Growing up, I was very argumentative and was constantly looking to pick an argument with anybody and everybody. This hurt a lot of relationships. I could’ve been picky and choosy about my arguments but I wasn’t. I have very little filter between my brain and my mouth, this was very obvious in my youth. I would say the worst possible thing at the worst possible moment. I don’t know why…or maybe I do. Maybe I did it because I wanted to get a rise out of people and see what kind of reaction I could get. I liked shock value. I mean tell me, how many other straight males do you know would willingly start their Senior year in high school wearing a black skirt, a Slayer shirt, and black steel toe boots just in hopes that I could get a jock to question their sexuality and start a fight with me? BTW, it worked and he bled.
But this article isn’t about shock value or how stupid I was when I was young; it’s about how I realized that some battles aren’t worth my time. I was done with my second long term relationship and it occurred to me that I have never been good with friends or girlfriends/wife because I didn’t just let things go…I wanted to argue or mouth off. I’ve always been the asshole of whichever group I’ve been a part of and that was because of my mouth. I am not a physically imposing man and never have been but I could mouth off with the best of them. I let my opinions fly and even more than that, I would pick at people until situations were bad or people were pissed off. I always looked at it like this; if I can get someone pissed off but they still enjoy hanging out with me, they are real friends. Looking back on it, only 1 person remains from more than a decade ago. I probably ran more friends and girlfriends away than I needed to. Not that I regret it…I am where I always needed to be.
Stephanie softened me up quite a bit. I know at the start of our relationship, she was super passive and didn’t want to speak her mind but I told her that if she wanted to be with me, that she would have to find her voice and speak up when she felt I needed to hear something. But because she’s found her voice, I’ve found fewer reasons to argue. I probably could. She says things that get under my skin or piss me off but I don’t normally say anything because I like the peaceful moments with her more than I enjoy the chaotic moments. I went through loads of chaos with a bi-polar woman for years and never knew if she was going to wake up pissed at the world, depressed, violent, or crazy smiley. And back in those days, I was mouthy. I’m surprised I’m alive.
Sure…chaos can be fun in a relationship, when you have no kids and sex is at the forefront of what’s important to you. Peace, though….peace is where it’s at. I don’t have to worry about going to bed pissed off or waking up with an ashtray flying at me. I can go to bed peacefully and know that when we get up in the morning, we’ll be grumpy because it’s already morning time and not grumpy with each other.
Do I avoid all conflict, though? No…not by a long shot. I still say things that drive Steph crazy and I know that I mumble under my breath a lot about where people can shove it, but now I’m less vocal about things and I know that most of the time, if I just sit quietly and tune her out like my dad did to my mom for years, that I will enjoy my life more and we can move onto a different discussion a lot quicker. Sometimes, though, and Steph has picked up on this; I like to keep picking at one thing and beat it to death to prove my point which drives her crazy and probably makes her want to beat me to death…but I also know that Steph has probably seen me mellow out and stay more centered and pick fewer fights.
Because we don’t really fight…or even argue, I don’t know if we’ve ever really had make-up sex. I do know that my life is less complicated and I can actually smile more because we aren’t picking fights with each other all the time. Does that take away from our sex life? No…probably not. Do I care? Not really. I’m just to the point in my life where I want to sit and watch television quietly or play video games with minimal interruptions. I have become my own father…minus sitting in my recliner in tidy whiteys all evening (And don’t put that past me if we have a stream of visitors daily at our new house). Peace and quiet are the most important things I can look forward to about moving into the house we are trying to buy. It’s not watching the kids grow up or playing in the yard. It’s the peace and quiet that not wanting to fight with everybody will afford me.
I know that Steph probably thinks I still pick fights with her but the truth is, I let a lot of things go and avoid the confrontation at all costs in many situations. I just don’t feel the need to fight with her over certain things now. She’s not a child and she understands what the kids and I all need and what we need as a family so I’m more than comfortable with letting her take the wheel and drive us into oncoming traffic or into lifelong happiness. It’s easier to do that if you know that the person in the relationship with you wants pretty close to the same things. While we don’t want all of the same things in life, we want enough that I trust her opinion on where we end up. That makes my life better in the long run and because of that, I don’t feel the need to argue or fight with her over the little things. The little things are just that…tedious and insignificant moments that will be over very shortly anyways if you just let them go.
No need to get hung up on the little things.