Relationship Advice and Columns

Why (and How) We Fight

Ben and I had a very interesting experience a few days ago. I should say it started out in a very challenging way. As many of you know, Ben and I are moving to South Korea. My dad is letting me store things at his place while we are gone. This past week, we brought some things over to his building and agreed to meet at a certain place. Ben and I waited for my dad and he didn’t appear. I suggested to Ben that he check upstairs. We were in the second basement level and he went up to the first. I thought I heard he and my dad talking, but I guess my mind was playing tricks with me. A few moments later, my father appeared and was upset because he had been waiting for awhile in a slightly different location. I had apparently misunderstood where to meet him. I was nervous because Ben didn’t appear and my dad and I trudged off to his storage locker to put away my things. We put my things away and found Ben. My dad was still upset at the end and we left feeling irritated.

After that episode, we were on our way to Tony’s house, who had agreed to host us for a threesome and sleepover. Things were still tense with Ben and I in the car and we had to travel a good distance to get to Tony’s house. Ben was irritable and I told him not to get upset at me because I was also feeling sensitive after the episode with my dad. We found Tony’s street and then when I thought I was done navigating, I called Tony to let him know we were close and that we needed a place to park Ben’s car. In that brief phone conversation, Ben got lost, as Tony’s street curves a lot. We were able to find Tony’s house finally and parked the car. I went inside first and Ben followed, visibly despondent. I asked him if he was okay and he said that he felt I shut him down when I told him not to get upset at me. He admitted to me later that he expects navigators to know exactly where they’re going and in this situation, that was not the case. I explained to Ben that I had only been to Tony’s house once and had come from a different direction. Tony actually mediated us through this discussion. We successfully came to a resolution with Tony’s help, which was very heartening. This is another upside of poly- when multiple partners are around, they can really help. As a side note, since you’re probably all wondering, the threesome and sleepover were lovely and when we left Tony’s house, we felt good.

I have written previously that Ben and I have had some conflict. This has really been a growth experience for me because I hate conflict, but I want to be able to get through it in a mature way. In the past, I have always done what the other person wanted and ended up resenting them. I have expressed to Ben that he often takes things very personally and overanalyzes things. I also realize that I can take things personally. When you are in a committed relationship with someone, it’s very difficult not to take things personally because the emotional investment is often very high. After resolving our discussion, I realize that when Ben takes things personally, that doesn’t mean that I have to. Ben also said to me the day before we saw Tony that he can communicate things in a way that shows I’m not to blame. Thus, I think this is a case of meeting in the middle, and in a healthy way.

If you have any questions, send me an email to Ben and I take off for Korea on Friday July 25! We are very excited and nervous for this journey…


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