Updated: Aug 9, 2019
Put on your boxing gloves, shit’s about to get real.
I’ve written a little bit about love, lust, and loathing. And have a few emails from those who have reached out hoping for more personalized advice. Sometimes with a laugh, sometimes with concern, and sometimes with a sigh, I respond. But these questions seem valid and frequent enough to make a post. So, let’s try to answer these questions publicly.
(The following are paraphrased and summarized.)
Per my inbox:
‘My significant other - wife, lover, girlfriend, bae, whatever - of ______ time (2.5 months / 1.8 years / 9 years) and I seem to be arguing all the time. I’ve read your articles on how so painfully stupid and wrong they are and know I need to be more patient and compassionate with them. But she still just doesn’t seem to calm down. I tell her about all the things I do for her and she doesn’t do for me and that only seems to make things worse. I mean, we eventually come to terms and things seem okay for a little while, but then we go back to fighting again as if we learned nothing. All this arguing is really bumming me out and reading whether or not I should stay or go still leaves me unsure. So what should I do? How can I fix this?’
Or something along these lines:
‘My ‘special person’ of ‘blank time’ and I seem to be arguing too much. I really do love her, but she keeps trying to pull shit over on me. She lies about things or at least tries to hide them from me. She doesn’t seem consistent. She’ll just leave the house without telling me. She never initiates sex. [And insert here a long list of small but concerning complaints]. If I point out how it makes me feel or how it seems wrong, she goes crazy and everything ends up being my fault. I really don’t know what to do. I don’t really want things to end. When we are good, we’re great, but I’m so lost with her right now. I’m so tired of it. Any help is appreciated.’
Okay. We get the point. We just can’t seem to win. Love is a dog from hell. It’s a lose-lose situation that only ends in pain. Or is it?
Get ready for your crash course in…
Arguing with Her : An Introduction
Arguing is something relatively new between man and woman. A few hundred years ago, a woman was told to be quiet and she had to listen for fear of being stoned or something. But equality over the last 100 years has brought with it a true battlefield of the sexes and their desires. Years of silent manipulating has left the fairer sex at a huge advantage as they know how to attack on both the conscious and subconscious level leaving their men holding onto logic in a world of emotional chaos they constructed to their advantage.
Even though the Socratic Method may work with most attempts at finding truth in life, with your beautiful femme fatale, you’re going to need to learn a new approach. Arguing with her is a highly advanced form of civilized discourse that may involve throwing things, foul language, and threats of abandonment.
It can take decades to master it, and even when you think you have it, you may still slip up and lose. If you can get a hold on it though, it can be very rewarding.
Yet, here you are, because you’re like a fish out of water trying to understand her. You’ve gotten yourself into a relationship. Yay you! But now it’s more like ‘Ah shit,’ you don’t know how to maintain it.
Maybe you never really understood the female mind in love. Perhaps you did once, but seem to have forgotten. Don’t worry. It happens. We’re going to try and go through a few principles here to teach you or remind you.
Hopefully, by the end of this little crash course, you’ll have the basic fundamentals to argue your way through a relationship with a sense of humor, a better connection, and an adorning sex life.
‘You don’t care enough.’
You didn’t text her a play-by-play of your night out in the most immediate way possible. You don’t put water in the bowls in the sink. You didn’t leave her any ham when you should have known she would want a sandwich when she got home.
Whatever appears to be the problem. Forget it. Logic is your enemy here. Whatever she may be trying to start an argument over, it is most likely about one simple insecurity.
‘You don’t care about me enough.’
It can be hard to see that, but bear it in mind next time she is going ballistic.
We won’t go into who ‘started’ the argument. That would be like trying to prove what came before the Big Bang or God. So, whoever or whatever that was, let’s just say the argument is their fault.
However, if you have the feeling that she did indeed start the fight.
Yes. Yes. I know. She really did start it. You are the injured party and deserve to be compensated for it.
But compensations aside for now, if she is the one that got mad first, you should imagine that it is a deep rooted belief that she doesn’t think you care about her enough.
So take a minute and let that sink in. Imagine your last argument and how she chased you into a corner screaming at you, possibly slapping you and ripping the sleeve off your shirt as you ran in fear. The angel has turned into a demon in your own home, your safe place, and you are fending off her attacks in a frantic and urgent way.
