Boyfriends first. Fights and ulcerative second.
I don’t hate you. But if you were on fire and I had water, I’d drink it.
Although this blog focuses a lot on Rasheed’s Ulcerative Colitis, before a UC patient, Rasheed is my boyfriend first. Ulcerative Colitis only adds a dimension to the already adventurous dynamics of our romantic relationship.
Like any other couple, Rasheed and I fight. His UC definitely adds a dimension to that. Not only do I have to take care to never throw ass-related insults at him, I also have to be sensitive to the prospect that maybe he didn’t call me last night because he was stuck in the washroom and I can’t get mad at him for that.
Our First Fight: Happy 21st Birthday!
Our first big fight happened on my birthday weekend.
I celebrated it in a nightclub with friends new and old. I drank. I stumbled. I puked. Rasheed was maaaad. Rasheed inadvertently criticized my friends along with criticizing my partying ways.
Oh-ho-ho. Was he in a whirlwind of Super Saiyan Goku ass-whooping for that!
(Oh. Wait. “Ass-whooping.” Oops.)
Why We Fought: Composure vs. Drunken Rowdiness
Our fight went like this:
Rasheed: There was a stark difference between your two groups of friends. …Make fools of yourselves. …Maturity. …When I was twenty-one I moved out and got a job. You guys are twenty-one and you do this? I’m the one who had to pick up all your mess…
Me: …Normal twenty-one year olds party. I know you value productivity and work and maturity and we do, too, but we also value time to relax.
Rasheed: …It’s like you’re back in high school….
Me: This is how we have fun. It was in a club.
Rasheed: Nothing fun about that. …We still had fun without…
Me: …You’re being condescending… And if you can’t accept how I am with my friends—the friends who, imperfect as they are, I associate myself with—then you aren’t accepting me on some level.
How to “Fight” 101
Here are tips on how to survive a fight unscathed, or at least with minimal damage:
Do not hit where it hurts.
Imagine how bad Rasheed would feel if I poked fun at his ass or his disease….
I make it a general rule to never pick at a person’s greatest insecurity. For instance, I would tease Peter Pan about his pointy ears or maybe about the fact that as much as I love him, I always mix him up with Robin Hood. But I would never rub his face into the fact that Wendy left you and she chose to grow up instead of staying in Neverland.
Picking at their greatest insecurities (especially during petty fights) mean two things:
- You cannot be trusted with your partner’s greatest fears and worries because you willingly use it against him/her when you get the chance.
- You are immature for using his/her weaknesses against him/her. And guess what? You cannot take back the hurtful things you say, regardless how sorry you are now.
Bite your tongue.
Close your eyes.
“You know what? I’ll call you back.”
Contemplate (It’s not just for philosophers).
□ What about the situation ticked you off?
□ Was there any fair ground for your partner’s attitude? (i.e. Was his/her reaction justified?)
□ How could your partner have voiced his/her worries without coming off as mean/selfish/condescending? (i.e. What words did he/she use that offended you?)
□ What do you really want out of him/her?
□ How can you say what you want without being hostile?
□ Are your wishes fair and considerate of his/her needs?
Listen, Talk, Listen
Composed and less emotional, Rasheed and I resolved our fight like this:
Rasheed: I didn’t mean to take a dig at your friends. That’s not what I meant at all.
Me: I’m sorry. It wasn’t fair to put you in a situation where you had to watch people behave rowdily and expect you to react happily to it.
Rasheed: I’ve always been conscious about my health, even before I got my UC. Now I have a chronic disease and I don’t like seeing people who put so much crap in their bodies just for the hell of it. Especially not my girlfriend.
Me: I understand that, and I appreciate it. But the fact is, I don’t do this often. My friends and I see each other—what?—less than five times in a year.
Rasheed: What can I do to make things good between us again?
Me: Let’s just resolve this: would it be okay for you to let me party with them without you there? Drinks, rowdiness, mostly guy friends and all?
Rasheed: Yes. I trust you.
Me: Thank you. You will always be welcome to come to these parties—especially to the ones that do not involve alcohol.
Rasheed: I’m there. If I’m invited.
Me: You always are.
The way I see it… a minute in a fight with Rasheed equals 60 seconds we could’ve been happy.
If the person you’re fighting with is still the person who makes you happiest, then put down the sword and talk it out.
I know couples who seem to enjoy fights and find thrill in constant warfare. I am not one of those people. Frankly, as much as I love Eminem’s anthem for troubled lovers, I think couples who find joy in hurting one another are cracked. If I wanted to be in a relationship where I am constantly called into battle, I would just never move out of my mother’s house.
How do you react to fights?
Originally posted at: Boyfriend first. Fights & Ulcerative Colitis second.