I have been dating my boyfriend for a year and a half. We had a break for four months and got back together in October. So everything was going fine and we were working things out and talking. Well then it started going downhill and I don\’t know what to do. I\’m very lost. We recently fought because my father is getting promoted and we had originally planned to go to his high school\’s prom. Well it was all very expensive and we decided not to go. My father was going to let me go to prom instead of his promotion, since we aren\’t going anymore, I was going to go to my dad\’s promotion. My boyfriend got upset and it was a miscommunication between us when everything was happening. I had called my boyfriend to express to him that I felt hurt and angry that he wouldn\’t want to be flexible and understand that my father\’s promotion takes precedence. My boyfriend is not abusive, but he does have some signs of being controlling. I love him very dearly and I don’t want to lose him. What are some ways we can effectively stop arguing so much?
Your boyfriend may or may not be showing signs of being controlling. It is important to see the relationship for what it is and not how you wish it would be. If your boyfriend is controlling, then you should not ignore his behavior. Someone who is controlling is engaging in a form of abuse. Abuse in relationships is the attempt, through words or behavior, to maintain power and control. Psychological or emotional abuse can be just as damaging as physical abuse. Abuse in any form is unacceptable.
With regard to arguing, you can only control your behavior. Even if you behaved perfectly and did everything correctly, it still may not improve the relationship dynamic. You can and should do your part to improve the relationship but your boyfriend also has to do his. Relationships require equal work from both participants.
I would recommend consulting a couples counselor or an individual therapist. A couples counselor can determine what the problems are in the relationship and create a plan to improve it. If your boyfriend is unwilling to see a couples counselor, then you should attend individual therapy. The therapist could assess whether you are in an abusive relationship. He or she can also examine how you may be contributing to the arguments and assist you in modifying your behavior to improve the relationship.
It’s unclear whether this relationship could or should be saved. Frequent arguing is a sign that something is wrong. Every argument degrades the relationship. Seeking outside consultation from a therapist could help this relationship immensely. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle