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Thoughts on fighting in a relationship.

So, no I am not having problems with my BF.  But I am reading Wendell Berry's Hannah Coulter and I got to this passage in the book: (it is kind of long sorry)
We had often enough the pleasure of making up, because we fell out often enough.  But now, looking back, it is hard to say why we fell out, or what we fell out about, or why whatever we fell out about ever mattered.  Even then it was sometimes hard to say.
One time we were fussing and Nathan looked at me right in the middle of it and said, "Hannah, what in the hell got us started on this?"
I said, "I don't know."
"Well, I don't know either," he said. "So I think I'm going to quit."
"Well, go ahead and quit," I said.
He Said, "I already did." And that was the last word that time.
...
We quarreled because we loved each other, I have no doubt of that.  We were trying to become somehow the same person, one flesh, and we often failed.  When distance came between us, we would blame it on each other.  And here is a wonder.  I maybe never loved him so much or yearned toward him so much as when I was mad at him.  It's not as simple thing, this love.
I thought it was really interesting, because I feel like in this society fighting is looked down on as a sign of a bad relationship. Clearly in this book it is not.  It is considered a part of loving someone.  What do you girls think?  Is this a part of loving someone?  If not what do you think is a part of loving someone?

"Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person's ultimate good as far as it can be obtained"-C.S. Lewis

Married! May 27th, 2012

Re: Thoughts on fighting in a relationship.

  • edited December 2011
    Arguing is normal... I argue with everyone I love! IT happens, no biggie. Only issue is if it is constant and outweighs all good in the relationship or if it becomes violent. In those cases it is not normal and should be a BIG thing to worry about!
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  • edited December 2011
    I think arguing is healthy and normal. No couple is going to agree on everything, never get annoyed by something their SO is doing, never get their feelings hurt, etc. I think it is more abnormal to never fight, unless of course you don't live together because I can see not really having a reason to fight.

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  • cu97tigercu97tiger member
    Eighth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited December 2011
    I think every couple is different. I couldn't handle being in a relationship where we argued constantly. FI and I rarely fight. Not that we always agree with each other, but actual 'voices-raised' discussions rarely happen (I think we've had three in three years, two were definitely alcohol-fueled).

    I think it all depends on whether the fights are constructive rather than destructive...
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  • ravenrayravenray member
    5000 Comments 25 Love Its Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_not-engaged-yet_thoughts-fighting-relationship?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special Topic Wedding BoardsForum:136Discussion:bb34fff5-886e-4c48-97b1-97cdbe4f4f2ePost:ac6de218-cd65-4d17-b4aa-1946885f3a4c">Re: Thoughts on fighting in a relationship.</a>:
    [QUOTE]I think arguing is healthy and normal. No couple is going to agree on everything, never get annoyed by something their SO is doing, never get their feelings hurt, etc. I think it is more abnormal to never fight, <strong>unless of course you don't live together because I can see not really having a reason to fight.
    </strong>Posted by jaycee7389[/QUOTE]

    <p style="margin:0in 0in 10pt;" class="MsoNormal"><span style="line-height:115%;font-family:'Arial','sans-serif';color:#1f1f1f;font-size:8.5pt;">Do explain why you think this? What makes living together an automatic fight going to happen? </span></p>
    "Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person's ultimate good as far as it can be obtained"-C.S. Lewis

    Married! May 27th, 2012

  • edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_not-engaged-yet_thoughts-fighting-relationship?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special%20Topic%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:136Discussion:bb34fff5-886e-4c48-97b1-97cdbe4f4f2ePost:d76795de-114d-435a-aeb9-1f1b96203804">Re: Thoughts on fighting in a relationship.</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Thoughts on fighting in a relationship. : Do explain why you think this? What makes living together an automatic fight going to happen?
    Posted by ravenray[/QUOTE]

    Tiger's post makes me think that maybe we need to clarify if we are referring to voices raised and being mad versus disagreeing and arguing about things. I was more so referring to the latter.

    And to answer your question, I know plenty of couples who did not really ever have anything to argue about until they moved in together. Your relationship will change when you move in together. You have to adjust to eachothers' way of living, make more compromises, etc. I think those are typical things that couples fight about and they don't always come up if you are not living together.
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  • edited December 2011
    I think disagreeing and having the occasional argument is absolutely normal. I consider fighting to be more than that, though, and I'm not sure it's always a good thing, especially because of the paths it can lead down.