Now breathe. It wasn’t real. You’re here with me now, and hopefully, she’s out of the room. But if you can think about the spirit involved in this violent affair in the context of ‘caring,’ you may be able to understand your behavior and hers more easily.
We still don’t know what to do about it yet, but we’ll get there. Get your mind wrapped around the aura that is the ‘love me’ cry. It may not make much sense to you, but think about it a little. Is there anything else really worth arguing about? Is there anything in this world worth fighting for more than love?
Not really. We all just want to be loved. Blame our parents for loving us unconditionally from birth. A love we hope and look for it in our partners now that we’re finally out of the crib.
Nothing is of higher personal interest to us, silly and selfish humans, as to whether or not we are loved.
Telling yourself you are loved by God may be enough.
Staying close to family is enough for others.
Having admiring friends is nice.
For some, they must reach out for likes and hearts on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
For others, they may have come to love themselves.
These are ways that show how important being loved is to us. But if we believe we have found our partner, our other half, it is their love we desire and cherish more than any other.
Ponder this fundamental theorem of our human condition as we continue the article for greatest effect. Drink it like a bittersweet red wine and let it run through your veins as it makes you feel good. And as the love goes away and the pain begins to grow, continue on to our 2nd fundamental rule of arguing with your special lady friend.
‘She doesn’t care enough.’
Now, enough picking on your better or not-so-better half. Let’s be honest, if you can, with yourself. The reason you start most fights with her is because you think she doesn’t really care enough about you.
All of the honest, yet impatient complaints:
The times she’s deceived you
How and when naked time happens
Her little neurotic idiosyncrasies
Her bad habits
Her constant manipulative behavior
How she goes from 0-100 in blind rage… seemingly all the time.
These are all just surface level disguises for the underlying, yet sincere, belief that she just doesn’t care enough about you. Be honest.
We are, all, so often convinced that our partners don’t love us or care for us the way they should that we go to great lengths to set traps for them to prove it’s true. It’s like we are begging for them to confirm our fear that they don’t really care about us so we can feel our soul’s crushed in disappointment.
I won’t go on and on about this. It’s human nature and even after reading this, you’re still going to do it again. Acceptance is key here. Along with patience and compassion when your partner is doing it.
An interesting difference, however, is she is much more likely to admit the true intent of her argumentative behavior than we are. That’s why, besides being a boy myself, I may be directing much of the writing here to the male sex.
Maybe she’s a bit more honest in that respect, maybe we’re a bit more pig-headed. Does it really matter? No. Not really. It’s who we are. The point is, we’re both going to argue about it. The important question isn’t who admits it first, but how we can turn the argument into a shining example of love and happiness. Or at the very least, a life a little less tormented and wounded.
Arguments = Make-up Sex
Cool, eh? You could damn near say it was meant for that. The yin and yang of love and life. We fight. We sex.
If you aren’t getting crazy, passionate sex after an argument, you aren’t arguing correctly. I feel this is important to create a section on and I’m sure you will agree.
Let’s remember what we’ve just learned. The main reason we argue, despite outward appearances really boils down to the unsettling idea that one person doesn’t love the other person enough.
And what is the ultimate show of affection? What is the highest form of expressing love?
Don’t sue me: Now. There is a spectrum of love (post coming soon) that involves friends, family, etc. Just for clarity, I am only talking about the romantic kind of love between two people of differing families choosing to spend their lives together as partners.
It’s kind of obvious when you think about it. Even if sex is the last thing on your mind right now with all the drama and deep troubles you feel your relationship is facing, you can probably sense some truth to this sex-is-key idea.
If love, care, intimacy, and passion are the problem, then you can probably comprehend how sex is the answer to these things.
We feel confused, alienated, alone, scared, abused, and lots of other negative things when we fight. A lot of that comes from not understanding what the fight is about. We’re lost in anger and fail to see the true nature of the question. Do you love me? Do you care about me?
It’s as old and true as love itself and long before the oldest profession tried to profit from it.
The most reassuring way for two human beings to feel loved and cared for is love-making. Or better phrased here, love-ensuring, assuming the love has already been made.
Sex is a way that feels like an abandonment of ourselves for something greater. There are no walls, no force fields that create an illusion of two others. It is the fish chasing the other fish in the Taoist yin yang. It is the joining of two souls to the point the gods only see one.
