Monday, September 18, 2006

Fighting fair

Saturday, July 1, 2006
Steve and Tim's house

The phone rings. It's Dom.

"Hey honey!" Tim says, with a flirty lilt. She chats with him for a few minutes before holding the phone out to me.

"Is your girlfriend tired of you yet?" Dom asks before we hang up. "Tell her she knows where to find me."

"Do you have to call him 'honey'?" I ask Tim later.

"I call everyone 'honey'. I call Lila 'honey'!"

"That's a nice thought."

"Does it make you mad?"

"You had sex with him, Tim."

"You had sex with my friend right in front of me. Should I be jealous?" she spits, her voice rising sharply.

The threesome might have been a mistake. It was fun, yes, but Tim brings it up every once in a while, and not in a good way. She'll ask me why guys like that sort of thing so much, or if it bothers me that it happened.

"If you didn't want to do it--" I say, annoyed.

"I'm not saying I didn't want to do it!"

"Then what's the problem?"

"I trust you, but you still don't trust me!" she shouts.

"What does that mean, Tim? I moved you into my house. You have keys to my car. You know my ATM PIN number. What are you talking about?"

"You trust me with your money, because you know I don't care about it. You don't trust me to be faithful."

"I just don't like you flirting right in front of me. It's insulting!"

"Oh and you don't flirt with everyone!"


Tim has taught me a lot about what she calls "fair fighting". She says it is normal to have fights and that fights are healthy, but there should be rules. At first, I thought it was ridiculous; who wants to be running down a list of do's and don'ts when you're screaming at each other? But actually, it is easier than I thought.

A few of the fighting rules we follow:

1. No name-calling
2. Be specific
3. No physical fighting
4. Use "I" statements rather than "you" statements when you can
5. After the fight is over, each person thinks of one thing they can do to avoid similar disagreements in the future

It may seem funny, but I am actually better at following the rules than she is. Tim usually ends up calling me a fucking asshole and throwing shoes at me, while I sit there waiting for her to calm down.

I may be better at fighting, but Tim is better at making up. No matter how angry she made me, she just sits in my lap, whispers "I'm sorry" in my ear, and I turn to mush.

"I would appreciate it if you didn't question my friendliness towards Dom or anyone else," she says. "I stopped seeing him to be with you, I moved in with you. Sometimes I feel like you don't trust me."

"I do trust you. But I also remember when you were with Dom, and you used to flirt with me right in front of him."

"Was I living with him? Was I asking to have a baby with him or get married?"

Yeah, she's brought those topics up before, but that's another story.


"Steve, I love you. So much. Please trust me."

My insides melt, and no matter how cynical I am, I can't resist her pull.