How to stop fighting with my boyfriend?
August 1, 2011 7:25 AM Subscribe
How can my boyfriend and I stop fighting so much?
posted by JessicaJane to Human Relations (29 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
I'm feeling very stuck here and anyone's thoughts/help/experiences would be much, much appreciated. I know that couples therapy might be a good idea, but for various reasons that is not a good option for us right now. I'm hoping that getting some outside peoples' perspective and experiences might help me/us, I don't know...shake things up, give me/us some new ideas, etc.
Anyway, the situation:
My boyfriend and I are both in our early 30s and we live together. We've been together a bit over a year. We love each other and we both see this as a relationship that could go on indefinitely/lead to marriage, etc. Our relationship has a lot of good stuff in it -- we have fun together, like to do the same things, find each other interesting, have similar views on what we want out of life, etc. The only thing is, we fight a lot more than either of us would like and despite our best efforts to stop, as of yet we have not been able to.
With very few exceptions, the fights start about trivial stupid things and spiral into big ridiculous meta-fights about the fight. Then the fight will seemingly take on a life of its own and at a certain point it will almost be like we are speaking completely different languages in a way that feels both scary and frustrating. (He'll accuse me of doing/acting in certain ways and I'll think he is completely totally wrong and crazy, and vice versa). We often misunderstand each other no matter how hard we try to communicate.
A big part of the problem seems to be that we are both extremely sensitive/reactive to each others moods/feelings/disapproval. The idea of him being even slightly irritated with me about something makes me feel horrible (and vice versa). At this point we both feel like we are walking on egg-shelves trying not to upset the other one.
We are both trying SO HARD and while there are times when it seems like things are getting better, there are other times it feels like we've been having the same fight for our entire relationship.
It is exhausting and I'm not sure what to do at this point. We have discussed trying to be less reactive to each other, although I'm not really sure how to go about doing that. Like, if I feel like he's being snipppy to me, I am fully capable of not bringing it up, but I'm not sure how to make my feelings not feel hurt.
I've read the Harville Hendrix books and know that there are those who say we are drawn to the people who will push our buttons the most (and can help inspire us to fix things about ourselves that need fixing). How do I know if we're going to help fix each other or if despite our best efforts and wishes, we're simply incompatible? I know both of us really want to work on this and want this to work out, but all this fighting is taking a toll on both of us.
So, Metafilter, do you have any suggestions? Any ideas of techniques to try or books to read? Questions to ask ourselves or each other? Ways of approaching this? As I said, I realize I'm asking a really hard question here (even if you guys DID know both of us personally).
Has anyone here been in a similar situation, and if so, how did you and your partner handle it?
Any help would be very, very much appreciated.