    I certainly wouldn't worry about the occasional random fight, but fighting a lot or always about the same thing is a red flag to me.
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  • PaigeMcCPaigeMcC member
    5000 Comments Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    I think disagreements are a normal part of being human.  And therefore, a normal part of any relationship.  Some days you may fight more than others...I think what matters is what the outcome of these disagreements is...can you work them through and come to a conclusion or do they brew for ages and nothing comes of it?  So I think it's normal....Depending on what you're fighting about, how frequent, the severity of the fights and what the outcomes are....

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  • ravenrayravenray member
    5000 Comments 25 Love Its Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_not-engaged-yet_thoughts-fighting-relationship?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special Topic Wedding BoardsForum:136Discussion:bb34fff5-886e-4c48-97b1-97cdbe4f4f2ePost:6e53a1be-33f4-4547-8ead-df5d38f1c81d">Re: Thoughts on fighting in a relationship.</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Thoughts on fighting in a relationship. : T<strong>iger's post makes me think that maybe we need to clarify if we are referring to voices raised and being mad versus disagreeing and arguing about things. I was more so referring to the latter. </strong>And to answer your question, I know plenty of couples who did not really ever have anything to argue about until they moved in together. Your relationship will change when you move in together. You have to adjust to eachothers' way of living, make more compromises, etc. I think those are typical things that couples fight about and they don't always come up if you are not living together.
    Posted by jaycee7389[/QUOTE]

    <p style="margin:0in 0in 10pt;" class="MsoNormal"><span style="line-height:115%;font-family:'Arial','sans-serif';color:#1f1f1f;font-size:8.5pt;">I was talking more about being mad (not necessarily raised voices) as arguing.  I see what you mean though now.  I was like say what?  Oh no my relationship is invalid! lol</span></p>
    "Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person's ultimate good as far as it can be obtained"-C.S. Lewis

    Married! May 27th, 2012

  • marleylikeairmarleylikeair member
    Seventh Anniversary 1000 Comments
    edited December 2011
    I think you have to remember that the excerpt in your OP is a piece of fiction about a couple who (I assume) broke up. It sounds pretty intense and, IMO, a lot like a young couple who may be a little too dependent on one another.

    I do think constant fighting (once a week or more) is a sign of an unhealthy relationship. Sometimes you can get past it to a better place, but often it's happening because the couple just isn't right for one another. I'm talking about fights with voices raised where tempers are flared and things are said that aren't constructive, though; not talking about just little disagreements that are smoothed over fairly quickly.

    BF and I did go through a patch where we were fighting once a month or more--having really bad, long, late-night arguments where I ended up crying. But the important thing is that we've made some really important changes and are both committed to handling things in a more constructive way. It's been challenging, but worth it. Neither of us really knew how to argue constructively. I'd shut down and want to blame him for everything; he'd say mean things because he felt cornered. Now that we're aware of these habits, we're able to work on getting past them.

    I do think that it's okay to have the occasional fight and not consider the relationship a bad one. Fewer and farther between is what BF and I are shooting for, but realistically, I'm sure once in a great while we'll still have a fight. I think that can be a sign of a healthy relationship, too, if we're talking about once a year or less often. You get things out on the table that way sometimes.

    I am not an authority on relationships and I don't mean to say that my situation is a good example for everyone. Just sharing my thoughts.
  • edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_not-engaged-yet_thoughts-fighting-relationship?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special%20Topic%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:136Discussion:bb34fff5-886e-4c48-97b1-97cdbe4f4f2ePost:2d833232-c4a7-45c5-96a2-84c478a0b9af">Re: Thoughts on fighting in a relationship.</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Thoughts on fighting in a relationship. : I was talking more about being mad (not necessarily raised voices) as arguing.  I see what you mean though now.  I was like say what?  Oh no my relationship is invalid! lol
    Posted by ravenray[/QUOTE]

    No not at all haha. FI is the first BF I ever lived with actually.
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  • edited December 2011
    My FI and I NEVER fought until we moved in together. It's nothing terrible, but we had our own space and would get to retreat back to our own place. You don't know all the quirks sometimes until you live with them and that's when you find all the things that drive you crazy. When you live with someone, you see them when they are up and when they are down. The best and the worst. Sometimes when you aren't living with them, they can be a little more on their better behavior because that's what they want you to see. When you live with them, you see it all...the good, bad and the ugly. ha ha.
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  • lilphillips14lilphillips14 member
    500 Comments Second Anniversary 5 Love Its
    edited December 2011
    I've actually been thinking about this lately. I don't necessarily get mad at BF, I get irritated. He hasn't done anything that makes me really mad so far. But when I confront him on it, I get scared that he's going to get mad at me and think I'm a nag when really, I'm just irritated and get stuck inside my own head and insecurities on it.

