Are These Feelings Really Necessary?

I don’t know what to do with all these feelings. In love, on the verge of dumping him, melancholy, joy…

At this time last week, I was sure my boyfriend and I were going to break up. It was our second big fight over what seemed to me to be a tiny little thing, and his anger hadn’t abated.

I don’t do well with anyone’s anger, especially when it seems unwarranted or excessive.

I’d delivered all of my lines–practically spoon-fed to me by my therapist, and most definitely scripted in my notebook and referenced while in conversation with my lover–and they hadn’t gotten through. He was still angry, still felt that I hadn’t heard him, and it seemed to me that he very much wanted me to fix his feelings and him and everything between us right away.

I’ve changed a lot. This seems to be a theme in my posts but it does seem like a miracle to me.

I used to hold grudges. I used to drag bad feelings out. I used to hold my lover hostage for a day, night, weeks even, until I felt better. And it was so hard to feel better. Nothing seemed to do the trick, no words seemed right or sufficient or exactly how I needed to hear them.

I was a hole of neediness, despair, and insecurity.

I’m still those things, but I’m learning to fill that hole with time spent in reflection and prayer, fellowship, and by journaling. I no longer hold my loved ones hostage to my crazy roller coaster of emotions. I choose carefully what I say and try only to say it once.

Here’s how I think healthy conflict resolution should go. This is not something I learned growing up in an alcoholic home, by the way. I feel like a foreign exchange student navigating American social customs. It’s not easy and it’s not pretty, but I’m trying. So here’s my best ideas on conflict resolution:

1. We fight. We end it quickly before anything ugly is said.

2. The next day, when we’re calmer, we listen to each other. “I felt hurt when you said _____________.” And “I felt angry when  you called me a bigot.” Apologizing would fit here pretty nicely.

3. We move on and let it go.

That’s it. Done.

I really want it to work like that. It doesn’t with this guy, Mr. Outdoorsy Tech (yeah, we got back together, if you follow the drama and remember this one). He’s complicated and whiny and it takes him a lot longer to get over stuff.

But then we both read from our shared relationship book and he says he’s going to try that stuff and he feels so much better.

So we celebrated my birthday this weekend and had a lovely time and the fight (which lasted two weeks, I might add) didn’t come up at all. And so now I’m wondering if we’re ok, if I even want to be with him, can I wait until Friday to get him all to myself, and when will the next fight occur. Am I really in love with him or the idea of a great relationship? When is enough enough?

I don’t like this drama. I know I could choose to just see what the next day brings and relax. But I’m not there. And I’m not sure what is mine, his, or ours.

But I’m having trouble with that right now. I’m afraid to get closer to him and keep giving this relationship a chance only to have a fight like that again. I don’t think I could handle it. I’m not sure I can now.