The subject du jour is the idea of *healthy bickering* - that is, can a relationship be healthy if you bicker? Does the "daily disagreement" constitute a flaw in the design of your relationship? And if it does, is it an area for improvement, or a deal breaker?
Anyone who watched CHARMED as much as I did will remember the episode of Piper's first wedding. Her crying in the bar, after running from her ruined wedding, about how hard it is..that it shouldn't be this hard..its just too hard...and giving up. That scene stuck with me, as I suspect similar scenes have stuck with many others over the years. It built an insecurity. If things are *too hard* - is the person I love going to walk away? And what if what is normal and even healthy to me, is *too hard* for them?
More days than not, Sass and I wind up bickering with each other at some point. Its usually over something minor - one of us said something that the other took the wrong way, a misunderstanding, a jealous moment, a disagreement of taste over style or artistic savey...etc etc. very very rarely has our *daily bicker* been anything that we can't resolve easily with a simple calm discussion. Granted, sometimes we need a few minutes to get to *calm*, but still..we get there.
I suppose I should define my *normal*, in relation to myself. I have a temper, I'm the first one to admit that I can be a hothead. I don't EVER take it to a physical place, and I never berate or belittle or namecall or attack in any way. its usually because I'm tired or stressed or just plain old cranky and grumpy and surly over something that has nothing to do with Sass or our relationship. I try to not bring my moods into SL, but considering we spend every spare moment together (which is amazing), things are going to carry over. I try to minimize the impact, and not ever take anything out on her. I DO get snippy, sometimes I get snide, my responses become short or curt, abrupt. I snap, sometimes, bark, if you will. This gets to Sass something awful, and I AM working on it. I've gotten better.
The reason Ive gotten better, is that one little verbal bark and Sass feels attacked, upset, as though the world is crashing down around her ears. She gets quiet, and often withdraws, sometimes physically (she knows I will pull her right back, so that little reaction has gotten better). Sass, my sexy little chatterbox, going quiet - calms me down instantly. I know I upset her, and I pull my temper back and go into soothing mode. We usually will sit down, snuggle, and talk about what upset her. Oftentimes it boils down to her fear that I will decide its too much, that she messes up too often (huh?! I don't blame her for anything, but she somehow or other assumes that she messes up and I'm mad at her, when 98% of the time I'm jsut grumpy and irritable and it has NOTHING to do with her so..yeah...that's a struggle). She fears that I will pull a piper and give up because its *too hard*.
Now..my normal. I grew up with parents who fought. Really fought. A lot. Verbal, emotional, mental, sometimes physical attacks were par for the course. I learned from their mistakes. I would NEVER treat a woman I love that way - EVER. Nothing ever got resolved with my parents - it was same old fights over same old BS day in and day out. Same issues, same problems, never resolved, just yelled out, cussed about, fought over.
When Sass and I bicker - I won't even call it fighting, though she does - when we bicker, its over small stuff. I might snap, she might get a little passive aggressive, we take a few breaths, I hear her sniffle, and I'm pulling her into my lap and talking to her about what's at the root of the upset. Soothing the insecurities, offering reassurances, doing what I can to ensure that she feels how much I love her, and that I'm not mad at her. Yeah, I get irritated or irked sometimes, but she does with me as well at times. To her, this is a red flag, cause for concern, even panic. To me - its a normal occurance stemming from two people spending a majority of their time in one anothers' company. This is especially true when those two people are strong willed, opinionated, slight control freaks about certain things.
I'm trying to bring her over to my way of thinking, being mindful of my own words and actions because while I think her fears are unfounded, they are not invalid - she feels them deeply and they bother her. Therefore, they concern me and I want to address them when they crop up. I had my own moment of worrying that she was going to *pull a piper* today, when she kept repeating *we fight everyday*. I again expressed my difference of opinion - or operational definition as it were - in that we don't *fight* - we *bicker*.
After we talked things out and reassured one another, it was time to snuggle and remind one another that we are in love, we are happy, and the good times FAR FAR FAR outweigh the bad. I see very little danger of our bickering leading to our downfall, and hopefully, in time, her insecurities over that issue will lessen as well. We are good together - we communicate, we love one another, and we are happy.