SOMETHING WORTH FIGHTING FOR:

WHAT I'VE LEARNED FROM BEING IN A RELATIONSHIP FOR THREE MONTHS


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There is a quote in the book, The Happiness Project, where author Gretchen Rubin says, “Communication is really key in the act of fighting right. Before you begin to even argue, make sure you know what you are mad at first and only discuss that.” And after this month, those words have never been more accurate.

My boyfriend and I have been together for a full 90 days, and in most scenarios when you are trying to get used to or adjust to something, many experts say 90 days is all it takes. For example, if you are quitting smoking, the first three days are the toughest, but after 90 days, your body – and you – start to become accustom to the absence of tobacco. Now, I know being in a relationship is nothing like quitting smoking (although both are stressful and your weight can fluctuate), but it is some sort of an achievement to make it to this benchmark.

In the course of these 90 days, my boyfriend and I have laughed constantly, bonded over movies and television shows, met each other’s friends, attended family dinners together, and gotten to know everything about each other (well, almost everything. I have yet to divulge the severity of my food fetish). It has been so nice to finally let my guard down with someone and truly be myself. But aside from all the great aspects of our relationship, there of course have been a few obstacles.

During the course of our third month together, we officially had our very first “fight.” I put fight in quotation marks because it wasn’t a big enough argument to technically count as a fight. A miscommunication, maybe, but not a fight. Although while it was happening, all I could think was, “Is this it? Are we done? Do I have to change my Facebook status?” Of course, now I am aware that couples argue and that doesn’t necessarily mean the relationship is doomed. But, this was my first fight with a boyfriend and I was terrified of the outcome.

Fortunately on our second date, we agreed to each other that we would participate in this relationship with complete honesty, trust, open communication, and weekly backrubs. During the figh…miscommunication, we didn’t have a full-on blowout. We didn’t scream at each other, throw things, or even curse. We sat down and expressed our feelings and differences in a calm and mature way. The two times we had a disagreement, we did not finish the conversation until a resolution had been made. We, essentially, never went to bed angry. And that is when I remembered the aforementioned quote about fighting right.

To fight right basically entails to only tackle one problem at a time instead of indulging in arguments that cover every grievance from the first date. To fight right is to ease into an argument instead of blowing up immediately. To fight right is to be open, civil, honest, and calm. I am not much for self-help books or “rational ways of thinking” but reading about this really helped a dating novice like me learn to acclimate to dealing with hurdles in a relationship.

I spoke to many of my friends who are in relationships (okay, I only have one friend in a relationship) and she assured me that couples fight. And sometimes couples fight a lot and it’s not essentially a bad thing. This made me feel a hell of a lot better knowing that in three months we had only disagreed on two things, and one of them was what appetizer to split at an Applebee’s.

I left both of our “fights” feeling so much better about the relationship. About where I stood, what he expects of me, what I expect of him, and how to alter some of my habits. By being honest and open with each other, we have learned the correct way to fight. We have learned the way to approach a disagreement. We have realized the Applebee’s appetizer sampler is the perfect compromise. We have made our relationship stronger.

And our relationship is something worth fighting for.