I have been seeing a girl for a few months and I really like her. We’ve even said we love each other. Interestingly, we frequently have little arguments that actually lead to personal revelations and make us feel closer to each other than before. However, many of the arguments stem from what she says come from her own personal anxieties and I am often left confused as to whether these arguments are worth it to confront head on and resolve or if talking about them fuels the anxieties even more. The anxieties she experiences aren’t just about our relationship — she tends to over-analyze her relationships with other loved ones, too.
Sometimes, I wonder if these fights are meaningful to our relationship or damaging. As her boyfriend, what can I do to make her and I feel more at ease and avoid some of these frequent arguments?
Dear Diplomatic Boyfriend,
There are couples whose arguments lead to break up and there are couples whose arguments lead to deeper connection. The amount of arguments a couple has is irrelevant. What truly matters is the way they fight with one other. Do they resolve it in a mature, thoughtful manner? Do they not just listen, but try to understand, each view point? Or, is there a lot of sarcasm, incessant blame, disgust for one another evident in eye-rolling and tone of voice?
You, Diplomatic Boyfriend, and your girlfriend are a perfect example of a couple that fit in to the second category. As you said yourself, your arguments “lead to personal revelations” and make you two “feel closer to each other than ever before.” Your heated discussions are actually avenues for closer connection and inspiration. Don’t take these for granted; continue to listen attentively, show her your support, give her your attention. And she should do the same.
Anxieties can cause an individual a lot of distress. Your girlfriend wants, needs, to be heard. It is your role to be there to support her through these — give her your love, give her your attention. Encourage her to open up with other close family and friends about these thoughts, or encourage her to open up to a therapist.
So, no, Diplomatic Boyfriend, don’t avoid these conversations. Confront them full force, analyze them, use them for self-growth. It’s through this kind and open communication that her worries will ease over time. Think of it as part of your journey together and explore the darkest corners of her mind; her anxieties run deeper than even your own relationship — help her find their source.
Email the Emerald’s sex and relationships features reporter with similar issues at firstname.lastname@example.org