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Are Arguments For Better Or For Worse?

17

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I’ve been in this place recently where I have been very introspective. I was given an idea to speak on about disagreements in relationships. In this piece I’d like to profile the good that can come from arguing and the bad. Before I get to that part though I want to put my opinions in context for you. I’m going to tell you my story. I want to tell you my introduction to arguments in relationships. Once I do, it may shed light on why I feel the way I do. Maybe some of you all will relate, but here we go.

My Story:

My first exposure to a marriage was with my parents. I was fortunate enough to be born into your quintessential nuclear family. On paper, you could say we had all of our bases covered. I had some idea of what a warm home felt like. At the same token, I saw the converse. I saw what arguing looked like in a relationship. I saw this as long as I can remember, maybe since I was 4. Constant arguing and issues never seemed to be resolved. I’d yell “stop arguing!!” To which my mother would say “we’re not arguing, we’re having a discussion.” I knew what was up. If no one was smiling and loving, then something was definitely up. This sure wasn’t what I saw on Full House or Fresh Prince. I found myself paranoid on certain days because I just didn’t want to hear anymore yelling.

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By the time I was 7 my parent’s marriage was done. The verbal abuse from my father to my mom had gone too far and my mother decided to start fresh. I didn’t realize the damage that was done after seeing this until I got older. As I got older and started being involved with women, issues arose. Issues will always arise. I simply had no clue how to deal with them. Either I would run from the confrontation in some regard or I’d handle it all the way wrong. From what I saw, arguing led to negative things happening. What’s unfortunate is that there were real good women who had to deal with those shortcomings. I had to learn that everyone argues, and how the argument is handled is as important as the argument itself. I’m a lot better at dealing with disagreements now, but I still have things to learn.

My Opinion:

Arguments are a necessary evil. I believe that you have to use those moments constructively. In order for that to be the case, maintaining respect is paramount. Once respect is lost, then your argument is automatically for the worst. When you have a disagreement with your partner, you should both leave with a better understanding of one another.

I have an aunt who always says that too much of one thing is good for nothing. I think this saying pertains to almost everything. In the case of arguments, I would have to agree. There is nothing healthy about constant bickering. If that is your case, then some things need to be hashed out and some decisions regarding the future should be discussed.

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I’m well aware of people who are more on the emotional, impulsive and unpredictable side. People who have tantrums, yell excessively, or use physical force on their partner. The aforementioned activities aren’t healthy either. They shouldn’t be excused. These things should be addressed. In each of those activities I don’t see respect as being the anchor. No respect, no progress.

My first example of a couple and a dysfunctional couple was my parents. Luckily, I’ve been able to see many loving couples after them be fruitful. I have seen respectful debates and disagreements. I learned better approaches to arguing through witnessing healthy couples. I learned how to mind someone else’s feelings as well as knowing how to say what I want to say.

How do you feel about arguing with your partner? Do you dodge conflicts as I once did? How do you deal with disagreements in your relationships? I want to learn more from you all, this was just my “likkle” two cents.

These are my words and I make no apologies.

DamnPops is a writer on the staff at SBM. His bio: “I’m not a biter, I’m a writer for myself and others. ” Brooklyn born dude trying to figure out this life just like you. Come on this journey with me. Follow me on Twitter @DamnPOPS 

“Damn He Got A Point” (My Column) http://viralstatus.com/category/kahlilhaywood/ 

 

Comment(17)

  1. How do you feel about arguing with your partner?

    Past: I hate it when its been bubbling for a while, it always comes as a surprise to me because if it was ME, i would bring it up early.
    Present: I see it as an opportunity learn and to grow closer together. And theres also makeup secks.

    Do you dodge conflicts as I once did?

    Past: Like Neo.
    Present: I iron them out before they leave a stain.

    How do you deal with disagreements in your relationships?

    Past: Ignore it until it goes away. Tell them to get over it. Argue when provoked.
    Present: Nip it in the bud as soon as I see it bubbling.

  2. I've never been one to argue with women. In my experience, that's a no-win situation. I've actually had past acquaintances get mad because I wouldn't argue. We can have a healthy debate where we are on polar opposites, but once you start going the irrational and unpredictable route, I mentally check out. Maybe I would let it slide if I were still in my 20's, but now any sister who flexing like that has got to kick rocks. My mother taught me to never strike a lady, but just as that cray chick on that Cleveland bus shows us, that some will push you to the limit….YOU GOIN' TO JAIL NOW!!!!

