What do good relationships look like when they're bad?
January 22, 2013 1:38 PM Subscribe
I am in a really amazing relationship after a long, bad one. It is mutually supportive, caring, engaging, and honest—loving, in the best, most positive way. We never fight. This confuses me, and I need some reality-checking and standards for how normal good relationships are supposed to work.
posted by sockpuppet yo to Human Relations (23 answers total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
I was with a partner who belittled, controlled, and raged at me for several years. It ended very badly. I've spent the year since we effectively split up taking good care of myself and doing some serious thinking—I'm still working on getting out of the serious mindfuck it gave me, i.e., what a terrible waste of air and resources my ex had me convinced I was. In the end, it taught me a lot about what I can and can't deal with, and also got me to examine my own behaviors and to try to live honestly and openly all the time.
In the meantime, a new relationship bloomed with a friend, and we've been dating for about six months now, casually at first, seriously the last couple of months. He knows the whole story, was there for the whole thing (thought neither of us had thought of dating each other until well after it was over). It is the best relationship I've ever been in, and not just by contrast to the last, terrible one—the way we interact and live our lives approaches near the perfect relationship we've all been told doesn't really exist. My new fellow is a genuinely kind person (and this is apparent to everyone who knows him), he's amazingly creative and intelligent, I'm crazily attracted to him, I respect him and really just believe in him and will always be on his side. He feels the same way about me. I trust him implicitly, and our day to day life is funny, sweet, comfortable and stimulating at the same time. I feel very lucky.
The thing that throws me is that we still haven't had a real fight. We have had small disagreements about little things that don't really matter, but they've been easily and pragmatically solved. We agree on Big Values, and nothing else has ever come up that seems worth fighting about. We are both pretty easy-going people, too, and don't hold resentment over small compromises or get worked up over little inconveniences. I could see a future with this man—we both feel like this is it—but it bothers me that I have no idea how we would conflict if something really big went down, or if life got tough. But that seems ridiculous, to want to fight just to see...how we would fight.
I honestly don't know what a good, mature adult relationship looks like in conflict. It's really deeply ingrained in me that a non-tumultuous relationship is somehow shallow. Do you have resources for me, anecdotes or book ideas or the like, to help me get over this? And the same for what healthy, communicative disagreement looks like?