mr Perfect has got fed up of the washing, ironing, window cleaning, hoovering and dusting….. I'm not coming across very well here!

    Our arguments are mostly that Andy is very houseproud, and I'm not. I will do the housework, but I won't hoover as soon as guests have left, to clear up any crumbs. He will. I won't clean the windows till they are filthy. He'll clean them when there is a slight mark. We are very lucky to live in a beautiful home, but I want it to be a home, with books everywhere, clutter, some dust, and germs. We are both a product of our upbringing on this, Andy's mum is very house pround, and my mum isn't.

    Andy is a doer. He wakes up two hours earlier than me (5 am starts). He doesn't watch telly in an evening, but does the bookwork, exercises, gardening, housework, socialising etc. He would not know how to be lazy. He doesn't chat to people he's never met on the internet. He wouldn't even know what a blog is, and tells me it is time wasting. I should be striving to be better, not chatting to strangers (he would say strangers, I would say very lovely virtual friends).

    I'm a procrastinator, and need a bullet to my head on occasion. I try, I really do try. I even read a book on it (How to Get a Grip by Matthew Kimberley – really funny great advice and instructions on how to do a life plan – yep, I have a plan), which has helped me.

    Andy sometimes has a grumble over my lack of housework or not working hard enough, I get annoyed, a bit shouty, but soon admit he has some valid points, and that I will try to do better. Argument over in about ten minutes. Sometimes we debate purchases and money, but it's never an argument. I feel like I miss out. Almost nine years together, and we have never had a proper argument.

    Mazz, my parents have been married 40 years, and also have epic arguments, which last for weeks (they still sleep in the same bedroom, during these battles). They fall out at least once a day, and are both very strong characters. I think it's healthy to argue, but I also think it's fine not to. Andy's parents never argue, and have also been married forever.

    Andy understands my gripes on him being such a goody goody, and I understand his gripes on me being lazy. We get each other, and mostly work together as a team.

    Sorry for such a mammouth comment on this.

    xx

  8. Posted January 24, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    I'm a sulker, luckily Chris isn't and is quite good at getting me to come around, usually involving a pillow fight or tickling! I've thrown my phone after a phone argument before and once in a face to face argument i was holding a (plastic) measuring jug and i slammed it down on the counter so hard the handle came off, we still have it and everytime i use it i'm embarrased haha xx

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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