  3. I don’t like to “argue” per se, but i have no qualms voicing my opinion. It takes two to argue, so if i’m saying something real ninja talking shut the f ck up, I would expect you to listen, understand my view and if you have a rebuttal please let it be something beyond just denying what i said as if i just made it up. As you said the key is respect, i dont feel the need to lecture im not a parent i’m your partner you should give a damn about what i have to say, my happiness matters, no? It works vice versa, you have something to say, step to me as an equal, dont yell or curse at me.

    Of course the world isnt perfect if there was they’d be zero calorie Ciroc, so arguments do happen. Emotions are riled, revisionist history must be called out. Even then, never forget the premise of the fight, othherwise you’re just asking for it to happen all over again.

  4. First, as I shared in this post https://www.singleblackmale.org/2013/07/18/greatma… 68% of men would lie to avoid an argument. So clearly men aren't about that arguing life if they can avoid it.

    Second, this is interesting because my parents took a completely opposite stance. They tried to never argue in front of my sister and I and they were pretty successful. The first time I saw (or remember) my parents arguing was when I was a teenager. However, this approach also had its fair share of detrimental affects. Since I never saw my parents argue, I associated arguing with break-ups, bad relationships, and ultimately divorce. So, I avoided any and all arguments with women for many years. It wasnt until I was in a relationship at roughly age 23 before I met a woman I was willing to argue with – and I also learned that arguing, when done correctly and respectfully, doesn't necessarily dictate the end of a relationship.

    Overall, I've learned that arguing doesn't dictate that a relationship is bad or that it must end. Now, if your arguing is consistent, over the same issues, or you cant argue respectfully, then yes, you either need to address this or end it. But, I think to some degree arguing is necessary in a good relationship because it shows you care enough to vest yourself in the outcome, as long as you can do so in a manner that resolves the conflict in a way you can both live with or that eventually resolves the problem. Generally, I try to remember that it's us versus the problem instead of us versus each other.

    I also think women are more open (or at least seem to be) to arguing because they tend to resolve issues through discussion – even passionate discussion eg arguments – whereas men tend to avoid conflict and only want to discuss issues that end in a solution. For women, sometimes the "solution" is the argument itself – in other words, the airing out of grievances is sufficient. Took me a long time to realize that. This isn't to say I understand it or even particularly like it, but at least I can see the difference between how I handle issues and how (most) women handle issues. Finding the middle ground is the hard part, especially when heated emotions and complex issues are involved.

  5. As always, your writing is reflective, honest and inquisitive. You made me think back to who I was in certain relationships. Right now, I don’t argue, if that’s believable. Before though, I was all for arguing because it made the other person aware of either the pain they caused or how annoying they were being. In my mind, once upon a time, arguing was the only way to make the other person aware. Now, I’m like girl please, he’s aware. He knows when he lets me down, he knows when I’m disappointed, he knows when he has some making up to do. It’s not my job to reprimand, it’s my choice to give him his own. I let him notice that something’s wrong and decide on his own that he’s going to make the situation better. Can we discuss? Of course, I might say something like, “I’m not in the best of moods since you didn’t do what you said you were going to do yesterday.” But there’s no argument and I think I like it that way because the point of an argument is to win and that being the objective changes the techniques it takes to get there. So, some people become so consumed with proving their point that they may come off as inconsiderate or cold to their partner and when that happens nobody wins. You made your point but you said something so crazy in the midst of it that now your relationship is on thin ice. Is it really worth it? If my objective is to be together at the end of the end of the conversation, I believe in discussion. I believe in telling you how I feel because I want to be honest, not because I want to reprimand you for making me feel that way. But I agree with your point, I had to argue in the past to realize that it’s not necessary for my future.

    Great articles, as per usual!

  6. I used to be a chick who didn't like to argue…*gasp*! I always thought arguing stemmed from the girl being nagging and annoying, and I just wanted to be a cool and down azz girlfriend, so I always held my tongue and acted like nothing bothered me instead of voicing how I felt. It also didn't help that the times when I actually did speak up about something, my then boyfriend never failed to turn every thing around on me and somehow make it my fault. And he'd just be mad at me for being mad at him. So I just became passive aggressive instead. That relationship was just wrong for so many reasons so thank God that finally ended.

    Today, I see the beauty in arguments (read: "purposeful discussions"). If I'm not feeling right about something, I'm going to speak up. But I'm not going to get in a yelling match with you. I'll say what I have to say, you'll say what you have to say, and we'll either come to an agreement, or one party will just take the L — and I have no problem taking that L if I was indeed in the wrong. Then we move on. It's as simple as that.

