How Much Conflict Is Too Much?

Every couple fights and argues, has disagreements, and wants to tear each other’s heads off sometimes. It’s normal. But how much is too much? When does it get to the point where it’s not worth it anymore? Well first off, if you ever find yourself in Bunnings perusing the shovel aisle with a bag of lime in your hand, that is without a doubt too far. To me, having any kind of intense conflict with someone makes me automatically (subconsciously) write the relationship off in my mind.

Because I saw so much conflict between my parents, I have an unhealthy reaction to it. I stayed when I should have packed my bags and got out, and I’ve left when I should have fought. I immediately go into flight mode, which leads me to quickly try and end the relationship or sabotage it beyond repair. I’ve broken up with my current partner like 20 times when we have fought. I run. I’ve always run from conflict. Most of the time that’s been a good thing, because the person I’ve sabotaged my relationship with was not for me – but in the relationship I’m in now, I need to tread carefully. Because once you have someone who’s actually not a bad guy, and genuinely cares, you could lose them by reacting this way.

Ideally you have someone that wants to fight for you, but how much will a ‘normal’ guy take? Luckily, my partner knows why I am the way I am, and instead of taking it personally he has made a joke out of how many times I’ve said, “IT’S OVER!” (but it took a lot of patience and communication on both our parts to reach this stage, I wouldn’t consider testing a good man like this on the regular).

Another problem is, because of what you may have witnessed between your parents, or what you may have experienced in past relationships, you may have a damaged ‘radar’ when it comes to what is normal, and what isn’t. To me, if a guy is verbally or emotionally abusive – I saw that as not really a big deal. That’s normal right? Or a little bit of pushing and shoving or grabbing here and there – because he’s not hitting me, right? I gauged how bad a man was in relation to how my dad was. As long as he was sweet and affectionate sometimes, the other stuff didn’t really matter, it wasn’t abuse. But the reality is, verbal and emotional abuse is NOT normal. And certainly, any kind of man handling that isn’t for the bedroom (consenting of course) is NOT normal. There is never an excuse for abuse of any kind. Healthy arguing and discussing of problems – sure. Imagining their head on a stick because they didn’t take out the bin? Totally normal. But you need to learn the difference between unhealthy and healthy conflict.

Healthy conflict is when you and your partner have a problem, and you work on it together. Of course, there are going to be slightly raised voices and frustration, you may even stop speaking for a while to calm down, but eventually you talk through it like adults. Unhealthy conflict is yelling, name calling, physicality, throwing things, not speaking for days, purposely doing things to hurt the other person, and acting like children. If you are doing this, you need to take a step back and acknowledge what part you are playing in it, and just stop it. Stop it. Be the bigger person. If your partner doesn’t follow suit and doesn’t want to grow up, then you can start assessing whether it’s worth continuing and constantly putting yourself and/or your kids through the stress of conflict all the time.

Love yourself, girl, you deserve only the best. Bethany Hiska xxx

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