This magical and sensual bonding is felt more so when prefaced with the raw and colorful battling that arguing with someone close to you brings. The contact, the natural and happy chemicals released, the warm, fuzzy feelings that leave a glow, and all that good stuff just feel so much more real when placed against the brutality and hurt only someone who truly knows you and loves you can inflict.
I’ll finish this sexy section saying that men are the more difficult to feel vulnerable enough to really take advantage of all this. There’s plenty of psychological reasons for this that we won’t go into here, but you should check it out if you find that stuff interesting.
Nonetheless, we can all agree that make-up sex is pretty damn good for those involved. Now how to get there we will have to save for another article. For now, let’s move on to the next and final fundamental of arguing. Please keep the following thought in your pocket as you continue: you can’t have the great post-argument sex unless you actually argue.
‘I really do care.’
Arguing is nature’s way of saying you care. Humans aren’t the only ones who do it. It is a tried and true way to build devoted and trustworthy relationships. Different types of animals that argue and then make-up are more likely to help each other in times of need. This may be sharing food or defending each other from an outside threat.
Monkeys are pretty damn vicious. Dogs establish long-lasting friendships after a few scraps. Even cats play in a way of attacking each other.
Conflict is our animal way of
Sniffing each other out
Testing each other
Getting to know each other
Learning to trust each other
Understanding each other
And even more fascinating, these chemical and natural bonds are mysteriously and surprisingly durable.
Nobody ever trusts someone they haven’t truly fought with.
It seems ridiculous to think arguing can lead to good (unless you’re finally picking up on my hints of the genius of Taoism). Arguing leaves you physically exhausted. It lowers your social defense mechanisms that normally keep you sane in good society.
Yet in all that tiresome arguing, your body can’t hold back all those chemicals. And when they come out, they can come out in a tsunami that is uncomfortably revealing and highly upsetting.
This emptying of brain chemicals almost leaves you feeling empty with a critical desire to replace said chemicals. So desperate to refill them, we tangle with hostile words to violent kisses to contentious caresses until we find ourselves on the nasty kitchen floor for the extremely rewarding and needed make-up sex.
It’s a system designed by nature to make sure we don’t leave each other so readily. It is much more difficult to break up a couple that is mutually argumentative than one that is not.
Think about it.
You constantly argue and want out, yet you can’t. Or maybe see it from the other side. Your wife leaves you for a guy she always argues with at work while you did your best to maintain a non-argumentative safe zone of marital indifference.
Whatever case you may be in, know the underlying science behind it. It will help you feel more secure with your relationships. And you can smile at the struggle and misunderstanding your friends may have with the same struggles.
Put into Practice
Let’s put this theory into practice in the hopes you will accept how much your reptilian brain still rules your life.
Your girlfriend comes at you with another ‘you don’t care enough about me’ fight. Obviously, if she’s yelling about it, she really wants to know. If she didn’t care about whether or not you loved her, she wouldn’t be biting off your head about it.
In fact, if she is not starting those very illogical, stupid, and distressing arguments with you, it’s not a good thing. She may have just given up on you. She quite simply doesn’t care if you love her or not.
Her constantly starting these arguments is a bold, albeit twisted, way of giving you the chance to give her the right answer. Which is, of course, that you do care about her.
Ongoing arguments is her giving you many chances. I already said this isn’t logical. May not even be logical to her. But we can’t make the rules of the game, only play by them the best we can.
This also applies the other way. If the guy in the relationship is starting fights, he’s looking for a reason to save the relationship with the secure knowledge that their partner still cares about them. It looks a little more pathetic for men to need this kind of reassurance, and may even work against you, but hey, at least you’re trying.
If both parties are starting arguments, they are both unsure of the love and are trying to figure it out. Or they simply love to argue.
Some people just like to argue and in love, they use it as a steady reminder of how much they love each other.
‘I must really love this **** to put up with the shit I do.’
Funny enough, these couples usually do have a love for the ages. Which is quite unfortunate for their friends and family who are less feisty and eventually realize they couldn’t separate the two with a threat of nuclear war.
Their brain chemistry is always active. Their love is regularly rejuvenated. What’s more, any problems can be solved through arguing. They’re professionals.