  7. cant co sign.
    there is no need to ARGUE. Ive noticed… this is the LARGEAST fundamental problem with black american to black american relationships. just the constant NEED to argue. and like a lot of black men, I am told never hit or touch a woman and dont yell at a woman because then your "no good" like every other black men. So im non agressive when it comes to dealing with a woman in the home. what have I learned from being a 20something black man living together with a woman for 10 years… to now a 35 year old black man being married to a different woman for 5?
    Turning your back on a woman to NOT fight with them, just gives them fuel to fight harder. I do not have a solution for it. so Im sorry I can offer no advice. but I can tell you 80% of the women want 20% of the men, you can replace almost any woman….. (key word being almost)
    I have 4 black male friends who are all married to black american women. ALL of them fear going home and have no peace in their homes. im not saying this is all blacks… im just saying its every black man I know. When we all started hanging out.. everyone faked the funk and would talk about how much they love being married, if they had kids how much they loved their kids and the whatever. now as time has gone on… we have all been hanging for 4 years now, as one person had to place a phone call to get picked up from downtown PD because he had a "domestic"… his wife hit him with per purse in the back of the head because he had his headphones on playing black ops, and not wanting to fight with her. so she hit him after yelling. police came… and they took HIM away.
    after this, we all started to let our stories slip of what was REALLY going on in our homes. its SCARY how many of us even as grown non thug black men put up with in the household being married.
    all 4 of them have totally lost their "swag" which my wife says only makes their wives yell at them more. Nobody wants to argue with their wives… I guess thats a common trait among this generation of black men.
    and all of them are frozen in fear over the fact that if they fight back it leads to personal attacks, and threats of divorce. All of us agree, nobody can survive the financial strain of divorce economically , and further nobody wants to work hard at our white collar jobs, only to get a divorce and lose your child and home . thats the reality… children and your home cost you almost 70% of yoru takehome pay my brothas. and forget what you see on TV, you will NOT get primary custody of your child.. and whomever gets primary custody gets to stay in the home til the child is 23. so you lose your prize possession AND your biggest financial investment…….. over someone wanting to fight with you just because she watched too many episodes of housewives of atlanta or bad girls club.

    I feel sad when my little cousins who are in college tell me they cant wait to move their girlfriends in. I think there is just a fundamental flaw with sistas interacting with brothas domestically. I cant speak for all social classes, I can only speak for what I see as a white collar brotha living around the greater NYC area.

    1. Alpha males should never marry alpha females or what you described would be the result…a constant power struggle! However, the Law is on the woman’s side once she claims domestic violence. Then the fear of losing your home and kids means that she will continue to emasculate you to establish dominance. The man is going to have to occupy the beta position in order to keep his life in tact. Unless she sees it from his perspective and allows her man to lead the family.

  8. In my previous relationship, we fought ALL THE TIME. About EVERYTHING. Terrible, knock down-drag out fights, where my super was wondering whether she should call the cops. When we were living together and when it was long distance, that ish was a living nightmare.

    Uninterested in dealing with THAT nonsense again, I took a trip to casual chex land. What was there to fight about when only casual chex was on the table? Nothing at all, my friends. But after falling for my regular chex partners, it was clear the reason I hadn't had any casual chex until 25 was because I wasn't about that life.

    In my current relationship, we didn't have any big fights for a long time. It was friggin' awesome. When I was ticked, I would think to myself about whether the issue was worth a fight before bringing something up. That'll cut down fights by like, 83%. But after a while, there were some things I wanted to bring up, and things HE wanted to bring up, and I didn't want to walk on eggshells for the sake of keeping the peace.

    But I'm an emotional fighter. And my dude would come back at me with bullet points about why what I was saying was nonsense. That made me feel like he wasn't hearing me out at all, so I said, "You can keep your bullet points, but you better first acknowledge that you heard me, and understand I'm not making this ish up." And I explained to him I don't bring EVERYTHING to him, so perhaps he ought to take heed of what I DO bring up. And now we fight fair. 🙂

  9. My approach is a little more subdued. I try not to argue. Instead, I just listen to what my husband has to say is an issue, process it and then formulate a response, even if that means revisiting it at a later date. When he approaches me or I him, we already took some time to process things. As academic as this method is, it’s the result of some past heated arguments that got us nowhere and neighbors asking if everything was okay…. Yeah, those types of fights. This way cooler heads prevail.

  10. arguments are actually in my opinion healthy, because I couldn't see a utopian couple, you know one that shares the same brain, never disagrees..no sir. And in some cases arguments can lead to some good make up sex. However when they become petty, predetermined, or physical that's where I draw the line. period.

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