Need help with conflict resolution. First major fight with bf.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-29-2012
Need help with conflict resolution. First major fight with bf.
11
Thu, 12-20-2012 - 6:50pm

Hey guys - this is going to be long. Me and my bf of 10 months had our first "real" fight yesterday. It started off as a discussion about something very trivial. From there, he sort of started going off and told me that I always base my views on hearsay and there is no point in us even trying to have a discussion because of that reason. He was basing the "hearsay" comment on a similar discussion we had last month - I had I told him I was hesitent to do a "certain something" because I was afraid it would mess up my health - I explained there have been cases of that happening. He was of the opinion that even though I might be correct in that there was a rare chance that what I was talking about could happen under certain conditions, it probably happens so rarely that it's not really an issue. He said that he will only believe something if it is based on science. He mentioned it was my duty to prove to him that the "certain something" was a health risk, and as long as something is not proven, he won't believe it. Last month, following that disucssion about the health risk, I had sent him a link, which explained my point of view and how it stated there could possibly be a health risk. I asked him whether he had read the article I had sent him. He said no. He was of the opinion that if what I said was based on science, the "certain something" would be headline news and people all over wouldn't be doing it. As long as he doesn't read up on it, how would I prove it to him? Besides, I really don't want to prove it to him - why can't he let me have my opinion and he can have his?

Anyway, from the "hearsay" comment, he started talking about how lately I am always dismissive of him and that whenever he tries to say something, I act like he doesn't know what he's talking about, even though he has years' worth of experience on the topic, and it's stuff I know "nooottthing about". What was worse was that we were in a public place. After that I told him that we should go home. He went to the restroom, and when he came back, he apologized and told him he was probably over reacting and being stupid. He apologized a few more times last night and he seemed genuinely upset. I didn't say much. We haven't spoken much today. I told him I wasn't mad at him, but I wanted time to think. I honestly don't know how to handle this situation. I'm not mad at him. But at the same time, I am unable to let it go. I am ok with us agreeing to disagree. Last month, even though he had  told me he was ok with us agreeing to disagree, somehow he makes personal attacks when we have a discussion, and ends up hurting me - like last night. 

I don't remember being intentionally dismissive of him ever. Maybe he reads into my comments and thinks I act like he doesn't know anything? That comment he made about me dismissing him hit a nerve because my mom says I always "say the wrong thing". I wonder if the tone of my voice comes across wrong? I was really hurt that he waited until we were having a discussion about something else to bring up the fact that there had been times in the past that he was annoyed with me, but keeping it to himself. I had thought we were cool with each other. But apparently not. The reason I'm hurt is because:

a) I felt like he was being disrespectful, telling me things like "you believe hearsay from magazines" and that I know nothing about topics he have years' worth of experience on.

b) I'm also hurt that he didn't tell me until last night that there were things about me that annoyed him. I always tell him if I'm upset about something.

And now I'm questioning our relationship - I'm not sure if I want to be in a relationship where my man doesn't respect me enough to have a discussion without making personal attacks about my intelligence. And another part of me wonders if maybe there is some truth to what he said - do I always say the wrong thing like my mom says? Maybe I'm not meant to be in a long term relationship and I'm just a difficult person to live with. I'm not trying to play victim here, but these are just the thoughts going through my head right now. The reason I haven't spoken much to him today is because I honestly didn't know how to process what happened last night. Should I apologize? Am I wrong? Was he wrong? I'm not used to being in serious relationships, so no hating please. Just need some insight on how to proceed.

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Avatar for ukgirl82
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-17-2005

rocklady1970 wrote:
<p>Appologies to the poster of this thread, but Kendahke 1, this statement of yours</p><p>*You have no duty to a boyfriend or any man you're not married to that you're obligated to hold*</p><p>could NOT be further from the truth in my opinion.</p><p>So, you mean that a life partner of decades is less worth than a husband of half a year??????</p><p>Please define.</p>

While I did not make this statement, I just want to say that given the context this was said in, I think when it comes to one's body, health and (what sounds like) sex, no one has any duty to anyone, even a spouse, to do something they are not comfortable with. And anyone who pressures you to do otherwise should be dropped like a hot rock.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-06-2006

Appologies to the poster of this thread, but Kendahke 1, this statement of yours

*You have no duty to a boyfriend or any man you're not married to that you're obligated to hold*

could NOT be further from the truth in my opinion.

So, you mean that a life partner of decades is less worth than a husband of half a year??????

Please define.

Community Leader
Registered: 05-14-2001

How are things now,Thatandthat?  How did you end up handling the situation?


