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Why Do We Have to Take the Long Way Home?

·356 words·2 mins

Can’t we go back to the moment before we started fighting? It wasn’t very long ago now. Just minutes in the past at this point.

And up until one of us said something the wrong way or the other of us took it the wrong way (or both, it’s usually both), we were so happy. We were blissed out. Things were good with us — as they usually are.

And the fact of the matter is that they’re still good.

That’s the thing. That’s what gets me about these hair trigger conflicts. They never hold up for us when we calm down. Slow down. Really think it over. They never last.

The feeling of danger and conflict — like the one we both have now — feels like the truth when it’s happening, a new truth. An ugly one that has presented suddenly to terrify us.

But it’s not. It’s a mistake. No more meaningful than an unfortunate typo. Like the time auto correct decided I meant “fatty” instead of “honey” (what I successfully only half-typed).

I nearly sent that to you, you know? At a time when you were having body issues and feeling much larger than you wanted to be. The dang drunken gnomes in charge of auto-correct almost called you “fatty” on my behalf. (Thankfully, I caught it.)

I think a lot of arguments start that way. Not with an auto-correct error per se but with a misheard word. Or taking a negative tone of voice or gesture as intended for us — when maybe they were thinking about something else, like a bad day at work or running through a mental inventory of why their back could hurt.

Every time we fight, I’m convinced it’s something like that. Because it always is. But you need to be upset, to rage, to burn through your hot cognition once you’re activated.

And when you do, I find myself thinking — can’t we go back to the moment before we started fighting? We’re just going to get there anyway. This was all just a misunderstanding. Why do we have to take the long way home?


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