Nota bene: The only thing to bear in mind here is that men don’t normally have the stamina for all the word exchange and emotional terrorism that women do. Especially if said women have been playing the psychological and dramatic games from an early age.
Time to Negotiate
Couples may argue with different frequency and intensity throughout their life together, but there will no doubt be certain milestone fights every couple goes through… assuming they made it past the previous milestone.
You may have noticed these milestones from your own experience or just grown a keen eye for it from watching those around you. But a rough estimation of when to expect a major and critical argument is after the first few months together, somewhere over the year hump, and a bit deeper into the relationship like around 5 years.
These are the times to wheel and deal with your partner.
Somewhere in the first few months with someone, something will change. It may be after a month together or closer to six months together, but usually somewhere in between. When it happens will depend more on the people involved - their age, their temperament towards love - and how much time they spend together - everyday or once a week.
Whatever the time frame, there will be a moment when you start to think, ‘I really like this other person, maybe love.’ You start to feel special about the possibilities and see a potential future of genuine smiles, intimate sex, feelings of liveliness, sincere affection, and love. You start to think you may have found ‘the one,’ - to abuse an old romantic idea.
Now maybe you don’t believe in all that ‘one’ nonsense, but nonetheless, you are in the throes of early love - the infatuation, the blindness to flaws, and the happy chemicals dancing around in your brain. It’s like a drug. A high that you want a lifetime prescription for.
This is your first milestone with this new and special person. And being a milestone, there’s no going back once you’ve reached it. Your outlook on life changes. Your vision of this person goes from ‘maybe going out this weekend’ to seeing something that could last. It starts to see a future. It starts to have expectations beyond a momentary good time.
It’s much easier to accept someone when you only plan on being with them for a week or two at a time. But once you imagine them for a more consistent part of your life, you begin to realize that some things that you could overlook, now seem unbearable to live with your whole life. This leads to arguing over these things: the juggling, the guys poker night, the flirting with baristas, etc.
All of these things are easily overlooked as who they were before, but not what you want to put up with if you’re going to be with them for a long time. So, you better get pissed off and fight about it now… in your first real relationship milestone.
If there is going to be a true thing happening between the two of you, these little annoyances need to be negotiated now. Otherwise, you have ‘no deal.’ You have no relationship yet.
But if you are arguing like two chemically imbalanced neurotics at this point in the relationship, you have a deal. You quite possibly even love each other and now the terms of this unwritten contract are being settled upon.
As we know, people won’t argue unless they care. They won’t jump into something with vicious abandon unless it is something they believe in. But remember, this crazy combative episode is a good thing. Don’t run away when someone is showing that they want to fight for an idea of you.
The good stuff comes after the negotiation. Nonetheless you will have to agree on a few basics:
Going out together
Who reaches out first
Sex and the little things that entails
This negotiation may seem ridiculous or inappropriate, but it establishes that there is enough caring to make this whole adventure worth it.
The one year mark is big one from my experience. It’s when you really start to assess:
‘Do I see myself with this person in a long-term way?’
‘Am I wasting my time?’
‘Am I wasting her time?’
No doubt there will have been birthdays and holidays and other major life events over the past year together. All of which you probably found yourself arguing about something - meeting the family, over-influential friends, or living arrangements.
Like any good business contract, your understanding of the situation, whether written or not, needs to be reevaluated and renegotiated considering any problems that may have occurred over the journey so far.
Being together a year really starts to tell yourself that this really is something that might last. Therefore, the issues seem more relevant and must be taken care of with a bit more enthusiasm.
And if you plan on getting married, plan for a violent year of fighting. You’ve just put your mind and body into shock knowing you just signed up for an entire lifetime of this other person. If you don’t take care of the minor issues now, they will grow and turn into a cancerous tumor that kills you. Yep, be prepared to argue about everything at every opportunity if you’re thinking about the ‘m’ word.
Down the road, even after you’ve committed to each other, you will still need to revisit and renew your contract. Adjustments will have to be made. Clauses added for changing times. Updates made for growing people.
But if you’ve made it this far, you should be fine. Given, you maintain a healthy dose of conflict and coitus.
We talked a lot about arguing, but not so much about winning the argument. I promise to write something soon on that. But with the person you’re sharing your bed with and quite possibly the rest of your life, you don’t really want to be concerned with winning the actual argument.
Think back to the make-up sex section. Take a minute if you need to…