~ cl-2nd_life

cl-2nd_
Avatar for xxxs
Community Leader
Registered: 01-25-2010

  What is needed is to be aware of what you are doing both verbally and none verbally.  Many people have problems with this.  Nagging is a very bad habit.  A person may want the other to do something but is oblivious to what is going on or dismissive of the other's activity.  These behaviors become a mine field to having a successful relationship.  And they also become a "can I trust this person" issue.  May I suggest that a counseling with a person who specializes in these problems of communication may be in order.

Goldfish

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999

Unless you are an actual doctor or nurse with medical training, it's not up to you to be in charge of your BF's wound care.  Honestly you're acting like his mom & I think any guy would resent that.  My ex had several medical problems including gastric reflux disease--he always ate the wrong foods, didn't take the medicine he was supposed to, etc.  Then he'd get a terrible reaction--you'd think after doing that once or twice, it would make him more careful, but no....  My friend who has the same thing is just the opposite--almost never eats the food she isn't supposed to eat, takes the medicine, etc.--she says if she eats the wrong food she's just up all night and uncomfortable so it's not really worth it.  But it was not my job to be my ex's boss and tell him what to do.  A grown man should be able to take responsibility for his own health and if he acts childish and irresponsible about things like that,  and it annoys you, then I think the answer is really to find someone who has views more like your own than to try to change your BF into someone who will act like you want him to.

Avatar for Kendahke1
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-09-2012

thatandthat2012 wrote:
<p>Thank you Canadagrl1 and Musiclover12. I am beginning to find that learning to deal with our differences is the biggest hurdle we have. I think the best thing to do in this situation, knowing that he thinks I'm being dismissive is for him to point it out to me the next time I do it, and for me to watch myself when he points it out. I spoke to him and a little earlier and he said he had already apologized and he had been a little overly annoyed at that time when he flipped out, for whatever reason. He also mentioned that I was "nagging" sometimes. This had also come up in conversation last night. I think what happened was that he kept all this inside and decided it was time to explode last night.</p><p>The nagging comment came because I've been helping him fix a wound. He's had it for more than a month, and it just kept getting worse. Finally last week I suggested a medicine for it and also a couple of treatment plans, and since then it's been improving drastically everyday. So I make it a point to remind him when exactly to put the medicine and how to take care of his wound. And when he doesn't do exactly what I say, I make a fake "upset face" and shrug it off and he just continues to do things his way. He told me yesterday that I look visibly upset when he doesn't do it exactly the way I'd told him to do it and that I was too pushy. He told me he knows it was because I care for him, and he didn't want me to stop doing it, but just to cut back on it. I told him it was all or nothing for me because there was no way I could do it halfway. o.O. When a doctor prescribes an anti-biotic, he gives strict instructions on when/how to take it, doesn't he? He doesn't just let the patient do whatever he wants with it....??</p><p>Maybe the most diplomatic thing to do would be to work on my "naggingness" as well... but it seems like such wasted effort to help someone fix their wound and when finally when it starts showing improvement (after I started looking after it), he thinks I'm nagging and wants to continue doing things to it that, in my opinion, will make it worse. Am I nagging or is he just being a stubborn kid about the whole thing? I guess there's conflict of opinion here and that's where the problem is.... sure it's his body and it's up to him what he does to it. But trust me, it can't be denied that his health affects me at least a little bit. In fact, this particular wound has caused my body a little bit of grief as well.</p><p>I knowwwww this sounds so petty written down, and I honestly can't believe we're having an argument about this. It's such a weird experience being this closely involved with another human being. Being in a relationship sure has its perks, but it's definitely an interesting experience.</p>

You know what? Let him tend to his own wound and let him take his medicine when he feels he should do it. No more you jumping in to remind him. If he's grown enough to ignore the doctor's instructions, then he's grown enough to face the consequences of ignoring the doctor's instructions.  You're going to have to find a way to get past your feelings about the wound and stop letting it affect you.

Avatar for Kendahke1
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-09-2012

thatandthat2012 wrote:
<p>Hey guys - this is going to be long. Me and my bf of 10 months had our first "real" fight yesterday. It started off as a discussion about something very trivial. From there, he sort of started going off and told me that I always base my views on hearsay and there is no point in us even trying to have a discussion because of that reason. He was basing the "hearsay" comment on a similar discussion we had last month - I had I told him I was hesitent to do a "certain something" because I was afraid it would mess up my health - I explained there have been cases of that happening. He was of the opinion that even though I might be correct in that there was a rare chance that what I was talking about could happen under certain conditions, it probably happens so rarely that it's not really an issue. He said that he will only believe something if it is based on science. He mentioned it was my duty to prove to him that the "certain something" was a health risk, and as long as something is not proven, he won't believe it. Last month, following that disucssion about the health risk, I had sent him a link, which explained my point of view and how it stated there could possibly be a health risk. I asked him whether he had read the article I had sent him. He said no. [b]He was of the opinion that if what I said was based on science, the "certain something" would be headline news and people all over wouldn't be doing it. As long as he doesn't read up on it, how would I prove it to him? Besides, I really don't want to prove it to him - why can't he let me have my opinion and he can have his?[/b]</p>

so he moves the goal posts on you when you bring him the proof for which he asked.

and it's not your "duty" to do anything. Period. He's just a boyfriend, not a husband, child or parent. You have no duty to a boyfriend or any man you're not married to that you're obligated to hold.

