Saturday, August 2, 2008

Fight & flight

"Never go to bed mad. Stay up and fight," said Phyllis Diller.

In the one real intimate relationship I've had thus far, we've never really been the fighting type. We've been calm and cool and level-headed towards each discussion of difference when it would arise. It's my method of choice. The first time we did have a all-out fight, it was instigated by underlying pre-marital stress and someone's desire for me to change my name. It was almost a one-sided fight, as I found myself confronted with a very upset person fighting on what seemed to be the foothold of principle only.

Besides being hurt, alienated and almost dumbfounded that we were actually having an explosive blow up about what I have dubbed "the name change debacle," I found myself at a loss for feeling towards his loss for words as to why this really meant so much to him that he had to pursue it in such a nasty way. To me, his arguments and reasons didn't hold up to why this was suddenly such a make it or break it matter. I found it terribly insensitive and just wanted to leave. I wanted a divorce before we were even married.

Later, I mentioned this first fight scenario to my therapist, as well as my lack of trust for the statements that had then been issued before me. "Feelings don't come from the intellect," he replied. "Feelings can't be rationalized. But it is strange that it meant so much to him then."

I mentioned then that just recently the he that had unleashed the intensity of fight admitted to me that he did it to see what would happen if we actually had a fight.

WTF? Is fighting really necessary in any relationship? Why would anyone want to be in such a volatile space?

When I think of the times when my friends report that "they had another big fight" with their significant other, that never feels right to me. I again asked my therapist for his thoughts on the necessity of fighting, and he agreed that it is superfluous. "Fighting only creates hurt," he said.

Indeed it does. And it sure as hell didn't make me want to change my name, either.

Arguments are won intellectually, not love.
The Universe

PS. Love is won, with a dash of trust, a smidge of fear, and a pinch of letting go.

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