    Last night was one of those times, and I got upset because he was upset. But then we talked about it and I reassured him that just because I get irritable once in a while doesn't mean I'm not happy and I don't love him.

    I think it's something every couple does, obviously, but it all depends on how you handle it. As long as you trust your partner to understand you just need to vent or whatever and you both trust each other to talk it out like adults and deal with it, then I think it's fine.

    Sorry, rambling.
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  • ravenrayravenray member
    5000 Comments 25 Love Its Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_not-engaged-yet_thoughts-fighting-relationship?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special Topic Wedding BoardsForum:136Discussion:bb34fff5-886e-4c48-97b1-97cdbe4f4f2ePost:7308f127-a908-47df-a2b7-7d8c79ec7436">Re: Thoughts on fighting in a relationship.</a>:
    [QUOTE]<strong>I think you have to remember that the excerpt in your OP is a piece of fiction about a couple who (I assume) broke up</strong>. It sounds pretty intense and, IMO, a lot like a young couple who may be a little too dependent on one another. I do think constant fighting (once a week or more) is a sign of an unhealthy relationship. Sometimes you can get past it to a better place, but often it's happening because the couple just isn't right for one another. I'm talking about fights with voices raised where tempers are flared and things are said that aren't constructive, though; not talking about just little disagreements that are smoothed over fairly quickly. BF and I did go through a patch where we were fighting once a month or more--having really bad, long, late-night arguments where I ended up crying. But the important thing is that we've made some really important changes and are both committed to handling things in a more constructive way. It's been challenging, but worth it. Neither of us really knew how to argue constructively. I'd shut down and want to blame him for everything; he'd say mean things because he felt cornered. Now that we're aware of these habits, we're able to work on getting past them. I do think that it's okay to have the occasional fight and not consider the relationship a bad one. Fewer and farther between is what BF and I are shooting for, but realistically, I'm sure once in a great while we'll still have a fight. I think that can be a sign of a healthy relationship, too, if we're talking about once a year or less often. You get things out on the table that way sometimes. I am not an authority on relationships and I don't mean to say that my situation is a good example for everyone. Just sharing my thoughts.
    Posted by marleylikeair[/QUOTE]
    Oh I know they aren't real.  And no they didn't break up.  They were married for a long time.  Also this is right after WWI so maybe different standards?
    "Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person's ultimate good as far as it can be obtained"-C.S. Lewis

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  • marleylikeairmarleylikeair member
    Seventh Anniversary 1000 Comments
    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_not-engaged-yet_thoughts-fighting-relationship?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special%20Topic%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:136Discussion:bb34fff5-886e-4c48-97b1-97cdbe4f4f2ePost:91c81cc7-d79d-4a01-9c17-d3da0ce189d1">Re: Thoughts on fighting in a relationship.</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Thoughts on fighting in a relationship. : Oh I know they aren't real.  And no they didn't break up.  They were married for a long time.  Also this is right after WWI so maybe different standards?
    Posted by ravenray[/QUOTE]


    Ah, okay. Yay for historical fiction.

    Still fiction, though, and still drama for entertainment purposes, you know?
  • edited December 2011
    I think that disagreeing and agreeing to be different are normal and healthy aspects of relationships. Now bickering and raising voices? It's not necessary, and is usually based on pride and lack of communication (at least the house that I grew up in).

    No two people are exactly alike, it's how to handle it, and how you choose to react that can make or break communication.
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  • ravenrayravenray member
    5000 Comments 25 Love Its Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_not-engaged-yet_thoughts-fighting-relationship?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special Topic Wedding BoardsForum:136Discussion:bb34fff5-886e-4c48-97b1-97cdbe4f4f2ePost:514ba991-ef31-4206-a801-2a12c101567c">Re: Thoughts on fighting in a relationship.</a>:
    [QUOTE]Fi and I fought more before we moved in together, but it was out of frustration and longing for each other over the long distance.  When we moved in together, it changed the circumstances and the reasons for being unhappy, whether it was stress, frustration, upset/hurt feelings, or a genuine disagreement. A while back we made a pact to a) not have important conversations past 10pm and b) to work it out because we choose to be in a relationship.  So when we're in Target and I'm looking at the most girly comforters availble, he gently reminds me that I can do whatever the heck I want to my studio and such, but not our shared bed!  I give up the right to have my way with everything when I chose to be half of a whole.  It's got a lot of benefits, and a lot of sacrifice.  We don't get along perfectly and I think fighting can be healthy, if you are secure enough to come out of it still strong.  And the rush of making up after you feel reconnected is awesome.  I think that's what I read from the author too.
    Posted by sunbird627[/QUOTE]