That's called "not accepting that he might not be right".  There is no reasoning with people like that.  He would rather remain ignorant than to accept that he may be wrong on something.  You can't prove anything to anyone who does this. You have to decide whether or not being around them is in your best interests. Because while it may be this, and it may (or may not) be a small thing, when it becomes a larger issue, then you have to accept that remaining with him, you're going to have to accept that this is how your concerns will be met... and if remaining with him is worth you always being wrong in his eyes, even if you're armed to the teeth with information.

And BTW, not all scientific discussions or breakthroughs are "headline news". Only if it touches upon a societal issue of great import would it make it to a headline.

Quote:
<p>Anyway, from the "hearsay" comment, he started talking about how lately I am always dismissive of him and that whenever he tries to say something, I act like he doesn't know what he's talking about, even though he has years' worth of experience on the topic, and it's stuff I know "nooottthing about".</p>

1. do you?

2. so when it comes to you and what you're comfortable doing, which has a direct bearing upon your body, he treats you as if you don't know what you're talking about, that your body's comfort is up for him to decide without you having any input?  He can dish it out, but he can't take it?

Quote:
<p>What was worse was that we were in a public place. After that I told him that we should go home. He went to the restroom, and when he came back, he apologized and told him he was probably over reacting and being stupid. He apologized a few more times last night and he seemed genuinely upset. I didn't say much. We haven't spoken much today. I told him I wasn't mad at him, but I wanted time to think. I honestly don't know how to handle this situation. I'm not mad at him. But at the same time, I am unable to let it go. I am ok with us agreeing to disagree. Last month, even though he had  told me he was ok with us agreeing to disagree, somehow he makes personal attacks when we have a discussion, and ends up hurting me - like last night.</p>

I would say that it is because he will act like there is nothing wrong and then store away his rage until a later date when he will pull it out and use it on you.  And he will pull it out where he can embarass you effectively--like out in public. In the meantime, you're having to walk around on eggshells wondering if this is the day he's going to go crazy on you.

Quote:
<p>I don't remember being intentionally dismissive of him ever. Maybe he reads into my comments and thinks I act like he doesn't know anything? That comment he made about me dismissing him hit a nerve because my mom says I always "say the wrong thing". I wonder if the tone of my voice comes across wrong? I was really hurt that he waited until we were having a discussion about something else to bring up the fact that there had been times in the past that he was annoyed with me, but keeping it to himself. I had thought we were cool with each other. But apparently not. The reason I'm hurt is because:</p><p>a) I felt like he was being disrespectful, telling me things like "you believe hearsay from magazines" and that I know nothing about topics he have years' worth of experience on.</p>

Give an example of a topic on which he's had "years of experience" and I can probably find authors of studies who have had way more experience on the same topic than he who come to a different conclusion to that which he wants to build his entire world around.

Quote:
<p>b) I'm also hurt that he didn't tell me until last night that there were things about me that annoyed him. I always tell him if I'm upset about something.</p>

that's called "passive-aggressive". They will never speak up in the moment--they go passive in the moment and then when that moment is long gone into history, they will wax aggressive and bring it up and throw it into whatever disagreement they're presently losing to push you off balance of your point, which they are probably losing, too.

Quote:
<p>And now I'm questioning our relationship - I'm not sure if I want to be in a relationship where my man doesn't respect me enough to have a discussion without making personal attacks about my intelligence. And another part of me wonders if maybe there is some truth to what he said - do I always say the wrong thing like my mom says?

I think that those are two separate issues completely.  We all say the wrong thing at times, but this isn't about you saying the wrong thing: this is about your boyfriend basically tantruming because you won't do what he wants you to do and believing that because he's got "all this experience" with a subject, that that means that he has the right to tell you what you can do with your own body and you must follow through and obey him.

Quote:
<p>Maybe I'm not meant to be in a long term relationship and I'm just a difficult person to live with. I'm not trying to play victim here, but these are just the thoughts going through my head right now. The reason I haven't spoken much to him today is because I honestly didn't know how to process what happened last night. Should I apologize? Am I wrong? Was he wrong? I'm not used to being in serious relationships, so no hating please. Just need some insight on how to proceed.</p>

I believe he was wrong to willfully embarass you in public, to have the temerity to tell you what your "duty" to him is when he is owed none and to act as if you having sovereignity over your own body is somehow trumped by his "years of experience". 

