I’m in a really good relationship for the first time in my life, but there is one problem. I’m afraid to lose him, so I intentionally avoid conflict. Even though he does things from time to time that I find annoying and would check other people for, I stay mute when it comes to him. My friends say that it’s not healthy, but I’m not sure how to handle a healthy argument with him. Any suggestions?
-Happily in Love
Dear Happily in Love,
Thanks for writing to me. Let me start off by saying how happy I am that you’ve found a guy that you sincerely like. Based on the little bit that you wrote, I can tell you are really into this guy. Heck, it sounds like you are deeply in love. HOWEVER, your friends are right about this dynamic you have with your boo not being healthy.
A relationship where two people are constantly tiptoeing around each other, or treating each other with kid gloves, won’t last very long. Eventually one person, or perhaps both, will get tired of holding in their true feelings, and become sick of the inauthenticity of their dynamic. I know I for one would be so sick of the phoniness. If someone is going to be with me, I need them to be with all of me. And vice versa. That level of honesty can’t be missing. While I’m all for holding your tongue on occasion for the sake of harmony in a relationship, it’s about picking your battles, not laying there like a doormat.
Keep this in mind, there is such a thing as healthy conflict. When you and the bae bump heads, that’s your opportunity to learn more about each other. To learn what each other’s hot buttons are. To learn what each other is like when the smiling mask is removed. To learn if you two have what it takes to weather through the “relationship storms,” because those storms will definitely come, whether you continue to avoid conflict or not.
Suggestions going forward.
- Again, I’m not telling you to argue with your boo every chance you get. Rather, I’m encouraging you to pick your battles and argue about the things that really matter to you. By the way, it’s worth noting that just because you express a difference of opinion, doesn’t mean an argument will ensue necessarily.
- When you have a big issue with something your man does, calmly address it with him face to face. Your goal is to express your feelings and prevent a future problem, not to bash him and obliterate his feelings. So try not to get loud and too turnt. And don’t be in public or in private in front of other folks.
- Don’t express a problem with your mate via text or email if you can help it. Written words can sometimes be misinterpreted because people are left to determine the tone of the delivery.
As always nothing but love,
Be sure to check out my new book Majoring in Me (Acceptance)