    I think I agree with you the most.  Fighting is part of a relationship and making up is awesome.  I think sometimes I feel the closest to BF right after we have made up and he is holding me like he never wants to loose me.  :)
    "Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person's ultimate good as far as it can be obtained"-C.S. Lewis

    Married! May 27th, 2012

  • jemmini6jemmini6 member
    5000 Comments 25 Love Its Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited December 2011
    I guess it depends on how you define "fight".  To me, a 'fight' is more like raised voices, hot tempers, refusing to talk, crying, etc.  I think it's natural that every couple have annoyances or disagreements, but if those ever turn into actual fights, I don't think it reflects a healthy relationship because obviously if it's escalated to that point, there's been a break in your communication along the way (not saying that if you ever have a fight that your relationship is doomed or anything, but that a "fight" isn't a healthy aspect and should be corrected).

    Also, I think it depends on the subject matter of such annoyances, disagreements, fights, etc.  If you get annoyed because your BF/FI/H doesn't put the toilet seat down, that's understandable.  But if you get into a fight because of it, I think there's probably more to it than that and you have other issues that are just manifesting through something simple like that.  However, having a disagreement on how to discipline your children and having that turn into a fight might be a little more understandable because that's a real issue that should be discussed.  It shouldn't get to the point of a "fight" per se, but if it does, I think that's a healthier thing to have a fight over than say the toilet seat issue.

    CN:  I think it's natural/healthy to have disagreements because that's how you evolve your relationship, but not so healthy if they turn into an all-out "fight".  However, if you are going to fight about anything, it's much healthier to fight about important issues than meaningless crap.
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  • bethsmilesbethsmiles Denver, CO member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited December 2011
    Every time one of my friends gets dumped they say "I don't understand we hadn't had a fight in months". IMO that means they'd both given up trying to fix the relationship. Fighting is natural, no two people are going to agree all the time. IMO when a couple fights its a way of working through issues or discovering things that need to be worked on.

    Even fighting about seemingly meaningless things is probably a fight about something bigger in the long run. The important thing is knowing how to handle conflict in a healthy and productive way not knowing how to avoid it all the time.


  • edited December 2011
    Every couple is different!
    BF and I have NEVER had an all out yelling argument, nor have we ever raised our voices at each other. If we disagree about something, we talk about it. 
    There has only been once where I've raised my voice at him and it was in a situation where my trust had been broken and I was seriously thinking about leaving him. And he has never ever risen his voice at me.

    But I don't think it's wrong for couples to argue every once in a while, but I don't think it's healthy to have a spat everyday or even 3-4 times a week. I couldn't imagine being with someone I feel angry with all the time. 

  • edited December 2011
    I'll be honest. In four years of dating and living together FI and I have never fought. That's not to say we never disagree or get annoyed, but we've never actually fought or argued, or really ever gotten mad at each other. I recognize that we're outside the norm, however.

    I define a fight as yelling, cursing, accusations, etc. Arguing is a little less than that. Disagreement is something like, "Honey I don't like it when you stay at Bob's house til 3am on a weekday, especially without you telling me first. Can I ask you not do it again? It makes me feel blahblahblah." I.E., I see a disagreement as something that can be discussed in the here and now, whereas fights cannot.

    Disagreements are a normal part of being in a relationship, or even being human. But fighting or arguing I think can be a problem. If they happen occasionally it's no biggie, but like...once a month  or more, or over the same things, I think it's something that should be worked on ASAP. And if I'm being honest, I have to say I get a bit...eyebrowy when people say that they feel closest to their SOs right after a fight. Like they need that rush for things to work for them. That may not always be the case, but it seems to be usually the case in my experiences.

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  • kellyt89kellyt89 member
    Fourth Anniversary 500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    I think this is a really interesting topic. I used to fight constantly with my XBF. I wasn't great at communicating and had a bad temper, so I always felt like it was my fault we were fighting so often. Then my mom's friend (who is his best friend's mom) told my mom that he fights constantly with his new GF. It made me realize that when 2 people fight it's both of their faults. 