I don't think this is the relationship for you. There are plenty of men who are not control freaks like he seems to be from what you've written.  If he can't have a discussion and accept from you what you aren't comfortable doing, then he's not emotionally mature enough to be in a relationship with any woman.

The issue that your mom is talking about might just about " any man is better than no man", because like I said, we all say the wrong thing at the wrong time sometimes.  You may just need to work on your mind to mouth filtering, and take a little more time to examine a thought before drawing breath and forming your lips to convey that thought in words.  Be a bit more circumspect in the future.

I, personally, don't think you owe him an apology. He acted abominably by embarassing you in public. You should not have to apologize for standing up for yourself and insisting upon boundaries, even when they don't line up with his "years of experience"---it is about what YOU are comfortable with, not him.

If you choose to remain with him, then you must prepare yourself for a lot more of this getting a lot worse than this as the years roll on.  Think about whether or not you want to put your neck in the yoke to pull that.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2008

It does sound like you may be mothering/nagging him a bit too much about things. And if he's had a wound for more than a month (that was getting worse) he really should have gone to a doctor in case of infection and to figure out why the wound is getting worse instead of healing. I understand your concerned about him, BUT men really don't like to be told what to do. You should suggest it once and then let him decide if he wants to do what you suggest and leave it at that so it doesn't come across as nagging. Good Luck

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-29-2012

Thank you Canadagrl1 and Musiclover12. I am beginning to find that learning to deal with our differences is the biggest hurdle we have. I think the best thing to do in this situation, knowing that he thinks I'm being dismissive is for him to point it out to me the next time I do it, and for me to watch myself when he points it out. I spoke to him and a little earlier and he said he had already apologized and he had been a little overly annoyed at that time when he flipped out, for whatever reason. He also mentioned that I was "nagging" sometimes. This had also come up in conversation last night. I think what happened was that he kept all this inside and decided it was time to explode last night.

The nagging comment came because I've been helping him fix a wound. He's had it for more than a month, and it just kept getting worse. Finally last week I suggested a medicine for it and also a couple of treatment plans, and since then it's been improving drastically everyday. So I make it a point to remind him when exactly to put the medicine and how to take care of his wound. And when he doesn't do exactly what I say, I make a fake "upset face" and shrug it off and he just continues to do things his way. He told me yesterday that I look visibly upset when he doesn't do it exactly the way I'd told him to do it and that I was too pushy. He told me he knows it was because I care for him, and he didn't want me to stop doing it, but just to cut back on it. I told him it was all or nothing for me because there was no way I could do it halfway. o.O. When a doctor prescribes an anti-biotic, he gives strict instructions on when/how to take it, doesn't he? He doesn't just let the patient do whatever he wants with it....??

Maybe the most diplomatic thing to do would be to work on my "naggingness" as well... but it seems like such wasted effort to help someone fix their wound and when finally when it starts showing improvement (after I started looking after it), he thinks I'm nagging and wants to continue doing things to it that, in my opinion, will make it worse. Am I nagging or is he just being a stubborn kid about the whole thing? I guess there's conflict of opinion here and that's where the problem is.... sure it's his body and it's up to him what he does to it. But trust me, it can't be denied that his health affects me at least a little bit. In fact, this particular wound has caused my body a little bit of grief as well.

I knowwwww this sounds so petty written down, and I honestly can't believe we're having an argument about this. It's such a weird experience being this closely involved with another human being. Being in a relationship sure has its perks, but it's definitely an interesting experience.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
I think that learning how to resolve disagreements is an important skill to have in relationships. As far as you dismissing his opinion, I think you should tell him that you didn't realize that you did that and to ask him to point it out to you in the future when he feels that you are doing it so you can understand his feelings better so you can observe how you talk to him. It's not fair holding things in and bringing it up later when you have to try to look back & remember what you said. But then I'm confused--isn't he doing the exact same thing he accuses you of? He tell you that you listen to hearsay and basically says that your opinion doesn't matter because he has "years worth" of experience or knowledge about something. So does he always need to be right about everything? (sounds like my boss who says he is 95% right about everything, but then the other day he asked me a question which I had the answer to and he said "how do you know?" I said from my 30 yrs experience and then he still wanted me to prove it!) I also think that in life you are going to have differences many times on things and that if it doesn't affect either of you personally you should be allowed to have different opinions without having to prove each other right or wrong. If you don't want to do something because you think it will be a health risk to you, what difference does it make to him, unless you are telling him that he can't do it either?

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