Real stories about dating and relationships in New York City. Truth is more interesting than fiction.

After the War

Just because I’ve been kinda out of commission lately doesn’t mean I haven’t mean paying attention to the world around me.

OK, well… the truth is I’ve been paying very selective attention. Less energy has meant getting picky about these things and one of the first things to go was, funny enough, social media. Not for work. My work/client stuff was top priority. But social media for personal pleasure went out the window. I figured I went 35+ years without it, so it really wasn’t that important.

Work matters. The people I love matter. My matters. Everything else, not so much.

So about the people I love. I have been paying attention. And one of the amazing things I’ve had the opportunity to observe in the last couple/few months is people actually working through major relationship problems. That is, having knock-down-drag-out fights (how the hell does that get punctuated?) with their significant others and then working through their problems.  Instead of walking away and breaking up.

Which is something I honestly don’t have much experience with. OK, that’s not exactly true. It’s something I have zero experience with. Not only have I never done it myself, but I haven’t seen much of it in my life.

As I’ve mentioned before, my fought every day. Every. Day. Over every little thing. They bickered and they fought. Screaming was such a constant in my house that I grew up with a deep aversion to conflict. I avoid it at all costs. Which is an issue. Because when you avoid conflict, what tends to happen is that you overlook small problems in the hopes that they go away. And instead they tend to turn into bigger problems. It’s an issue… and I’m really trying to deal with it.

Anyway, one thing I never saw, growing up, was conflict resolution. My parents never settled a single argument. Never came to agreement on anything. Never stopped fighting.  The war never ended.

I have plenty of experience with conflict resolution in the workplace, and at times it was actually my job to get groups of people to compromise on contentious issues.  But that’s different. That’s work.

I’ve never had a relationship where we’ve gotten past the war. Never come to emotional blows and resolved our issues and then moved on together.  So it’s been educational for me to see couples I love and respect battle over serious problems and then find ways to work things out.

All that said… yes, I took the time to beat myself up and wonder if maybe I should have/could have worked things out with any of my . It was a quick reflection. The answer is NO. None of those relationships were worth saving. But still, it was worth reflecting on, just for my own peace of mind.

I’d like to believe that I can and will recognize a relationship worth fighting FOR when and if I ever find myself in it. Because some fights are worth having and (m)ending. Or so I’ve learned.

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7 to “After the War”

  1. Eyeronic says:

    Great, thought-provoking post. Don’t beat yoruself up for feeling deficient in conflict-resolution talents. I think I can speak for many of us when I say it’s a skill that doesn’t come easily, even with greater exposure to positive coping techniques. The very fact that you’re engaging in honest reflection and trying to find alternatives puts you far ahead of the game and gives you the empathy you truly need to help navigate life’s relationship pitfalls.
    Eyeronic recently posted..Presents of MindMy Profile

    • Simone Grant says:

      Thanks. Truth is, I know a lot of people who’ve never experienced healthy conflict resolution within a relationship. But still, it’s disturbing to think how much I have to learn.

  2. Dazediva says:

    As you’ve rightly put; when you recognize a relationship that is worth it – you will do everything to make it work and will fight for it till the end.

    Some relationships are worth fighting for; others are better left on the sidelines.
    Dazediva recently posted..WW # 49 Doggys’ Night OutMy Profile

  3. Black Iris says:

    Don’t know if it would work for you, but I really like Gottman’s stuff on conflict resolution (or not) by couples.

  4. sandyvs says:

    I agree with Eyeronic that this is a very good thought provoking post, and also with Dazediva about fighting for it till the ‘end’. (Interesting choice of words there). Looking back at my 30+ years relationship where there was surprisingly little fights or conflicts, I realize that the really ‘big’ disagreements got settled by me giving in, which resulted in a lot of hidden anger on my part. He would just keep arguing and pouting till I gave in/talked myself into thinking this was the way to go.
    I’m still very willing to compromise and aim to please, but I will NEVER let someone have their way and sacrifice my own happiness again, just to keep the peace.