A few weeks ago, my boyfriend and I got into our first real fight. Until now, we’ve been in a lovely state of bliss where neither of us could do much wrong. But now that we’re approaching our one-year anniversary (a date, which is still up for debate. I say November, which is when we met. He says January, which is when I stopped playing hard to get), we’ve started to find the things that make us both a little imperfect—and ultimately, the things that make us, us.
I started the fight, of course. And instead of voicing my concerns, I took drastic action assuming he’d understand. My poor boyfriend was thinking, “great, so she is crazy like the rest.” It was my cry for attention. But like most human beings, my boyfriend’s reaction was to be on the defense. Midway through our angry text messages (I’m not the best at verbal fighting. I’m much more eloquent in writing), I found myself giving him the most honest response: “When did this become about you? Can’t you see that my feelings are my own insecurities that you can help me with?”
We all enter relationships with our own special baggage. Most of the time we don’t even know we’re traveling with it. But a lot of the times, we just choose to ignore it. Sometimes, you just have to admit your baggage is not a carry-on, and you could use the help checking it in.
I’ve come to realize that most people start fights because they feel unsafe due to a past experience. So instead of attacking right back, I’ve decided to try to check my ego at the door, and really ask myself what I can do to help this person feel safe and loved. Because most of the time, the truth is “it’s not you, it’s me.”
A good partner will catch your insecurities before you do. Or at least, understand when you show them and be compassionate about where you’re coming from. They’ll be strong enough to know it really isn’t them, and that there’s an opportunity to help you. And if you can promise to acknowledge and work on your insecurities, while your partner promises to make more of an effort to help you feel safe, you’ve already succeeded.
So maybe I wasn’t looking for a Band-Aid, after all? All I was just looking for was a little Neosporin to help me heal.