    When I started dating my current BF it was really important for me to try to be healthier about disagreements. It wasn't easy at first, but I feel like I've gotten much better at communicating in a healthy way and not flying off the handle like I used to. It's really important to me to always be kind to him, even when I'm upset, because that's just his natural personality. We get into little tiffs now and then but we haven't had a big fight in over 2 months and that was because alcohol was involved (and we talked about and figured that out as well.

    My current relationship is 1000% healthier than my first because of the way we handle disagreements.
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  • MissTheFrog84MissTheFrog84 member
    10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    This is an interesting topic.  Having disagreements or fighting is normal.  I mean you are not going to agree on everything, and if I'm not mistaken I read in Cosmopolitan, online I believe, that if you don't fight it's a sign that you are too willing to please each other to let your own thoughts, opinions, and feelings be known which is not good.  I believe if you can't bet yourself around your boyfriend/ future husband then who can you be yourself around?  

    Every couple has disagreements every now and then and those disagreements teach you things about yourselves as individuals but they also teach you things about you as a couple.  

    I also believe that when you fight you do need to be able to back up for a minute and talk about what you are fighting about.  You both also need to know and respect the other person's feelings and not go below the belt.  

    If you fight all the time you aren't in a healthy relationship and you need to evaluate it, find out what things are causing you to fight and discuss them.  If you don't fight at all I'm not going to tell you to pick a fight but don't be afraid of letting your opinion be known.  If your boyfriend doesn't agree, he doesn't agree it isn't the end of the world, you will get through it and move on.  

    These are just my thoughts on the topic.  
  • desertsundesertsun member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 25 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited December 2011
    One of the things I love most about MH is that we get along so well. We always say the other is our favorite b/c we annoy each other the least of anyone we've ever met. :)

    I personally would not be happy in a relationship where there were constant disagreements.

    We sometimes have heated intellectual debates, but we rarely have to have discussions about how our relationship works. It just does, most of the time, and that's how we both prefer it.


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  • MissTheFrog84MissTheFrog84 member
    10 Comments
    edited December 2011
    I think when you are with someone for a long time you don't fight or have disagreements as often, if at all.  Over time you do learn what each other wants or needs.  You know what things hurt your partners feelings and they know what hurts you.  I think you fight more or have more disagreements after that honeymoon-esqe period when you first start dating or you are a couple and you think everything they do is so wonderful or amusing.  Another time you will have fights or disagreements is when you first move in with each other.  You both have to adjust being around each other all the time and get used to each others little quirks.  

     
  • csousa1csousa1 member
    Eighth Anniversary 1000 Comments 250 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited December 2011
    I see both sides of this, I think.

    When I was in HS, I only ever fought with my best friend, never any of my other ones. She once asked me why it seemed like I always disagreed/argued with her and no one else. I told her, "There isn't anyone else I feel safe enough to disagree with." That has been true in every friendship I have ever had - I know it is the real deal and has reached a level of closeness when I can say exactly what I think to the person, regardless of whether they will like it/disagree with it or not.

    As for romantic relationships, I have really only ever been in two that were serious. With my ex, we fought CONSTANTLY. Seriously, it was a running joke with our friends - they called it "the Will and Courtney show". It was awful. It was weird, because when we were best friends before we started dating, we were very laid back and easy going people that never fought. Together, we would have huge fights pretty regularly, and small tiffs on a daily basis. Looking back, I think it is because we never really loved each other or thought we were right for each other, we were only together out of comfort and convenience. It took three years for us to realize we needed to get the hell out.

    With BF, we argue sometimes, and we have had big fights, but we do not fight that often. We have gotten in big arguments over big things in our relationship or in our lives, because we were working out the kinks, I think. He is extraordinarily stubborn, and is a homebody where I am much more social, so that has caused for tiffs here and there due a difference in lifestyle desire. But at the end of the day, we love and accept each other for who we each are, we are best friends, and we love being happy together. Our fights, when they happen, are much more productive and less damaging than my ex and I - those fights were circuitous and without true resolution.

    I like the part about not knowing why you started a fight. We are all human, we are all subject to bad moods, and many times we hit them at the same time. There could be literally no other reason for a tiff than both people had a bad day. I think and awesome sign of a healthy relationship is that when you realize the argument you are having is meaningless, you can just let it go - in a real way. BF and I have done that on occasion- when we realize there is nothing really underlying a small tiff, and we don't want to be upset with each other, we just drop it. Someone tells a joke, the other laughs and gives them a kiss, and it truly is over.
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