How do we communicate better?

by Alice

Loving without hurting

Loving without hurting

We met a year and a half ago at university and were really happy. However he had a bit of a reputation and I found it difficult to not cheat on former boyfriends, but not James. My name is Alice I am 25, my partner is James he is 23.

We both argued quite a bit over really pathetic things and then we would storm off and just hurl abuse over a text message. He got fed up and broke up with me. I believed it was just a stupid argument again went out and then decided to go see him to patch things up and he was in bed with another girl.

We split for a while and didn't speak for a few months. We got back together in January we spoke about what had happened and we both communicated great and he has become a completely different person to what he was before, he has most certainly changed!

However I have become a mess! It's now been six months since the night I caught him and I've forgiven him for that. However we still argue over petty things and now instead of hurling abuse over a text he just ignores me which makes me more angry.

I live with my parents and he lives with his friends in a student accommodation. Thing is every time we argue and I leave I send him messages accusing him of being with someone else.

On Friday night I got drunk and was feeling a bit paranoid and I beat him up. I jumped on top of him and punched him in the face I now have cuts on my hand that's how bad it was. I have never done that before and I feel truly awful he now says he doesn't want to speak to me at the moment which is absolutely understandable but the fact he doesn't want to speak to me makes me think he's with someone else and when I say that he gets really angry for me accusing him.

We both really do love each other. I know that it may sound like we don't and we just have a volatile relationship, but when we're happy which is most of the time we're perfect for each other. Unfortunately then somehow something so small escalates to a huge argument and now I've started with the whole being violent thing I'm really worried and don't know why I'm doing it or how to stop.

Please help because I don't know how to make this right and move forward. This really is a great relationship I just feel like we are both so stubborn and argumentative that if we don't fix this now we don't stand a chance.

Elly's reply

I can feel from reading between the lines your sense of desperation, Alice. I am so sorry to know that you are struggling so much at the moment.

Out of control arguments

I totally agree with you, that if you don't sort it out, this relationship won't stand a chance. Indeed you might even find that the pattern repeats itself in other relationships. More likely the situation will get even further out of control - with James likely to withdraw further the more abusive you become. He may be passive-aggressive and you become violent.

Old patterns getting in the way

I have a feeling that whenever the two of you argue, some pattern from your past is triggered that matches whatever is going on between the two of you (however vaguely). You may for example have an underlying fear of rejection, which is immediately triggered when someone is angry with you. Another reason may be that you were thoroughly spoiled and had got used to having everything your way.

Improving communication skills

The style of 'conflict management' you describe is very toxic in a relationship. Both you and James deserve to have the best relationship possible. So, it really matters that you both learn to handle disagreements better by improving your communication skills and dealing with any issues from the past.

Relationship advice

The only reasonable advice I can give you here is that you access some counselling - together or separately.

I am sure that you can access counselling through student support services at your university. Go for it, girl - there is no better time then right now! Oh ... and stop trying to have a conversation by txt!

Wishing you all the best for a really rewarding and exciting relationship without all the stress and problems you are experiencing now.


Return to Arguing .

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